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Elkhound Legends

Elkhound Legends Series

The Legend of the Golden Ring Elkhounds

I will try my hand at yet another of the famous Elkhound legends, this time the awesome Golden Ring Elkhounds. As with any legend the truth over centuries of telling can be off slightly, or stretched slightly, but for the most part legends have more fact than fiction. All legends Elkhound in nature come down generation to generation, only the old families know them today. Hopefully my rendition will live on in your mind and be passed on as well.

Golden Ring Elkhounds Tora and Desna

So legend has it that long ago in the remote rugged region that borders both the Norwegian and Swedish border to the north this tale begins it roots. It is a hostile land, rugged and wild. The terrain can scale up to 5000 feet and it's under a heavy snow blanket most of the year.

Travel was always difficult in winter and came with many risks. The Norsemen of the region were well accustomed to these conditions and worked to prepare for the worst. This is a harsh land and time with few settlers between settlements and hunting and trapping was the lifestyle of the remote region woodsman.

It was said that early one winter, prior to the deep cold settling in, the snow blanket had not more than dusted the landscape a young Prince was planning to set out on a journey. The journey was to a fairly distant settlement, few recall even the reason for the trip, some say a wedding, some a young lady, some a celebration of sorts, in any event a fun social event was expected on his arrival.

He was of course a very able bodied young male in his prime, he had surrounding him some of his most faithful companions and woodsmen. Three of his best comrades were to accompany him to the distant celebration and return with him.

They would travel for more than a few days to reach the destination and had traveled this route previous so knew it was precarious, but as it was early in the season felt confident. They packed provisions they would need, some gear, axes, lance, knives and so forth. They did not intend to have to hunt on the trip as it was expected they could carry enough provisions to make the destination.

The Prince and his allies left early, made great headway the first day, reaching a far plateau many miles from home. This plateau allowed them the vision to see the distant pass they wanted to reach next day and the rugged terrain they faced. Late in the day they made camp on the plateau, excited about the journey. The next morning they awoke early, although all slept well each could feel unease in the other, the wind had changed!

Desna True Golden Ring Heritage ElkhoundAt this altitude they were not sheltered from the early changing winds and it's much more noticable at dawn on peaks and plateaus than in the evening. None ventured out with any real concern as they were rugged men, capable of course, no worries.

Throughout the day they traveled deep into the rugged terrain of the lower forest floors, heading through to the pass between the peaks they had saw last night. By mid day it had turned quite cold. The wind was up and flakes of snow were now visible. At the valley floor they were often times not able to get clear views, they did not know that the peaks they had seen so clearly last evening were now no longer visible at all. The dark snow clouds were circling in.

By nightfall it was a full storm. They had provisions, were able to get a fire but had trouble keeping it going in the wind so ate and decided to curl up and wait out the storm that evening. They felt it should blow out by morning. When they woke from a fitful cold sleep the storm still raged!

They decided to push on, there was no reason to stay they could keep moving and hopefully walk out of it by the end of the day. What occurred though could have never been considered. Toward late afternoon they were approaching the pass they had seen, or felt they were. So obscure was the vision that it was literally guess work that they were traveling. Little did they know that evening that they had missed the pass they wanted by some half a mile and were in a completely different valley pass now!

What happened next was a disaster. Because of the visibility, the snow and ice as the young Prince stepped forward late in the day he felt his weight give way. His right leg went down into a hole and he fell forward, losing balance. As the terrain is steep and rocky , the angle of is fall twisted his knee in gut wrenching pain and he felt a searing heat in his leg.

Moki True Golden Ring Heritage ElkhoundHis comrades quickly came over and made a gruesome discovery. A sharp stick, below the snow had came through the leg below the knee. The knee itself was severely twisted but the wound was of great concern. They had little choice but to pull the stick out and try to bandage up the gaping hole. A temporary splint was made for the knee while a camp was quickly assembled before dark, all the while it storms.

A decision had to be made, should they turn back, or continue. At this point they honestly all felt it was closer to push on, again, little did they know in the storm that they were off track. This is where the legend gets a bit lost in translation. Not all of the details were able to be preserved in this particular section. Some say that they made a decision to send 1 man back home for assistance, and 1 was to go forward to the settlement and 1 would stay and work forward with the Prince as could be done.

Both of the men that left the Prince that day never were heard from, nor did they find remains. Literally they vanished in the storm.

