The Legend of the Dragon of Trutnov

The folk were doing a lot of preparatory work for the construction of the town. They were breaking stones, slaking lime, cutting trees… One day, two masons went to the woods to find a quarry. They were walking along a hillock, not far from the former robber’s tower, when after a while they heard a terrifying shriek of a rook. So they hurried to the place from where the shriek was coming, and soon they arrived at an edge of a steep ravine, which was overgrown with shrubs, and only here and there a rock was glimmering through. Right under the rock they noticed the rook wildly soaring and sitting down every now and then, and its horrible shrieks could be heard everywhere. The masons looked around to find out why the rook was rampaging so. When they approached the bird, they got terribly frightened, as they saw a huge, violently looking dragon lying near an opening in the rock. They pelted from the forest, making signs on the trees in order to be able to find this place again. They ran to Lord Albrecht of Trautenberg, to whom they recounted their adventure. He laughed at them, because he did not want to believe their story. They took an oath, however, that everything had happened so as they told him. Therefore Lord Albrecht decided to check the whole business himself. So he saw the monster with his own eyes. Preparations for catching and killing the dragon started immediately. A great number of boards were lowered to the cave from the hillock. Firm ropes with loops made at their ends were fastened to the trees. They were lowered in front of the cave. A dead lamb was laid in front of the cave as bait. The dragon sensed the feed, rushed from the cave to eat the lamb and started rolling over under the chains and loops on the ropes, which had been lowered down to it. When the folks saw that the dragon had got into the loops of the chains and ropes, they tightened everything firmly, binding the dragon so tight that it could not move. The ropes were fixed to the trees. Now they started thinking about the killing. Very quickly they nailed a firm and big grating, similar to that of a castle, and lowered it down on the dragon from the hillock. Then they loaded the grating up with big stones. They heaped two mounds – one on the dragon’s head and the other on its tail. Then they made a fire in front of the dragon. Smoke choked it, so it lost strength and breathed its last with a furious roar. When Albrecht of Trautenberg saw that the dragon was dead, he ordered his people to skin it. Then the dragon’s skin was stuffed with wood shavings and dried in the sun. Then the stuffed dragon was exhibited in the old tower and its meat was dug into the ground.

In 1024, a provincial assembly was held in Brno. On this occasion the citizens of Trutnov gave the stuffed dragon as a gift to the prince, who then donated it to the city of Brno. Here, hung in the gateway of the Old City Hall, it has remained until the present.  

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Stone with a Plaque in Dračí Street

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To commemorate the plot of the unique Trutnov legends, every year during May city festivities called “Už ho nesou!” (They are carrying it already!”), a dragon made of tin is erected onto the tower of the Old City Hall in Krakonošovo Square. It hangs here till September, when it leaves the tower during the festivities called “Removal of the Dragon”.  

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Foto: Miloš Šálek

www.trutnovmestodraka.cz

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