the Red Dragon is the Emblem of Wales
From "The Welsh Fairy Book"
Jenkyn Thomas 
the Treachery of the Long Knives, King Vortigern
called together his twelve wise men and asked
them what he should do. They said to him: "Retire
to the remote boundaries of your kingdom, and
there build and fortify a city to defend yourself.
The Saxon people you have received are treacherous,
and they are seeking to subdue you by guile. Even
during your life they will, if they can, seize
upon all the countries which are subject to your
power. How much more will they attempt it after
The King was pleased with this advice, and departing
with his wise men travelled through many parts
of his territories in search of a convenient place
for building a citadel. Far and wide they travelled,
but nowhere could they find a suitable place until
they came to the mountains of Eryri, in Gwynedd.
On the summit of one of these, which was then
called Dinas Ffaraon, they discovered a fine place
to build a fortress. The wise men said to the
King: "Build here a city, for in this place you
will be secure against the barbarians."
Then the King sent for artificers, carpenters
and stonemasons, and collected all the materials
for building; in the night, however, the whole
of these disappeared, and by morning nothing remained
of all that had been provided. Materials were
procured from all parts a second time, but a second
time they disappeared in the night. A third time
everything was brought together for building,
but by morning again not a trace of them remained.
Vortigern called his wise men together and asked
them the cause of this marvel. They replied: "You
must find a child born without a father, put him
to death, and sprinkle with his blood the ground
on which the citadel is to be built, or you will
never accomplish your purpose."
This did not appear such strange advice to King
Vortigern as it does to us. In olden times there
were very cruel practices in connection with building.
Sometimes a human victim was sacrificed in order
that his blood might be used as cement; at other
times a living person was walled in a new building--often
an innocent little child.
The King thought the advice of his wise men was
good and sent messengers throughout Britain in
search of a child born without a father. After
having inquired in vain in all the provinces,
they came to a field in Bassaleg, where a party
of boys were playing at ball. Two of them were
quarrelling, and one of them said to the other,
"O boy without a father, no good will ever happen
to you." The messengers concluded that this was
the boy they were searching for; they had him
led away and conducted him before Vortigern the
The next day the King, his wise men, his soldiers
and retinue, his artificers, carpenters and stonemasons,
assembled for the ceremony of putting the boy
to death. Then the boy said to the King, "Why
have your servants brought me hither?" "That you
may be put to death," replied the King, "and that
the ground on which my citadel is to stand may
be sprinkled with your blood, without which I
shall be unable to build it." "Who," said the
boy, "instructed you to do this?" "My wise men,"
replied the King. "Order them hither," returned
This being done, he thus questioned the wise men:
"By what means was it revealed to you that this
citadel could not be built unless the spot were
sprinkled with my blood? Speak without disguise,
and declare who discovered me to you." Then turning
to the King, "I will soon," said he, "unfold to
you everything; but I desire to question your
wise men and wish them to disclose to you what
is hidden underneath this pavement." They could
not do so and acknowledged their ignorance. Thereupon
the boy said, "There is a pool; come and dig."
They did so, and found a pool even as the boy
had said. "Now," he continued, turning to the
wise men again, "tell me what is in the pool."
But they were ashamed and made no reply. "I,"
said the boy, "can discover it to you if the wise
men cannot. There are two vases in the pool."
They examined and found that it was so. Continuing
his questions, "What is in the vases?" he asked.
They were again silent. "There is a tent in them,"
said the boy; "separate them and you shall find
This being done by the King's command, there was
found in them a folded tent. The boy, going on
with his questions, asked the wise men what was
in it. But they knew not what to reply. "There
are," said he, "two serpents, one white and one
red; unfold the tent." They obeyed, and two sleeping
serpents were discovered. "Consider attentively,"
said the boy, "what the serpents do." They began
to struggle with each other, and the white one,
raising himself up, threw down the other into
the middle of the tent and sometimes drove him
to the edge of it, and this was repeated thrice.
At length the red one, apparently the weaker of
the two, recovering his strength, expelled the
white one from the tent, and the latter, being
pursued through the pool by the red one, disappeared.
Then the boy asked the wise men what was signified
by this wonderful omen, but they had again to
confess their ignorance. "I will now," said he
to the King, "unfold to you the meaning of this
mystery. The pool is the emblem of this world,
and the tent that of your kingdom; the two serpents
are two dragons; the red serpent is your dragon,
but the white serpent is the dragon of the Saxons,
who occupy several provinces and districts of
Britain, even almost from sea to sea. At length,
however, our people shall rise and drive the Saxon
race beyond the sea whence they have come; but
do you depart from this place where you are not
permitted to erect a citadel, you must seek another
spot for laying your foundations."
Vortigern, perceiving the ignorance and deceit
of the magicians, ordered them to be put to death,
and their graves were dug in a neighbouring field.
The boy's life was spared; he became known to
fame afterwards as the great magician Myrddin
Emrys (or Merlin, as he is called in English),
and the mountain on which he proved his mighty
power was called in after time Dinas Emrys instead
of Dinas Ffaraon. He remained in the Dinas for
a long time, until he was joined by Aurelius Ambrosius,
who persuaded him to go away with him. When they
were about to set out, Myrddin placed all his
treasure in a golden cauldron and hid it in a
cave. On the mouth of the cave he rolled a huge
stone, which he covered up with earth and green
turf, so that it was impossible for anyone to
find it. This wealth he intended to be the property
of some special person in a future generation.
This heir is to be a youth with yellow hair and
blue eyes, and when he comes to the Dinas a bell
will ring to invite him into the cave, which will
open out of its own accord as soon as his foot
the Red Dragon is the Emblem of Wales - From "The
Welsh Fairy Book" © W. Jenkyn Thomas