The Legend of Brzesc

       The legend says, that once one very prosperous merchant decided to go from Germany or maybe any other land to Baltic lands to trade his numerous commodities there. He called his friends to join him. They organised string of carts, hired well-accoutred guard and at dawn the merchant and his followers took leave of their families, friends; took icons that usually saved them from danger and started on a journey. They heard for some time women crying as if they were going to a war not to trade. Though, that time the difference was not big.

        Not one day were they going through primeval, almost impenetrable forest. Even experienced participants of the team were looking around astonished and with fear because it was the first time that they found themselves in such a forest. People and horses got exceedingly tired. There were not enough forage for horses. The travellers hoped to find a better road and a place where they could have a rest for some days.

        But the conditions of travellers even worsened. One day when it seemed that they found a better road, in reality,  they found themselves in impassable swamp. Here or there the cries for help were heard. Not everybody was given a help. Some horses together with loaded carts foundered. The carts could not move further.

        Travellers spent a restless night on the marsh. In the morning they tried to find the way back to go around this marshy area. But nothing could be seen: neither tracks of their wheels nor the way back. Everything was erased by the bog. One more day was spent amidst impassable swamp. Everybody was praying in hope to leave this damned place alive. Nobody could close his eyes the following night. All hoped that the master of the string of carts will do something. The merchant was sitting near one of the carts, thinking about his wife, little son, mother and father whom he barely remembered because his father was also a merchant and did not return from far lands. Thinking he dozed. He dreamed his mother saying, "Take what I have always given you in trip." The merchant woke up immediately, run up to the cart and produced a small icon of Saint Marie. He started praying her to help him and his people, and  he promised to build a church in her honour if she helps them. People on the marsh saw a woman like apparition above them that stayed for a while and then disappeared. Now he knew where to go.

        At dawn he ordered to pave a brushwood-road to one oak standing alone in the East. The road was covered with a birch bark so that the carts could go and not stick in the mud. For three days people were making a road to the oak-saviour. When they reached the cherished place horses started eating grass very enthusiastically, people fell asleep and nobody could wake them up. When all were ready to continue the trip the merchant ordered to bring all birch bark to the oak and pile it there. He said that on the way back they would build a church in honour of  their salvation. On their way back they really built a church. Later people started building houses around the church and a settlement appeared on that place. The name stayed Bierascie what pertains to birch bark. Later on the name of the town changed to Brest. People say that the oak was standing till the last century and only one fall stormy night the tree fell and the last witness of that ancient deed died.

Return