The Fairy Tale of Two Corgis
By Kim Campbell Thornton
Wales is a fairy tale country, with castles around every corner and elves or fairies behind every standing stone.
It stands to reason, then, that Wales would have fairy tale dogs. Here then is the tale of how the Corgi came to be.
Queen Mab clapped her hands, "I am bored" she cried.
"Let us take our steeds and go for a ride".
Instantly before the fairy queen appeared a small red-and-white dog wearing a gold collar and bell. On his back was a tiny saddle made of the finest leather and chased in silver. Similar dogs appeared to the other members of the fairy court. They each mounted their enchanted dogs, and led by Queen Mab and her huntsman, Dark Edric, they rode out of the hollow hills. By the light of the moon, they flew through the forests of Wales.
Suddenly, one of the fairies gave a cry. His steed had brushed against a trap set by poachers.
Made of iron, its touch was deadly to fairy folk, and both the courier and his little dog were laid low by its power. The other fairies gathered round, yet keeping their distance lest they too be struck down by the cold bite of iron.
"What should we do?" said Queen Mab "We cannot leave them here to die."
A small, hesitant voice broke the silence that followed her question.
A human boy peered from behind a tree, his frightened sister at his side.
"If you please, your majesty, I can move the trap away so that it won't be touching them anymore." he said. "And my sister knows herbs. She may be able to ease their pain."
"What are you doing out at this time of night boy?" the queen demanded. "Do you not know that the night holds many dangers for mortals?"
"My father is a shepherd." the boy replied. "Our best ewe is lost, and without her we shall surely starve"
"Heal my friends," the queen said, "and I shall repay you many times over.
The boy and his sister tugged at the heavy trap until it was far enough away to do no harm.
Then the girl gathered white oak bark and blackberry leaves. Wetting them in the stream, she made a soothing compress. With their rapid healing powers, the fairy and his dog steed were soon well again.
"I promised you a reward, boy" Queen Mab said.
Twice she rang the golden bell that hung around her dog's neck.
Two red-and-white puppies appeared. They were low-set, strong and sturdy, with dark eyes that gleamed with intelligence.
"These are the fairy dogs," Queen Mab said. "They are swift and clever and true, and they can herd cattle as well as sheep. Treat them well, and you shall never loose your livestock again."
Then she clapped her hands and the entire fairy court disappeared, leaving behind only the two pups.
The shepherd's family prospered, and the fairy dogs gave birth to puppies.
The Corgis as they became known--from the Welsh words cor meaning "dwarf" and gi meaning "dog" were highly prized throughout the land for their herding ability.
As a mark of their fairy steed origin, they all bore saddle or harness marks behind their shoulders.
And on Midsummer's Day, if the dogs were a little tired for once--as they so rarely were--the shepherds simply nodded their heads wisely.
They knew that every Midsummer's Eve, the fairies returned to ride the Corgis so they would never forget where they came from.
Fancy Publications, Inc., Canada