Legends of Gdansk


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Legends of Gdansk

  1. 1. Comenius Multilateral School Partnership Legends of my town PROJECT -1-
  2. 2. The Gold of the Baltic SeaFrom time immemorial the trade route known as “the amber route” ledthrough the land of Poland. In the first centuries AD Roman merchantscame to this country to buy amber, called also Jantar, which at thattime was more expensive than gold. Amber, the precious stone, usedto support Baltic fishermen, when raging winds flooded the shores, de-stroying their fishing boats, nets and villages. After the storms smalllumps of amber were collected and then sold, saving fishermen’s fami-lies from famine. People did not know where the Baltic gold came from,that is why the legend about a beautiful Jurata and the revenge of theGod of the Sea and the Earth, called Perkun, was written.At the bottom of the Baltic Sea there was a beautiful, golden palace ofJurata (Amber), the queen of nymphs. She was a good queen becauseshe did not let her nymphs do any harm to the fishermen, who despitetheir hard work, were poor and their nets were often empty. Jurata de-cided to show her ladies how difficult the fishermen’s work was so theyleft the castle and hid near the harbour.“Look.”, she said, “They are making theoffering to the gods before they start fish-ing. They are hungry but even thoughthey always throw a small piece of breadinto the sea to ask for abundant fishingand to expiate their sins. Aren’t they goodpeople?“ She asked.“Can we help them?”, the youngestnymph asked. “We must help them.”, allthe nymphs said, “You are the queen. -2-
  3. 3. You have magic power and we willcarry out your orders.” Jurata smiledand said “We put a spell on these terri-ble winds, which cause storm and sinkfishermen’s boats. Each of you will sur-face and sing songs about love. Thegales will follow you and you will sailaway from these places where fisher-men catch fish.”After some time fishermen were mar-velled that the waves did not capsizetheir little boats anymore and that theirnets were full of fish. Younger andstronger men were catching fish all dayand night long. Their women were dry-ing and smoking cods, herrings andflounders. Then they were filling thebarrels with these fish for rainy days.“Listen to me.”, once said a clever, young fisherman called Antoni,“It is not ordinary fishing, someone must be helping us. But who?”“He is right.”, the elders answered, “They might be the nymphs or othergood goddesses of the sea.”“You want the mermaids. Aren’t we enough for you?” the womenshouted.“You are stupid.”, Ksander said, “Your bellies are full so you are out ofyour mind. We have to decide something. Let’s light a holy fire at thefull moon and then everyone will make an offering to the unknown spir-its and throw the fattest fish into the sea. If the offering is accepted, thefire will belch out into the sky. But do not be afraid! We will sing our oldsongs and no one will get hurt.”The fishermen followed Ksander’s words. When the sun set and the fullmoon rose they lighted the fire but even though they had believed inKsander’s words, they were scared to death. The village people startedto sing with great fear. Suddenly a young, beautiful girl raised out of thesea. The surprised people stopped their singing.The woman said “Do not be afraid. I am the queen of this water and Ilive with my nymphs in a palace at the bottom of the sea. I know that -3-
  4. 4. your work is tough and your life is difficult. Yet, you are the honest peo-ple and that is why I have decided to help you and I do not want any-thing in return.”For a moment there was complete silence and then a young fishermanAntoni went out of the crowd, looked at the queen without any fear,bowed politely and said ”Your grace, we do not even know your namebut I would like to write a song in honour of you and we will always singthis song before fishing.”The queen liked that brave fisherman so she said kindly “I am Jurata.Thank you for your good will. I will be listening to your song with thegreat pleasure.” Then she smiled so sweetly that his heart started beat-ing very quickly.Since that time fishermen’s nets were full of fish and they were singingthe song written by Antoni who fell in love with Jurata. People from thevillage were not afraid of their future life because they knew that Juratahad a good heart.Unfortunately Perkun the God of the Earth and the Sea heard that songtoo and he decided to meet Jurata and check whether she was asbeautiful as the fishermen were singing. When he arrived at her under-water castle he immediately fell in love with her.“Jurata.”, he said, “How is it possible that I have never met you before?” “Your Majesty you were not interested in poor people.”, Jurata answered bravely, “If you had acted like me, they would have sang about you.” “I do not need their songs.”, he said proudly, “I want you. I am the God and I rule the whole world!” “That is true and the desire of the power covered your eyes. That is why you cannot see the people and their needs. I will never love you. My heart belongs to this poor fisherman called Antoni and I will marry him.”, she said. “You must be mad!”, Perkun shouted -4-
