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Smok Wawelski Edit

Part One Edit

The oldest known telling of the story comes from the 13th century work of Bishop of Kraków and historian of Poland, Wincenty Kadłubek. According to his chronicle, the frightening monster appeared during the reign of King Krakus (lat. Gracchus). The dragon required weekly offerings of cattle, if not, the humans would have been devoured instead. In the hope of killing the dragon, Krakus called on his two sons, Lech and Krakus II. They could not, however, defeat the creature by hand, so they came up with a trick. They fed him a calf skin stuffed with smoldering sulfur causing his fiery death. Then the brothers argued about who deserves the honor for slaying the dragon. The older brother killed the younger brother Grakch (Krakus), and told that the dragon killed him. When he became king, his secret was revealed, and he got expelled from the country. The city was named in recognition of the brave and innocent Krakus.

Jan Długosz in his 15th century chronicle moved fratricide of the Krak sons for the period after king Krak I death. Brothers also named Krak and Lech. According to the initial version, Krak II was a younger brother and killed the older, but according to Jan Dlugosz it was the opposite.

Part Two Edit

The second version, by Marcin Bielski from the 15th century, tells the story about shoemaker Skuba defeating the dragon. This, most popular, fairytale version of the Wawel Dragon tale, takes place in Kraków during the reign of King Krakus, the city's legendary founder. Each day the evil dragon would beat a path of destruction across the countryside, killing the civilians, pillaging their homes and devouring their livestock. In many versions of the story, the dragon especially enjoyed eating young maidens, and could only be appeased if the townsfolk left a young girl in front of its cave once a month. The King certainly wanted to put a stop to the dragon, but his bravest knights fell to its fiery breath. In the versions involving the sacrifice of young girls, every girl in the city was eventually sacrificed except one, the King's daughter Wanda. In desperation, the King promised his beautiful daughter's hand in marriage to anyone who could defeat the dragon. Great warriors from near and far fought for the prize and failed. One day a poor cobbler's apprentice named Skuba accepted the challenge. He stuffed a lamb withsulphur and set it outside the dragon's cave. The dragon ate it and soon became incredibly thirsty. He turned to the Vistula River for relief and drank and drank. But no amount of water could quench his aching stomach, and after swelling up from drinking half the Vistula river, he exploded. Skuba married the King's daughter as promised, and they lived happily ever after. The inspiration for the name of Skuba was probably a church of St. Jacob (pol. Kuba), which was situated near the Wawel Castle. In one of the hagiographic stories about St. Jacob he defeats fire-breathing dragon.

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