Okay, let’s go back to the mermaid statue. Tonight we heard of the legend of how Warsaw came to be. Well, one of the legends…
The Warsaw Mermaid
Once upon a time lived two mermaids in the Baltic Sea. These half-fish, half-women were beautiful sisters who had spent their whole existence in the sea, before apparently getting bored of the life aquatic. One day they both decided to come ashore. The first sister headed up to the Danish straits, and so she sits at the entrance to the port of Copenhagen to this very day. The other sister swam first to the port of Gdansk, from where she decided to swim the river Vistula to its end. Fortunately for our story, the mermaid decided to rest on a sandy bank on the foot of what is today Warsaw’s Old Town and she loved it so much that she chose to stay.
Soon though, fishermen from the neighbouring village began to notice that someone was letting the fish out of their nets. Annoyed, they decided to capture the culprit and punish him. They didn’t expect to find the mermaid, however, and as soon as they heard her beautiful voice, they vowed never to harm her. Soon, the mermaid would fill every evening with her gorgeous songs to the merriment of the villagers.
One day, a rich merchant was walking by the Vistula and spotted the mermaid. He had the bright idea, as merchants do, to capture her and show her off at a fair, making himself a fat profit in the process. He tricked her and threw her in a wooden shed, but her cries for help were so loud that soon a young (and undoubtedly handsome) fisherman’s son heard her, and with the help of friends set her free. The mermaid, grateful for his aid married the young man and promised to defend them and their village, which would later grow into our beloved Warsaw. The Fisherman’s name was Wars and the Mermaid’s name was Sawa. (Hence, Warszawa – the name of Warsaw in Polish.)
Since then, the mermaid, armed with a sword and shield, has been protecting the city and its inhabitants. She can be seen all over the city, from the statue in the Old Town pictured below, to the city’s coat of arms.