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Lithuanian Essay on Similar Moral and Ethical Meaning and Purposes


One of the best ways to form behavior and the way people act in certain situations in life is to try to teach them the right way starting from the young age and incorporate it into everyday thinking. For long time folklore gave stories and tales which provided examples of good and bad choice in life and the outcome that will follow. Usually characters were facing everyday situations, or their behavior was an outcome of something that will outlive them. In Lithuanian culture the most important qualities that a person could have is honesty, being humble and hard working as well as understanding that any goal is reachable as long as if the wish is pure, honorable and especially if it is seeking not personal success, but help the ones in need.

Like in the Hill of Cross tale the old father believes the vision of saint woman and instructions giving by her will help his sick daughter to become healthy, there are no obstacles that matter and could stop him. No matter his own health or the weight of the cross which he had to carry for 13 hours, the moral of this story is to always look after those who are close to you – family and people who are less fortunate. As being a country of agriculture and people being usually poor farmers with lack of medicine the possibility of someone being severely sick was common. People relied on natural medicine and miracles that is why the faith in god and all saint is strong in our culture. Being worth of miracle and blessing is one of the key moments aswell, that is why the heavy task was giving to show of how much you believe and care. Miracles involving saint, or angles are common in other countries tales, mostly because we are all Christians. Being worthy of the miracle, because of innocence or just being a good person is found in Italian legend of “The beautiful Alda” where she is saved by the angels after she threw herself from the cliff.

Saving others is an aspect found in a legend of Neringa's conquest, where the giant Neringa decides to save fishers from the sea dragon by pouring sand dunes and creating a lagoon for ordinary people to be safe. But not all legends talk about good intentions and behavior which is worth following of every character involved. Aswell as good people there are always a place for someone who is jealous, unkind and wicked, but in Lithuanian folklore each act of being evil is always followed by a response of “what is deserved. For example the biggest stones in Lithuania were placed here by devils, in the Devils stone tale devil try to punish city inhabitants for acting too greedy, or partying too much and a stone is a representation of what my happen next time. In the Puntukas stone story the stone fell from devils arms on a house of  old man who been evil, wicked and never got along with people. And last but not least purpose that is showed in tales is love. Fathers love for sick daughter, or Dukes love for his wife and willingness to make her feel like home and building a Trakai castle on the island surrounded by lakes. Romanian “The master builder Manole”, tells about the love of Manoles wife who was willing to go through storm just to bring her beloved husband dinner and this love led her to being build in a monastery. Also love for her child and husband led the wife of the youngest bridge builder in Bulgarian “Devils bridge”, to sacrifice herself.

People always wish to have an explanation for everything that surrounds them and always are tend to believe that things happens for a reason and that reason is an act of good intentions, or gratitude for being the exemplar person whose behavior will be followed in future generations. Stones, hill of crosses are monuments that lets people remember the reasons of what will happen if we act certain way, just like triplets rocks in Bulgarian “Belograchik rocks” who made the noble men go insane, or “Lake Misurina and Mount Sorapiss” in which those objects represent spoiled girl with her selfish wish and her kind father who was willing to do anything for her. We Lithunians do believe that person or his act never actually dies if he is remembered.  


Hill of Cross tells us a story of an old father who has a daughter which is very ill and about to die. All his efforts are worthless, because medicine of that time can’t make her healthy, or at least ease her condition. This situation illustrates helplessness of person in some situations in life were all it can do is rely on faith and a chance of miracle for the loved ones.

The appearance of woman in white, which gives him instructions of actions that may save the beloved daughter, during his dream, shows us two things. Foremost how loving father is willing to do whatever it takes, no matter the terms and conditions, to make his daughter healthy and happy, just like in  Italian legend of “Lake Misurina and Mount Sorapiss”, where father is willing to turn himself into the mountain and spend his days constrained and not able to move or hug his daughter. The same love fuels old father build havy wooden cross and carry it for 13 hours without questioning.  Love is the reason to force somebody to change his way of living.  This situation is met in Bulgarian “Belogradchik rocks”, where young shepherd decides to become a monk in monastery just to be near his girl Vita who was forced to become a nun. Secondly this story shows the strength of belief in powers of saint. The father believes that dream was a miracle, not just an ordinary dream and that miracles do happen to people who believes. Encouraged by the same belief of being saved by angels again and again – Alda from Italian legend “The beautiful Alda”, throws herself from the cliff, while trying to show this belief to unbelieving villagers. And just like the story of Galgano in “Saint Galgano and the Sword in the Rock” who decides to become a hermit devoted to the Lord after Archangel Michael appearance. Faith and love even in desperate situations is showed as an answer in many legends of Europe, because there is belied that good things happen to good people.


