The Red Dragon of Wales

There was once an old Welsh king named Vortigern. He was a great king, always listening to his people and doing what was best for his kingdom. However, his kingdom was unprotected from the pirates who where terrorising the rest of Britain. So, to better protect his people, he decided to built a mighty fortress. The location he chose to build his castle was the hill of Dinas Emrys, a natural vantage point. He gathered huge amounts of natural resources to build the greatest castle Wales had ever seen. Stone to build the walls and towers, wood to build a huge gate and the finest bronze to supply his army.

They started construction that very day, building the southern rampart first, and saying the next day they would build the eastern wall. They laid their bronze tools outside of their tents, and began to sleep. When they awoke, however, they found their tools gone, and the wall had collapsed. The king was furious, and ordered the builders to rebuild the wall again, but this time twice as thick and twice as high, so it wouldn’t collapse again. The builders once again finished, laid out their tools, and went to sleep. But when they awoke, their tools were gone, and the wall had once again collapsed. The king again ordered the wall to be built twice as thick, and twice as high. The builders got too work, and finished the wall for the third time. They went to sleep, and when they awoke, they once again found the wall had collapsed, and their tools gone.

The king was now concerned, and summoned every magician and conjurer in the land to tell him what was happening. They spent hours discussing and debating, but they couldn’t reach an agreement. Until one magician spoke up. He told the king that the place was obviously cursed, and to break the curse they must sacrifice a human child. The reluctantly agreed, and a child was selected. His name was Myrddin Emrys from the town of Caer Myrddin.

This child, however, was no ordinary child. He was Merlin, the wizard. Before the sacrifice, Merlin told the king that it wasn’t a curse that was destroying his fort, but that there were 2 dragons underneath the hill, living in an underground lake. The King, desperate for another solution, followed Merlin’s advice and ordered his men to dig through the hill. They dug for hours and hours. The builders began to think that Merlin was lying, trying to get out of being sacrificed.

But, just as they were about to lose heart, the builders dug straight into a huge underground lake, just as merlin foretold. Merlin ordered they drain the lake, and they would find 2 dragons, one red and one white. The men obeyed, and, once again, Merlin was right. The two dragons then began to fight. Scratching, bighting and breathing fire. King Vortigern watched in awe as the mighty beasts clashed, equally matched in every way. After a long and drawn out fight, the white dragon was killed, and the red returned to his lair.

Vortigern then built his fort, and named it Dinas Emrys, after Myrddin Emrys (Merlin). Vortigern also took the red dragon as his kingdoms symbol, reminding him to trust his subjects.

The red dragon of Wales can still be seen on their flag today.

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