Many cities have founding myths that explain some aspect of their history and sometimes their name. Kielce, a city in southern Poland, is no different, though their story certainly is quite unique. A statue on the town square depicts a large imposing boar, which is situated on top of a pedestal and surrounded by six brass plates that tell its story.
The story centers around Prince Mieszko Bolesławowic, son of the 11th-century Polish King Bolesław II. The prince was sent out into the woods with a large army escort on a hunting trip after the king got into an argument with the Bishop of Krakow and feared for his son’s life in retaliation.
In the woods, the prince and his men found and slayed many beasts, while living an otherwise unremarkable life. That is until one day, when Prince Mieszko saw a giant boar and decided to follow it on his own. This nearly ended in tragedy as he drove into a branch and was knocked out cold.
While he was unconscious, the prince dreamt that someone had given him poison and that he was dying. However, just before the end Saint Wojciech appeared and healed the prince with cleansing water that appeared from a spot below his cane. The prince woke up to discover that he had been found and helped by his men. To his surprise, he also saw the river from his dreams, and also a pair of large boar tusks (Kły) on the place where he was knocked out.
He decided to build a city here on this holy spot, and called it after the boar’s tusks: Kielce.