It was unknown how it came about but the rest of the legend is clear. It had cleared, the storm had blown out, an old hunter was out in the lower terrain, he had his faithful pair of great hunting dogs with him. He knew that the storm would have forced some game down off the ridges and his big dark silver boys were eager to find a Moose. As they hiked along the Havoc True Golden Ring Heritage Elkhounddogs stopped, heads high. They circled around, the old hunter was wary, this was not the same behaviour they normally show on Moose scent, this had an air of danger. Both dogs, hair up, agitated, not excited. He could tell something was off. The dogs headed deep into the area of the pass, he followed.

What he came up was staggering, two men, one quite ill the other exhausted and partially frozen. Both had frostbite on extremities and had no visible signs of support as the snow had obliterated all outgoing tracks. He knew not even from which way they came.

He fastened a quick Travois together from a canvas he had been carrying to pack home the Moose meat, and first put the uninjured man by a roaring fire.  He was very stern and very careful to instruct his younger of the two dogs to stay. To remain. To Stay.

The older of the two would carry his pack and all his gear on the travois in front and he would try to carry out the young man. Legend has it was way past dark before he arrived at his camp. This was an outpost hunting camp he usually set up each season, it had everything he would need. On arrival it was said that he immediately got a fire going, brewed some broth, tended to the wounds with some herbs and moss dressing as best he could. He found some infection and cut that away, it's said he burnt the remaining wound to sauter the flesh to prevent infection. All the while the old dog sat and looked at the young Prince.

Golden Ring ElkhoundsFor hours, delirious he was he came and went out of conciousness, each time when he would open his eyes, looking right at him was this magnificent dog, one who had a golden ring around each eye. Deep brown oval eyes. He thought he must be dreaming!

Some broth was able to be given by dawn and the Prince slept again. This time again stern, the old hunter instructed his old dog, to stay. He left back for the remaining man.

A full day and most of the night it would take him to return. Meanwhile a few hours after his departure the young prince was coming around. He awoke, concious fully for the first time in who knows how long to see this magnificent dog staring at him, and he noticed the golden ring again around both eyes quite clearly now. He felt he had seen this golden ring before but could not say, a very powerful sign he thought. This dog looked right into his eyes, the strangest thing ever he felt. Its like he knew him. He did not know how he got where he was or where he was, all he knew was this dog was here and he was fine, sore, cold, but alive. Very much a miracle dog he thought.

Golden Ring ElkhoundsLegend has it that the old man returned with the other young fella, they were able to recover and the old hunter was able to make his way out with them to the settlement they were headed to. He passed the care to the folks of the village and went upon his way. He lived miles to the North, there was hunting to do, he must press on and then home.

As the Prince healed he could not get past the look of the dog he first saw, the one who found his scent. That next summer he sent out his best men to find this hunter, thank him again, and see if he could get one of the Golden Ring pups. For years they scoured the country side. Word got out the Prince offered a reward for a golden ring Elkhound. Many people came with dogs, great hunting dogs, but the Prince would pass. They were not the same. Years went by, Elkhound after Elkhound was shown, none chosen, everyone knew, the only Elkhound the Prince wanted was the golden ring Elkhounds. One day in the village where the Prince resided one of his best friends was walking along, the man who had endured the trials with him and he noticed an old hunter coming toward him with a magnificent hunting dog. He thought, could it be? As he walked up the dog stopped, looked right at him, he knew! He grabbed the old mans arm and told him he was the one he had saved, him and the Prince. He let him know they had been looking for years to find them. The Prince would love to see him, come he said.

Golden Ring ElkhoundsLong story short the old male would be having his final litter that fall, he had been bred to one of the old hunters best females, herself a tremendous hunting dog. The Prince would be most welcome to a pup, a Golden Ring pup no less. Needless to say, from the day the Prince saw that dog the first time, the most sought after Elkhounds of all time are of course, THE GOLDEN RING ELKHOUNDS!

Elkhounds shown:

Top  Down: Desna and Tora, Desna, Moki ( sitting by MANE) then Havoc, then Rigel, and then Birgit, and finally Kai with her young daughter, Fiska all of course are famous golden ring lineage Elkhounds, Kamia Kennels as you guessed having one of the few strains of the golden ring Elkhounds left in the world. Pretty Cool Indeed!

You can also view my earlier Legend: How The Elkhound Got His Curled Tail - it's in one of the very early PDF's I did many years ago. Enjoy.