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  • #342210

    Anonymous

    [img width=700 height=541]http://bialczynski.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/astro-nn-nn-lech_czech_rus_blog-ilustr-janusz-towpik.jpg”/>

    A shared Slavic legend of migration that tells of three brothers; Lech, Czech and Rus, who founded three Slavic peoples; the Poles, the Czechs and the Russians respectively.
    Around one and a half thousand years ago during the great Slavic mass migrations, around the same time when Barbarian tribes invaded Europe from the east and the Roman Empire had already perished, three heroic brothers were travelling westwards through Eastern Europe towards the land that is now known as Poland. Their names were Lech, Czech and Rus. They were brave leaders of their Slavic tribe, in search of a permanent homeland.

    One day after tireless travelling, when the day was coming to an end, the three brothers and their tribe decided to settle for the night in a clear area not far from a forest.

    image

    The three brothers sank deeper and deeper into the woods until they came across a dead end. Suddenly, a noise of a bird filled the forest. Looking at the direction from where the noise came, Lech noticed that light was peering through the trees. Following the light, the three brothers were lead to a clearing within the forest. Among the tall grass of that clearing was a great big wide oak.

    Within its branches, there was a nest of beautiful baby white eagles. Lech, becoming overwhelmed with joy, said to his brothers “I have never seen such a majestic place in my whole entire life.” As Lech approached the great oak, he ordered one of his brothers to remove one of the baby eagles from the nest and pass it to him.

    Lech looked at the baby white eagle with pride as he held it in his hand against the wonderful colour of the sky, which was red from the setting sun.

    image

    After Rus had put the small eagle back, its mother came to feed its young and perched proudly at its nest. It was at this time Lech decided to make the decision to stay here with his part of the tribe. “This is the place I will end my journey my brothers”, he said. “I will stay here with my part of the tribe, and our symbol will be a noble white eagle on a red background!”

    The two other brothers, Czech and Rus, decided to keep travelling and settle elsewhere. At daybreak they said their final farewells to Lech, and moved on. Along the way, Czech decided to travel southwards, and Rus decided to travel eastwards.

    Lech was the first person to establish a dukedom on the soil that is now Poland. He built a grand fortification around his settlement which was based around what is called the ‘Hill of Lech’. He named his settlement ‘Gniezno’ which means eagle’s nest, from the white eagles he found there, on that fateful day. Gniezno later became the first capital of Poland and it is thought that the Poles are the decendents of Lech and his part of the tribe.

    Gniezno
    image

    Meanwhile, Czech and Rus also settled in places they liked with their parts of the tribe. From these two brothers came the two peoples that neighbour Poland. The Czechs to the south and the Russians to the East.

    It is fact that Poland was known as Lechistan by the Turks or ‘the country of Lech’. It is also true that the Muscovites often called the Poles ‘Lachi’ and throughout the rest of ancient Europe, the inhabitants of Lech’s Dukedom were known as ‘Lechites’. The original name for the Polish gentry was ‘Lechici’, and the commoners were known as ‘Kmiecie’. The Lechici’s descendant’s were later known as ‘z Lechcicow’ or ‘from the gentry’. This term later evolved into the word ‘Szlachta’, which is used today.

    If you ever happen to visit a certain part of Wielkopolska (Grand Poland), you will find, in a forest, three grand old trees given the names Lech, Czech and Rus, to honour the heroic brothers who planted the seeds of three proud Slavic peoples.

    Lech, Czech and Rus – oaks from Rogalin
    [img width=700 height=525]http://www.myfinepix.com.mt/sites/default/files/imagecache/full/gallery/394271/deby_rogalinskie.jpg”/>[/center]

    #364054

    Anonymous

    Seems like only Prelja and Wilkolak are on Slavorum posting new threads and complementing each others work. ;D
    Great thread BTW.

    #364055

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Seems like only Prelja and Wilkolak are on Slavorum posting new threads and complementing each others work. ;D
    Great thread BTW.

