Why you find “goat hooves” in the Lake Balaton and why there is an echo at Tihany
Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess. No matter how far men were coming from to admire her beauty no one could have a word with the maid as she was mute. She grazed her flock of golden haired goats on the hills surrounding the hill of Tihany.
Once, the grey-haired King of Waves emerging from the Balaton beheld the maid. He asked for a jug of goat’s milk for his sick son and promised to dissolve her muteness in return. The young prince recovered from the goat’s milk at once and the maid rose to speak in a jingling voice. The young man fell in love with her as he beheld her, however, the princess’ heart was filled with pride. She refused to speak to anyone, and cruelly rejected the son of the King of Waves, too, who finally died of his sorrow.
The king was raging: he cursed the cruel maid and locked her up in a rock. The golden haired flock was left without their owner and was devoured by the Lake Balaton, ever since, the waves of the lake have been casting up their hooves, which nowadays people call goat hooves. And how about the haughty princess? No one has seen her there ever since. The king’s curse has taken on her: as she would speak to no one earlier, now, locked up in the rock she is ready to respond to everyone who addresses her, passing by the rock. She has become the echo of Tihany.
(Goat hooves as a matter of fact, are the worn-off remnants of a shell called Congeria ungula caprae, which used to be found in the gradually sweetening Pannon Sea covering the area approximately five million years ago).
Peninsula Tihanyi with the Balaton
Statue of ’Tihany Echo’ sculpted by Miklós Borsos (bronze, 1985., Tihany, Hungary)
Peninsula Tihanyi, Hungary
B. Kovács Fréda: A tihanyi visszhang (Magyar mondák 11) 2009.
Garay János: Rege a tihanyi visszhangról című verse
Csokonai Vitéz Mihály: A tihanyi Ekhóhoz című verse