Beth Gellert

The Grave of Gellert

An old Welsh story I first heard from a friend, Major Mustard.

1. Prince Llewelyn / favourite dog – Gellert – best hunting dog / big – brave – faithful / prince trusts Gellert to guard baby son / when baby sleeps – Gellert lies on floor in front of cradle

2. Prince wants to go hunting / dangerous wolf – has killed men / blows horn to call dogs / all come except Gellert

3. Prince hunts without Gellert / doesn’t find wolf – comes home in rage at failure / is met by Gellert with blood on jaws / runs through castle, followed by Gellert / cradle is turned over / blood on cradle / blood on floor / blood on walls / blood everywhere / can’t find baby

4. Prince in fury – only sees blood on dog / “you – killed my son” / plunges sword into Gellert’s side / Gellert gives dying howl

5. Answering baby’s cry comes from next room / prince sees huge dead wolf / finds son alive and well

6. Prince digs grave – buries Gellert – builds monument: Beth Gellert (The Grave of Gellert) / you can still see monument in village of Beddgelert in North Wales today

Teaching activity

A student worksheet to help write the story


  • the simple past to tell the story
  • “direct speech” with different tenses when the prince is speaking (“You have killed my son”)
  • adjectives and adverbs to make your story more interesting
  • linking words to make your sentences more interesting
  • good vocabulary to show how much vocabulary you are learning
  • favourite mistakes to practise your own grammar

When you have written the story, you can draw / paint pictures for the scenes.

This page of a school workshop in Hong Kong includes shows students working on a picture story based on Beth Gellert.

This page shows picture stories created by students of one of my 7th classes in Germany.

Although the tale is now firmly anchored in the Welsh town of Beddgelert, the memorial there to the faithful dog is from the 19th century. Indeed, it was only then that the story first came to be associated with the town in a clever piece of tourist promotion!
However, the story motif is found in various countries, going back to the Sanskrit Panchatantra in India: Ashliman details several versions. Clearly a tale which needs to be told.

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Permission to tell outlines my views on copyright

For those who are teachers: Telling stories in the classroom: basing language teaching on storytelling