    I have the same impression. And there is nothing wrong with an expression of approval. Thanks  :D ;)

    #364056

    Anonymous
    [size=14pt]The Legend of the Wawel Dragon[/size]

    Smok Wawelski made life difficult for the people of the newly established city of Kraków. A gargantuan, fire-breathing creature, neither homes nor livestock in the surrounding countryside were safe from being devoured during one of Smok Wawelski's frequent rampages. The destruction was terrible, but not the greatest danger, for the dragon had a nasty taste for human flesh.  Young maidens and small children in particular were preferred snacks. Often the only way to appease Smok Wawelski for a short while was to leave a maiden as a sacrifice outside his cave under Wawel Hill, near the Vistula River.
    [img width=700 height=552]http://fc08.deviantart.net/fs49/f/2009/185/8/8/smok_wawelski___vavel_dragon_by_lightningale.jpg”/>
    Needless to say, no one was happy sacrificing innocent girls to the merciless beast. King Krak sent his bravest knights to put an end to the danger, but their efforts were to no avail. Smok Wawelski's reign of violence lasted long enough to drain Kraków of it's knights and female population. King Krak sent pleas for help to all of the neighbouring kingdoms, but even the visiting champions fell before the beast.

    Eventually, the only surviving maiden left in Kraków was the beautiful princess Wanda. In desperation, King Krak promised Princess Wanda's hand in marriage to anyone who could put an end to the terror.

    [img width=700 height=346]http://www.imp2k.com/GRAFFITI/murale-elewacje-sciany/smok_wawelski-glowa.jpg”/>

    The offer caught the attention of a poor cobbler's apprentice named Skuba Dratewka. Dratewka knew he was no knight with fancy armour and strong weapons with which to slay the dragon; he would have to rely on his wits to succeed where so many had failed. While Smok Wawelski was out pillaging livestock, Dratewka snuck into his cave to have a look around, trying to understand his enemy. The floor was littered with stolen treasure and the splintered bones of his victims – both human and sheep. Smok Wawelski returned to the cave sooner than Dratewka expected, forcing the boy to either hide or confront the dragon. Not yet ready to challenge Smok Wawelski, Dratewka ducked behind a boulder and continued his reconnaissance. The dragon had brought his dinner home with him, forcing Dratewka to watch the sheep being eaten. Dratewka averted his eyes, trying to ignore the gruesome sight at first, but as he listened an idea began to form in his mind.

    image

    Once the dragon finished his meal and went to sleep, Dratewka quit the cave and rushed home. There he cooked one of his few remaining lambs and stuffed it with sulphur. He also added hot spices from a family recipe to disguise the taste. Returning to the cave, Dratewka left the lamb for Smok Wawelski to find. When the dragon woke the next morning, he greedily devoured the tasty sacrifice. A powerful thirst hit him as he chewed, and the dragon trudged to the river for a drink. He drank and drank, but the more the water touched his throat, the more parched he became. Trying desperately to ameliorate his thirst, Smok Wawelski continued to drink until his massive body was so full of water, it burst!

    image

    For the next few weeks, Kraków was quite the city of parties. Skuba Dratewka was hailed for his heroics and upon his wedding day to Princess Wanda was renamed Prince Krak, Dragonslayer.

    People say that dragons do not exist and are merely products of human imagination… But I would not be so sure about The Dragon of Wawel. If you ever happen to visit Kraków, go to the dragon’s cave at the Wawel Castle and listen carefully to the whispers and voices of the old walls… Perhaps they will tell you the truth about their notorious companion.

    image

    #364057

    Anonymous
    [size=14pt] Legend of the Koźmin city foundation[/size]

    The city is located in the Krotoszyński district, about 15 miles north of Krotoszyn

    image

    Long time ago, unknown wanderer traveled across the land of Wielkopolska (Grand Poland). In his wanderings he avoided human settlements, feeling the best in the least accessible part of an old forest, in the company of wild animals. One day he saw two eagles circling above him, as if they wanted to say something. Suddenly the birds flew then returned to him carrying snakes in their beaks.

    The wanderer turned his steps in the direction from which the birds came. Imagine his surprise when he saw a tangle of snakes among the rocks, and a baby crying in it. It was a little girl dressed in a robe embroidered with gold thread. The man realized that he had before him a child from a wealthy family, which for some unknown reason bad people abandoned in the forest on the inevitable destruction.

