The Glass Mountain - a folktale from Poland | Sunday Observer

The Glass Mountain - a folktale from Poland

5 February, 2023

Once upon a time there was a golden castle on top of a Glass Mountain. The garden of the castle had an apple tree which had golden apples. Only those who could pick an apple were permitted to enter the castle.

The princess

There was a silver room in the castle and there lived a beautiful and rich princess. She was decked with many gold and silver ornaments.

There were princes who came from various parts of the world to marry the princess. They tried to climb the mountain and enter the castle as they wanted to win the princess’s heart.

But none of them reached more than a half of the mountain’s height. Even though they had the most powerful horses, they couldn’t reach the peak. They slipped down and some brave men were injured.

Many knights too had come from afar to try their luck. They attempted to climb the mountain but in vain. In spite of having their horses shod with sharp nails, no one managed to get more than half-way up, and then they all fell back right down to the bottom of the steep, slippery mountain.

Some broke an arm, some a leg, and many a brave man had even broken his neck.

The princess sat by the window and smiled at every prince who tried to climb up the mountain. It motivated the princes and knights. She spent many years near the window, watching young men trying to climb the mountain and failing.

A village boy

One day, a village boy came to know about the Glass Mountain, the golden castle and the beautiful princess. He heard everything about the knights and princes who were wounded when climbing the mountain. He decided to try his luck.

The next morning, the boy went to the jungle and hunted a wild cat. He removed its claws and fixed them to his fingers. He started climbing the mountain. By evening he had not passed more than half of the mountain.

He felt thirsty. There was a cloud passing by. He opened his mouth, but the cloud just passed by without shedding a drop of water. His feet started to bleed and he started to climb with his hands. The boy looked down the mountain and there were many skeletons of horses and knights and princes.

After a while it was pitch dark. He fell asleep but held on to the mountain with his claws stuck to the glass. It was quite safe. At the end he reached the apple tree.

The guardian eagle of the apple tree was around. It was about to go out for its daily hunting when it saw the village boy crawling from the bottom of the mountain.

And the eagle was proud of the masculinity of the boy. “No fatigue. Doesn’t give up” the eagle thought and was impressed.

Therefore, the eagle gave one chance to the boy to pick an apple from the highest branch of the tree. Though he was tired the village boy did pluck an apple. The guardian eagle realised that this was the right match for the princess.

The guardian eagle blessed the princess and the new prince and they lived happily ever after.