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Lech, Czech and Rus Posted by on Aug 18, 2011 in Culture, History, Legends

This legend is about the beginning of Poland, bout our emblem, and about the first capital city. There are a lot of jokes you may here about these 3 brothers, however don’t take them to serious. This is the real legend I heard as a child and still remember it.

Over one thousand years ago, there lived a king who ruled over the lands that lay near the mouth of the Vistula River. When the king died, his wealth was left to his three sons, Lech, Czech and Rus. Their father’s kingdom was not large enough to be divided between the three brothers, so they decided to set out in search of other lands.

Lech was the oldest and became the new chief. His brothers were jealous and the three often quarreled over which of them would make the best leader. After months of weary travel, the three brothers came upon a hill in a land of green meadows. At the top of the hills stood a giant Oak tree, and above the tree flew a great white eagle.

“That eagle is a good sign from the Gods!” Lech told his brothers. “I’m going to climb this tree and have a look around.” As Lech climbed up the tree he saw the eagle’s nest high in the branches. The eagle flew near him and would not let him come close to the nest. But he had climbed high enough to see for miles in every direction.

To the north Lech saw a large body of water. To the east he saw an endless plain of flat and fertile land and to the south were hills where sheep and cattle could graze. To the west was a thick, dark forest.

Lech came down and told his brothers what he had seen. Czech wanted to go south and Rus argued that east would be better. Finally, the three brothers decided to separate. The people who agreed with Czech went with Czech. The people who agreed with Rus went with Rus. Czech and Rus went further on to search for the places suitable for their people. They said good bye to each other and wandered away – Czech to the South and founded Czech Republic and Rus to the East and founded Russia. But most of the people remained with Lech and asked him which way he planned to go.

“We will stay right here!” Lech told them. Thus, Lech became the first Duke of Poland and he assumed leadership of the Western Slays. So, the people began to build a town there on the hill, and Lech chose the white eagle with its wings spread wide as their emblem.  Then the sky was red because of the setting sun. Lech decided that from that moment this would be the sign of him and his peoples. And so it is until today – the white eagle on the red background is the Polish emblem.

They called their town Gniezno, which means “A Nest” in the Polish language. The town became the capital of their nation. As time went on, their country became known as Poland.

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

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About the Author:Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew up in Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.


  1. Kuba:

    YOur emails are now only coming through with about a sentence and a half. Not the whole story. Something has changed.

  2. Gary:


    Click on the title and another page will come up with the entire posting. In the last case, click on “Lech, Czech and Rus”.


  3. Kuba:

    Correct it comes up in the browser. It used to be part of the Email.
    Not a problem.

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