  5. 5. angrily, “I will give you five days to think it over. If you refuse me, I willtake revenge on you, your lover and all people living here.” Then he lefther palace furiously.Antoni, who was deeply in love with Jurata, did not dare to tell herabout his feelings. He had not met her again since that evening on theshore. But one day when he was returning home from the sea, he no-ticed Jurata sitting by the fire on the beach. His heart started beatingfaster and his hands began to shake.“What are you afraid of? Love? This the most wonderful feeling. I alsofell in love with you. Would you like to go with me to my castle?”, sheasked, “Have you got a family?”“No my Lady.”, the boy stammered out, “I am lonely, all alone.”“So now you are not, you have me. But let’s hurry. Leave your boat onthe shore. Perkun wants to marry me, he gave us only five days. Doyou want to spend these days with me?” she asked.“Oh yes my dearest queen! Yes! Yes!” Antoni cried out.“Remember that after five days we will both die” Jurata said.“Let it be.” the boy stated.Jurata embraced him tenderly and kissed. Then they swam into herbeautiful castle at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. The queen told hernymphs about the conversation with Perkun. They decided not to leaveher and the palace.After five days Perkun got to know the truth about Jurata and the fish-erman. He struck Jurata’s palace with his thunderbolt so strongly thatthe queen, Antoni and all nymphs died. The whole palace made of am-ber went into pieces and therough sea was throwing outthe pieces of amber on theshore for a long time. Scaredfishermen did not know whathad happened under the wa-ter but when they realizedthat Jurata and Antoni died toguarantee their safety, theynamed the golden stone Am-ber. -5-
  6. 6. Stolems GiftsSt. Marys Church is consideredto be the worlds biggest templebuilt of brick. Some peoplebelieve that it had to be evenhigher. The existing towershould have been be toppedwith a slender turret. Why did notthat happen?There are different hypotheses.One of them is tied in with the Stolem’s visit in Gdansk.Stolems were the giants who used to live in Pomerania. Each of themwas taller than any building ever erected by a human hand. They hadbeen living with people in great harmony for centuries until the daywhen one of Stolem’s child mistook the peasant and his horse for thetoys and brought them home. When that child showed the “toys” to hisparents, they were saddened to see the peasant scared to death on theboy’s hand. Since it was written in Stolems’ holy book that these littlecreatures, called human beings, would rule the world and Stolemswould die out soon,That is why the giants left Pomerania and began to live in Scandinavia.They had lived there for some time until the last, lonely Stolem left. Hewas so unhappy there that he decided to visit his ancestors’ land-Pomerania. -6-
  7. 7. Stolem came to Gdansk across the Baltic Sea because he had seen a tall and wide St. Mary’s Church’s tower and had taken it for a stool specially made for him by the citizens of Gdansk. In appreciation of this he brought a lot of gifts for the people living in Gdansk. Among them there were, for example, the stone sculpturesdepicting birds, lions, crocodiles, griffins and effigies of differentmonsters. He also brought, especially for the children, the stone balls ofdifferent size.All Stolem’s sculptures werelocated, as the decorations, onthe roofs of the houses in Gdanskand the stone balls (too heavy forthe children to play) were laid infront of the entrances to the mostbeautiful houses and palaces.Asthese gifts were extremely heavy,Stolem had to help the citizens toput them in the different places.Grateful people, who were toldabout the peaceful intentions of the giant, thanked him warmly. Themayor of Gdansk gave a beautiful speech, the honorary salute wasfired, the poems in honour of Stolem were read and the owner of themost famous restaurant in Gdansk opened the barell filled with famousGdansk vodka called Goldwasser. All people cheered and were veryhappy that Stolem did no harm to any of them and what is more, leaving Gdansk Stolem played a trick on them. He drew water from the Motlava River and poured it on the people and the whole town, providing a lot of fish. And what happened with St. Mary’s Church tower? It was not made higher – the commemorative stool was left untouched for Stolems. -7-
  8. 8. Zespół Kształcenia Podstawowego i Gimnazjalnego nr 6w GdańskuSzkoła Podstawowa nr 19 · Gimnazjum nr 7im. Zasłużonych Ludzi Morzaul. Emilii Hoene 6, 80-041 Gdańsktel./fax: 58 306 75 00e-mail: sp19gim7@wp.plwww.zkpig6.gda.pl -8-