On this page you will find the results of our research on tales, legends and stories in which stones, rocks and minerals play a leading role. If you want to know a lot of idioms related to the topic of the project, please click here.



Country
Story, tale, legend,...

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Thingvellir viking parliament

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The Giant's Tooth

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When bread turned into stone

How Ślęża Mountain was made

Saint Kinga’s Dowry

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The Salt Prince

Brave miner and dwarf

The legend of the town Svidnik

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The legend of Aqualata

Stones in Anoia county history

The drummer of El Bruc

The minairons legend

THE SALT PRINCE (SLOVAKIA)


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The Salt Prince (Slovak: Soľ nad zlato, German: Der Salzprinz) is a Slovak fairy-tale movie from a novel by Pavol Dobšinský which is a lesson that salt is necessary for life and more important than gold and emeralds.
It´s a fairy-tale,but The Salt Prince makes several observations about life, human nature. It is also a probe into Slovak cultural heritage and values.
The story tells a story about old king Pravoslav who wants to pass on his throne to one of his three daughters. The closest to his heart is the youngest one Maruška, but he wants to confirm his decision by reason not only by feelings, so he follows the advice of court clown to decide according to their confessions of daughterly love towards him and their bridegrooms. At the ceremony of confessions the oldest from sisters, who loves money and power, pleases father with confession that she loves him more than gold. Her bridegrooms promises power and order to his country. Younger one obsessed with jewellery confesses that she loves him more than any of expensive jewels. The youngest one Maruška confesses that she loves him more than salt, because salt is inevitable for life. Her bridegroom, the Salt prince promises love to his daughter prosperity, justice and charity towards his people if he with Maruška will reign. The king is offended by Maruška's confession, because there is enough salt and everybody, even the poor ones have some. The Salt prince tries to defend Maruška, but king, father expels Maruška from his kingdom. While this event is taking place King of Nature(Underworld), father of Salt Prince appears and utters a curse upon Pravoslav's kingdom. From now on every grain of salt would turn gold. This event would not only influence the kingdom, but also Salt prince, because as his ideas of good, and good will were taken in wrong turn he disappears and is turned into salt pillar in the underwold. Maruška expelled from the country of her father undergoes a journey of finding her lost love Salt prince. She finds the way to the kingdom of Underwold, the kingdom of Salt prince's father. Meanwhile Pravoslav and his other two daughters enjoy the gold they have, but after a while when the food is dry in taste two bridegrooms starts quarelling about the money and people of the kingdom strive for inevitable ingredient which made their bread tasteful and illnesses start to spread, Pravoslav decides to give up gold and exchange it for salt in neighbour country. As the carriages with gold crosses the border it changes to salt and othe way back it returns to the kingdom of Pravoslav it is again gold. After this they recognize that their kingdom is cursed. After being in the kingdom of the king of Nature (Underwold) Maruška meets group of nymphs who help her to find old wise woman, who should advise her where to look for Salt prince. Here Maruška is given task to prove if she is capable of fighting for her love and if she will resist temptation. She should fill old dry waterwell with water from nearby stream. The waterwell can not be filled and she is desperate, but continues, because of the love she feels. While being exhausted and dirty from work comes some prince with fellows and ask her to marry him. She refuses, because she loves Salt prince. After this event old woman advices her that she has to collect tears of the people from her fathers country, which are concentrated in the underworld meadow of oblivion. After collecting tears, she revives Salt prince whom she marries. As a gift young from the King of the Nature, underworld young couple is given bag from which salt will never run out. They depart from the kingdom of the Underworld to Pravoslavs country, where they give the people salt. Pravoslav passes his crown to them and establishes that to remind the people and make it sure that such story would never repeat people should from that time welcome each stranger not only with bread, but also with salt.
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THEMES: One of the themes is the depiction of old slovak tradition of welcoming person with bread and salt. Bread symbolizes utility necessary for life whereas salt symbolizes love and the way of giving without which is life meaningful. Wisdom of experience of life of common people collected by Dobšinský are concentrated in the story. The state of being lost with ideals, after experiencing crash with reality is shown in the metaphor of petrified Salt prince, while ideal of selfgiving love is shown in the scene Maruška, who does not stop filling dry waterwell, even when she see no result of her action. Metaphor of reconciling the mistakes is shown on the scene where Maruška collects the tears of the people hurt by fathers mistake on the meadow of forgetting (Oblivion) and uses them to revive the Salt prince. Metaphor of curse uttered upon disregarding everydayness and nature, symbolized by Pravoslav's contempt towards salt and the son of the King of Nature (Underworld), show the ever actuall strive for man's domination and its consequences when not controlled.
Film was received with mixed feelings. It was blamed for being rather cold and gloomy. On the other side film is in Slovakia each year still played at least once for Christmas.
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THE GIANT'S TOOTH (ITALY)

