The legend of the Sandy Hill in Pysząca


Only very few people know where the name of the Sandy Hill (Piaskowa Góra) in Pysząca comes from. The story goes that…. Since time immemorial people mined for clay in Pysząca. First the clay was used for making pots. Later a brickyard was built. The brickyard produced bricks for building churches and houses. The clay was mined at great depths, which alarmed the residents of hell. It is common knowledge that the underground kingdom belongs to devils, and no man has the rights to it. The devils gathered to discuss different options of how to get rid of the brickyard. An old and experienced devil came up with the idea to fill in all the places where people dig clay. But how to do it? Suddenly one of the youngest devils said:

“I know how to do it! Far, far away there is a place in Africa where one can find vast amounts of sand. It is enough to fly there with a sack and the job is done!”

The infernal authorities gave their consent. The young devil took the biggest sack he could find and he flew to bring the sand. At midnight he reached his destination. He filled his sack and flew back with the heavy load. Fortunately, he never made it to the brickyard. While he was approaching the brickyard, he started to descent too fast. He caught on the tall church tower in Wieszczyczyn and damaged his precious load. The sand got poured in the place now called the Sandy Hill. Later, the town reeve of Śrem founded a manor farm there.

This is how the church tower in Wieszczyczyn rescued the brickyard in Pysząca. At least for now, for the devils must be up to something again...

 aut. Krzysztof Budzyń

...He caught on the tall church tower in Wieszczyczyn
and damaged his precious load...


The legend of the royal spring in Dobczyn


In the village of Dobczyn there is a famous old Royal Spring and legend has it that the king himself drank from it. Once there was a road to Kalisz and further to Kraków leading through the village. This is where the roads from Śrem and Kościan met. It was called the Royal Road.

Once upon a time King Jagiełło took that road when coming back to Kraków from Kościan. It was a sunny and scorching day. When the king’s retinue was approaching Dobczyn, the king expressed a wish to have some water for refreshment but nobody knew where a spring could be found. Fortunately, there was a shepherdess coming that way with her flock. She showed the travellers the place in the village which was known for its pure and tasty water.

When the king’s retinue quenched their thirst, the king called the girl and asked how they could repay her. Then the girl’s eyes filled with tears and she told the king about her mother who was ill. The king must have been moved with what she said because he stopped his retinue and sent his court physician to take care of the sick woman. The physician, whose fame reached far beyond the city of Kraków, would always carry a lot of drugs and medicines with him. When the girl’s mother was cured, the royal retinue resumed their journey.

The shepherdess lived happily ever after. She had many children and grandchildren whom she told about the king from a city far, far away. This is how an ordinary spring did good to many people. After this event it was called the Royal Spring. The king wanted to come back to taste the wonderful water once again but important state affairs would not allow him to do so. On long winter evenings in Wawel castle the king would not only weave stories about pots growing in soil on the fields in Nochowo but also about the delicious water which he had drunk in Dobczyn near Śrem.

 aut. Krzysztof Budzyń

...The king wanted to come back to taste the wonderful water once
again but important state affairs would not allow him to do so...

The legend of the Fish King in Lake Grzymisławskie


Once upon a time, when the waters in the lakes were crystal clear, there lived more fish in them than today. The fish had their kings then. Lake Grzymisławskie near Śrem was no exception. Pikes, beams, pike perches, crucians and trenches lived there. Their king was an old big catfish. The King cared for his subjects and protected them from fishermen’s nets; he would make holes in them or rescue the fish from fishermen’s traps. The fishermen in the village frowned upon that and finally decided to catch the Fish King and get rid of the pest once and for all. They prepared a special net made of thick steel wires.

The Fish King, completely unaware of the trap, fell into it very easily. The fishermen dragged him out of the water and brought him to court. The King was charged with the crime of hindering fishing, which caused hunger in the fishermen’s families. The King pleaded not guilty and haughtily stated that he and his subjects never entered land which belonged to people and only occupied waters which belonged to the fish. The fishermen were uncompromising and sentenced the King to death. Although the sentence was cruel, the King did not break down and said:

“I shall feel your sentence only once, and my subjects will make sure that not a single fish falls into your nets. I shall die of a sword, you shall die of hunger!”

The fishermen got really terrified and in the end they spared the King’s life but as a punishment they chained the Fish King to the shore with an iron chain. The Fish King is to live like this until the end of his days. He sometimes shakes the chain so hard that the water in the lake waves very strongly, especially during a storm. The lake is most dangerous then.

aut. Krzysztof Budzyń
...they spared the King’s life but as a punishment
they chained the Fish King to the shore with an iron chain...



