We spent our Christmas with my sister, Jo, and chap, Bob, and their labrador Molly, staying in a cottage in the grounds of Henllys Hall on Anglesey. These huge sculpted dogs guard the entrance drive to the cottages, and are caught here in light shadow with the sun on the scene behind them. I find them intrinsically noble, and they unavoidably remind me of the story of the great dog Gelert, owned by the thirteenth century Welsh prince, Llywelyn of Gwynnedd. But beware, this tale does not end well. Here it is.
One day Llywelyn went hunting with his court, leaving his faithful hound, Gelert, to guard the stronghold, and in particular to watch over the Prince’s young motherless son who was still only an infant. At sunset when Llywelyn returned to his castle, Gelert rushed to meet his master, but something was horribly wrong. The dog’s muzzle was all smeared with blood. Filled with alarm, Llywelyn ran to his son’s chamber and, seeing the cot upturned, and bed clothes strewn about and streaked in blood, he leapt to conclusions, and drawing his sword, he killed his beloved dog. As the dog yelped his last, so a child’s cry rang out from under the cot. When Llywelyn ran to right it, he found his son quite safe beneath. But he also found the corpse of a large wolf that Gelert had killed to save the child. Filled with remorse, Llywelyn built a cairn of stones to honour his faithful friend, and the place where it may be seen is at Beddgelert (grave of Gelert), beside the River Glaslyn, on the road to Porthmadog.
copyright 2015 Tish Farrell
Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadowed
Secrets, conspiracies, tragedy,
dark comedy – a fast-paced novella
of interwoven tales set somewhere in
40 thoughts on “The Hounds of Henllys: Shadowed”
I have read this story, but it was serpent that the dog killed to save the child in the version I read. Either way, a good story illustrating that one should not jump to conclusions and act without knowing the full story. Super photos of the dog sculptures. Looks like an interesting place.
I’ve never read the serpent version, but that would be super dramatic. And yes – a harsh lesson in not jumping to conclusions.
Sad, but I suspect a little bit of myth/legend … maybe?
Oddly enough, even though I lived not too far from Anglesey, I never visited, though my folks have been there many times.
Oh plenty of myth, Ark. Actually I read that Gelert’s grave at Beddgelert was said to have been created in the 18th century, by the then owner of the nearby Goat Hotel. It was a notion to drum up tourism.
Tish. Check your Amazon link on the Kui widget. It doesn’t seem to function.
Looks like what we call a Great Dane, but is not Danish, and is one of the giant mastiff breeds. I guess back in those days they called all dogs “hounds.” Fantastic story and great piece of carving. I wouldn’t mind living in the shadow of a giant protector dog.
Yes, I think I’ll join you in that big shadow. The dogs do look like Great Danes now you mention it. They ought to be deer or wolf hounds for Wales.
Great pictures of a “hero” dog statue, and a great story!
Thank you, Tiny.
I’ve heard that story, TIsh, but never with these beautiful and enormous statues. What a cool place!
The statues are wonderful aren’t they. There’s nothing on them to indicate who made them either. I must do a bit of digging.
VERY sad story but beautiful carvings of dogs!!
Thank you, Joy.
Excellent shots and perfect for the theme.
Great photo’s, Tish and I love the story.
Great story! Reading the story for the first time, so glad the hound was honoured with a statue so the story lives on.
Thank you, Folakemi. It is indeed a much loved tale.
I love your photos of these noble dogs. Such a powerful story demands to be remembered
Yes, it is a memorable story, Suzanne. Gets under the skin.
Yes I know this story as well, its heart breaking!
Yes this is a tale that’s haunted me since childhood. It was one of the never ending pleas whenever we were in Wales: Can we go to Gelert’s grave?
Love the dogs and the story!
Thanks, Kate. It must be a story you know well?
Oh, what a tragic story and the dog remains heroic after all!
Yes, a true dog hero, Annette.
Stop me in my tracks! These photos are imposing and dramatic. Great job.
Thank you so much.
Myth or not, a great story all the same
Thanks, Noel 🙂
You have taken the photos at a great angle Tish it enhances the grandeur of them. Tragic story for the hound but happy ending for the child
Yes, that is a good way of looking at it PP 🙂
Well Tish, first, the dogs are AWESOME! But what a very sad story. At least he came to know what really happened albeit too late. Loved the post!
Thank you, Tina. Glad you like the dogs. They are rather epic.
Beautiful. Know thy Dog!
I know you know a good dog when you see one. Llywelyn was not too trusting was he.
No sorry I can’t like those dogs (though I DO like your photos of them) I find them quite scary and Hounds of the Baskerville come to mind. Not sure I’d sleep well in those cottages 😉
Sorry they make you shudder, Jude.
Wow, those dogs are fab, so detailed and lifelike, thanks for sharing!