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    The assault on the daughter of Kazimierz Jagiellończyk

    Lords built fortified castles and little castles in the Beskid mountains. However, they were not always used to protect borders. As many merchant and pilgrim routes led here, some of the nobles began to engage in robberies and assaults. According to legend, the famous highwaymen were the brothers Spytko and Włodko Szkrzyński of the Swan coat of arms, the owners of Żywiec, Grojec, and the surrounding area.

    They stalked the roads in the mid-15th century, remaining elusive for the royal army. The brothers collaborated with other similar “knights” incl. with Gels, the owner of the Kopiec nad Solą castle. The Skrzyńskis attacked merchant caravans going from or to the Czech Republic and Hungary. They were famous for their vengeance, cruelty, and unrestrained lust for profit. The robbers did not stop at anything – the knight Gels raised his hand to the king’s daughter Elizabeth. The attack was carried out on the road to Kraków, Elżbieta managed to escape. The fury of Kazimierz Jagiellończyk was enormous. Tracking down Gels, it was found out that Spytko Skrzyński was probably helping him. The royal army moved to the castle in Grojec, and Spytko prepared for the siege. As it happens in legends, and in life it happens, the magnate was betrayed by someone from his close circle. The fortified walls and the food supply were useless, and the soldiers set up all possible secret escape routes and forced him to surrender. The only thing at stake was the death sentence issued by Kazimierz Jagiellończyk himself. Spytka was closed in a large oak barrel studded with nails, which was thrown from the castle hill. 

    The whole matter would probably have been quickly forgotten, if one day a misty figure had not appeared in the courtyard of the Żywiec castle, rolling a large barrel in front of it. Soon the phantom was gone, but a dull rumbling sounded from under the ground for a moment. People began to tell that the spirit of Skrzyński did penance for his crimes. Since then, these strange, spooky sounds can be heard not only in the Żywiec castle but also in the streets leading to it.


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