Legend of the Gauya Bird

The Baltic legend of the Gauya Bird links the origin of amber with a crime, to which a cruel king of a foreign country incited his loyal

They say that the king learned about the Gauya Bird living on the coast of the Amber Sea in a wild wood. The bird was said to be keeping in its nest an incredibly beautiful necklace from a wonderful stone – amber. Each bead of the necklace was said to contain a living picture, one better than the other.

So the king ordered his loyal servant to get the unusual thing, and not to come back home with out it. No-one is allowed to argue with a king. So the servant set out on a long journey – in a boat along the wide sea, to the Amber land. He found the tall tree on which Gauya lived.

At first he wanted to shoot it down, but he got scared – the bird turned out to be very big. The servant waited till the bird left its nest, climbed up the tree, took the treasure and immediately started on a journey home.

He boated off the coast, took out the necklace and began to admire it. In each bead there was a new picture. In one of them swans were flying in the sky, in the other ships were sailing in the sea, a third one had the sun rising and the clouds getting pink… The necklace was really incredibly beautiful!

And suddenly the Gauya Bird turned up, it seized the thief, raised him high to the skies and then threw him down. The king’s servant fell into the water, lost hold of the necklace in fright, managed to swim to the boat and hurried back to his overseas country. He came home empty-handed.

The king, having learned that the wonder had sunk, dealt shortly with his loyal servant. But in fact the wonderful necklace was not lost completely. The beads scattered along the bottom and rooted. A wood grew there. It is spreading its branches from the depth – towards the bright sun, to the blue sky, but is unable to reach them. The amber drops-tears are falling from the branches onto the yellow sand, and the waves are catching them up and bringing to the shore.

And everyone who finds a piece of amber on the coast is able, when peering into its depth, to see a unique picture that will open up only for him. What the cruel king failed to get by force and cunning, the sea is now giving away to people. 

And the Gauya Bird left this land for ever. However, there is a river with the same name in the south-west of Latvia.