Saint Anna’s lake (Hungarian folk tale)

Like the water at the bottom of a large bowl, St. Anna’s lake rests at the bottom of mountains reaching into the sky. All around are mountains crowned with pine forests. Travel all over the world, and you won’t find a more beautiful picture than this one.

Come on, who would have thought that at the place of this beautiful lake, once upon a time, there was a monstrous high mountain, and that on top of it there was a proud castle, which arrogantly looked down on the villages of Csíki and Trószék. But this castle was not alone in boasting over Csík and Háromszék: opposite, an hour away, there was also a castle over the Büdös cave, which breathes sulfur and has a suffocating smell.

Oh, but it was a long time ago! There is no trace of this castle now. Well, but his memory, his sad memory, remained in both castles. Two brothers lived in the two castles, both haughty, haughty and unruly. There was no love for anyone in their hearts. The people of the land were oppressed and plundered, and they didn’t even love each other. They always competed, boasted: who has more.

In the basements and tubs of both castles, the gold and silver of the sea stood at its edge. Once, somewhere, somewhere, a nobleman came to visit the lord of Büdös Castle. He came in a six-horse carriage.

Well, he had never seen such a carriage, such six horses. The wheels, shafts, and bars of that carriage were pure gold; The horses’ tools were made of gold, silver, and diamonds, and hair! Horses were more fiery than dragons. After all, the lord of Büdös castle had no more peace of mind as soon as he saw this carriage, these six horses.

He immediately set his sights on his guest, did not leave him alone: sell him the six horses as carriages and tools.

  • I will give you six tubs of gold.
  • Not for sale – said the guest.
  • In addition, the Torja estate.
  • Not for sale!

“Stop,” he thought to himself, “it will be mine after all!”

There was a large crowd, the wine flowed like the water of the Olt, and when the guest was in a flowery mood, the lord of Büdös Castle took out the dice game. He expected that he would win the horses as a coachman and toolmaker at the stake. Well, it was a good thing, because luck was with him. He won all his guest’s money, and on top of that the six beautiful horses, after all.

As soon as the guest said goodbye, the first thing he did was to visit his brother. His heart just burst with joy when the six-horse carriage pulled up. Hey, your brother will be jealous of this! He may have more gold and silver than her, but he doesn’t have such a six-horse swing.

His brother was just sitting there in the atrium of the castle when he galloped in on the six-horse carriage. His eyes and mouth stopped being amazed.

  • Well, brother, do you have six horses like that?! he shouted triumphantly.
  • There is no such thing, said the younger brother, – but it will be different.
  • But I want to see that!
  • Well, it won’t even take twenty-four hours, you’ll see!

The lord of Büdös castle laughed out loud.

  • It’s different! And I say, let my castle and all my dominions be yours, if you come to me with six different horses.
  • Not even six, twelve!

The lord of Büdös castle didn’t even go up to his brother, he just wanted to show his horses, let the yellow bile surprise his brother, he turned and galloped home like the fast wind, even faster. All day long, the younger brother wondered where to get the other twelve horses. No matter how much he wondered, no matter how much he racked his brain, he couldn’t think of where he would suddenly find six horses, not like that, different ones, and not even six, twelve.

He bitterly regretted his suddenness. But what did he suddenly think of? It occurred to him to bring the twelve most beautiful girls of the region to his castle, put them in a carriage, and then go to his brother.

He ordered his serfs together and sent them everywhere to bring here the most beautiful girl he knew where. In less than half a day, the serfs came and the maids with them; there were a hundred of them, one more beautiful than the other, but the most beautiful among them was one named Anna. This was the first choice of the lord of the castle. Then another eleven next to him.

And when they stood there separately, in a beautiful row, he pulled out his cute swing from under the curtain and held the twelve girls in front of him. Poor girls! They stood trembling in front of the carriage. Tears fell from their eyes like torrential rain, they looked up at the sky, and sighed for help from there.

Then the gentleman jumped on the goat, unleashed his goat whip, and gave a great shriek so that the forest just hummed and hummed into him.

  • Come on, come on, come on!

The girls staggered forward, but could not even move the heavy carriage. Hey, the mighty lord was furious! He slashed forward with the copper whip, right at Anna, who was standing in front. Blood oozed out of his pale white flesh, and alas, his words moved to the high heavens.

“Gíí, Anna, gíí” the gentleman roared and cut at her a second time.

  • May the lord of the heavens beat me! – wailed Anna. – Go underground, killer of innocents!

And lo and behold, at that moment the sky turned black, there was lightning, there was thunder, heaven and earth moved, the trees cracked and cracked, the tower of the castle began to waver and bend, then suddenly collapsed, then the whole castle and the ground sank lower and lower, until all at once he was submerged. And hear a miracle, when the wrath of the sky calmed down, a beautiful lake rested on the site of the castle, and twelve swans swam in the lake.


from them, a dragon was struggling in the whirlpool of the lake, trying to catch the twelve swans, but could not get out of the whirlpool. The twelve swans just swam, swam very quietly, landed on the shore of the lake, shook themselves, and became maidens again. They all hurried home to the villages, only Anna remained there.

He had a chapel built on the shore of the lake, and spent his life in quiet prayer in this chapel. And they came, the people from all over made a pilgrimage to the little chapel, they prayed together with the girl with a holy life, who was called a saint during her life, and after her death the lake was named Saint Anna.

(Elek Benedek: Hungarian fairy-tale world, volume 3)

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