The legend of the enchanted pigeons

The pigeons, flocks of whom fill up Kraków’s Main Market Square, are no ordinary birds. Once upon a time, they were placed under a spell.

This legend holds that the pigeons of Kraków are enchanted. When the Kraków throne was assumed by Prince Henryk IV Probus in the 13th century, the Piast monarch greatly desired to unite all the Polish lands and crown himself king. Yet he had no money. A witch came and offered him assistance: she transmuted the Prince’s warriors into pigeons. They flew up to St Mary’s Church and began to peck out little pebbles which, falling to the ground, were turning into gold coins. The Prince collected the gold and went to Rome to acquire the Pope’s support in obtaining the Crown. Yet on his way he indulged in feasting, merrymaking, and… lost all the money. He never reached Rome and he never returned to Kraków again either, while his retainers remain enchanted and still waiting for their Prince...

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