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Dente di Gigante. Aosta Valley, Italy. Legend. Date unknown. Emma Paillex


I remember that some years ago my grandfather told me a legend about the rock called Dente del Gigante ( The Giant's Tooth).
Now this is the most famous rock in Aosta Valley becuase of its shape, which resembles a giant's tooth, but very few people know its history.

Today, in this fortress, thousands of evil spirits are imprisoned. In the past, however, these same spirits terrorized the inhabitants of Aosta Valley. How did these spirits arrive on the top of this rock?

One day, a man from far away, who had just arrived in Aosta Valley, pronounced some incomprehensible words. These magic words forced the evil spirits out of the woods like a flock of birds. They followed the man to the top of the mountain, whose icy peak opened up and all the spirits entered into it.

From that day on, when there is a storm, we can hear the cries of the spirits as they attempt to escape from Dente del Gigante's tower in vain.
AQUALATA LEGEND (CATALONIA, SPAIN)




It explains the origin of the basin, where our capiltal town Igualada was edificated. According to the legend, it was the greed of the lord of the land owner who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for working the land which produced more and more.

When the devil came to collect the debt, the owner asked him to pull out the rocks in order to the water cross his land, thinking that the demon would take long time to get it. So he delayed time to give the soul. But that was fulfilled by the devil and downstream from the mountains formed the watershed where they built the city of Igualada.



When bread turned into stone (Poland)


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A long time ago in a small village near Gdansk, there lived a widow with five small children. She was a very poor woman, as she only had a small, barren field. It was hard for her to feed her family. Very often she was doing small jobs so she could get a little money or food.==== ====
One year there was a severe winter that destroyed all the food supplies people had. Then the spring came, and the flood took away everything that the people were able to rescue. Poverty reigned throughout the village. It was the toughest time for the poor widow and her hungry children. Only a few neighbors were better off. They saved some money and exchanged it for food. The widow saw them walking every day to the market in Oliwa City and returning with bags of food.==== ====
As she did not have anything to sell, one day she left her house and started to ask people for help or work.==== ====
It was not long after when she met her neighbor walking to the market. The wealthy farmer was carrying a big bag full of bread. The bag was so heavy that every time he had to stop to take rest. “I am going to swap the bread for a bag of grit - and then I’ll cook it, put pork rinds in it and I'll munch away so everyone will envy me!”==== ====
The widow timidly walked up to him and quietly asked: “Dear good neighbor, Can you help me and share some of the bread that you carry with us? I have five children to feed.” But the neighbor only quickened his pace and replied quickly: “I’m carrying a stone, not the bread.” And then as he drifted hastily away, the distraught widow called after him: “If you do not have a heart, let the bread turn into a stone!”==== ====
The mean neighbor never looked back. He tried to march faster and faster, but after a while he realized the bag was becoming heavier, until finally he could no longer carry it. He sat on the edge of the road, unwrapped the bread and shouted aloud in amazement. Instead of the bread he had a heavy stone in his hands!==== ====
“This is a lesson from the Lord" he thought, and quickly returned to his home. Once home the man asked his wife to prepare a lot of food and invited the poor widow and her children for a meal. Then he shared with her all that he had and looked after the poor family for a long time.==== ====
He promised himself that he would never turn away from a man in need of help. Since then, the trees in his orchard gave him even more fruit. The wheat harvest was so huge that it could not fit into his granary. Vegetables from the fields he gave away because his family could not eat it all. He made sure that the widow and her family were never going to starve or freeze.==== ====
A year later, the neighbor took the memorable stone to the church in Oliwa in order to strengthen the walls. The stone still remains in the Church's wall, reminding people that one can never refuse to help those in need.
How Ślęża Mountain was made (Poland)


Ślęża (718 m. n.p.m) is a lonely mountain rising 500 m over Silesian Plain, Poland.. Such a secluded elevation results in a specific climate of the mountain: fog and rain are more frequent here, and lightning and thunders are exceptionally intense. Ślęża massif is built of magma and metamorphic rock, the most characteristic rock is gabbro and granite.

