12 June, 2017


Happy Monday friends!We are still visiting my home country, and I hope you will enjoy all the wonderful stories and books and folklore I'll share with you!

So today we are in Lithuania and we will explore:


Lithuanian Folk Tale: 
Eglė the Queen of Serpents is considered one of the most archaic and best-known Lithuanian fairy tales and the richest in references of Baltic mythology. Over a hundred slightly diverging versions of the plot have been collected. Its multi-layered mythological background has been an interest of Lithuanian and foreign researchers of Indo-European mythology; Gintaras Beresnevičius considered it being a Lithuanian theogonic myth. Interestingly, the tale features not only human–reptile shapeshifting, but an irreversible human–tree shapeshifting as well.
Eglė is both a popular female name in Lithuania and also a noun meaning spruce (Picea). The serpents (žaltys) of the tale are grass snakes in Lithuanian, but because they inhabit the sea, the word may mean a mythical water snake.


A young girl named Eglė discovers a serpent in her clothes after bathing with her two sisters. Speaking in a human voice, the serpent agrees to go away only after Eglė pledges herself to him in exchange for his leaving the clothes, not realising the possible consequences. Three days pass, and thousands of serpents come for the bride, but are tricked by her relatives each time. A goose, a sheep and a cow are given instead but the cuckoo warns about the deceit. Enraged serpents return for a final time and take Eglė with them to the bottom of the sea to their master.

Instead of seeing a serpent, Eglė meets her bridegroom Žilvinas, a handsome human - the Serpent Prince. They live together happily and bear four children, until Eglė decides to visit home and her husband denies her permission. In order to be allowed to visit home, Eglė is required to fulfil three impossible tasks: to spin a never-ending tuft of silk, wear down a pair of iron shoes and to bake a pie with no utensils. After she gets advice from the sorceress and succeeds, Žilvinas reluctantly lets Eglė and the children go.

After meeting the long lost family members, Eglė's relatives do not wish to let them back to the sea and decide to kill Žilvinas. His sons are threatened and beaten by their uncles, in order to try to disclose how to summon their father; however, they remain silent and do not betray him. Finally, a frightened daughter discloses the secret and The twelve brothers call Žilvinas the Serpent from the sea and kill him.

When Eglė discovers that her beloved is dead, as a punishment for betrayal she turns her children and herself into trees - the sons into strong trees, an oak, an ash and a birch, whereas the daughter was turned into a quaking aspen and herself into a spruce.

If you want to read the full fairy tale you can do that here


My parents used to read this fairy tale to my brother and me, I also remember seeing it as a play and a musical, and actually my brother was in a musical playing Egle's father (so proud!)

I remember when I was kid, this fairy tale was one of my favorite (I have so many more, which I will preset in other posts). Every time my family would go by the lake to swim I would always be afraid of the serpent coming and taking me, I used to never walk barefoot to the water and always repeat 'not me not me not me' when swimming! I was so adorable :D

But I think that this tale is so beautiful and filled with the old Baltic mythology!

Let me know if you guys liked it!

See you next Monday!


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