The legend of Hany Istók

The legend of Hany Istók

by Haasz Zoltan, 12/01/2015
A lost child grew up in the marshes of Lake Király

Accordingly to the story fishermen from the town of Kapuvár caught a boy aged between 8 and 10 in one of the marshy parts of Lake Király-tó in the area called Hanság in March 1749. The captured creature was a lost child who stayed alive and grew wild in the world of water around the lake. The boy was unable to talk, had become completely untamed, who, according to contemporary records, got perfectly accustomed to if in the moors: he was totally naked, his skin got crusty and thick, his body was covered with hair, and had webbed fingers and toes. Eye witnesses even remember seeing him be able to catch fish while swimming under the water. The child was baptised to the name of István on 17 March 1749 according to the records of the parish of Kapuvár. He was taken to the local castle.
The story tells that the boy could not talk, neither could he be taught to, he could merely produce animal sounds. He ate grass, raw fish and frogs, he could swim in the water as fish do, and there were webs between his fingers. People tried to provide him with education but they did not succeed, therefore he was given plain jobs like carrying water and roasting meat. Swordsmen treated him harsh and merciless so he escaped several times, the dragged back with search-dog groups. According to the tradition, he had only one patroness in the castle, the castellan’s daughter called Juliska, who defended him many times. Juliska got married around 1751. Istók Hany wanted to please his patroness, so he poured a bowl of frogs on the feast table. This time István was beaten up again, so he fled the following day. Now, no one managed to capture him. Many years later, fishermen beheld him again in the moors, but he ducked under the water, never to reappear.

pk5_Hany Istók Tőke Péter rajza

Graphic about Hany Istók by Péter Tőke


Lake Király in the Hanság


Lake King (Király-tó), Hungary