A man first appeared in Śęża Massif in the Pleistocene, when northern parts of Poland were still covered with icecap. In the Neolithic Era (the New Stone age, 4000-1800 BC) the area was first settled. The Ślęża region is one of the eldest mining areas in the world – yet in late Neolithic Era (around 2000 BC) people mined here for nephrite and serpentinite to produce stone tools.

The Ślęża was a holy mountain for Celts, Germans and Slavs. Celts arrived here around 300s BC, it might have been due to the control of the Amber Road. On the top of the mountain they built a sanctuary: they put up a stone barrage and put up and carved stone statues today known as: Mushroom, Monk, Maiden with a Fish and Bear. They also left high level of metallurgy (mostly iron), pottery and glasswork. They made popular such inventions as: the wheel, pottery furnace, bloomery, iron sickle and ard, quern stones. Celts gradually mixed with local peoples, but pagan Sun ceremonies continued to take place at the top of the mountain even after joining the Silesia to the state of Poles (Mieszko I, 10th Century). The 10th Century is a century of growth in quarry of granite for quern stones and as a building material.

In 1343 Bolko II the Strict started building a defensive castle on the top of Ślęża. The castle was a base of the insurgent army, then it was a seat of outlaw knights, who oppressed passing by caravans and local people. Citizens of Świdnica and Wrocław captured the castle and destroyed it. Some traces of the castle can still be seen and attract numerous tourists who come to the top of the Ślęża Mountain. Hindus come to the mountain on pilgrimage. They believe its top to be a chakra – a place of power.


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It was long, long time ago, when the Earth was still inhabited by angels and devils. One day, malicious devils were lying in ambush in a small wood and waiting for passing-by angels to throw stones at them. At first, surprised angels didn’t know what was going on. But soon they picked the stones and started casting them back at devils.

The battle was long and lasted all day. The advantage came from one side to another many times. Then, when the Sun was setting, angels won and devils started running away.

After many hours’ fight between angels and devils, there remained a great pile of stones that fell not reaching their aim. Thus the Ślęża Mountain was created – the highest mountain of the Sudety Foothills.


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Saint Kinga’s Dowry (Poland)


A long time ago, when Bolesław V the Chaste was the ruler of Poland, his envoys travelled around Europe to find a candidate for his wife. Kinga, daughter of King Béla IV of Hungary, agreed to marry Bolesław.
Before her marriage, Kinga asked her father not to give her as her dowry any gold or gems. She thought they did not give happiness, but only brought sweat and tears. Besides she thought Poland was a rich country. Instead, she wanted to get salt, which she could give to her future subjects. At Kinga’s request, the king gave her the Maramures, the biggest salt mine in Hungary. Kinga was very grateful to her father for such a marvelous gift. She went to the mine and threw her engagement ring into the shaft. After that she travelled to the country of her future husband. She took with her retinue of servants including finest Hungarian miners.

Bolesław welcomed Kinga with bread and salt. Then, there was a grand wedding. They lived in harmony and happiness. Soon, Kinga decided it was time to search for her dowry. She told the miners to start looking for salt. After a short search salt was found in Wieliczka, a small village near Cracow. In the first salt cube Kinga’s engagement ring was found. When she recognised the ring she was very happy. She thanked God that such a precious treasure as salt was at the time could be mined in her new country.

Kinga ruled with her husband wisely for a long time. Years later, for her services to the country she was proclaimed a saint.
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BRAVE MINER AND DWARF (Slovakia)

Slovak students prepared a short story about the life of miner and supernatural creature that used to live in a mine. These kind of stories are typical for mining areas in Slovakia. We visited central part of Slovakia( Banska Stiavnica) which was known as the centre of mining in Slovakia.





