When I was looking for a story to share on social media for October, I needed something decidedly Welsh, and also a wee bit macabre (Halloween and all).
Enter the story of Gelert the Brave. It might not be a macabre story on it’s own, but it IS a little grim. It may or may not be a true story, but there IS a grave, marking where Llewellyn Fawr may have buried Gelert.
The story is straight-forward. Gelert was a favourite wolfhound of Llewellyn Fawr but one day did not appear for hunting. He saves the baby (left inexplicably unattended in the castle) when everyone is gone, from a wolf (also inexplicable why the wolf was alone and in the castle, but work with me here). Llewellyn Fawr comes back from hunting, sees the over-turned cradle and Gelert with blood on his muzzle and runs Gelert through with his sword. THEN he sees the baby safe in the blankets, and the dead wolf and feels bad.
To be fair, I didn’t like this scene in Lady and the Tramp either, although Lady was punished, not killed. And while I am glad Llewellyn Fawr was remorseful, it made me wonder how much of the world goes on around us that we don’t see.
We’ve been seeing and hearing nature a little more than usual because in Victoria at least, people have slowed down an awful lot. Would we notice the usual silence in the room when we returned? Would we have smelled the fight and result? What is the poignant reason for this story at its root?
Dogs are amazing. They will forgive us nearly anything, and Llewellyn Fawr’s remorse and resulting action in the story, shows a sliver of that deep and loyal love. Gelert would have forgiven Llewellyn Fawr, most certainly. And maybe the monument stands as a reminder, not only of a deeply loyal dog, but of the price of jumping to conclusions and the power of remorse.
Or it could just be a story. Up to you!