The legend of the monk buried alive  


I n war times, the townsmen of Śrem would usually hide their money and jewellery in the Franciscan Monastery. They did the same when the Swedes occupied the town. Everything would have ended well if it had not been for human greed. One of the monks, Brother Onufry, wanted to get rich and therefore he found an accomplice among the Swedish soldiers and revealed to him where the valuables were hidden. Together they planned to get into the treasury and take as many precious possessions as they could. Under the cover of the night they entered the monastery and fulfilled their plan. However, a servant boy from the monastery saw the two men take something away in the darkness. The next day, when the burglary was discovered, the boy remembered what happened during the night. He recognized the monk and the soldiers. None of the accused pleaded guilty and they accused each other of the crime. In order to determine the truth the town authorities left everything to a trial of ordeal.

“If the Swede is innocent he will manage to shoot down the cross on the tower of the Parish Church with a cannon standing on Psarskie Hill.”

On the very day, crowds came to see the event. The Swede, very resigned, without even taking the aim, lit the fuse and fired out. To everybody’s astonishment, the cannonball knocked off the cross, which was hardly visible from that distance. It was now clear to everyone that the trial of ordeal indicated that the monk was guilty. The Swede was set free and Brother Onufry, as punishment, was buried alive behind a wall in the alcove of the cloister in the monastery.

Even today the place where Onufry was buried remains a warning to every thief. Sometimes at night, the groans of the monk suffering his punishment seem to be coming out of the walls. The hidden treasures have never been found. They must be buried somewhere in the vicinity of the church, waiting to be discovered.

aut. Krzysztof Budzyń

...Under the cover of the night they entered the monastery and fulfilled their plan...

The legend of the lost manor house in Wójtostwo


Once upon a time there was a beautiful household in the area where the part of the town called Wójtostwo is situated today. The household was dwelled by its rich owner, who lived there with his beautiful daughter. When the daughter reached her maturity, the father started to search for a fiancé for her.

Unfortunately, none of the candidates seemed appropriate as they did not have enough possessions. No wonder that when the girl fell for a poor but gentle-hearted (or at least she thought so) boy from Śrem, her rich father rejected his marriage proposal. The daughter stuck to her feelings. She would not listen to her father and remained faithful to her beloved. In the end, the rich man yielded to the pleadings and agreed to the wedding. However, he gave one condition – until the wedding day, the boy had to amass a great fortune. The boy agreed to it.

On the road outside the town, he assaulted a merchant who was making his way back home from the market in Śrem. He injured him and took all his money. Suddenly the boy heard a menacing voice:

“For this terrible deed you shall be damned for a hundred years.”

But the boy had no fear; he was rich at last. After the wedding and a grand wedding feast, the newlyweds settled in the beautiful manor house. However, nobody ever paid any visits to their household so the couple lived in solitude for years and years. It had been a hundred years but one day since the assault on the merchant took place when a mysterious pilgrim visited their house and was taken in for the night. The next day at dawn the pilgrim bade farewell to his hosts, who were still very astonished with his visit. He left their household and went away. Suddenly he realized, however, that he had forgotten to take his prayer book. When he came back to collect it, the manor house was no longer there. Instead of the beautiful manor house, the wanderer found a pond with his prayer book floating on the surface

aut. Krzysztof Budzyń

...mysterious pilgrim visited their house and was taken in for the night....

The legend of the foundation of the village of Dobczyn


A long, long time ago, in the area where the village of Dobczyn lies today, among the meadows and mashes, there was a castle on a hill. Alas, the castle had no name and the local people spoke ill of it and its owner. The owner of the castle was a rich man who was insensitive to human misery. He had a heart of stone and never helped anyone, either in illness or in poverty. On one occasion he even beat a group of beggars and chased them away. He was always haughty and held poor people in contempt.

When somebody from a neighbouring village had their house burnt or lost their mother, he would never help or take care of the orphaned children. There was not a single settlement in the vicinity of his castle as people avoided that place. The locals called the whole area surrounding the castle the “Swine Mud”. The name derived from the pigs grazing nearby but not only…

Such a situation would probably last until now if it was not for the birth of his daughter – Dobsza. Unlike her father, Dobsza was sensitive to other people’s pain. She helped every person in need; she cared for the ill and for the poor. She was particularly fond of children who lost their parents. Since that time people started to like living near the castle. Dobsza lived a long and happy life and had many grandchildren. When she died, people called the settlement Dobczyn in order to commemorate Dobsza. The castle is no longer there, there are only its forlorn remnants at the place, and the name “Swine Mud” now refers only to a field between Dobczyn and Chrząstowo. The memory of Dobsza still remains, and nobody remembers the name of her father.

aut. Krzysztof Budzyń

...he would never help or take care of the orphaned children...

