Friday, February 26, 2010

Lielais Kristaps (40/100)

This is a statue on the bank of the right bank of the Daugava, where Old Riga is. It commemorates the totally goofy legend of the founding of Riga. Supposedly, once upon a time Giant Kristaps (Christopher) lived in a hut at this spot and worked as a ferryman taking people back and forth across the river. One day, he heard a baby crying on the other side of the river, and decided for circumstances that may be explained in the story but maybe not, that the solution was to carry the baby across the river. Being giant and all, he could do that. But as he was carrying the baby across the river, said baby turned out to be really, really heavy. Kristaps almost collapsed and drowned, the baby was so heavy. But Kristaps made it back to his side of the river, and was exhausted, and immediately fell asleep. When he woke up, the baby was gone, but had left Kristaps a big pot of gold. No, the baby was not a baby leprechaun. It turns out (and I'm pretty sure this isn't explained in any version of the story) that it was Baby Jesus, and he was so heavy because he carried the weight of the world's sins on his shoulders. And also, because he had a hidden pot of gold with him. And if you were Baby Jesus and you found yourself wandering around Latvia, and then came to a river, wouldn't you just lie down and cry until some giant came and carried you across the river? Anyway, Kristaps realized that this miracle Baby Jesus gold should not be spent on just anything, so he naturally decided to use it to build a city. And then apparently used the rest to pay people to live in the city.

And that's how Riga came to be. It's a fact; you can look it up.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's Friday, and that means that the Second Weekly State Department Blog Roundup is up - and you're on it!

Here is the link:

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