Transcript:
N:Once upon a time, In a small mining village used to live a miner. But he wasn´t happy. Miner´s work did not go well, he lost a vein of ore and his children were hungry at home. Suddenly, a dwarf came to him and said:
D: Don´t worry. If you give me a jug of milk every day, I'll show you where the rich ore veins are and you won´t have to work hard any longer. However, you always must give me half of what you earn.
M: Well, OK. Let it your way.
N: And then miner´s work became productive again, he was happy and quite rich. At home, he already had four cows, children weren´t starving and he shared earnings with the Dwarf fairly. However, once he started thinking.
M: What does the Dwarf make with with all the money I give him?What If I fooled him?
D: Miner, let's split the earnings.
N: Miner went and he was tempted to fool the Dwarf, but in the end he resisted.
D: Look what I am sitting at."If you had tricked me for just a penny, the straw would have broken and you would have fallen into the pit."
N: Then the Dwarf disappeared and the Miner was left on his own "
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The legend of the town Svidník (Slovakia)

Long - time ago at the top of the hill Kaštielyk near Svidník devils began to build a castle. After a while they realized that a place is not good enough and decided to move walled part of the castle to the mountain near the village Zborov. When roosters started crowing early in the morning, devils lost all their power and left all the stones at Kaštielyk. This was repeated every night. People were even able to find an imprited button of devil´s coat in one stone. Devils were dressed in coats, because they wanted to mask their hairiness. Gradually, as the time passed by, devils were loosing the power, they were unable to carry the stones, so they decided to let it all go. They have never built anything at Kaštielyk Therefore they built Castle Zborov. Its name was given by the name of the nearby village Zborov. The second name of this castle "Makovica" originates from the name of this hill. The third name "Bila Makovicja" is derived from the white stone from which the walled castle was built.
Stones in Anoia county history (Catalonia, Spain)




In this film our students want to show how we can follow Anoia county history thanks to the remains of stones left after centuries. The aim of the project has been to recreate with imagination and creativity the life developed by anonimuos characters during the most brilliant periods of our evolution as a nacionality. They also refer the use given to the stones in the different historical periods. So it starts cronologically with the Neanderthal remains in "Abric Romaní" (Capellades) where there is nowadays an important archeological site. It follows with the Roman print who colonized our country and establised an important crossroads in (Sikarra) Prats de Rei. Some centuries later Muslim conquered the territory and built the first medieval castles as Montbui, where it was also constructed the Tossa church some decades later with the begining of the Christian Reconquest. It is remarked the importance of Saint James way in the Middle ages, which crossed all the county and different Romanesque churches were built. The modern ages start with Succession war that points a change in our national history and the Industrial Revolution beginnings in tannery and textile then. Such as in Succession war there was another important battle in the county during the French war against Napoleon in Montserrat mountains. Finally the past century was dramatically troubled with the Spanish civil war and the murderous air-raids over the Republican camps.
The drummer of El Bruc legend (Catalonia, Spain)

