Biaska Castle, the main stronghold featured in both The Heart of a Hussar and A Hussar’s Promise, is a fictional castle set among the Eagles’ Nests fortifications, an area between Częstochowa (Che-cha-ho-wah) and Kraków (Kra-koof) in southern Poland’s Jura Region. The area intrigued me, so I decided to set my fictional castle among these strongholds. Its location is loosely based on the spot where you’ll find Bobolice Castle, featured in the picture above.
The Legend of the White Lady
Researching The Winged Warrior Series led me down many a rabbit warren, where I spent hours chasing one fascinating story after another. Among those were several legends involving Bobolice Castle. I decided to weave one of those tales into the second book: the legend of the White Lady, a ghost who is said to haunt the castle. If you look just above the date stamp in my photo, you will see an orange triangle that’s a whimsical ghost “warning” sign.
As the legend goes, noble twin brothers Bobol and Mir were so close they could read each other’s thoughts. Bobol lived in Bobolice and Mir in Mirów (see picture below), one mile apart. Best friends, they shared everything, including loot they acquired during many military campaigns they embarked upon for the king. Their wealth grew so large, in fact, that they dug vast cellars beneath their strongholds, adding a tunnel that connected them. It was in these cellars and the passageway that they stored their shared treasure.
During one of their campaigns, Bobol chose a princess–rumored to be Russian–as part of his plunder. Since the brothers couldn’t share her as they did the rest of their treasure, they drew straws to see who would marry her. Bobol won the prize. Matters of the heart being what they are, while the princess married Bobol, she apparently preferred Mir.
Unbeknownst to Bobol, his wife and brother became lovers. Whenever Bobol left his manor on a trip, Mir made excuses to stay behind so he could rendezvous with the lady in the tunnel during his brother’s absence.
Bobol apparently became suspicious, and one day he announced he was leaving for the royal court in Kraków, making a show of pulling together wagons and servants. Instead of proceeding on his trip, however, he stopped about a mile away in the forest. When night fell, he slipped back into his castle where he found his wife’s bedchamber empty.
He proceeded to the tunnel where he discovered her sleeping in his faithless brother’s arms. In a fit of rage, he took up his sword and killed Mir. His wife, however, suffered a far worse fate when he had her walled up alive. After several tortured weeks, she finally died from lack of water and food.
It’s said that on moonlit nights, a woman in a long, flowing white dress can be seen standing on Bobolice’s ramparts, looking toward Mirów for her love. Talk about a ghost story!
Pictures of Bobolice Castle and the watchtower at Mirów were taken on my first trip to Poland in August, 2017. So many castles to see, and so little time!