The Hungarian folk came from the west of the Ural Mountains and migrated to today’s Hungary. Due to their adventorous lifestyles, Hungarians have some pretty fascinating mythological stories. Read our article and discover Hungary’s rich folk heritage!
Hungarian folklore is a system of mythological ideas that can be reconstructed on the basis of folk tales, legends, archaic folk prayers and recitations, as well as folk art and folk customs, writes arcanum.com. Although the Hungarian language is considered to be part of the Finno-Ugric family, its legends differ from other Finno-Ugric mythologies. Shamanism played an important role in shaping the mythological worldview of Hungarians during the time of the conquest of the Carpathian Basin. In addition, Hungarian mythology divided the universe into three worlds: the upper, the middle and the lower. The upper one was the world of the god(s) while the middle one was inhabited by people and supernatural beings.
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Legend of the Wondrous Stag
This is probably the most famous and oldest Hungarian legend about the origin of the folk. Here is the story, also written by travelnhistory.com:
In a great and ancient land, King Nimrod’s first wife bore twin sons named Hunnor and Magor. On a hunt, their father got separated from his sons, who came across a wondrous stag. They started chasing the animal through lush meadows and deep forests but the stag kept heading west. At dusk, it seemed to have vanished so the brothers found a place to camp for the night. In the morning, the stag reappeared and led the young hunters to a beautiful and bountiful land. Although they lost the stag, Hunnor and Magor fell in love with the place and built a new life there – in Hungary.
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This legend is about Emese, the wife of Attila the Hun. Once, Emese had a dream in which a Turul bird appeared to her. A clear stream began to flow westward from her, which grew into a strong, flowing river. This image symbolised an impregnation by the Turul making her lineage one of great significance. Soon, Emese gave birth to Álmos, the father of Árpád. For Hungarians, Árpád is a very important ruler, as he is considered the founder of Hungary. Therefore, Emese’s dream proved to be right, her descendants were in fact, great rulers.
Source: travelnhistory.com, arcanum.com
Regarding the “Legend of the Wondrous Stag,” in a Coptic text on Saint Theodore the General–i.e. on the historical Count Theodosius–Jesus Christ appears in the form of a wondrous stag and identifies himself with Sabaoth, the ‘Lord of Hosts’. To provide background, this Coptic text implies that Saint Theodore’s father, John the Egyptian, was a Christian Jew, but his mother still worshiped idols. When he was sixteen years old, he went to a priest to get baptized.
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And it happened after this that the fame of St. Theodore filled the whole east … And on a sudden the king took him and made him general, setting him over 500 soldiers. And he was enrolled and appointed to the wards at the foot of the mountain. And it came to pass one day St. Theodore was upon the mountains with his army of soldiers: and behold, the devil, who was cast out from his mother’s idol, saw St. Theodore standing upon the mountain, and plotted against him to lead him astray, and bring him to distant paths, and give him into the hands of the barbarians that they might slay him. But he took the form of a herd of camels with young, whose young were in the desert, wishing to deceive the Saint. And St. Theodore saw the herd of camels and hastened after them with his soldiers, and did not catch them but approached them. [Appears to be the description of a mirage or Délibáb in the desert. K.U.] Then his band of soldiers and their beasts were parched with thirst and neither they nor their horses could move. Then after this he stood upon the mountain looking for them, and behold, a voice came to him from heaven, saying: “Theodore, son of John the Egyptian, cease from advancing in this desert with thy soldiers, for the tempter is tempting thee.” And the Saint hearing this was astonished, especially at hearing the name of his father, and he said: “Who is it who called the name of my father?” Straightway, lo, a stag appeared to him like the orb of the sun when it rises on its basis. And when St. Theodore saw the young stag in this form he was astonished, and again he looked at the shining car [UFO? K.U.] that was above the horns of the stag. Straightway the lamb that was in the midst of the car spake to him, saying: “Theodore, I am the lamb of God who taketh the sin of the whole world. I am Adonai, the lord Sabaoth, the God of John thy father.”