    View of helpless child touched him so much that he decided to settle down in the forest, abandon his journey and take care of the girl. Years passed. The traveler grew old, lost his strength, his hair turned gray. The girl grew and became beautiful with each passing year. From his protector she learned to love the forest and its inhabitants, be good and sensitive to the misery of every living creature.

    One day the old man heard the voices of men and horses coming into his domicile. It was a procession of the young prince, who got lost in the woods. The old man together with his beautiful girl came out to meet the guests. The unexpected guests invited by an old man sat down to supper, during which they were spinning their tales.

    The young prince told about the history of his duchy, fratricidal fighting, which devastated the country many years ago, the mysterious disappearance of a tiny princess. The old man pondered a moment and brought from the chamber the outfit decorated with fine gold embroidery, the same in which he found a baby years ago. Prince easily recognized the royal coat of arms. He bowed to the girl and the next day he took her to the castle as the rightful heir of those lands.

    image

    On the orders of the Duke a new settlement was established at the meeting place and was given its name derived from the history of this place – Koszżmij (basket of vipers), later over the years transformed into Koźmin and the river which flowed by the village was named Orla (Eagle river).

    image

    #364058

    Anonymous

    Prelja is on fire with hot topics lately. Good job and keep posting! ;)

    #364059

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Prelja is on fire with hot topics lately. Good job and keep posting! ;)

    :D ;)

    #364060

    Anonymous
    Quote:

    Quote:
    Prelja is on fire with hot topics lately. Good job and keep posting! ;)

    :D ;)

    I agree. Lots of interesting information. May I request a piece on Bazyliszek from Warsaw? :)

    #364061

    Anonymous

    I agree. Lots of interesting information. May I request a piece on Bazyliszek from Warsaw? :)

    Yes, you may. :) I will try to post it today ;)

    #364062

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Yes, you may. :) I will try to post it today ;)

    Thanks! No rush, though.

    #364063

    Anonymous
    [size=14pt]Warsaw Basilisk[/size]

    In Poland, city of Cracow has a dragon while Warsaw has a basilisk. You can find a restaurant, patisserie, bar etc. called Bazyliszek as well as pictures of the monster on walls of some Warsaw houses and in gift shops, on T-shirts. In common language we also use the phrase "wzrok bazyliszka", the basilisk's glance which means a glance which kills.

    The name basilisk comes from the Greek basileus, which means king. The basilisk was the King of the snakes and the most poisonous creature on earth. His appearance has always been a matter of dispute since there is no way to see a basilisk and survive. Looking at it, according to legend, brings death.

    image

    The basilisk was depicted in a few illuminated manuscripts in the Middle Ages but appeared much more often as an ornamental detail in church architecture, adorning capitals and medallions. The best representation of the basilisk is found in the decorative field of heraldry where the basilisk had the head and legs of a cock, a snake-like tail, and a body like a bird’s. It seems that the wings could be depicted as either being covered with feathers or scales.

    Description

    The antique Romans called him "regulus" or little king, not only because of his crown, but because he terrorized all other creatures with his deadly look and poison. His colour was yellow, sometimes with a kind of blackish hue. Plinius mentioned a white spot on his head, which could be misinterpreted as a diadem or a crown. Others speak of three spikes on his forehead.

    Regarding his dangerousness, rural legends distinguish three main types. All three had a deadly breath, which could even make rocks crumble.

    – The golden basilisk poisoned everything by his mere look.
    – The evil-eye basilisk terrorized and killed every creature by his third eye on the top of a golden head.
    – The sanguineness basilisk sting made the flesh fall off the bones of his victim

    According to some legends, basilisks can be killed by hearing the crow or a rooster or gazing at itself in a mirror. The latter method of killing the beast is featured in the legend of the basilisk of Warsaw, killed by a man carrying a set of mirrors. The venomous bite of the basilisk could be cured using basil.

    During the Renaissance, Christianity rediscovered the creature in the context of the Old Testament and used it sparsely as an emblem of the devil and sin.

    Abstract

    A legend says that in the basements of the buildings located along one side of Dekert, at the corner of Krzywe Koło (Crooked Circle St.), there lives a Basilisk.

