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Princess and the Dragon

There are many legends surrounding the beginnings of Krakow, and the most beloved one is the legend of the Wawel Dragon. A long time ago, in a lovely castle on a hill above the river there lived a king, a queen and a beautiful princess. Their lives would have passed slowly and without much excitement, as was usual in those times, if it wasn't for a dreadful dragon who decided to make his home in a cave underneath the castle. The dragon terrorized the people living in the castle and countryside. When stealing sheep from the fields around the castle became a bore, the dragon demanded young virgins for his meals. The people of the towns and villages around the castle were terrified. The king announced that any brave man who would rid the kingdom of the dragon will marry the princess and inherit the kingdom. Many knights challenged the dragon and all of them failed. Finally, a young shoemaker, named Krak, came up with a plan. He stuffed a lamb with sulphur and set it outside the dragon's cave. The dragon, seeing a tasty snack, devoured it in minutes. He didn't, however, expect that the lamb would be so "spicy". His thirst became so overwhelming that he breathed fire, so, in desperation, he turned to the nearby Vistula River to quench his thirst. But no amount of water could dull the ache in his stomach, and after drinking half of the Vistula river, he swelled so much that he exploded. That was the end of the dragon, the people celebrated their liberation, Krak married the princess and they lived happily ever after. The town near the castle took on his name as its own and since then it has been known as Krakow. You can still see the den where the dragon used to live, and there is a sculpture of the dragon himself, breathing fire every couple of minutes.

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