Last week we looked at three legends of Wrocław's Stare Miasto: The Gambling Priest, The Lightning on the Bell Tower, and last but not least, The Bridge of Penitents. This second and final article on the legends of Wrocław's old town features another two great stories. Read on to find out …
The Peddler’s Ghost
Many years ago, back when the Rynek was actually used as a marketplace, there worked a very greedy vendor who would haggle over every penny. She was notorious in the area for the tenacity of her salesmanship, as she would regularly press customers for every spare grosz and accuse those who didn’t buy anything of theft.
After she died, the vendor was buried in the cemetery at Saint Elizabeth’s church… But she didn’t stay buried for long!
Every night for many weeks after her death, the boy whose job it was to guard the Rynek swore he could see the woman’s coffin opening and her ghost rising from the grave. The ghost would cross over to the place where her stall had stood for many years and there she would begin to sell her invisible wares to customers who didn’t exist.
When the boy told the rest of the town what he had seen, no one believed him so he decided to get some proof. One night , he broke into the cemetery while the ghost was away and stole from the woman’s coffin her white burial cloth.
Instantly, the ghost saw what had happened and letting out a blood-curdling shriek, she gave chase. The boy ran into the nearby church and up the steps of the tower to try to get away from her, but the ghost was quicker and full of rage. Like an animal, she scaled the wall of the church and no matter how fast the boy ran, she was always just a few steps behind him, her hands outstretched and her ghostly eyes full of fury.
Fortunately, luck was on the boy’s side. As he reached the top of the tower (and found himself trapped with nowhere to run), suddenly there came from the distance the crowing of a rooster.
Dawn had come. With the coming of the daylight, the ghost instantly lost her power and vanished before the boy’s eyes never to be seen again. He showed the white burial cloth to the townspeople as proof of what he had seen and everyone was amazed at what he had seen.
The dumpling clock is sadly no longer with us but it used to hang on the tower of Saint Barbara at the Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Nativity on Świętego Mikołaja. You can still see the place where it used to hang.
The story goes that long ago, there lived in the local area a businessman whose wife could never do anything on time. Every day, her husband would return from work only to find that his wife had barely started cooking his dinner. Night after night he was forced to wait while she finished cooking his favourite dumplings for him and no matter how much he shouted at her about it, she could never get dinner ready on time.
One day, the merchant decided he had had enough so he tried to come up with a way to stop his wife being so lazy. Struck with inspiration, he asked the local church if it could move its clock forward by ten minutes. The church agreed.
Sure enough, the next day the woman heard the clock chiming the hour and, panicking, she started throwing things in the pot for the evening meal. Ten minutes later she knew something was up when suddenly all of the other clocks in the city started ringing the hour and her husband walked in through the door, beaming with pride that his ruse had worked.
For the first time ever, dinner was ready on time.