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1001 Stories Collection

The Wawel Dragon

1001 The Wawel Dragon Kazuend
Added on 20th August 2020

Oral tradition Folktale from Poland

Can anyone defeat the ravenouse Wawel dragon?

Story

During the reign of King Krakus of Poland an evil dragon wreaks destruction on the country, killing innocents, pillaging and eating their animals, as well as young maidens. His cave lies at the bottom of Wawel Hill on the bank of the Vistula river and no knight can defeat the dragon. Will anyone be able to defeat him?

Why we chose it

The Wawel Dragon was one of the most popular stories in our dragon storytelling sessions in the Pumpkin Tent. It was a favourite with primary schools – the children particularly enjoyed re-enacting the story and then devising their own tricks to defeat a ravenous dragon.

Where it came from

Different versions of the story have different heroes. In many versions the king himself vanquishes the dragon. However, in the best known story today. Skuba the shoemaker defeats the dragon with an unusual weapon...

Where it went next

The story has had an important impact on Polish mythology, and Kraków's tourism. Visitors today can visit the cave below the castle as well as a fire-breathing statue of the dragon outside. This was built in 1972 and has seven heads. Also, the street which winds along the banks of the river towards the castle is called ulica Smocza, “dragon street”.

Associated stories

There are many stories about evil dragons in other cultures (and the expected or unexpected people who defeat them). The most well-known to us today is the English legend of St. George and the Dragon. While we are used to knights defeating dragons, Stan Bolovan and the Dragon, a folktale from Romania, has a far more unlikely hero.

Added on 20th August 2020

Oral tradition Folktale from Poland