In the legend of “Neringa conquest” the main character – giant girl Neringa, decides that she has to save the fisherman from the evil sea dragon, who was drowning ships of local men. Neringa could have just ran away from the sea dragon somewhere further from water and live peacefully and not endangering herself. The moral of the legend is that bigger and stronger people should stand up for those who are in need of help despite of what might happen. Standing up for others is well illustrated in polish “Bies and San” where young, strong and clever tribe leader San gave up his life to protect the rest of his people from the much stronger monster Bies. Hero San believed that his life is worth sacrificing for the chance of his people to stay in lands that he thought would be perfect to live in.  Saving other and risking his life is seen in Romanian “The garden of dragons”, where young lad decided that he can no longer stand the behavior of dragons who not only took the most beautiful local girls from villages, but even stole the sun from the sky. So without hesitation young lad fought arrogant dragon and managed to kill it and free the girls who used the spell and turned the rest of the dragons into stone. 

Similar situations could be seen in Italian "Saint George and the dragon" where dragon was killed by Saint George and kings daughter was saved, or the Romanian "The Living fire" where fire spiting seven headed monster was defeated by a brave man. 

  In all nations there is belief that there will always be an evil power which will be overcomed by those who are strong, smart and willing to sacrifice for others.  


Devil in Lithuanian folklore is mostly considered to be the symbol and representation of evil in the surrounding world. They are scary, wicked, cruel, jealous, greedy and always looking for a ways to harm people, or at least make their life worst. In some situations and tales even people who are extremely bad might be called devils, just like in Romanian “Vlad Tapes- Dracula” in which lord Dracula means the son of devil, because of his cruelty with enemies. The reason of their behavior might be explained by looking in what places they are living – deep underground, abandoned places, swamps, middle of the forest and other unwanted places. But sometimes there is no explanation for evil actions to occur, so people do believe that if there is a light, there must be dark. Good example is in Polish Legend of Mount Ślęża “Everybody was happy, well-wishing and helpful to each other. Devils didn’t like that and wanted to provoke people to sin and wrong-doing. ”  In the legend of Puntukas stone there are more and different type of devils just like humans, but they all hate sorceress Anykšta which has the ability to hurt them and protect the people from being corrupted or bothered. They decide to kill her by throwing a stone on her, but they were stopped by God Perkūnas who shot lightning and killed some of them or made them run away. The stone fell on the house of an evil, wicked man who had never got along with people and killed him which consireder to be a well deserved turn of events. Here we can see that people believe that they have the moral right to fight the evil with brutal force, killing or hurting devils, because getting rid of the evil once and for all can be justify. In Italian “The Devil's Column“ saint Ambrogio kicked the devil violently sending him against the column. The devil’s horns got stuck into the column and the devil couldn’ t get free for a whole night. In Mount Ślęża devils get defeated and can’t get home because the rock is blocking their home, so they become “eaker and weaker”. Outsmarting devil and making him a fool, even by lying is also considered to be good thing, perfect example is Mr Twardowski in his bet with the devil, which he was not willing to follow up. So in conclusion fighting devil or evil is considered a honorable and smart thing to to do, even if the ways of fighting are not considered honorable.


Probably, every person in his life wants to leave something to be remembered for after their death. For ordinary people their monument is usually their children or a memory of them self being a good and respected member of community, family or just being a good person in general. But for some, being ordinary is not enough, especially if you were born as a noble. Reasons for building magnificent monasteries like in Romanian legend of “The master builder Manole” Prince Negru Vodă who had the wish to build the most impresive monastery in the country, or Bulgarian legend “Devil bridge” in which the story is told about a bridge of endless durability, or especially legends about establishing cities, mostly come from selfish wish to be remembered. This wish is common not only by the foundators, but the builders as well, that is why they risk their lives and make agreement with devils, kings and nobles. Honor of being called and remembered as a foundator of a great city that people would talk all over the world is the reason why duke Gediminas in Lithuanian legend of „establishement of Vilnius city“ is so easialy convinced by pagan priest to build a city just by explaining the dream which duke had. Rome was also established by two brothers who wish that this great city would symbolize their fight over the place where they were born.


Legend about Kaunas foundation is interesting in a way that it was created seeking to form a more respectful respresentaion of whole country and it‘s nobleman who were the rulers of Lithuania in in the 15th or 16th century. Being considered Roman origin gave historical legitimacy to the power of the nobility in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Being seen as a nation having old and respectfull origin was important at that moment because of the political issues with naighbouring countries. Using well known historical or cultural figures is common tradition in other legends of European countries, because it makes the legend and events which happend more believable and honourable. Bulgarian „Devils trought cave“ uses Orpheus the greatest singer, poet and musician of ancient times to make this story reliable and reputable. Italian „Devils column“ uses St Ambrogio and „Saint George and the dragon“ Saint George is found. In conclusion the aim of using well known characters usualy is to strengthen the importance of the moral and ethical meaning of the act that happens in the legend.