Dragons have served as inspiration for many legends in different countries, from Greek mythologies to Chinese beliefs. But we bet, you haven’t ever heard of the Polish Wawel Dragon. Let us tell you then one of the oldest and most famous stories in our folklore!
At the bottom of the Wawel Hill, you can find a unique place, a cave called Smocza Jama (ang. Wawel Dragon’s den). It’s a place directly connected with a story about a mysterious and frightening creature, which dwelled in this place and was a beggining of the reign of legendary founder of Kraków, King Krakus.
Once upon a time, a dragon chose as his home a cave located under Wawel. Dark times felt upon Krakow. Every week the inhabitans had to prepare a cattle to feed the monster. But that wouldn’t satisfy him for long. Over time even young girls started to dissapear.
The king had decided to end the suffering of his people. To the bravest man, who would defeat the creature, he promised half of the kingdom and the princess’ hand. Many knights had tried their luck, but none of them succeeded. They were burnt on the spot and no armor nor weapon could stop him.
One day, a poor, but handsome shoemaker arrived at the gates of the castle. He didn’t have an armor, a sword or a horse and he asked for only three things: a lambskin, a sulphur and a mustard seed. What for, you might ask? He didn’t plan to use his strenght, but his skills and cleverness. During one long night Krak, because that was the name of the shoemaker, prepared a fake lamp sewed from products given to him previously.
At the sunrise, the dragon awoke. As usually he went in search for his daily meal and found an offering prepared by Krak. Greedly he finished his meal and suddently felt burning inside his stomach. To quench the fire he run to Vistula River to drank water and because he was so full of it, he couldn’t blow fire at Krak. And then he exploded and died.
The king, as promised, gave the kingdom for Krak to rule. The shoemaker married the princess and built a castle at top of the Wawel Hill and it became a house to the next generations of Polish royality.