Legends from the Małopolska Region for children!
Probably the most famous and popular legend is “The Tale of Prince Krak and the terrible dragon”. It describes the fate of the legendary founder of the city, Prince Krak, and a terrifying dragon living in a cave under the Wawel Hill. There was no way to get rid of the monster, so it wreaked terror among people who had to regularly bring him animals. And if the dragon did not get food on time, then he abducted the inhabitants. Until one day a clever man, shoemaker Skuba, came up with the idea of how to get rid of the terrible dragon. He stuffed sheep skin with sulphur and gave it as a tribute to the monster. The dragon, without suspecting anything, devoured this offering, which led to a fire in his entrails, which he tried to extinguish with large amounts of water from the Vistula river. As a result of the excess of drunk water, it burst into small pieces, and the residents could finally breath with relief. There is also another version of this legend, which says that Prince Krak got rid of the dragon himself.
Probably everyone knows that rock salt used to be mined in the nearby area of Kraków. But do everyone know where does the salt in Wieliczka and Bochnia come from? The explanation can be found in the beautiful legend “About the ring of St Kinga”. The Hungarian princess Kunegunda (Kinga) was to marry Prince Bolesław V the Chaste, but before that she wanted to offer her future homeland some precious gift. So, she threw her engagement ring into one of the mines in Hungary. She did it with an intended purpose. Upon her arrival in Małopolska, she immediately issued an order to start mining in the place where the Wieliczka Salt Mine is now located (some versions of the legend say that the mining started in the area of the Bochnia salt mine). It was an enormous amazement for all gathered inhabitants when a lump of salt was extracted from the ground, when everybody could see Kinga's engagement ring embedded inside. The princess thus gave her new subjects as a gift the precious natural resource – rock salt.
Now let's move to the more distant, mountainous areas of the Małopolska region, which are the Tatras. This area also has a wonderful legend, known as the “The legend of the knights sleeping under the Tatras”. Anyone looking from Zakopane at the rocky mountains can see the descending silhouette of the Giewont mountain. There a couple of different ideas about this mountain. Many people see in it the profile of a sleeping man. He is said to be a knight or a king. And such a person must have an army. That is the case here. The legend says that somewhere in the dark, terrifying, and at the same time secret caves under the Giewont mountain, the enchanted troops are waiting dormant. When evil will spread around the world (another version of the legend says that “when Poland will be in danger”) then Giewont will wake up with his army and will come to rescue his subjects.
It is the Małopolska region that you can see the truest desert. This place also has a legend associated with it – “On the creation of the Błędów Desert”. Let's move back to the 13th century. At that time two precious raw materials were extracted in the Olkusz lands, namely silver and lead, which contributed to drilling more and more shafts deep into the earth. Mining work worried devils, who at that time inhabited underground areas beneath the mines. These creatures were afraid that man could get into their world. Therefore, they decided to punish everyone who dealt in mining silver and lead for such an impudence. Their idea was to cover the mine with sand from the Baltic Sea. So, one of the devious devils went to the other end of Poland to fill his sack with sand. However, he did not foresee one thing: that the sack may be too heavy for him, which will lead to greater effort in transporting it. The devil, feeling increasing fatigue, run with the sack over the church tower in Olkusz and in this way the sand crumbled in all the nearest fields, which gave rise to the Błędów Desert.