I have known this tongue twister since childhood as it is part of a poem by the great Polish children's writer Jan Brzechwa. Its English equivalent could be 'She sells sea shells on the seashore' but the Polish saying is more difficult to pronounce. I will try to write it phonetically for you:
[vshchebjeshinnee hshonshch bjmee v tshcheenee]
where j should be pronounced as in the French 'jamais' or the last sound of 'garage' as some people say it.
In translation it means simply 'The cockchafer chirps in the rushes'.
This particular cockchafer, or May bug, has made the town of Szczebrzeszyn so famous that the local people have decided to erect a monument in its honour. The violin player in the picture looks more like a grasshopper to me but I don't know much about May bugs anyway and, believe it or not, there are over 2000 kinds of beetles to be found in the area.
Tarpans, the little greyish wild horses once common in eastern Europe and western Asia, were first brought to Zwierzyniec by Jan Zamoyski at the turn of the 16th/17th centuries. Here they lived in his game reserve until 1806 when they were given away to the local farmers. Crossbred with the local horses, they created the breed of the little horses of Bilgoraj. In the 30's and 40's of last century careful selection and crossbreeding allowed the scientists in Bialowieza to obtain a new breed from them, the so-called Polish little horses, probably genetically closest to the original tarpans, now extinct. In 1982 they returned to Roztocze, needless to say not to live in the wild. You can meet them now on a farm at Zwierzyniec.
If you stop close to their enclosure, they will come to you immediately, curious and begging for lumps of sugar or bread. My husband says they ate all their sandwiches and wanted more. And there was no end to stroking and patting them. Children would certainly love doing that but tell them to be careful. Sweet and friendly as the little horses look they might, just might, bite if teased.
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