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At the beginning of the 19th century (around 1808) there was a war in Spain known as the Independence War wherein Spanish troops fought against Napoleon’s army. In Catalonia, this war was called the French or Napoleonic War. One of its most important battles took place in Catalan territory near Igualada: The Battle of El Bruc. In this battle, the Catalans defeated the French and this fact was the beginning of the legend of “The Drummer of El Bruc.”
According to a newspaper published in Manresa in September 1808, the town’s army defeated the French without cavalry, artillery or military leaders. This story planted the seed for the legend to grow as a way of explaining how an unarmed group of villagers were able to stop the invading French Army. Some people say that when you go to the mountain of Montserrat, you can still hear a drum’s echo – the sound of the hero of the legend who wore sandals, a “faixa” (wide belt) and a beret.
Once upon a time, around 1808 in Catalonia, there was a war known as the French or Napoleonic War. During this time, the Napoleonic Army was advancing towards Catalonia and was believed to be unstoppable because it had conquered all the territory in its path. Finally, it was ready to attack the village of El Bruc (Anoia) near the mountain of Montserrat.
Thus, the villagers were desperate and armed themselves with whatever they could, including spears, stones and sticks. While they were doing this, a village boy who always played his drum, asked what he could do. The men of the village told him not to do anything and to stay at home. Meanwhile the men, who knew all the nooks and crannies of the region, hid in them. By doing this, they surprised the French and held back the first attack. However, the French Army planned to return to fight again with a greater number of soldiers. So the boy asked once more what he could do to help, but he received the same response.
This time, he was so angry that he went home and started to play his drum in order to calm down. Nevertheless, his anger grew until he was so furious that he hiked all the way from El Bruc to the mountain of Montserrat playing his drum non-stop. When he arrived at the base of the mountain, he saw the French Army approaching and cried out, “Oh, my mother!” but he bravely continued playing his drum. The next thing he noticed was that the mountain echoed and amplified the sound of the drum, multiplying it and making it louder.
Suddenly, it dawned on the boy what he had to do! He needed to play his drum as powerfully and loudly as possible so that the French would believe that there were thousands of drums from a large army waiting for them. In the end, the boy’s plan worked because the French fled as fast as they could. They were afraid of facing a huge army hidden in the mountains. Afterward, the whole village learned of the heroic exploit of the boy with the drum.
Years later, the villagers of El Bruc made a statue to honor The Drummer of El Bruc.
Minairons legend (Catalonia, Spain)

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“The Minairons –or manairons, menairons, diablorins or zaingorriak in the Basque country- are fantastic beings of diminutive size that some people save tiny enclosed within a needle tube in some villages of the Pyrenees. They have other names in the legends around the Pyrenees’ valleys.
The Minairons come from the St. John's herb which blooms at the Saint John’s (the summer solstice) night. It grows in very deep caves guarded by giants and dragons and it only can be caught in the point of midnight on St. John’s Day. Some versions suggest that this herb is none other than the fern. It remains unclear, however, if minairó leaves the seed or it is the seed itself.
On the real nature of these beings, there is diversity of opinion. Some people ask if these beings can fly or not. Others tell me that they are as a swarm of tiny mosquitoes, almost invisible. Some people prefer to compare them with the bee, because of the noise they do buzzing when left the needles’ tube or cane. No one doubts, however, that they are so tiny that inside the cane there must be thousands and when one foregrounds, eager demands for work, saying "what will we do? What will we say?”
The legend says that many of the screes of the Pyrenees have been works of these goblins, when his master opened the needle tube by mistake or accident and he desperately for his threats ("what will we do, what will we say?") ordered them to put all together rocks at any particular point nearby.
A handful of heirs of the Pyrenees main houses have been, on occasion, owners of the cane, through which the house went up like a mushroom. Among the owners of the cane, there are, of course, the heirs of the good houses, but there are also the bloodsuckers that used to live with bad gear right away.
Even today, the grandparents remember the houses that have these tireless labourers, in addition, working for free.
If you make a complete list of the houses that had possessed the mysterious cane, you will find lots of them: Llibrada of Benasque, Joaniquet of Forcat, Teixidor of Aulet, Xollat of Perves, Jaume of Cabdella, Tor of Alós, Badinet of Isil, Sidro of Estaon and Feu of La Guàrdia d’Ares.
In other stories, ownership is attributed to a strong labourer, usually anonymous hard-capable. He alone, completed the same job as three or four people. Of these gangs, Marçal of Farrera is one of those mentioned by name. It is said that he was to wage the towns of La Coma de Burg, carrying a long piece of scythe. When after the wages, some curious men asked him if it was true that he did Minairons work, he replied: "Do you know who my Minairons are? Good hoe and good balls! "
Most stories are variations around two patterns that were repeated, changing the characters and geographical locations.
We could head them as "the curious young man" who commanded them to pile-the-rocks and "hoe labourer" who commanded them to make a lot of meadow grass-wages.
Far from being a rare species, unique to the Pyrenees, the Minairons are part of a family of tiny elves who live and work in the forests of European fairy tales”.

Thingvellir viking parliament (Iceland)