    [img width=700 height=616]http://lh3.ggpht.com/_G4tBukKVTMg/TLjL12QzDhI/AAAAAAAAAZ0/EVdF5_xc2nk/IMGP6037.jpg”/>

    Krzywe Koło, Warsaw

    It guarded the treasures once stored there, and every man who tried to reach them was killed by the gaze of the Basilisk turning men to stone. He was defeated in the end by a wandering tailor who showed the monster a mirror. The Basilisk was petrified by its own appearance, and hid away; from then on, he was no longer a threat to residents. Today on the façade of the building there is a picture of the Basilisk, which is the symbol of the renowned Warsaw restaurant of the same name.

    image

    This story exists much longer than "Harry Potter". We hear it from our grandmothers… or in the school. In Warsaw we have to know a few Warsaw's legends when we're in primary school. It's one of them.

    Legend about basilisk

    There are big dungeons somewhere deep under Warsaw. They were built as a defence of the city or escape place.

    Story tells there live a lot of strange creatures. And one of them was basilisk – big dragon, half rooster and half snake. Ugly and stenchy. People, who walked close to gate of the dungeons, lost without a trace. Creature killed them with its glance.

    [img width=700 height=652]http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tskjCeI_E4U/S7nrLMLsoJI/AAAAAAAAAAk/ebweEqGud5U/s1600/bazyliszek.jpg”/>

    One day two children from Warsaw: Maciek and his sister Halszka wanted to go to a fair to look at many miracles there. They saw man who ate fire, snake with glasses on its back, a lot of medallions and rings. And mirrors.

    – How beautiful mirrors! – screamed Halszka. – Maciek, look! Look at the sun shining on this silver disc! It's amazing! Buy me one, please…

    – But Hala, we haven't enough money…

    Halszka stopped to please. Looked sadly at the mirrors last time and came to next vendor. Maciek thought a minute. Then bought one of these mirrors – smallest, but most beautiful of all of them. He spent all of his money for it, but when he gave it to Halszka and saw her happiness, he thought it was worth to buy it.

    Children strolled about the fair a few hours. When they saw all of things, which vendors were selling, they thought to walk through small Warsaw streets. They saw beautiful tenement houses: pink with sailing ships on the door; blue with leaves around windows… and one red with dragon on old door.

    image

    Tenement "Under the Ship"

    It looked like lonely old house, abandoned for decades. The door was open a little, so Maciek got in there. It was dark there, so he took the mirror from his sister and tried to make some light with it. And suddenly he looked at some ugly creature, who ran away to dungeon deep in the house. It had chicken head, long snake neck, balloon-like body with black feathers and high legs with claws sharp like knives.

    Maciek – very scared – ran away with his sister. They stopped just in their house, where they were safe. Halszka kept on asking him all the time what he saw, what scared him so much, but he didn't tell her. He only thought all the night about this strange creature. He heard about dragons having a lot of gold in their nests. They loved to collect money and jewellery. And his family sometimes did not have enough food, so dragon's treasure would help them to live. So – what to do with this basilisk…?

    He thought all the night, then day and another night. And at last he knew what he should do! He took Halszka's mirror and got to dungeons in Red Dragon tenement house.

    He walked through the tunnels so long and long, that he thought they had no end. He looked only to his mirror, not to meet basilisk's eyes.

    Finally he found dragon's treasure. Gold shining its own light, jewellery with red and green stones, a lot of money…

    [img width=700 height=560]http://www.wallpaperweb.org/wallpaper/fantasy/1280×1024/BY_drgcal06wall1280_CabralCiruelo_TheDragonsTreasure.jpg”/>

    And the dragon. It slept, but when he heard Maciek, he moved. Boy closed his eyes and turned the mirror silver side to eyes of the creature. When basilisk opened them, he saw himself. Screamed like cracking Earth and dropped dead.

    image

    From this moment family of Maciek and Halszka was rich and never hungry. And Warsaw was free from any dragons.

    Meeting with Basilisk, 1961 – animated version of the fable
    Spotkanie z Bazyliszkiem
    Note that the music was composed by Krzysztof Penderecki, worldwide famous Polish composer

    Legend about Basilisk – Musical fable for children in Polish
    Bajka muzyczna- Legenda o bazyliszku cz. 1
    Bajka muzyczna- Legenda o bazyliszku cz. 2

    #364064

    Anonymous

    Another great post. Thanks.

