Lithuanians protect and cherish their folklore. Parents tell tales and legends, sing lullabies to their young children, teach folk dancing – this is how the traditions are passed from generation to generation. Therefore, all Lithuanians know at least a few proverbs, jokes, or riddles, and know how to celebrate feasts according to the old Lithuanian customs. And of course they have countless legends about every place of the country visited by tourist. Perhaps most legends are created about the great oak Stelmuze and Puntukas stone.
Rich history of Stelmuze oak
It is said that this one of the oldest oaks in Europe now is older than the name of Lithuania itself – about one and a half thousand years. The Stelmuze oak and its entire surroundings is a reminder of the past: legends tell that the holy fire was once burning under the branches of this tree, and sacrifices to the ancient Lithuanian God Perkunas were offered.
The oak would tell a lot about the Lithuanian grand dukes who would occasionally would come here for hunting. Armed enemy squads preparing to attack Lithuania, and Lithuanians, who wanted to counter the Crusader attacks also marched through these places. Once, the skeleton and the rifle of the Napoleon's army soldier escaping from Russia was found in the oak’s hollows. The legends tell that the soldier had equipped himself a hideout in the oak hollow.
Elderly people were also telling about treasures under the roots of Stelmuze, or stories that you can enter the hollow oak and descend into the underworld from there. Yet other legends about how the Stelmuze oak top went missing, because the height of the tree is not as surprising as its thickness – to embrace the oak tree, you should have at least eight men. It is believed that the tree top was required to stop the evil king: serfs cut it off and blocked the road so that the angry lord could not pass.
Devil's carried out and lost Puntukas stone
Near Anyksciai you will find the most visited country’s stone named Puntukas. It is the second largest stone in Lithuania, weighing 265 tons. Archaeologists of (http://lt.wikipedia.org/wiki/ArcheologijaArcheologų) believe that the giant boulder was left by the Scandinavian mountain glaciers that moved through this place about 20-14 thousand years ago. And the legend says that Puntukas was carried not only by the glaciers but also by the devil wanted to use it for demolishing Anyksciai church. However, the rooster crowed, the devil lost Puntukas, and the stone sized as a house rolled into the wood.
There are other legends that say that a valiant Lithuanian military commander, hero Puntukas, who wanted to kidnap a priestess guarding the holy fire, was burnt on this stone.
However Puntukas stone commemorates not just legends, but also the real heroes of Lithuania, Steponas Darius and Stasys Girenas who were the first in the world to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The stone is now decorated with a bas-relief.
And these are just a few legends about Lithuania and its touristic areas. When visiting Lithuania, ask your tour guide or a friend with whom you stay, and they really will tell you the legends and interesting stories about in each place of Lithuania.