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The Wall

'Gelert: A Man's Best Friend' by Cerys Matthews

Published by Pont Books, Gomer Press on 20th of September 2014, priced £5.99


Gelert: A Man’s Best Friend
is one of the best-loved traditional tales from Wales retold by singer and broadcaster, Cerys Matthews.

According to the legend, Gelert was medieval prince Llywelyn the Great’s faithful dog and while his master was hunting, the hound was responsible for guarding his baby son. One day a wolf appeared and tried to attack the child... 

Llywelyn returns home to find his baby’s cradle overturned and blood around Gelert’s mouth. Believing that his faithful dog is responsible for savaging his child, in his rage, Llywelyn kills Gelert. He later hears his child’s cries and finds him unharmed and realises that the dog had saved his son from the vicious wolf. The mournful prince buries his faithful dog with honour.

When asked about the inspiration behind the book, Cerys said,

“I love folk lore, and was interested to find this particular story repeated in cultures across the world.

“This is a centuries-old story and similar folk tales are also found in other cultures. In India, for example, the black snake takes the place of the wolf, and a mongoose, the dog; in Malaysia the wolf is a tiger and the dog is a tame bear. These stories have been told for generations to teach youngsters good lessons in life as part of ancient fireside lore, this particular tale warning against the dangers of jumping to conclusions and acting in haste. 

“I thought it would be fun to revisit this particular story for a new generation and have the pleasure of reuniting with illustrator Fran Evans.”

Cerys will be launching the book at the inaugural The Good Life Experience – a one day festival which she has founded with Charlie and Caroline Gladstone and the Hawarden Estate Farm.

Cerys Matthews is well known for her talent with words and, as a mother of three, is well placed to rework this classic Welsh legend for an audience of contemporary children.

Fran Evans’ illustrations depict the story in vivid detail, capturing the warmth of the relationship between Llywelyn and his faithful dog. At the end, her final images offer another way of thinking about the pain of loss, transforming the sad end to the tale. Prince Llywelyn and his family see Gelert’s form in the stars and are comforted to think that he is looking down on them.

Cerys will be launching the book at The Good Life Experience on Saturday, 20th of September.

Gelert: A Man’s Best Friend will be available from all good bookshops and online retailers from 20th of September 2014

CADW

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