    #364065

    Anonymous
    [size=15pt]The Golden Duck[/size]
    image

    Golden duck (Polish Złota kaczka) is a legendary creature popular in Warsaw's urban legends and folk-lore. According to a popular story, noted by Artur Oppman, the duck is dwelling in the cellars beneath the Ostrogski Castle. The creature, in fact a princess enchanted by the devil, is living in a small pond, surrounded with gold and diamonds, and is waiting for a poor boy from the plebs to set her free.

    image
    The heroine of one of Warsaw's most famous legends. To commemorate the young man’s encounter with the Golden Duck, the inhabitants of Warsaw built a fountain in the image of the Golden Duck and positioned it in the castle courtyard, beneath which the enchanted lake was to be found.

    According to most versions of the legend, the duck will give 100 golden ducats to anyone who dares to enter the labyrinth of cellars and manages to find her. The small fortune however is to be spent entirely on that person's own living and desires. Not a single grosz could be given away and not a single penny is to be left for another day. Depending on the version of the legend, there are two similar endings:

    – a poor young boy, shoemaker's pupil, finds the golden duck and receives 100 ducats, but is unable to spend all the money in one day. Because of that he gives the remaining money to a beggar, who tells him that it's not the money that brings luck. The golden duck disappears, taking with her all the riches hidden beneath the castle, but from that day on the boy is lucky. He becomes a shoemaking master, finds a beautiful wife, lives on until his late years, surrounded with happy children and friends.

    – a soldier of the 4th Regiment finds the duck and receives 100 ducats.

    image

    A drunkard and bon-vivant, he has no trouble spending all the money on drinking with his friends. However, shortly before returning to the cellars beneath the castle to claim the fortune and princess' hand, he sees an old beggar and, unwillingly, gives him a single grosz that was left deep in his pocket. The duck disappears taking all the riches away, but the soldier lives his life happily ever after.

    Ostrogski Castle – courtesy of the Frederic Chopin Museum

    Ostrogski Castle is a place connected with the Warsaw legend of the golden duck. It is located on Tamka Street and slopes down towards the Vistula River, just outside Warsaw's city walls. This castle was originally built by Janusz Ostrogski, Castellan of Krakow, circa 1580. Ostrogski castle was used as the seat of parliament gatherings. In 1644, the castle was devastated by the Swedish army. The cellar was repeatedly flooded by the Vistula, and was once thought to be an evil place, to be avoided at all costs. In 1681, Jan Gninski bought the castle and hired Tylman van Gammeren, the court architect, to restore the intregity of the building, but this work was never completed. The castle was also owned by the aristocratic families Zamoyski and Chodkiewicz. In 1820, it was bought by Michal Gajewski. Over the years the castle fell into various stages of disrepair, and was used as a military hospital, a children's home, and a rubber factory. By 1859 the castle was used as a musical conservatory for the Warsaw Music Institute. The institute was attended by pianist Ignacy Paderewski and composer Karol Szymanowski.

    image

    By World War II the castle was destroyed by the Germans. After the war all of Warsaw was rebuilt and so was this castle. The reconstruction was completed in 1954.

    Today the Ostrogski Castle houses the Fryderyk Chopin Society, and its museum to the life and works of the great composer. It houses portraits, letters, manuscripts, and the grand piano that Chopin composed on in the last two years of his life.

    The Legend of the Golden Duck

    image

    In 1807, Warsaw was known as the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. In 1815, Warsaw became the capital of Poland, under the rule of the Russian tsar.

    No one knows when the Golden Duck inhabited the basement of this palace, and guarded a treasure trove. This story's timeline was most likely after 1813, because of the battles that the Poles fought with Napoleon. The Golden Duck was reputed to be a symbol of happiness. The Legend of the Golden Duck was heard by many in the city of Warsaw and it was the "Urban Legend" of its time. There were rumors regarding this or that person exploring the basement of the manor house. Some were never heard of again. Some were thought to be victims of crimes, since there were many seedy characters in this part of town. Like all urban cities there were people that took up residence in abandoned buildings.