When St. Theodore heard this he turned his horse and went back in fear to his band of soldiers. He found them and their beasts lying like the dead through their thirst. And St. Theodore got down from his horse and offered a prayer saying: “Lord God, who raised up those that fell on the way to Babylon, and gave thy people strength in the desert forty years without suffering, raise up for me these who have fallen through my undertaking. Thine is the glory for ever, amen.”
Straightway, behold, a cloud of light shed dew over them, so that their hearts were strengthened like men who have drunk their fill of water cool and sweet; and not one of them or their beasts died. And they prostrated themselves and worshipped St. Theodore and kissed his head saying: “Blessed be the hour when you took us, our lord Theodore.” And he said to them: “My brethren, it is the gift of God, that has raised you. Now come and see this beast, which I saw on the top of the mountain. I never saw one like it: most wonderful was the young stag which I saw.” Straightway he went with them and took them and shewed them the stag he had seen. And they marvelled saying: “We have never seen one like unto this in its graceful form.” Nor did St. Theodore know the meaning of the lamb which spake with him. Then he said to his band of soldiers: “Let half of us get behind this beast and guard it that it escape not: and look ye, strike it not with warlike weapons.” Then the army formed two companies and left the stag in their midst, if haply they might catch it. And the Saint raised his eyes aloft to the sky and prayed to the Lord for the young stag. Straightway he saw the Lord Christ in the form in which he had seen him above the stag: he took the form of the lamb. And St. Theodore marvelled at the wonder he saw in the sky and that which he saw above the young stag, because the form was the same. Again he heard a voice in heaven saying: “Theodore, Theodore, my beloved, thou wilt not take me, but I shall take thee in the nets of my godhead. Now look at this sign in the heaven and this above the horns of the stag. I am he that is above this stag, I am he that is in the sky, I am the lamb of God, I am he that taketh the sin of the world, I am he that was baptized of John. Behold I have taught thee the glory of my form. Look at the stag: look too at my incarnation in the womb of the holy Virgin Mary and the way in which they crucified me on the cross, and thou wilt know that I am Jesus Christ, the son of the living God, the God of thy father John. For thou must see the face of John, thy father, before thou fulfillest thy martyrdom. I am he who saved thee when thou wert following after the heard of camels which were devils that wished to take thee to the barbarians, that they might kill thee. I am the stag which thou sawest upon the top of the rock. Now be thou valiant and suffer martyrdom for my holy name, and behold I will grant thee and thy comrade the Eastern the grace of my great Archangel Michael that your souls shall be on his right hand in heaven: and every war into which ye enter to fight, I will send the Archangel Michael to crush and scatter the armies before ye, till your name is famous over the face of the whole earth to all generations. Because thou hast believed in me, I will save thee; thou hast called unto me and I will hear thee. Now, my chosen Theodore, behold the beauty of this stag and what like he is in his form.” And St. Theodore looked towards the stag and saw the fiery car above its horns, in the form of a cross. And St. Theodore answered and said: “Lord my God, thine is the form I see in the sky and thine too is the form that is above the horns of this stag. Now I beg thee let thy gift be with thy servant.” The Lord said to him: “Theodore, I have chosen thee like a rose flourishing among the thorns of thy mother. And now I have given thee a name of fame in heaven and upon the earth. My strength shall be with thee. Return to thy band of soldiers and tell them to cease from pursuing after this stag.” So he went to his army and said to them: “My brethren, trouble yourselves no more in pursuing after this stag: for we shall not take it, but it will take us in the nets of its goodness.” And he told them all that he had seen and heard from the Lord. And St. Theodore came down from the mountain with his soldiers and let the stag go.
Let me note that Sabaoth, ‘hosts’, is the plural of the Hebrew tsaba, ‘host, warfare, service’, indicating that the historical person behind Csaba királyfi is in fact Jesus Christ.