"The Corgi and the Fairy Legend"

Just how or when the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and its northern cousin, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, came to be no one knows. Welsh people know the sturdy little Corgi has been a familiar sight watching over the cattle and guarding the homestead in Wales for many centuries.

With the Corgi seeming to have been in existence in Wales forever, it is natural that many legends and fireside stories about Corgi's passed from one generation of Welshmen to the next.

One such legend provides a charming tale for the curious of how the Corgi came to live in the hills of southwestern Wales. According to the legend, some young children
out tending the family's cattle on the king's land found a pair of puppies,
which they thought were little foxes. When the children took the puppies home, they were told by the menfolk that the little dogs were a gift from the fairies.
The "wee folk" of Welsh legend used the small dogs to either pull their carriages or as fairy steeds. As the foxlike puppies grew, they learned to help their human companions watch over the cattle and sheep and any other animal the farmer had a desire to have, a task that was to be the duty of their Corgi descandants for many centuries thereafter. Should anyone doubt the truth of the legend, the present-day corgi still bears the marks over his shoulders of the little saddle used by his fairy riders.


Long, long ago in days of yore,
It might've been sooner, if not before,
Along a mountain track there came,
A gallant Corgi of quite some fame.
And there beside the track he spied
A maiden fair, who to him cried,
Oh kindly Corgi, hear my plea;
I've fallen off my horse you see.
And so before you further roam
Would you, please sir, take me home?
So said the Corgi, I do confess;
How could I leave you in distress?
So climb upon my back fair maid
I'll take you home, as you have bade.
And so the Corgi started forth;
My home's a castle to the north.
They journeyed there, and at her door
She cried, I should have said before,
I'm a fairy princess sir, you see,
And for your kindness to me,
I'll leave upon your back
All traces of the fairy tack.
And till this day you still can find
The fairy's saddle to remind,
How the Corgi helped the princess fair,
And just as well for You he will care.

The Old Original Corgi Fantasy
Would you know where Corgis came from?
How they came to live by mortals?
Hearken to the ancient legend,
Hearken to the story-teller.

On the mountains of the Welsh-land
In its green and pleasant valleys,
Lived the peasant folk of old times,
Lived our fathers and grandfathers;
And they toiled and laboured greatly,
With their cattle and their ploughing,
That their women might have plenty.
And their children journeyed daily,
With the kine upon the mountain,
Seeing that they did not wander,
Did not come to any mischief,
While their fathers ploughed the valley
And their mothers made the cheeses.
'Till one day they found two puppies
Found them playing in a hollow,
Playing like a pair of fox-cubs.
Burnished gold their coat and colour,
Shining like a piece of satin -
Short and straight and thick their forelegs
And their heads were like a fox's.
But their eyes were kind and gentle;
Long of body were these dwarf dogs,
And without a tail behind them.

Now the children stayed all day there,
And they learned to love the dwarf-dogs,
Shared their bread and water with them,
Took them home with them at even.
Made a cosy basket for them,
Made them welcome in the kitchen,
Made them welcome in the homestead.

When the men came home at sunset
Saw them lying in the basket,
Heard the tale the children told them,
How they found them in the mountain,
Found them playing in the hollow -
They were filled with joy and wonder,
Said it was a fairy present,
Was a present from the wee folk,
For their father told a legend
How the fairies kept some dwarf dogs.
Called them Corgis - Fairy heelers;
Made them work the fairy cattle,
Made them pull the fairy coaches,
Made them steeds for fairy riders,
Made them fairy children's playmates;
Kept them hidden in the mountains,
Kept them in the mountain's shadow,
Lest the eye of mortal see one.

Now the Corgis grew and prospered,
And the fairies' life was in them,
In the lightness of their movement,
In the quickness of their turning,
In their badness and their goodness.
And they learnt to work for mortals,
Learnt to love their mortal masters,
Learnt to work their master's cattle,
Learnt to play with mortal children.

Now in every vale and hamlet,
In the valleys and the mountains,
From the little town of Tenby,
By the Port of Milford Haven,
To St. David's Head and Fishguard,
In the valley of the Cleddau,
On the mountains of Preselly,
Lives the Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi,
Lives the Corgi with his master.

Should you doubt this ancient story,
Laugh and scoff and call it nonsense,
Look and see the saddle markings
Where the fairy warriors rode them.
(As they ride them still at midnight,
On Midsummer's Eve at midnight,
When we mortals all are sleeping.)

By Anne G. Biddlecombe
Found in the American Pembroke standard of 1975


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