"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."



('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)




Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Rheilffordd Blaenau Ffestiniog

As we in north Wales had a fine, sunny day yesterday (Did I mention that in an earlier post?), Keith and I set forth on our wanderings which took us, by a convoluted route, to Tanygrisiau where we happened to see two of the narrow guage steam engines. This railway's original purpose was to transport slate from local quarries but, with the decline of the slate industry, it closed in 1946. Enthusiasts, however, stepped in and reopened the line in 1954 and it is now a leading example of railway preservation.
We also drove through Beddgelert, which I love visiting when the rhodedendrons are in bloom. This is the home of the grave of the famous dog Gelert, who, legend has it, was left by his master, Prince Llywelin, to guard his baby son. On his return, the prince discovered, to his horror, that the child was nowhere to be seen and the hound was covered in blood. With a cry of rage, he drew his sword and killed him. Only on further investigation, did he discover the baby safe underneath the overturned cradle and the body of a wolf, which had been killed by Gelert to save the baby. In reparation, Prince Llywelin buried Gelert by the river and erected a memorial to him.
Rumour has it that this story is complete fiction and was thought up by a local publican to attract more visitors to the village, but if it is true, you can bet your life that never again did Llywelin jump in with his size sixes before first checking the facts!


3 comments:

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Now I understand the term "a dog's life". Poor Gelert - if he''d only known - he could have eaten the baby instead of that greedy wolf!

Daphne said...

My grandad told me the story of Gelert once on a day trip to Scarborough.
It was the first time, probably, that I felt a really strong sense of injustice and the story upset me so much that I cried all the way back to Leeds. I bet my parents weren't too pleased with my grandad.

Jennyta said...

What a cynic you are, YP! ;)

Daphne, that story was in the reading scheme used in the school where I taught outside Liverpool, so I feel like crying too - for different reasons. ;)

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