A Prince, A Witch and Some Pigeons

A few people have asked me what exactly a “Krakow Pigeon” is or why I’d name my blog after a pigeon in the first place. I used to fall under the category of people that viewed pigeons as little more than “rats with wings”, though for those that know me I love rats and most wildlife. The pigeon epiphany I had began in my sophomore year of college when I enrolled in a Mythology course (because I’m that special kind of person that believes Zeus is a far more interesting deity choice than modern gods).

I never understood the allure Zeus had for animal forms.

Mythology was one of those classes I wished I paid more attention to rather than looking at funny webcomics. It gave me a bit of a realization that even if a course is completely interesting to me, I will still default to webcomics if given the opportunity. Which is an entirely bad idea when the class is discussing a very serious topic involving deaths/genocide. Not the best time to giggle.

Moral: Pay attention in class to avoid these situations.

My professor knew people weren’t paying much mind to her and in order to spur some interest she gave us an assignment: find a myth/story from one of your heritages and share it with the class. Now, I have a bit of a mix within me. I happen to be Polish, German, Italian, Irish and just a dash of English. Out of all of those, I suppose I identify more with my Polish and Italian sides. My family was never big in celebrating heritage, other than little things like the Christmas pickle (which may or may not be Polish, though my mother swears it is). So out of all of these I decided to learn a bit more about Polish folklore. I was not disappointed.

This may not be entirely accurate.

Apparently in Krakow, the cultural center of Poland and a very large city, there is a story passed down about the millions of pigeons there. Seriously, millions. Krakow has a big problem with the pigeon population because the citizens keep feeding them. Why would they support the pigeons? Well, according to the story, there once was a Prince named Henryk Probius that decided to try to unite Poland, becoming its king, and visit the Pope for approval. Unfortunately, nobody really believed in his cause and refused to give him money for his grand journey. Henryk wouldn’t be thwarted though and instead turned to the aid of a witch. The witch agreed to assist him as long as he didn’t use his knights during his travels. The prince agreed and, to make sure he kept his word, the witch turned all his knights into pigeons. The pigeons then flew up to a church’s roof and picked out pebbles which transformed into gold coins when they hit the ground. Thus the prince had enough money to continue his quest and everyone lived happily ever after.

All witches wear skimpy outfits and fishnet stockings.

Not really.

Now I understand why nobody wanted to give him money.

The prince proceeded to spend his money on food and women until he didn’t have anything left. He was a complete and utter failure that couldn’t even bear to show his face back at Krakow. Which was a problem, as the knightly pigeons could not return to their true forms until Henryk returned with the crown. The people of Krakow believe that the pigeons that reside there are these cursed knights and thus treat them with respect.

Think of this image next time you see a pigeon.

What does this have to do with my blog title? The story of the Krakow pigeons is one where the ordinary, the pigeons, is made extraordinary, by being knights under a curse. My blog is going to cover the adventures I have in Dungeons and Dragons, the world I’m designing, and my fantastical views of the world around me. Amazing things can be found every day if you only change your viewpoint on them. Now I picture pigeons wearing suits of armor and engaging in chivalry.

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3 Comments »

  1. getbananas Said:

    I think that this is really interesting. It’s really cool to know there is more meaning in the name to you than would be to the rest of us. MYTHOLOGY! I’m taking a mythology course right now and I find it to be my most interesting course right now. AND… we are learning about ZEUS right now! I love that you writing always has some sort of mystical factor to it. KEEP IT UP! 🙂

  2. stuuuuu Said:

    Well written, funny, and insightful. If I were to try and identify the lie, I’d say it is that your boyfriend explained to you, scientifically, how wind works. I’m sure there is such an explanation, but I imagine it’s far too convoluted and in-depth to be discussed over Japanese food.
    But if he did, he sounds like a keeper!

  3. I never would have guessed why your blog title is what it is until I read this post. I never thought of taking a Mythology course but it seems like you got a lot out of it, so maybe I will consider taking it next year.


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