The Story of Princess Anastasia
We dedicate this page to Princess
Anastasia and her yeoman swain Lech, and to the legend of their
undying love that has given us the Anastasia line:
molded porcelain, cast in fire, and even today individually crafted
in clay and hand-finished by Silesian Potters, in the little mediaeval
hamlets around Walbrzych and Schawno Zdroj, hidden away in the Sudeten
mountains and enchanted forests of unforgettable East Prussia and
Southern Poland a beautiful land of breathtaking castles
and forgotten kingdoms, gallant knights and porcelain princesses,
spun from fairy-tales and woven together with its richness of history
A thousand years ago, there lived in the valley of Silesia,
in the Zamek Ksiancz (pronounced "Samec Sh-n-awsh")
castle of Waldenburg or Walbrzych as it is called in Polish
(pronounced "Va-ub-jzhiq"), hidden away in the
misty shadows of the Sudeten Mountains, a beautiful princess. Her
name was Anastasia.
She was so lovely and desirable that all the princes of Europe
of her time wanted to woo her. They came, one and all, bearing gifts
of gold and ivory and silk, ere they may catch a glimpse of the
mien of their moon-goddess, or a solitary rose from her hair. But
our fair Anastasia had not eyes for any of these princely suitors.
And yet, her beauty shined liked the Sun upon all Silesia
for she was in love.
But the apple of Anastasias beautiful doe-eyes was no prince
he was a common man. He was the handsome young Lech (pronounced
"Lek"), who lived in the woods of Schawno
Zdroj (pronounced "Shkav-noz-druie"). He
was a potter, and made the most beautiful clay images that you could
Lech was a common man, and yet he had the fingers of an artist,
and the heart of a lover. Anastasia had met him in the woods, working
with his hands with ceramic clay beside a glorious patch of flowers,
and he had made her a porcelain rose. However, he worked with his
heart and the love that was within him, and the clay rose was more
beautiful, and smelt more sweet than any real rose. The blushing
Anastasia had flushingly accepted her rose, shyly given, and had
run home to her castle tower, but she had left her heart behind.
She had also taken with her not only Lechs rose, but also
his heart, for they were two beautiful young people whose hearts
and souls had been joined to each others, tied together by
the eternal bonds of true love.
In the glorious sunlit
days of the Silesian summer that followed, they met again and again,
to lose themselves in each others eyes each time. And each
time Lech would give her something he had made for her at his potters
wheel. Anastasia would take her gift to her boudoir to love, admire
and dote over, as she did her Lech, until her walls and chambers
were filled his works. He had made each gift with his hands and
his heart, and there was a part of him in each piece of clay. They
kept her company and brought her Lech to Anastasia all the time
when he was not with her.
So continued a long summer of love, until one day the cold winds
of fall started to blow.
As all good things must, Anastasias days of happiness were
coming to an end.
One day, the king, her father, found out about Lech. The king was
furious. He ordered Anastasia to her room in the castle tower, and
put a lock on her door.
He then quickly invited Gennady, the king of Bohemia (in the modern-day
Czech Republic) one of Anastasias luckless suitors
to come quickly to Walbrzych to marry Anastasia.
The old king also sent his soldiers to capture Lech, who was found,
chained and brought to the kings court. The king charged him
with treason, and sentenced him to banishment for life exile
from the enchanted kingdom of Silesia.
However, as a last request, Anastasia was allowed to see Lech for
one last time. When she saw him, she held him to her bosom, and
with tearful eyes, bid him to make for her one last immortal gift
of clay. Lech made her his last gift, a beautiful ceramic image
of the princess herself, captured in the days of their joyful love,
with the wind in her hair, and the sun on her lips, and the stars
in her eyes. Giving her this last gift, Lech bid her good-bye, and
left the castle.
Lech then left Silesia forever, with a heavy heart and sad memories
of love and of his sweet princess Anastasia. But he vowed to spend
all of eternity making with his hands and his heavy heart porcelain
gifts for his sweet Anastasia, lest one day perhaps in a
kinder future lifetime she could have them and know his love
again. No one knows whence he went, and nought was he heard from
After Lech had departed, the king and Gennady went to Anastasias
chamber to look for her.
But when they went there, Anastasia was nowhere to be found. They
looked in her bedchamber, and then in the other chambers, and then
all over the palace, and the castle grounds. And then they looked
all over the city, and in the forest, and in all Silesia. But Anastasia
too was gone forever.
Only, in her bedchamber
her porcelain statue was found. But no longer did it laugh
as Lech had made it laugh. There were now tears in the eyes of the
porcelain Anastasia, and nothing could stop them from flowing.
The legend was born that Anastasia had not wanted to live any more,
without her Lech, and had entered the statue herself, to be imprisoned
for an eternity in the porcelain clay that had once known, as she
had, the touch of his strong yeoman potters hands.
The story goes that the only way Anastasia would return, would
be if her fateful swain Lech were to be found again and brought
back to the castle. If he should kiss the tearful rose-petal lips
of the porcelain princess, Anastasia would come back to life again
The old king was brokenhearted and wished for all the world that
he could make amends, but there was nought that he could do. He
spent the rest of his years searching for Lech all over the world
and waiting for his darling Anastasia to be brought back to life.
Lech was never found. But from time to time, one still finds here
and there an odd piece of pottery bearing the legend, for
my Anastasia. If you should come upon one of these, mark
well where you got it, for you may have come upon the secret of
the whereabouts of the illusive and handsome Silesian potter, and
you may hold the key to the lost smile of Anastasia.