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The Dragon of Krakow

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Placed: 5-25-03
Placed By: WWW (Formerly known as Chuck and Molly)
Location: East Lyme, Connecticut, New London County
Rated: Easy

From the corner of Route 85, Chesterfield Road, and Grassy Hill Road in Chesterfield (Montville), travel southwest on Grassy Hill Road. The Chesterfield Firehouse is located on this corner. If you are traveling on route 85 coming from Waterford, it is a left hand turn just before the firehouse. If you are coming from Salem on route 85, it is a right turn just after the firehouse. The parking area is on Grassy Hill Road. Do not take any side roads. Stay on Grassy Hill Road. As you travel down Grassy Hill Road, pass the Montville Ė East Lyme town line at .6 miles. Soon the road will twist and curve, be careful. You will pass one entrance to the forest on the right and will go a total of 3.1 miles from the route 85 intersection to a small parking area and a closed yellow metal gate. On the right hand side of the yellow gate, the number 6 is painted on it in black. You may park here. Parking will hold at least a half dozen cars or more.

Walk past the closed metal yellow gate and follow the old dirt road into the forest. Do not go off of this old road. Take no side paths. As you walk this scenic trail, you will walk over 3 streams on cement bridges. Keep walking until you come to a metal yellow gate. Go up to the gate and then walk back the way you came 40 steps. From the middle of the trail, take a reading of 130 degrees and walk 14 steps into the woods to a rock 4 Ĺ feet tall. There are 3 other rocks leaning against the larger one. Go to the south side of the large rock and look near the ground for an opening. You need not move any rocks to get to the box. The Dragon of Krakow letterbox awaits you in this natural miniature cave. Stamp in, go back to the trail and walk back to your vehicle the way you came. I estimate this walk to be a little over a Ĺ mile to get to the box and a total of 1.25 miles round trip. We hope you enjoy the Dragon of Krakow letterbox.

The Dragon of Krakow

Long ago in Polandís early history, On the River Vistula, there was a small settlement of wooden huts inhabited by peaceful people who farmed the land and plied their trades. Near this village was Wawel Hill. In the side of Wawel Hill was a deep cave. The entrance was overgrown with tall, grass, bushes, and weeds. No man had ever ventured inside that cave, and some said that a fearsome dragon lived within it. The young people of the village didnít believe in the dragon. The old people of the village said that they had heard their fathers tell of a dragon who slept in the cave, and no man must dare waken it, or there would be dire consequences for them all. Some of the youths determined to explore the cave and put an end to such foolish talk. They thought that they knew better and dragons were just old stories from the past. A group of these young people took some torches and went to the cave. They slowly entered the cave until they came to a dark mass of scales blocking their way and the sound of heavy breathing. The boys ran as the dragon awakened and roared. Fire came from itís mouth warming the boys heels and backs. When they were far enough away, they looked back and saw the dragon at the entrance of the cave, very angry being awakened from itís sleep. From that day on, the people knew no peace. Every day the dragon appeared and carried off a sheep, children or even grown men and women. They populace made many attempts to kill the dragon but nothing succeeded and many of those that attempted were killed. The hero in this part of the story differs. In the village lived a wise man, or a shoemaker or a shoe makers apprentice named Krakus or Krac. He got some sheep and mixed a thick, yellow paste from sulfur. Krakus smeared it all over the animals. Then led them to a place where the dragon would see them. The dragon came out as expected, saw the sheep, roared, rushed down the hill and devoured the sheep. The dragon had a terrible fire within him, and a terrible thirst. It rushed to the River Vistula and started drinking. It drank and drank and could not stop. The dragon began to swell, but still it drank more and more. It went on drinking till suddenly there was a great explosion, and the dragon burst. There was great rejoicing by the people. Krakus, was made ruler of the village, and they built a stronghold on Wawel Hill. The country prospered under the rule of Krakus and a city grew up around the hill which was called Krakow, in honor of Krakus. When Krakus died, the people gave him a magnificent burial, and erected a mound over his tomb which can be seen to this day. The people brought earth with their own hands to the mound, and it has endured through all the centuries as a memorial to the person that killed the dragon of Krakow. Legends of dragons in their many variations and forms, have been found around the globe. Can they all be a worldwide common myth, or is there some basis for the stories. A basis lost over the centuries, perhaps from a time when some type of prehistoric creature existed alongside humans. Why does this common thread exist? What creature did these people see hundreds of years ago in places so far apart?

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