Basilisk Legend

There are many Legends about the Basilisk. There are many differing versions of who killed the Basilisk – once it is a tailor as in our legend, once accused wrongly of murder Jan Ślązak, and another time a brave girl named Magda. Regardless of who defeated the creature, it always dies the same way…

Piwnice staromiejskie, fot. Tomasz Nowak
A long time ago, in the cellar of a townhouse on Krzywe Koło Street lived a terrible creature called Basilisk. It was a huge animal, with wings like a bat and a crocodile’s tail. The body was covered with scales, and the paws had sharp claws. However, the worst thing was its stare – whoever he looked at turned to stone.
The Basilisk was also very troublesome for the people of Warsaw. During the day it slept, but at night it destroyed everything it encountered on its way, causing fires, destroyed walls and killing and eating animals.
From time to time there, some brave soul armed with a sword and shield tried to kill the monster, but it always ended tragically as he became another stone statue.
Bazyliszek, fot. Filip Kwiatkowski
One day a wandering tailor arrived in the city. The boy was of a small stature, he did not have a weapon and he knew nothing about fighting, but he had a big heart and courage. When he heard what was happening in Warsaw, he decided to help. People were very surprised that such an ordinary boy was going to catch such a great beast. After all, the larger, seasoned knights hadn’t managed to do so had they? What could he do? However, the tailor had a plan. He found the largest mirror he could and set off.
In the cellar it was dark and messy. The boy had to be careful not to make unnecessary noise and wake the Basilisk up prematurely. As he walked down the corridors he saw that the creature had accumulated considerable wealth he understood how many people had tried to kill the beast. This view filled him with fear, but the boy went bravely forward.
Stare Miasto, fot. Piotr Wierzbowski
He stood on the threshold of the chamber where the animal was sleeping, held out the mirror and kicked a metal milk churn standing nearby. The Basilisk, awakened by noise, jumped up, raised its head and … turned to stone. It had seen its own reflection when it looked in the mirror.
The tailor, with emotion, dropped the mirror, which smashed into many pieces, each of them reflecting the sun’s rays through a small, ceiling window. The room became bright, and all the statues became living people again.
The tears of happiness and overwhelming joy were endless. All the people of Warsaw breathed a sigh of relief and wanted to thank their saviour, but the tailor had already set off further on his journey …
See the version of the legend with Jan Ślązak:
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Pomnik Syrenki, fot. Tomasz Nowak
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Zamek Królewski, fot. Iwona Gmyrek