The Black Cross (The Legend of Agata and Friderik), Lenart, Slovenia
In the 16. century, a young count Friderik Herbestein from the castle Hrastovec fell in love with a young beautiful girl Agata from Štralek. Friderik’s mother didn’t like the fact that the two were dating. Although Agata was from a noble family, they were quite poor and her family wasn’t as noble as Friderik’s. They got married secretly, but unfortunately count Friderik had to go to war. His mother found out about Agata and Friderik and she decided to revenge. She captured Agata and closed her in the castle. She tortured Agata although she was pregnant with Friderik’s child. When Agata gave birth to a dead child, Friderik’s mother accused her of being a witch. Friderik’s mother wanted Agata to be burnt as a witch and at the end Agata was beheaded. At the place where she died, Friderik built a black cross of black marble after he returned from the war. Friderik never married again.The black cross still stands near Lenart and it reminds us of eternal love between Friderik and Agata.
The Legend of the Haunted Spirit in Vinica, Croatia
A haunted spirit connected with Vinica’s forest ruled the castle. It didn’t let people to inhabit the castle, even the nobles that lived here once couldn’t approach the castle.
When they wanted to take the treasure, they left behind in secret rooms of the castle. They tried to open the basement door where the treasure was hidden but they couldn’t reach the treasure so they even tried to tear down the wall that led to the basement but it was in vain whatever the servants tore down during a day was revealed by the spirit. During the night so nobiles came to an idea: they decided that most of their servants will guard the wall during the night and, some of them will dig and tear during the day.
The guards were brave but in spite of their bravery the spirit managed to scare them so much that they didn’t want to come close to the castle ever again. Helpless and terrified, the nobles left Vinica for good. Through the years the castle was the same and it still, and when someone tries to enter the property the haunted spirit keeps them from doing it. Some people were afraid to approach only based on the stories that were told about the castle.
They say that if a person is afraid to come closer, the spirit throws rocks at a person in spite of all the trouble that the spirit caused.
The spirit has a good side: one evening, an old cooper was passing by the castle on his way home -he was returning home from a nearby scone where he was repairing barrels. Since it was getting dark he decided to take a shortcut home so he passed by the haunted castle.
Although he knew the haunted spirit occupied the castle he was being brave. He wasn’t even started when he met a fryer on his way home. The fryer asked him to come with him to the castle to repair some barrels for him. The fryer promised to reward him well for his work. The cooper couldn’t imagine the fire was actually the haunted spirit from the castle, so the cooper followed him to the castle as they came close to the castle. The ground moved to make the way and a secret door opened up for them. They both went down the stairs to the wine cellar when they came to the barrels. The fryer showed the cooper the one barrel that needed to set hoops the cooper set the hoops on the barrel so as a reward the fryer offered him a glass of wine from each barrel in the wine cellar. The cooper was already tipsy so he became even braver. The friar took him to another part of the cellar where there were three special barrels: one barrel was full of rich and luxury, is closed. One was filled with silver and one with golden coins. The cooper was stunned the fryer told him to pick a barrel and to take from it three times as much as he can the cooper picked the barrel with the golden coins when he reached for the coins for the fourth time. The friar reprimanded him they both returned to the pad where the cooper left his carriage in the end. The fryar told the cooper to go home but he warned him not to look back until he gets there. The cooper went home happy with his reward when he was close to his house he thought about what would happen, if he looked back he turned around without fear and nothing happened. He entered the house all excited to show his wife the reward he got when he took out the bundle of his back. He noticed here was coal in the bundle instead of golden coins. His wife didn’t understand why he had been so excited but at that moment he realized he shouldn’t have looked back: The cooper returned to the place where he had met the fire hoping that he will see him again and that the fire will tell him how to turn the coal back to gold the friars suddenly appeared on the path nd he told the cooper to find a place where the stream flows uphill. The cooper was searching for a place for a long time and finally he found a place deep in a wood where no man has ever stepped before the stream was flowing uphill and the cooper all excited washed the coal in the stream the coal turned back to cold and the cooper was happy. He went home but this time he didn’t look back.
The Cat’s Well in Tallinn
Before you complain about the chalky taste of Tallinn’s tap water, you might want to stop to consider what the town’s Medieval residents had to put up with. This wheel well on the corner of Rataskaevu and Dunkri in the Old Town was once one of the main sources of water for the Tallinn. According to legend, some of the locals got it into their heads that an evil water spirit lived in the well and threatened to make all the town’s wells run dry if it wasn’t given regular animal sacrifices. To keep the spirit happy, some cattle and sheep carcasses were thrown down the well, but the main victims were stray cats, who were rounded up and tossed, sometimes live, down the shaft. This practice was so common that the locals started calling this watering hole ‘Cat’s Well.’ In a sense, the sacrifices worked – the town’s wells never ran dry. But the practice of throwing animals down the well didn’t do much for the water quality, and the Cat’s Well had fallen into disuse by the mid 19th century. Rest assured that nowadays Tallinn’s water is much safer to drink, and the cats of Old Town no longer live in fear.
