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Dog + Man: From The Odyssey to Beginners

Posted May 23, 2011 to photo album "Dog + Man: From The Odyssey to Beginners"

In Beginners, the dog Arthur and the human Oliver create an emotional bond that echoes back all the way to Homer.

Arthur + Oliver
Argos + Odysseus
Peritas + Alexander the Great
Gelert + Llywelyn
Guinefort + his Knight
Donnchadh + Robert the Bruce
Urian + Cardinal Wolsey
Pompey + William the Silent
Luath + Robert Burns
Boatswain + Lord Byron
Fortune + Josephine
Lauro + Napoleon
Seaman + Meriwether Lewis
Flush + Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Greyfriars Bobby + John Gray
Balto + Gunnar Kaasen
Hachiko + Hidesaburo Ueno
Gelert + Llywelyn

Gelert + Llywelyn

19th century illustration; Grave spot.

Llywelyn the Great (1172-1240), the Prince of Gwynedd in north Wales, lived in what is now known as village of Beddgelert with his family and his faithful dog Gelert, who is said to have been a gift to the prince from King John of England, who also provided his illegitimate daughter Joan to Llywelyn as a wife. “In the 13th century, Llywelyn, prince of North Wales, had a palace at Beddgelert. One day he went hunting without Gelert "the faithful hound" who was unaccountably absent. On Llywelyn's return, the truant stained and smeared with blood, joyfully sprang to meet his master. The prince alarmed hastened to find his son, and saw the infant's cot empty, the bedclothes and floor covered with blood. The frantic father plunged the sword into the hound's side thinking it had killed his heir. The dog's dying yell was answered by a child's cry. Llywelyn searched and discovered his boy unharmed but near by lay the body of a mighty wolf which Gelert had slain, the prince filled with remorse is said never to have smiled again. He buried Gelert here. The spot is called Beddgelert.” So reads the marker on a mound in the village is known as Gelert’s Grave, the invention of David Pritchard, the owner of the Royal Goat Inn, who concocted the legend in 1793 to encourage tourism.