Tuesday, April 3, 2018

C is for Castles of questionable stability (WTF Hungary - Weird Things in Hungarian Folktales)

Welcome to this year's A to Z Challenge titled WTF Hungary - Weird Things in Hungarian Folktales! You can find all other participating blogs on the A to Z Challenge main blog.

Yesterday I already talked about the Bacon Castle - but that is by far not the only strange royal building in the Hungarian landscape. We also have...

Castle Spinning on a Duck Leg
Which is so much so the synonym of "fancy castle" in our folktales that we use the same term for any luxury home. It is exactly what it sounds like: A castle, on a gigantic duck leg, spinning around. Why? Umm... we are not sure. Some people theorize that it refers to Ursa Minor, turning around the North Star. Others claim it is a solar symbol, since some tales say the castle "always turned towards the sun." In many stories, the hero, on his way to fight dragons and rescue princesses, has to threaten the castle to get inside: "Stop spinning or I'll break your leg!"

Castle Built on a Straw
In the folktale of The Straw King, the hero - with the help of a magical servant who lives inside a gold pocket watch - builds a castle on top of a steep cliff, balanced on a single straw. He is challenged to do so by a king, who thinks it is impossible; when the castle appears, balancing on a straw, the king slaps the first three messengers that bring him the news, telling them not to lie (until he is convinced to look out the window, duh). The castle later gets stolen by an evil rival, and the hero has to set out to find and recover it. More about this later.

Castle Built on a Flower
In the tale of the Seven-Legged Horse, a brave female hero sets out to recover the Sun, Moon, and Stars from an evil dragon. She works for an old woman who lives in a cave; in exchange for her work, the old woman tells her where to find the dragon. The directions point her to a silk meadow, in which stands a castle built on a single flower. That is the castle of the dragon.
(Honestly, evil celestial thief or not, it sounds like the dragon had great aesthetic...)

Would you move into any of these? I'm partial to the flower...


  1. Sounds not unlike Baba Yaga’s house on chicken legs! No,
    I don’t think I’d want to live in any of those castles!

    https://suebursztynski.blogspot.com.au/2018/04/blogging-to-z-2018-c-is-for-collins.html (Aussie Children’s Writers)

  2. I wouldn't mind moving into the castle on a flower if the dragon moved out first - as you said great aesthetic!


  3. I'm starting to think that Hungarian story tellers were heavy drinkers - the duck leg castle is crazy. Thanks for sharing.

  4. flower...definitely the flower castle...zoe

  5. Castle spinning on a Duck Leg - these are getting weirder and weirder! Love it :-)

  6. Hooray for more Hungarian/folktale weirdness! I want to say I'd choose the duck legged castle, but honestly all that spinning would probably make me sick. :P

  7. No thought to physics or engineering here, hunh? Of course, since they are from fantasies (I'm guessing), their world may have completely different physics rules. Quite enjoyable read!

  8. I would pick the flower also. If the dragon moved out first and someone gave it a good cleaning.

  9. Now those do not sound like good foundations for large stone buildings at all, but I kinda like the aesthetic of the built on a flower castle :)
    Ghostly Inspirations - Sophies A to Z

  10. Can I have that suoer-strong flower? I'll let you keep the castle :)

  11. The Castle spinning on a Duck Leg has me intrigued. I would have to go with that one. :)
    Once Upon a Time

  12. This is awesome! I'm obsessed with castles (I keep drawing up plans for them) and I once worked on construction for a mansion based on a castle construction. I love the creativity of fairytales and how they all use their own internal logic, rejecting our reality.

  13. Great stories all of them, but I'm so taken by the last one with the dragon.

  14. I'm partial to structural integrity - none of these fill me with confidence ;)
    Tasha's Thinkings - Movie Monsters

  15. These castles sound really amazing to me. But I guess I'd never try to get into any of them...

  16. Castle spinning on a duck leg... ohhh-kayyy...

  17. I'd never heard of these, but I like the idea of the castle built on a flower. The one spinning on a duck leg sounds bizarre!

  18. Time to catch up! These are some crazy castles, love it!
    Jamie Lyn Weigt | Theme: Odds and Ends Dragons | Writing Dragons