The Red Dragon of Wales

The Red Dragon is the national emblem of Wales. They can be seen almost anywhere you go. But there is more to the legend than just a cool mascot. The Welsh red dragon was once said to have been attacked by a white dragon. Many say the white dragon belonged to England but the English have never officially claimed ownership of any dragon. The two dragons fought and their screeches made people fall ill and die. The king of Wales dug a deep pit and put a cauldron of meed (honey wine) in it. He then covered it. The dragons fought in the air over the pit. When they exhausted they feel from the sky into the pit and cauldron which they drank and fell asleep. They were then buried under Mt Snowdon. The dragons stayed there for many centuries. Later a lord decided to build a castle on that mountain but every night the castle was shaken apart by unseen forces. He was told by his advisers to find a boy with no father and sacrifice him. He finds a boy but the boy finds out the real plan. The boy knows of the dragons under the mountain. He tells the king who then decides to wake the dragons. They continue to fight and the red dragon wins. The boy is later said to be Merlin (the wizard of Arthurian legend).

The earliest recorded use of the red dragon to represent Wales was in the Historia Brittonum in 820. The Dragon was also linked to Uther Pendragon father of King Arthur. The Pendragon name means “Dragon Head”  However in more modern history, (still before the creation of the U.S.) during the rule of Henry the VII (Ruled 1485-1509) his crest showed the red dragon helping to support the crest of England. During this time the dragon was also used on many royal navy ships. The dragon fell from popularity for a few centuries until around 1910 when it started gaining popularity again. It was only in 1959 that the dragon was finally adopted into the modern red dragon on a white and green background flag. The red dragon has had a fascinating history and will surely continue on into the far future.

5 Responses to “The Red Dragon of Wales

  • Janet Shown
    2 years ago

    Wow! I didn’t know this fascinating history. Thanks for sharing it, Rhys.

  • Barb Walker
    2 years ago

    I always wondered what the red dragon on the Welsh flag represented.

  • annabel
    2 years ago

    Great yarn! Thanks Rhys

  • Jane Jackson
    2 years ago

    Interesting to hear that story! Thanks for sharing it.

  • The other not well known story is that when I was in Australia I sat in a tattoo parlor thinking I was going to get the Welsh, red dragon, tattooed on my hip. However, I only had enough money to either get some ink, or go sky diving. I too fell out of the sky but not into a pit with Mead…I was safely and softly delivered to the ground.

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