The Blue Gift
By Pam Brand, Kirksville, Missouri, USA
Long ago and far away in the rugged mountains of Wales a young girl lived a solitary life with only her father for companionship. He was a humble shepherd whose meager herd of cattle barely provided for the tiny family living simply in their lonely cottage.
Despite their poverty and isolation, sweet Tali was a happy girl.
She adored listening to her father sing and gayly joined in whenever she could.
She took long walks along the high coastal cliffs.
She danced among clouds of purple heather and gathered daffodils along the rushing valley streams. She swam beneath sparkling waterfalls and told her dreams to the sky ... but it was the fairies who listened.
Hidden from the sight of most mortals, the woodland sprites delighted in the simple pleasure Tali found beneath the towering trees. These magical beings of the Welsh countryside could never resist a song.
They loved the clear, sweet sound of Tali's voice lifted joyously in song as she gathered wild flowers.
The gentle band carefully tended their woodland flower garden, but they didn't mind when Tali picked their flowers. In fact, they would plant the delicate beauties in special clumps secreted from the view of most forest travellers, and watch gleefully when the beautiful child would come upon their treasures.
Her wonder and surprise was something the fairies had come to cherish.
One day the fairy band was greatly saddened to find Tali sobbing quietly in a sunlit clearing.
Fairies generally fear humans and rarely allow themselves to be seen by even the humans they come to love, but they found they must know why their little friend was suddenly so unhappy.
Careful not to frighten her, the fairies slowly approached.
When Tali looked up from her tears and found herself surrounded by the concerned band, her eyes opened wide in amazement but she was unafraid.
"Why do you cry, little one?," asked a delicate black haired sprite timidly.
"Oh," Tali said sadly her eyes clouding once again, "my father says we must leave our beautiful home."
"No!" the fairies gasped in unison.
They knew their little forest would never be the same without Tali's sweet song and gentle smile.
The girl explained that her father's herd could no longer survive here.
Ever since their old dog had died, the herdsman found it more and more difficult to claim a piece of the king's land to graze his herd upon. Their neighbors had fierce little corgis to spread their herd across the land and to chase away any interlopers. There was no money for a new dog and soon their cattle would starve.
"My father says we must sell them ... and move to the north where he will go to work in the rock quarries," she finished forlornly.
The fairies knew they must do something but was their magic strong enough to change the frustrated shepherd's mind?
Glumly the band of gentle woodland sprites contemplated what to do. With all their magic they could not create money for that was the province of man.
Theirs was the natural world of flowers and forest creatures.
A sudden breeze blew down the mountain slope and a pretty patch of blue wild-flowers rustling in the dappled sunlight immediately caught the attention of the worried little group.
As quickly as the breeze had come upon them the magical band knew exactly what to do.
That night Tali awoke from her dreams to hear sounds outside her window.
She tiptoed to the door and slowly crept out into the darkness.
There in the moonlight, three fairies were descending from the sky with a soft blanket slung between them.
The sound that had awakened her came from the folds of the blanket, and now she recognised the soft yips and growls of ... a puppy!
She was unprepared for the face that popped up to meet her. She'd never seen a dog like this one!
Its face was mottled with black splashes and its coat had a distinctly blue hue.
"She's magical," the fairies explained.
"She was once a beautiful blue woodland flower, and now she's your own special corgi."
Overcome with excitement Tali swept up the little blue puppy, who immediately licked her rosy round cheeks.
Overcome with joy she ran inside to share the good news with her father!
Too late she realised she had forgotten to thank her thoughtful new friends.
When she returned to the moonlit mountainside there was not a trace of the gift-bearers.
The strange little puppy grew quickly and soon its short crooked legs carried its long body, tail streaming gracefully behind, over the craggy slopes.
Before long the fiercely loyal blue merle corgi had driven away the encroaching herds and the shepherd's cattle grew fat grazing on lush fields of green grass.
Though she would continue to sing and dance through the forest for many years with her darling dog at her side hoping for a chance to thank her fairy friends, Tali never again saw the woodland sprites.
She knew her magical companion was proof they existed and loved her. . . and sometimes when a gentle breeze would stir the flowers she knew they were watching pleased that her gaze had found the treasure planted just for her.
The legend of the blue dog brought to earth by fairies spread throughout the countryside of Wales.
Today the little blue merle corgi is found throughout the world and all those who are lucky enough to own one know there is something very special about their dog . . . something so special that it could only be magic!
From the 1996 Handbook of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America