BOOK REVIEW


  Once Upon a Time in Poland

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The Legend of Smok Wawelski

Many, many years ago, when Krakow was still the capital of Poland,

there lived in the castle on the Wawel mountain King Krak with his daughter

Wanda. All the citizens in Krakow loved their kind-hearted King and the loving

Wanda. For many years everyone lived peacefully and provided for the well-

being of their town. Amongst them lived one of the cobbler's family, a capable

and hard-working apprentice by the name of Dratewka.


One day the in a cave in the Wawel mountains, an evil dragon had

settled. He had three heads and his body was covered in scales. When he

was angry he went into such a rage that the mountains shook and he breathed

fire and smoke from his mouth. He made the whole town afraid. In order to

calm him down the people put a sheep in front of his cave everyday. But this

was not enough for him. Once a year even a small girl had to be sacrificed.


Many of the citizens tried to fight against the dragon. However, no-one

was able to beat him. The council of elders spent days and nights trying to find

a solution but they couldn't find one. At long last there were no more girls left

in Krakow, only Princess Wanda. The dragon became more and more

impatient. Since there were no other girls to be found everyone knew that it

was the king's daughter's turn.

There was great mourning all over Krakow. The king announced to the

whole country that he was looking for a brave knight who could defeat the

dragon. Many courageous knights came and fought without success against

the beast. Most were killed in their fight. When all hope had been abandoned,

the cobbler's apprentice, Dratewka, appeared before the King. He asked for

permission to fight the dragon. The king listened and agreed to what he was

intending to do. The young man got to work on his plan straight away.


From the butcher he got himself a sheepskin. From all the citizens he

collected brimstone, salt, pepper and pitch. He filled the sheepskin with these

and sewed it up tightly so it looked like a real sheep. At night he put the

"sheep" in front of the entrance to the cave. The next morning the hungry

dragon came out of the cave and ate up the sheep straight away. Shortly

afterwards he felt a terrible burning all over his body. He tried to stop the

burning by drinking massive amounts of water. He drank so much that the bed

of the river Wisla could be seen. He carried on drinking until eventually he

exploded with an enormous bang. There was great joy throughout Krakow.

Dratewka married Wanda and they lived happily together for a very long time to come.