The legend of the sunken church and the Wesółko Inn


A long time ago, when Śrem did not even exist, in the place where now you can find the little pond in Puchalski Park, there used to be a village called Zarzeczyno. In Zarzeczyno there was an old church. The village took its name from the area by the river which flowed from Lake Grzymisławskie and the River Warta.

As in other places located near and important river crossing, there was an inn in Zarzeczyno. The inn was well-known for the drunkenness of its guests and the frequent feasts taking place there. Therefore, the inn was called “Wesółko” (“Cheer”). The inn was a meeting place for travellers as well as brigands who assailed merchants. One night, when “Wesółko” was full of people and booze was flowing like water, a few drunken brigands decided to steal a silver chalice from the church, which was known for its miracles. It was nearly midnight when they entered the church and started a drunken fight over who was to take the treasure.

While one of the brigands was reaching for the chalice, the earth suddenly started to shake and the church, together with the robbers, was swallowed up by the earth; and in the place where the church had been standing, a little pond was created. They say that the pond is very deep and a folk tale even has it that it reaches as deep as the hell, where the robbers suffer for their sins. Shortly after the sudden disappearance of the church, the villagers left their houses and Zarzeczyno became deserted. The little pond is a memento of the village, the inn and the church. From time to time, at midnight, if you listen carefully, you can hear infernal groans and once a year the longing sounds of the church bells in the depths of the waters commemorate the old church. On one occasion, on a moonless night, a passer-by saw a strange glow coming from the lake. It must have been coming from the silver chalice.

aut. Krzysztof Budzyń

...While one of the brigands was reaching for the chalice, the earth
suddenly started to shake and the church,
together with the robbers,...


The legend of the origin of the village of Psarskie


A long time ago, near Śrem, on a hill which was later named after the neighbouring village Psarska Góra (Psarskie Hill), there was a fortified castle. The castle was dwelled by a good knight of a noble nature. He cared for his lieges like nobody before him. Around the castle, numerous settlements started to appear. Outside the walls of the castle they organized markets where goods from all over the world were traded. Everyone was happy: the master of the castle, his lieges and the merchants. But the idyll was a short one and the misfortune came suddenly. Tatars, the nomads from central Asia, invaded our country.

One of the wild Tatar hordes ventured as far as this region. The invaders destroyed anything that stood in their way. They captured people and took them prisoners. The brave knight was killed in battle and the only few people who survived created a new settlement. What was left of the populous villages were packs of stray dogs. The dogs were soon befriended by the residents of the new settlement and in no time the place became famous for those beautiful and obedient animals.

One day, the duke of Wielkopolska came to the area during one of his hunting trips in the forests upon the Warta River. He saw the packs of dogs and decided to create dog kennels and exempt the dog caretakers from any tax. The duke’s hunting dogs bred in this kennel soon became famous in the entire country. With time the village started to be called Psarskie (“dog caretakers’ village”). The name remains until today and the residents of Psarskie are very proud that the name of their village derives from the man’s oldest and most devoted friends.

aut. Krzysztof Budzyń
...Tatars, the nomads from central Asia, invaded our country...

The Legend of the church bell in Śrem


T he Parish Church in Śrem has a beautiful tall tower which is visible from a distance. But it was not always so. Once, the church had no tower and the bells were hung is a special belfry next to the church. The sound of the church bells would call the faithful to a mass service. It spread joy but also bad news and terror, especially when danger such as foreign troops, epidemic, flood or fire was approaching.

The ringing of bells was also the way to disperse storm clouds. For all those reasons, church bells were very important to towns and villages. Also the material which bells were made of was thought to be very precious and having miraculous properties. That was why bells were often stolen. The thieves also became interested in the bells of the church in Śrem, which was located on the outskirts of the town. They came under the cover of darkness and loaded the most beautiful bell onto their cart. Luckily, under the heavy load the wheels of the cart got stuck in the mud of the old river bed somewhere on the way to Mechlin. What is more, the bell started to make plaintive sounds.

This awoke the town dwellers, who scared the thieves away. The thieves abandoned their spoils and darted away but as a punishment they got drowned in the place which today is called Topiałka. The bell was returned to its old spot. Soon after this event, the parishioners of the parish in Śrem built a tall church tower and hung the precious bells there. The bells were safe hanging high above and no thief every tried to steal them. The bell which was miraculously saved hangs in the tall tower of the Parish Church in Śrem. It overlooks the town and sometimes reminds the people about itself...

aut. Krzysztof Budzyń
...The thieves abandoned their spoils and darted away but as a punishment
they got drowned in the place which today is called Topiałka....

The legend of the Cursed Lake


A long time ago in Śrem there was no lake where you can find it now. Instead, there was a manor of a rich nobleman. Around the manor, fertile fields and forests full of game stretched away. Next to the manor, there was a very modest shrine in which there was a spring with crystal clear water. Everybody knew that it was miracle water which could cure any disease. There were always many people at the spring, both from near and afar.