    A young apprentice shoemaker in Old Town Warsaw, lived on a neglected street near the poor district of Powisle, near the Vistula River. Lutek, was the shoemaker's given name. The shoemaker passed by the castle many times, but had heard it was a dangerous place. Then one day his curiosity got the best of him and he decided to go inside to see if "The Legend of the Golden Duck" was true.

    The young man entered the three hundred year old Ostrogski palace in the evening of St John’s day, with only a candle to light his way, and headed towards the basement. Lutek's luck had not been good up to this point, so he decided he had nothing to lose. He knew it was St John's night, which the legend said was a good time to be sure and see the Golden Duck. He hoped that the miracles of this night would favor him. Just in case, he made sure he pinned a sprig of St. John's Wort to his shirt. He hoped this would protect him from the evils of this night.

    Lutek's master shoemaker had not paid Lutek, as promised, and he was penniless. The best thing that came out of their association was Lutek's skill for making good quality shoes and boots. In fact, Lutek was a talented shoemaker. He hoped to open his own cobbler shop soon. All he needed was a little money to invest in equipment and a store.

    image

    Lutek wandered for a time until he entered a flooded cellar. To his amazement, there was a duck swimming there in the musty-smelling chamber.

    image

    What happened after that was even more amazing! The duck swarm towards him and immediately turned into a beautiful princess. The shoemaker had never seen a girl so fair of face. She had golden-blonde hair and a radiant gold crown with precious jewels. Her floor-length dress was of plush, shiny brown velvet with a ruffled white satin under dress embroidered and decorated with lace-like flowers. Her cape was a lighter shade of golden brown with a large crimson collar. The water suddenly turned from muddy and dark, to clean and sparkling blue. There were crystals radiating on the surface, like diamonds. The light was blinding like the sun. It was like some sort of celestial apparition, and the air was refreshed with a lovely floral fragrance. Lutek was dumbstruck! Surely this was some sort of magic.

    Could she be one of the fairies that forecasts your future? He heard that fairies can both trick or enchant you.

    The princess asked, "Lutek … What are you doing in this cellar?"

    The shoemaker was startled by the sound of her voice which echoed through the cellar… Lutek tried to speak but could only stutter out his words:

    "I ca-came to see if the le-le legend was true".

    "Well, as you can see I am here", the princess replied. "My name is Halina (meaning "bright shining one"). The princess touched his hand and he immediately felt safe.

    "The townfolks say that you can grant wishes. However, I have forgotten what my wishes were to be. What kind of wishes do you grant?" asked Lutek.

    "Well, you pick, but you must follow my rules for them to come true", the princess said with a smile.

    "I will do whatever you ask", replied the shoemaker.

    The princess then handed the shoemaker some money, in a brown velvet, drawstring pouch.

    image

    "If you spend all one-hundred ducats, your life will be enriched. However, you must not give a single ducat to anyone else. These are ONLY for your use", the princess warned. "Breaking this rule will destroy the spell".

    Lutek was joyous to think that Princess Halina was so generous, and he took the coins and bowed gracefully. A misty fog formed and the Princess Halina turned back into a duck and the cellar was once again dark. For a brief time, Lutek was blinded by this change. He stood still until his eyes could focus again, in the candlelight. Then he ran out of the basement into the moonlight. Lutek was so excited that he decided to go home and hide the coins under his pillow until morning. If they were there he would spend the whole day buying things he desired. If they were gone, then he would know that what he saw was only a dream.

    The shoemaker had many dreams that night about what he might do with the money and he awoke early the next day. Lutek looked under his pillow and the coins remained where he had put them the night before. He then dressed in his Sunday best, and ate breakfast. When it was time for the markets and shops to open, the shoemaker went out into the city. It was a beautiful day and he was full of the joy of anticipation.

    The first thing Lutek did was hire a carriage to take him to the various places he wished to explore. He bought loads of new clothing and changed into his favorite purchase for the rest of the trip. People did not notice that he was Lutek, the shoemaker, since he looked like a rich man in his finery. After a few hours of shopping he ate his lunch in one of Warsaw's finest taverns. Then he saw a bakery and bought some bread and cakes to take home. Lutek felt very good since his meal was excellent. After lunch he decided to go to the theater. He had NEVER been in a theater before and he enjoyed the play and the music. When the young man looked to see how much money he had left, he thought that he could never spent it all. Daylight was fleeting, and he still had most of his ducats left.

