The origins of the Piast dynasty.

-King Popiel was a cruel ruler who lived at Kruszwica (in Kujawy, just to the east of Greater Poland proper) in mid 9th century, but ruled the neighboring Polanie in Greater Poland. He resisted the advice of his uncles to convert to Christianity. And he did not take the German threat from the west seriously enough. His evil wife Hilderyka (hmmm, isnt that a German name?) convinced him that the uncles were the true threat.

-Meanwhile, there was in his kingdom a popular wheelwright, Piast, who had a son (Ziemowit or Siemowit, from the word for `seed'). At the sonís coming-of-age ceremony (age 7: postrzyzyny, passing from motherís (=Rzepicha) care to that of his father), two tall strangers appeared. Piast treated them with uncalculated and sincere hospitality. In return, they caused food to multiply without end, as more and more people came to celebrate with the popular peasant. The strangers also predicted that Piast would be King of the Poles, a patent absurdity for a mere peasant, of course.

-One fine day Popiel and Hilderyka invited all the uncles to dinner, whereupon the hosts poisoned them. Of course, the Germans attacked at the same time (hmm, isn't Hilderyka a German name?) and the King was in no position to deal with them by himself. Mice climbed out of the bodies of the uncles and chased P. and H. up a tower on an island in nearby Lake Goplo. Mysia wieza (The Mice Tower) still stands, although it is actually part of a castle built in the 14th century by Casimir the Great.

-Meanwhile the peasant Piast lead the Polanians to victory over the Germans. After the battle, Piast was named king (as predicted), the beginning of the Piast dynasty. Note that the Polish royalty had PEASANT origin [as opposed to foreign or divine, often found in such legends ].

The above is a copy of part of a page posted by Prof. Gilbert Rappaport.