Bedd Gelert

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Llywelyn ab Iorwerth (1173—1240) prince of Gwynedd

Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (c. 1225—1282) prince of Wales


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[W, grave of Gelert].

A well-known Welsh folk-tale about the loyal hound of ‘Prince Llywelyn’ (perhaps Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, d. 1240; or Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, d. 1282). One day the prince goes hunting, but his loyal hound Gelert does not answer the call. When the prince returns he finds blood on Gelert's mouth; assuming that the hound has attacked his child, in anger he kills it. Later the prince learns that Gelert had protected the royal child from the depredations of a wolf. To make amends, the prince erects a memorial in the hound's honour, Bedd Gelert [The Grave of Gelert]. Antecedents of the story can be found in Sanskrit, Mongolian, Persian, Russian, and the medieval Latin Gesta Romanorum (14th cent.). Beddgelert is the name of a village in Gwynedd along the borders of the former counties of Carnarvonshire and Merioneth, 4 miles SSE of Snowdon. William Robert Spencer (1769–1834) based his once widely known ballad, ‘Beth Gelert’, on the traditional story. See H. E. Lewis, Bedd Gelert: Its Facts, Fairies and Folk-Lore (Portmadoc, 1899). See also DOG.

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