    Lutek wore his new clothes and other men tipped their hats to him, as he rode by in the carriage. He was getting tired from all the excitement of his new life, so he decided to go home and begin again the next morning.

    Lutek had the carriage drop him near his home. Some young boys came running up and offered to carry his parcels, hoping for a tip from the elegantly dressed man. He walked along, with the boys following behind. When he got part of the way home, he saw a poor beggar sitting near the wall.

    By now the street was full of people celebrating St. John's night. There were bonfires and the smell of smoke made it difficult to breathe. One man sat in the darkness. Lutek felt a little worried that he might be robbed, since no one was near this particular spot.

    "Those are very smart shoes you are wearing", the man exclaimed.

    "Thank you. I am a shoemaker. I made them myself", Lutek beamed.

    "Kind Sir, I have not eaten for two days. I have traveled all over Europe fighting with the Emperor Napoleon. I fought in Italy, Spain, Germany, and Moscow. The last battle was the worst since we lost against the Russians. At the Battle of Leipzig, last October, a cannon ball blew up near me and scarred my face and my arm was partially removed by the impact. We lost 70,000 men in that battle, some died, some were prisoners of war, and some were injured. Could you spare some money for a poor invalid?"

    image

    The young shoemaker knew what it was like to be poor, since he had only been rich for one day. He felt great sorrow for the soldier's fate. He quickly gave the man some of his coins, totally forgetting what the princess Halina had said.

    The wind came up and a whirlwind appeared and an icy cold spread over Lutek's body. This was very unusual on a balmy June night. He then saw the princess once again. She spat forth her rules: "You have broken the rules, thus you lose everything". Suddenly, all the items the shoemaker bought disappeared from the arms of the young boys. They all ran off in fear.

    Lutek had nothing he bought with the ducats, but his old clothing, at his feet, and his shoes. He was embarrassed to be naked on the sidewalk, and he hurriedly dressed in his old clothing once again. A few citizens chuckled at his plight, but they were not surprised since this was always a night of merriment and the unexpected, they just thought he drank too much mead. All that remained were the coins in the beggar's hand.

    The beggar told Lutek to not worry: "This money was not earned by you, but you can earn more in the future. True happiness is found in good health, good skills, a wise head, and strong hands to work with. You will be happy!"

    Lutek smiled and was hopeful on this night of miracles. According to the legend, the shoemaker lived many happy years. He had the good luck to be successful in his shoemaking business, found a wonderful wife, whom he loved dearly, and they had many fine children and grandchildren. He never wanted for food or clothing. He learned that work can be its own reward and that charity towards others enriches your life. So Lutek would die a happy man, who would be remembered as a wonderfully dedicated citizen who loved his family, and did what he could to better the world.

    image

    The princess had disappeared and the "Golden Duck" was never seen in the Ostrogski cellar ever again. She had finally found a good man who understood that true happiness cannot be achieved selfishly. No one knew who Princess Halina was or where she came from.

    The Legend of the Golden Duck tells us that even though there may be rough times in our lives that we can have many days of happiness in the joys of our family, work, and the beauty of nature. The joy of giving is often more pleasurable than the joy of receiving.

    The Ostrogski Castle had been ruined twice, restored twice, and remodeled over its four hundred and twenty five years. It stands as a monument to the fortitude of the Polish people.

    THE END…

    image

    Some versions of this story have the princess as an evil spirit, but I prefer to think of her as a means to find what was right. She was a magical spirit, a fairy, or maybe even a saint. ;)

    Source:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z%C5%82ota_kaczka
    http://www.angelfire.com/mi4/polcrt/GoldenDuck.html

    #364066

    Anonymous

    Another very interesting post, thanks!

    Quote:
    The Ostrogski Castle had been ruined twice, restored twice, and remodeled over its four hundred and twenty five years. It stands as a monument to the fortitude of the Polish people.

    :)

    #364067

    Anonymous

    Thanks, this brought back memories from my childhood. Deviating from the topic a bit, Gustaw Morcinek's stuff is great, too bad foreigners don't know about him, good for us we do ;-) Dzieki!

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