The source of Summer's Ecstasy and Winter's Nirvana
Several years ago, David Pazdar went hiking with his good friend Jim in the Catskills, the mountains where the legend of Rip Van Winkle takes place. It was a beautiful autumn day, the sun was out, the leaves were brightly colored, the temperature was around 50o F, very little wind. A perfect day for a good hike.
The trail Jim had planned to take that day was one which was rarely used. It involved climbing a mountain with a rather steep precipice. Up they went, zig-zagging through the woods, climbing hand over foot along cascading waterfalls until they reached the summit. After a short lunch break overlooking the Catskills, the two friends decided to wander about in different directions. All at once David came across a poorly marked side trail. Knowing that they wouldn't be leaving the summit too soon, he decided to explore it. About a half mile in, there was an old run down shack hidden in the bushes. Being both scared and curious, he choose to look inside.
Well wouldn't you know....there was an old man staring back out at him.
After apologizing for the intrusion, the old man invited him in. As it turns out, he had not seen another human in over 50 years except for his wife who had passed away 10 years earlier. He seemed in need of company, so David decided to sit down with him for a while. He told him how he had lived off the land all those years; eating fruits and berries, trapping animals, etc. They had a real pleasant chit-chat, talking about his life in the woods. Then all of a sudden, David realized that they had been talking for quite some time and that his friend Jim was probably getting worried about where he was.
As he got up to leave, the old man stopped him. He said "before you leave, there is a story that I must tell you. This story was told to me a long time ago by an old woodsman on his deathbed when I was a young lad. And as I am getting on with life, it is now my time to pass along this. Before I begin you must swear never to repeat this story until after I have past away." Of course, DavidÔÇÖs question was "considering that I might never again climb this mountain, how will I know when you have left this planet?" He responded by simply saying that a sign would be given, the nature of which must always be kept a secret. And so his oath was given.
Several years have gone by and recently a sign was received. Here now for the first time being told outside the Catskills is the Legend of the Chochlik (pronounced "kooklik") and the Leprechaun.
Many years ago, ie centuries, a villainous group of rogues made of Polish chochlik's (goblins) and Irish leprechauns, who were allies at the time, captured a beautiful ksi├¬zna (pronounced kshanzhna) and a wild eyed blond banphriosna by the names of Kasia (pronounced Kasha) and Kristina. The rogues sent the girls' fathers, the great and powerful kings of Poland and Ireland, a note demanding a huge ransom and the secret formula for the royal beverages. Being that they were wise and clever old men, they sent them a pile of pyrite (fool's gold) and the formula for the servants brandy (an old family recipe no longer thought fit for the nobility). Now the chochlik's and the leprechauns weren't that stupid and they suspected that the kings had pulled a fast one on them. So they locked Kasia and Kristina up in a wooden chest and carried them over land until they reached the Atlantic ocean. There they placed them on a ship for the new world, out of the box but still in shackles. They held a lottery and 2 of the rogues, one chochlik and one leprechaun, were chosen to guard them. The idea was that once they reached the new world, the ksi├¬zna and banphriosna would be sold into slavery and the guards would return with the ill gotten money. The ship sailed across the sea until it reached the shores of Connecticut. There it traveled up the Connecticut river until it reached the trading posts at the Wethersfield Cove where they disembarked. Leprechauns and Chochlik's tend to be shy folks. As such they couldn't handle the crowds at the auctions, so they dragged the ksi├¬zna and banphriosna, kicking and screaming all the way, over the Appalachians and into the Catskills. The journey had been a long, treacherous one and as nature would have it, by the time they were deep in the mountains, the rogues had fallen in love with the ksi├¬zna and banphriosna. Realizing that they could never go home, they decided to settle on a mountain top. There they lived a peaceful life. While they were deeply in love, no children were produced from the 2 unions as chochlik's and leprechauns are immortal. The rogues worked hard most the year, living off the land. During the cold bitter winters, besides playing with the princesses (what do you think ksi├¬zna and banphriosna mean), they would make batches of that royal beverages. Yes, the girls had been taught the recipes.
When the girls past away as mortals tend to do, the chochlik and the leprechaun were heart broken. As a final tribute, they brewed one last batch of each which they hid in the woods along with the recipes and princesses diaries. After which they went off, never to be seen again.
David thanked the old man for his wonderful tale. As he again tried to leave, the old man handed him 2 jugs and told him the recipes. He made him swear that it would never be told until it too came time for him to pass it on. In exchange for his pledge, he told David where he could find more of the ingredients but with the understanding that some of each new batch would be sprinkled on the ground so that Kasia and Kristina could have their share (you have heard the angel's share haven't you?!). This way future generations would be able to forever enjoy and pass along the friendship and love that had developed between the rogues and the princesses.