When you visit Podhale, you might wonder why the highlanders, who have their own traditions and customs, feel such a strong connection to Polishness and everything that is Polish. Well, let me say, if you know this legend about sleeping knights of Giewont, you’ll understand that the heart of the nation beats the strongest in the Tatras.
The Enchanting Tale of the Sleeping Knights Under Giewont
Once upon a time, when the Polish Republic stretched from sea to sea, a young shepherd lived happily in the Tatras, grazing his sheep on the flowery meadows near Giewont. He often hiked with his herd through clearings, forest trails, and steep cliffs of the mountains, from Kalatówki to Strążyska. During his free time, he loved climbing the towering crags to watch the misty land of his ancestors.
One day, he ventured further into the rocky terrain than ever before. Being there, he found himself at a considerable height near the northern cliffs of Giewont. To his surprise, he noticed an intriguing crack in the rock. Driven by curiosity, he decided to explore it. A vast cave appeared before his eyes, inviting him to continue his journey with fabulous views.
Unveiling the Secret of the Cave
If you want to know what happened next, stay with me. The young shepherd, filled with excitement, decided to venture deeper into the cave. As he did so, he stumbled upon a sight that would forever change his life.
The young shepherd wandered through the underground labyrinth for quite some time. Suddenly, he heard the lazy neighing of horses echoing in the distance. Surprised and scared, he decided to face his fears and solve the mystery. As he approached the source of the sound, the natural moisture in the caves turned into heat, which he couldn’t explain.
Finally, he discovered a grand hall with a blazing bonfire in the center. There, knights clad in heavy armor slept with their heads resting on their swords. Their horses lay peacefully nearby, awaiting their masters’ command. The boy, terrified, tried to flee, but tripped over a large stone, making a loud noise. One of the knights awoke and asked in a booming voice:
- „Is it time?”
- „Who are you?” – The frightened shepherd replied.
- „We are the Knights of the Crown, and we’ve been sleeping here for centuries” – the knight answered. „When our homeland is in danger, we shall rise, grasp our swords, mount our horses, and defend the Tatra Mountains and the entire Polish land against our enemies. Is it time?”
- „No, sir. It’s not the time yet”.
- „Then let me and my companions go back to sleep”.
The shepherd quickly left the cave and shared his adventure throughout Podhale. This story has lived on in the hearts of highlanders, who believ that their fatherland is safe, guarded by a squad of fearles crown knights.
The Mysterious Cave Remains Hidden
Many explorers ventured into the Tatra Mountains, equipped with modern technology, searching for this legendary cave. They scoured every inch of the Tatra land, but the cave has never been found…
So, if you ever find yourself wandering the Tatra Mountains, keep an eye out for clues that might lead you to the hiden cave of the Sleeping Knights. Who knows, you just might be the one to uncover this centuries-old secret!