Our Slavic Fellow Citizens - 1910

Slovak Emigration
Chapter VI

Ruins and Legends

All this has left its impress both on the face of the country and in folklore. On almost every crag in some districts stands a ruined castle, all that the most romantic could desire in site and story.

Sometimes the legend seems to be purely mythical, as at Beczko, where a faithless lord is supposed to have been stung in the ear by an adder and to have jumped in a frenzy over the cliff; sometimes it is a mixture of reality and fable, as at Trencsen, where a well, hewn nearly six hundred feet into the solid rock, is explained by a story which tells how the captive daughter af a Turkish pasha was held for ransom, tbe ransom to be a water supply for the castle wbich stands high on the rocks above the lovely river Waag, and how this water supply was furnished by the Turkisb prisoners who earned their liberty and their lady's by hewing down to water level. Sometimes the legend is actually historical, like the terrible one of Csejte, where the Countess Bathory is said to have had three hundred young girls murdered in order to restore her beauty by bathing in their blood. After a terrible cause celebre, in which her guilt was proved, an old woman, her accomplice, was excecuted, while she was thrown into prison, where she died in 1610. An idea af tbe way in which war raged all through this now smiling country, and how it centered about the siege of these castles, may be gained from Jokai's novel translated into German as "Gdiebt bis zum Schaffot."

Not only in legends but in song the memory of "old unhappy far off things and battles long ago" survives. Especially are the ballads full of reminiscences of the sufferings from the Turks.

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