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KRAKOW BELIEF

A LONG TIME AGO, BEFORE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF POLAND AS A
COUNTRY, THERE EXISTED A DRAGON THAT WAS FEARED BY PEOPLE
ALL OVER. HE LIVED IN A CAVE NOT FAR FROM THE TOWN OF
KRAKOW. THIS GIANT DRAGON WAS ALWAYS HUNGRY AND ATE PEOPLE
AS WELL AS ANIMALS FROM THE SURROUNDING VILLAGES. THE
PEOPLE COULD NOT GATHER ENOUGH POWER OR COURAGE TO KILL HIM.
THERE LIVED A MAN NAMED KRAKUS IN THE SURROUNDING AREA. HE
CAME UP WITH A PLAN THAT HE THOUGHT WOULD RID THE VILLAGERS
OF THIS DEMON FOR GOOD. HE TOOK THE SKIN FROM A FLOCK
OF SHEEP AND FILLED IT WITH SULPHUR. AFTER SWALLOWING THE
SHEEP AND SKIN HE BECAME VERY THIRSTY BECAUSE THE SULPHUR
BURNED HIS STOMACH. HE WENT TO A NEARBY RIVER NAMED
VISTULA AND DRANK SUCH AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF WATER HE
BURST. THE PEOPLE WERE SO HAPPY ABOUT THIS THAT THEY CHOSE
KRAKUS AS THEIR LEADER.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT TOLD ME THAT ALL THE CHILDREN KNEW THIS TALE
AND IT IS QUITE UNUSUAL TO APPROACH A PERSON FROM POLAND
AND DISCOVER THAT HE DOES NOT KNOW THIS STORY. GENERALLY,
THE ADULTS DO NOT BELIEVE IN THIS STORY, BUT MOST OF THE
SMALL CHILDREN DO. THERE ACTUALLY WAS SUCH A MAN. THE
CAVE EXISTS TO THIS DAY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HAMTRAMCK

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

Date learned: 10-09-1971

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