Fantasy and Legend

Corgi Fantasy

by Anne Biddlecombe
Reprinted with permission of the Welsh Corgi League

Would you know where Corgis came from?
How they came to live with mortals?

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.

'Til 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 on 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 fathers 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 mountains 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 masters' 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!).

How The Corgi Lost His Tail

Long, long ago back in the days when the land was new and the pixies still tied knots in the sheeps tails and tangled the manes of the horses at night, the Corgi was the steed of choice for the nightly rides of the Queen of the Fairies. Both Pembrokes and Cardigans had long, flowing tails and would wag them brightly as they trotted along. One night though, after a long day of herding, a Pembroke Corgi decided that enough was enough and that he would rather sleep than be bedecked with flowers and carry the Queen. When she arrived, he snuggled deeper into his bedsack and refused to open his eyes. The fairies poked him and prodded him until he heaved a great sigh and sat up.

"I don't WANT to go out tonight" he complained. "I am tired and grumpy and want to sleep. Find another steed for your evening ride." And with that he sat down and put his ears back and, with a steely glint in his eye, refused to move.

The fairies cajoled, they pleaded, they ordered, they threatened, they bribed, they yelled, but all to no avail. The Pemmie had made up his mind and nothing was going to change it.

Finally, in anger, the Queen stomped her tiny feet and tossed her beautiful hair and shouted out a terrible curse "I will bind your tail to the ground with my magic so that you are trapped. You will never be free until you agree to become my be ridden when ever I desire!!"

Now this did not please the Corgi one bit!!! He swore a mighty oath to never give in to threats and began to tug and pull. But alas, his tail was stuck fast to the ground! And HE was stuck to his tail!!!

He pulled and pulled and heaved and FINALLY pulled loose..................

But his tail was stuck fast to the ground and remained there. He had pulled his tail RIGHT OFF!!! And so, to this day, the Pembroke Corgi has no tail as a reminder of the dog who defied the Queen of the Fairies. And, like any other good Welshman, he is still proud, willfull and unintimidated by threats or cursing.

This is the tale of the tail as my grandmother told me.......Betsy Copeland

The Fairy Saddle

Long, long ago in the days of yore,
It might've been sooner, or 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 will care.