The Chains That Bind

The Hutsul legend of a giant horrible serpent chained to a cliff has been the most compelling to me in thinking about the theme for Kistka, but I've had a difficult time narrowing down the origin. Delving into pysanka history and lore has been gratifying, and I'm doing my best to research diligently and be as true to the theme as possible.

Wikipedia was the first place I read about the chained serpent, and upon trying to locate the same information in other places to confirm it I only came upon it in a couple of places, and it was always almost exactly the same wording. I searched through books on Ukrainian folklore at my local library for references of serpents, and came up empty handed.

Cut to this past Monday, long weekend for Memorial day, I went down to my parents for food, family, and friends. While there, I popped into their basement and pulled down the box of pysanky making materials and reference books; most of which belonged to my grandma Rose.

The last book that I opened was a copy of Ukrainian Easter Eggs and How We Make Them. On the inside cover was a note from a woman named Donna to grandma Rose, dated March 25, 1991. It thanked my grandma for assisting with pysanky classes and talked about a new generation carrying on the tradition.

Then came the P.S.

P.S. Thank you for getting me involved in making pysanky again - this year the chains remain tight around the evil monster!

This brought the hugest smile and mouth agape to my face. It was the most incredible and personal moment yet in this process. This is the first time I'd seen the evil referred to as something other than a serpent; as a monster, and has opened up a new avenue of research as I try to gather more reference material for Kistka!