The Queen of Snakes (Shahmaran) in Tarsus, Turkey
Women manage the sixteen shops in the Kırkkaşıklar Bedesten (indoor bazaar) that is located right next to the Ulu Mosque. Each of the shop owners tells you the legend of Shahmaran before entering into a deep conversation. The legends told are all different from each other and they are all gripping.
Shahmaran means ‘the Shah of the Snakes’ in Farsi. Thousands of years ago, there used to live the queen of the snakes named ‘Maran’ under the ground in Tarsus. According to the legend, Shahmaran had a body as white as milk. One day, a young man named Cemshab, who is the first human to see her, gains the trust of Shahmaran and begins to live with her in a heavenly garden under the ground. Years pass by and Cemshab begs Shahmaran to get her permission to return to his family because of his longing for them. Shahmaran allows him to go but under one condition that he has to promise not to tell anyone about her. Cemshab reunites with his family and keeps his promise to Shahmaran for long years, but one day the Sultan’s daughter becomes ill. The vizier, who wants to marry her, spreads the word that she needs to eat Shahmaran’s meat to heal. The vizier, who knows that half of the body of the human who sees Shahmaran would become covered by snake scales, orders everyone to bathe in a public hammam. So, Cemshab’s secret comes out and he is forced to tell him where Shahmaran is. Before Shahmaran comes out of underground, she convinces the snakes not to come after her and infest the city by telling them that the Sultan wants to invite her to his palace and she is going to be welcomed accompanied by the drums’ merry beats. She says to Cemshab, “Boil my tail and have the vizier to drink it so he shall die, boil my body, and have the Sultan’s daughter to drink it so she shall heal, and decapitate my head, boil it and drink it so you shall become Lokman Hekim.” Thus, the vizier dies, the Sultan’s daughter heals, and Cemshab becomes Lokman Hekim. According to the legend, today the snakes still don’t know that Shahmaran is dead. It has been believed that Tarsus is going to be infested by the snakes when they learn that she is dead. The drums are played merrily at the Drummer Bazaar every day, so the snakes would keep thinking that Shahmaran is still alive.
The Czeladzian Witch
The XIV th century legend is about the czeladzian witch, Katrin Włodyczkowa. People claimed that the widow did some witchcraft because in times of heavy rains everything was destroyed, except her staff. All of her crops were saved.
Her neighbour was a town mayor Mr Sojecki, he was jealous that everything except her crops was destroyed, moreover the widow was not in a good relationship with him. It was an occasion to testify to her for “devil’s practices”.
The proof was also that during the heavy storms the water covered everything and stopped in front of her house. The mayor said that she must be connected with witchcraft.
Moreover, he claimed that she took the cows’ milk or charming people, she was pottering wherever at night, to unknown places, in fact the mayor and his friend wanted to take her property. She was accused wrongly.
The case was also checked by the Bishop of Crocow, he was astonished because the mayor of Czeladz and a few people sentenced a woman to death. He said that the process was invalid. The widow was not guilty, and after her death they built her a monument which is situated in a city center, very close to the market square.
The Falconera Mermaid and the Dragon in Sant Andreu de la Barca, Spain
The fishermen of Vilanova and Sitges know well enough that the Falconera is an underground river of the Garraf that flows near the hamlet of the same name, forms a chasm of more than twenty meters deep and runs to a cave of sixty meters wide, by the sea.
The seafarers say that, throughout the year, the water is due to the fact that inside the cave there is a great treasure, guarded by a charming mermaid and a fierce dragon.
Many, many years ago, a fisherman from Vilanova was dazzled by the beautiful mermaid. She reciprocated and the dragon, jealous, gave the fisherman a poisonous beruatge.
This one, sniffing the mischief, threw the drink into the sea, and since then, the waters have been bubbling every day of the year, except on the night of St. John, in remembrance of the love of the mermaid and the fisherman.
- The Legend of the Haunted Spirit in Vinica, Croatia (video)
- The Legend of the Haunted Spirit in Vinica, Croatia (pictures)
- The Mermaid Falconera and the Dragon, Sant Andreu de la Barca, Barcelona
- The Queen of Snakes (Shahmaran) in Tarsus, Turkey
- The Cat’s Well in Tallinn, Estonia (presentation)
- The Cat’s Well in Tallinn, Estonia (videos)