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Polish Essay on Usual Environments and / or Common Objects


Legends, fairy tales and stories have always depicted the history of the nation and taught what is good and what is bad. Saturated with the elements of wonder and uniqueness, the magical powers of objects and places, they have similar meanings in different countries. Objects can also convey energy, emotions or other properties - when a character needs the help of supernatural forces, ordinary objects take on such meaning. Therefore, objects constitute a source of material values for people. The heroes of legends dream of having magical power to help them get what they desired. Objects are a kind of testimony of the nation's past, affect history and act on the imagination. People are very attached to ordinary things because they are proof of their possessions and without them they feel deprived of miraculous properties. Objects, however, differ in European legends in their specific meaning, but the general sense has remained the same. Some of them are an inseparable part in human life, others only represent some symbols or hidden desires of the characters. Since ancient times, every object evokes different associations. But there are many that we associate unequivocally, especially in legends. Similar significance is given to places that in the analyzed legends are not only of magical significance. These are beautiful landscapes, wonderful forces of nature that we can admire these days. In addition, there is an element associated with the aesthetic sense, sensitivity to beauty, because the wonderful landscape impresses modern tourists, and the beauty of nature is obviously explained by the creation of a legend. The fact that places that still exist today in European countries are associated with the legendary environment proves the impact legends have on us. We have the rise of the names of the mountains in Polish legends, as well as places where figures, objects, and monuments centered around the main plot of the legend are located, such as the Inn ‘Rome’ from the legend of Twardowski. The action of legends is most often concentrated in natural places, such as forests, river banks, rocks, underground of the mine, where culture, new urban or professional environment could develop. Also forests considered to be magical and mysterious places, because there, e.g. in Romanian legends, e.g. fairies appear. Many legends revolve around caves, picturesque lands, hills and mountains. Darkness and darkness of the caves are usually associated with evil and wickedness. Mountainous and rocky landscapes are often found in legends especially Bulgarian. Typically, this motif occurs in conjunction with side motifs, such as a cave, i.e. a place referring deep into the earth, associated with the underground treasury or hard work of a miner. So it seems that in legends we can focus on a magical place, less on objects that reveal their unusual power rather in fairy tales.

The most frequently appearing object seems to be the mirror. The inscription on the frame of the mirror in the Polish legend concludes: ("He played with this mirror Twardowski, performing magical plays, now the tool of fun was intended to serve God"). One of the sorcerer's "games" was calling the spirit of Barbara Radziwiłłówna. Looking into this mirror was supposed to be risky. The mirror was able to focus the mystical and physical light of the sun, which when reflected allowed to interfere in the state of matter, by, for example, melting gold and silver. It could also reflect and enlarge the moon's disc on which hidden prophetic signs were read. It also served to summon prophetic spirits and summon the dead - as was the case with Barbara's spirit. The viewers also showed ghosts, ghosts and beings with inhuman shapes unknown to any human being


The place where the legend of Toruń gingerbread takes place is the bakery. Bogumił, saving the bee queen from death, gets a recipe for wonderful gingerbread. For the love of his beloved, he creates two hearts and two wedding rings. However, during baking, all the elements joined together. It was created in this gingerbread, which went to the king visiting Toruń. The ruler, delighted with the extraordinary delicacy, gave Bogumił the title of gingerbread master and asked Katarzyna's father permission to marry her for an award-winning journeyman. The bakery is legendary place where the finale of the whole story takes place. The tavern in Pan Twardowski has a similar meaning, where everything also ends well. Both places are related to the same thing: food, which can make the reader smile. In Polish legend, the bakery is a silent witness of love and thanks to a beautiful feeling, the characters will connect, stopping love in gingerbread, which we enjoy to this day.

Also Bies and Czady - another Polish legend - is centered around the river. Here, in contrast to the previos legends, the hero dies in the depths of a foamed river. The water absorbed the magical power of the wings, which play an important role in this story. Fighting enemies die in the raging river. The river San was named after the hero. The legend also focuses on the beauty of the landscape, as well as malicious, fairytale-like creatures that destroy nature embellished by people, but under the influence of good coming from people they eventually change their nature

The place where the action of many legends takes place is the mountain, as well as the cave associated with it. The hero sometimes ventures deep into the cave, if it is the only way to reach enchanted people, treasure or abducted kingdoms and lead to their liberation. Finding a way inside a mountain, which also leads underground, can be difficult, so the protagonist uses help. Before Ślęża mountain covered the gate to hell, every night devils came out from there, admiring the beauty of the earth, more or less like in another Polish legend About Bies and Czady. Since ancient times it was a sacred mountain, hence its sacred significance. People living at the foot were convinced that this mountain - as in Greek mythology Olympus - is the residence of the gods ruling the Slavic world. The slopes are full of nooks and crannies, caves, places of pagan worship not yet fully explained

Some places are associated with hidden treasure. It is also a place of work, as in the case of the Toruń bakery. However, the Treasurer's actions consist in the fact that he favors those miners who are poor and honest or have other valued qualities, e.g. camaraderie. In such situations, it usually shows the way to rich coal deposits or other ores. The treasure may not only be in a mine, but most often it is hidden inside a cave or a mountain, as it is in the Romanian legend. In the Polish version, the Treasurer helps those who are honest. The hero of this story always had to work in places where he had a very hard work and where he could not find good coal. The miner who is the hero of this legend has found the most expensive coal. He and his colleagues couldn't believe it when he showed them rich deposits. It was known that only such a miracle could happen thanks to the help of the Treasurer

In this legend there is a classiscal meaning of a cave – a hiding of evil. The dragon who threatens the whole town is living there. Another meaningful place is river here – where dragon drinks water until it blows him and kills. If this may be said, and object here is an animal’s body, which is used by a shoemaker to deceive and outsmart the dragon

The river is another important place in the legend: it is a place where even the whole action of the Legend of the Warsaw Mermaid takes place on its banks. We admire the beauty of the Polish landscape together with the flowing mermaid.  During the day she was splashing in the shallows, and spent the nights in the depths. She liked to play tricks, she was cheerful and never wanted to hurt anyone. Thus, she endangered the local fishermen who could not fish in the mermaid's water. As her singing was wonderful, the mermaid was to be a valuable gift for the prince.

The mermaid was not afraid of fishermen and began to sing a song about the Vistula. The fishermen, on the other hand, were touched so much that they gave up the measure of giving back the mermaid and promised that they would not hurt her.

Everything takes place, however, in the sad river scenery, both of the mermaids and the inhabitants of this area.The mermaid jumped into the Vistula River, followed by the fisherman Staszek. In this way, the city of Warsaw was founded in the place of the fishing village