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The peaceful waves of the lagoon, the verdant pine forests and the legendary dunes of the Curonian Spit… This is me talking, Neringa, the one you’ve heard so much about, whose enigmatic origin is the subject of many stories but is still unclear. I would like to tell you how this majestic landscape came into existence many centuries ago.
One fateful year, when the harvest was astonishingly plentiful, I came into the world – a rosy-cheeked little girl. As fate would have it, my father, named Karvaitis, was the ruler of a castle that had stood for many centuries. It was no ordinary castle – it stood majestic and strong, made of centuries-old oak, dedicated to honour the goddess Laima. Perhaps this was the reason why the locals said hat I was born marked by our gracious goddess Laima, who determined people’s successes and failures.
Everything would have continued as it had done until now, but here’s what happened… My parents decided to call me Neringa, which is when all the strangeness began – being just a baby, I started growing not by the year but by the day! I was just nine months old and I was already a beautiful girl who was every boy’s centre of attention. Soon my parents started hurrying to build a magnificent palace for me to live in peace. I didn’t like staying in the palace – I wanted to be kind and bring happiness to everyone I met: I would pull out those who were stuck in the sand and rescue sinking ships from the clutches of the sea. Word soon started spreading that a maiden living on a small island of the Baltic Sea was spreading joy to everyone. The young men of the shore immediately rushed to ask for my hand in marriage! But I told them that I would only marry the one who could throw a stone across the lagoon to Ventė Castle.
The young men’s competition took a long time, but no matter how hard they tried, no one was able to throw a stone to Ventė Castle. One day, a dazzlingly charming young man showed up and, as it turned out, he was the ruler of Ventė Castle itself. When he approached me, no words were needed – when our eyes met, our hearts intertwined. It seemed that the air itself started trembling – the ruler gathered all his strength and threw the stone across the lagoon to his own castle. The promise was fulfilled – I promised to give him my hand in marriage, my heart, and my eternal surrender to him.
But the wrathful Bangputys became very angry that I had not asked for his permission to get married – he started a huge storm that lasted for thirteen days and thirteen nights. The sea mixed with the sky, ships sank one after another, and people were imprisoned at home. No words could describe the pain I felt seeing people and nature suffer so much. So I filled my apron full of sand and walked into the raging sea, pouring a trail of sand which separated the sea from the lagoon. The calamity ended in an instant – the coast of the sea calmed down, me and my lover had a great wedding, and the people of the area were so grateful that they gave us the most precious wedding gift – they named the strip of sand after me.
I remain standing here – in the place where the Kūliai Gate once stood, protecting the city from enemies and robbers. And now, I carry on my shoulders two sailboats and give you peaceful lagoon waves, green pine forests and the legendary dunes of Curonian Spit…
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