The shrine with the spring belonged to the nobleman, who never prevented anybody from accessing it. That was why pilgrims were very grateful to him. But after the nobleman’s death the manor was sold to a new owner and everything changed. When the new owner discovered that he also owned a spring with miracle water, he decided to make money out of it. He made people pay more and more. He was getting richer and richer by the year but also less and less liked by his neighbours. The poor were sent away empty-handed as they had no money to pay for the miracle water. The lord of the manor had a beautiful daughter. On the day of her wedding, many poor people came to the spring with the hope that at least on such an occasion the lord’s heart would melt. Unfortunately, he remained uncompromising. He wanted to obtain money that could pay the cost of the wedding feast. The poor tried begging the bride but without success. When all their begging and pleading turned out to be in vain, an old man stepped out of the crowd and said:

“It was me who brought all these people here and gave them hope for at least a drop of that water. Therefore, my lord, I shall pay you, but under the condition that the water remains at my disposal for one night and I can do whatever I want with it. How much will you charge me for that?”

The lord was sure that the man in front of him was a lunatic and so he asked for 100 thalers, which was a large sum of money. However, the old man slowly took out a small bundle out of his sack, took out the exact amount and paid it to the lord. The lord had no other option but to give the old man the key to the shrine. The poor followed the old man to the spring. Everyone drank as much as they liked or even filled the vessels they brought with them. Many of them bathed their eyes with the miracle water and could see better, others got cured from diseases. Finally, everyone left and the old man remained in the shrine all by himself.

The night came and surrounded the manor with darkness. Nobody noticed that the miracle water started to flow faster and faster from the shrine towards the manor. It was too late to rescue the wedding guests. The water flooded everything. The manor was plunged in deep waters and in the place where it used to stand a lake was created. From that day the lake was called the Cursed Lake. Although the water of the lake was clear, neither people nor animals would come anywhere near it. There were no fish in it either. What is more, nobody even remembers where the Cursed Lake is. Only the elderly tell the story of a greedy lord and the punishment that he suffered.

aut. Krzysztof Budzyń
...Only the elderly tell the story of a greedy lord and the punishment that he suffered...


The legend of the witches’ sabbath on the Bare Mountain


Among the names of places in the villages around Śrem the name Łysa Góra (“Bare Mountain”) reoccurs on numerous occasions. Such places were known in Błociszewo, Dąbrowa, Gaj, Grodzewo, Niesłabin, Psarskie, Zbrudzewo as well as in Śrem itself. Today it is hard to find them.

In the old times sabbaths, i.e. the gatherings of witches, would take place there. An ordinary man was not allowed to witness them. However, one day… a son of a farmer from Orkowo had a neighbour who was a witch. He knew about it and was very curious what exactly happened during the sabbath on the Bare Mountain. One day he saw that before she flew away the witch put on some kind of ointment on her body. Out of curiosity he did the same and just like the woman he immediately flew to the Bare Mountain, on his spade, though, as the broom had already been taken by his neighbour. The party on the sabbath was in full swing. There was singing and dancing over and over. There were so many witches that he was not even able to count them and even more devils. They drank wine from golden glasses, there were dances, joy and laughter. He was so busy staring at this picture that he did not notice that his neighbour recognized him.

”Gotcha, mate!”, she shouted.

She instantly performed her magic trick and moved him to Śrem, to a cellar which had just been robbed of a few barrels of wine. He was found there in the morning, sleepy and a little bit drunk, and accused of theft. The next day, he was sentenced to the gallows. Despite his pleadings that he was innocent, the court was uncompromising. The sentence was about to be carried out when the boy realized that he had a small jar with a little bit of the ointment left in his pocket. He quickly put in on. Then a strong wind got up and brought him to the Bare Mountain, from which he safely returned home. After his miraculous survival, he swore to take care of his farm and not to peep at witches ever again. After his adventure with witches, he took on the last name Bratek, which he later changed to Bratkowski. He worked hard and got married to a beautiful girl from Binkowo. They had a lot of children and grandchildren. As a warning, he told them about the sabbath and the witches. That is how one of his grandsons (and my grandmother’s grandfather) heard this story. On a long autumn evening I also heard it too.

Apart from this story, my grandmother left me a mysterious little case with a strange-looking ointment inside it. And what about....?!

aut. Krzysztof Budzyń

  ...Then a strong wind got up and brought him to the Bare Mountain, from which he safely returned home...


Pliki do pobrania

Legendy ze Śremu i okolic - wersja do pobrania Wydawnictwo Urzędu Miejskiego w Śremie Autor: Krzysztof Budzyń Ilustracje: Ryszard Zawadzki

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