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Ruffians’ meadow

Punkt na szlaku: On the ruffians’ paths

There are not many places like Gorce Jaworzyna Kamienicka meadow, where tradition and legend placed so many ruffians’ souvenirs and threads. There is a chapel with a hidden treasure, a cave serving as a hiding place, spring with water healing wounds and an apparition in the form of ruffian’s head separated from the body. read more

Gorce Jaworzyna Kamienicka fully deserves the name of ruffians’ meadow. There are not many places like Gorce Jaworzyna Kamienicka meadow, where tradition and legend placed so many ruffians’ souvenirs and motifs. Located at the height of 1190 – 1288 m AMSL on the north-east slope of the hill bearing the same name (Jaworzyna Kamienicka - 1288 m AMSL) it is one of the most beautiful Gorce meadows and a wonderful sightseeing place. Sheep and oxen were grazing here until relatively recently.

At the upper edge of the meadow there is a small so-called Bulandowa brick chapel. It was founded in 1904 by the legendary Tomasz Chlipała from Szczaw, called Bulanda, famous Gorce manager of local shepherd (pl. baca) and magician, who managed the land for over 50 years. Allegedly, he founded it with the money received for medical treatment and advice offered to people, but the legend also says that it was constructed with ruffians’ gold.

Once, when baca’s assistants (pl. juhas) were making holes for the pasture’s fence with a steel wheel, it got stuck so deep that they couldn’t take it out. Baca called to help soon deducted that the wheel got stuck in a wooden chest with steel furniture, or in a kotlik covered by a cover. He sent shepherds away and when they left with sheep to the other side of the meadow, he took out the wheel, dug out the hole and uncovered ruffians’ treasure. For the time being he hid it in his chest in the shed, sure, that nobody will touch it, afraid of magic items placed there, just like in any baca’s chest. When juhas came, he told them the story about kotlik, as traces of it were quite obvious, adding that when he left for a while, somebody took it, and now shepherds were looking suspiciously one at another.

On the spot where the treasure was found, Bulanda erected a chapel and hid the treasure under it convinced, that even if somebody will deduce where the ruffians’ gold is, the person will not touch it afraid of sacrilege. Allegedly, before his death, he divulged the location to a friend, baca from Babia Góra, but the person couldn’t take it out, when he started digging, all of a sudden incredible number of venomous vipers appeared or a storm commenced. Other versions of the legend about the foundation of the chapel do not relate it to ruffians’ treasure, but rather to personal motifs of the founding person.

The chapel is the oldest in Gorce sacred place, under the careful supervision of the Gorce National Park. Four-sided, made of brick and plastered pile with a small niche under the eaves it is covered by cone-like, shingle roof with a bulbous cupola.

About 800 metres away from the chapel, on the western slopes of the meadow, there is a small cave called Ruffians’ Pit (pl. Zbójnicka Jama). According to the legend its corridors lead away to Dunajec and under the neighbouring Mogielica. Allegedly, it was a favourite hiding place of ruffians who also hid treasures here. Despite the fact that the entrance to the cave is not easy (vertical well, 3.5 metres deep) until recently traces of search for ruffians’ treasure were visible here.

Even half a century ago, at the bottom of the meadow a small spring of water was indicated as having miracle healing properties. Ruffians came here to clear their wounds which were immediately healed.

The meadow also has its ruffian’s spectre. Since time immemorial head separated from the body is haunting here; it belonged to vice-hetman, or one of the companions of jealous harnaś. As the ruffian was superior to his ringleader not only in dexterity, but also in cleverness, skills and good looks, the latter deceitfully killed him, and he threw the head cut away with an axe to a ravine. Allegedly, it appears on the place of the murder, and even if somebody would take it and bury it following a Christian ritual, it will always come back to its place.

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