AN OLD POLISH PROCLAMATION
One day recently I, MELVIN WICK, pondered entering Bachi's, Grandpa’s mother, attic. Bachi's was the Polish mother of Grandpa. Why she could even speak Polish.
None of us kids were ever allowed into the attic.
Bachi told us that if we ever stuck our head into the attic we would awaken the attic monster who would grab us be the neck and drag us kicking and screaming for help into the inner depth of its web. We would never be seen again
But that's only an old tale to keep us trouble making kids out of an old dusty attic. But the tale worked. We kids even feared going near the trap door that led to the home of the attic monster.
But that was then and this is now.
I, MELVIN ZWICK, was an adult now and was no longer afraid of the long forgotten attic monster.
So I boldly climbed up a ladder to the attic trapdoor. I attempted to raise the section of wood that blocked the entry way into attic.
It did not budge. I planted my feet firmly on the rungs of the ladder and gave a hefty push up on the trapdoor. The large amount of pressure forced the trapdoor up.
I lifted the door up and set it aside. A massive cloud of dust peppered my face. It surely indicated that access to the attic had not been made in years.
A sever spell of hacking and milder coughing sent me scrambling down the ladder. After coughing up what seemed like the dust of the world I climbed the ladder again. This time I was intent on entering the attic.
After all these years I MELVIN ZWICK, was about to enter the home of the dreaded attic monster. Right! The attic monster only exists in the minds of little kids to keep them from going into the attic.
I climbed up and stuck my head into the attic. There were spider webs everywhere. I, MELVIN ZWICK, mean SPIDER WEBS. Big thick SPIDER WEBS.
Maybe the legend of the attic monster was true. Looking at the massive amount of spider webs hanging from floor to ceiling and wall to wall might make one believe the legend.
I bet most of you are thinking this is a story about attic monsters. Well it’s not.
The story about attic monsters will be left for future MELVIN ZWICK stories.
This story is about something I, MELVIN ZWICK, found in an ancient trunk hidden away in a corner of Bachi's monster dwelling attic.
A quick look through the spider webs indicated the attic was empty except for something in the furthest corner. The object appeared faintly as being rectangular and not in the shape of any spider.
I swung the flashlight beam around the rest of the attic.
As I, MELVIN ZWICK, write this I remember I was a little nervous looking into the rest of the attic. Even now as an adult I had a difficult time convincing myself the attic monster did not exist. Bachi’s warning still burned into my adult mind.
I needed to head to the corner that showed the rectangular object.
Once in the attic I, MELVIN ZWICK , cut my way through the SPIDER WEBS to what appeared to be a trunk
Sure enough it was a trunk. It was a small brass edged leather trunk, covered with enough spider webs to weave a blanket. It appeared to be extremely old.
The next several minutes were spent removing SPIDER WEBS from the trunk.
Once the dust and SPIDER WEBS were cleared away I, MELVIN ZWICK, could better see the top of the leather trunk.
There was a brass plaque embedded in the lid of the trunk.
Engraved on the plaque was the following:
WIADYSLAW II JAGIELIO
Did the numbers represent years? Could it be this trunk was at least 577 years old? And who was WIADYSLAW II JAGIELIO?
Those questions could wait. The contents of the trunk were calling.
The trunk had to be opened. What treasures might it hold?
The lid was fastened to the trunk with finely crafted brass hinges. The latch was also made of brass. A closer look indicated it was not locked.
I, MELVIN ZWICK, most admit the latch was opened by my shaky fingers as I raised the flap. The lid, operating on the brass hinges, was laid back out of the way.
The contents were exposed to the light of my failing flashlight. WHAT?????? No jewels or silver or gold coins. Nothing but papers. The trunk contained nothing but well organized papers. I must admit I, MELVIN ZWICK, was very disappointed. I am not sure what I expected but papers were not one of them.
My flash light was starting to get dim. It was time to leave the SPIDER WEB infested attic. With all the SPIDER WEBS in this place one might really believe the legend of the attic monster, especially when ones light is failing. Mom always told us kids that the attic monster spun its webs in total darkness. If just by chance the legend was true it would not be wise to be caught in the attic with a dead flashlight.
And attempt to lift the trunk proved to be futile. The weight of the trunk and its contents was just too much to handle. The best way to get the trunk out of the attic would be to remove that paper and carry all the things out separately.
But my light was really getting dim and I heard a rustling in the far corner. It was time to bail out. The thought of the light of the room downstairs sure sounded good.
I would have to return with a recharged flashlight and sort through the papers. Then the trunk and contents could be moved out of the attic.
It slipped through my mind that sorting through a bunch of moldy papers in a SPIDER WEB filled attic was not high on my list of things to do.
Just before closing the lid I noticed a leather bound book. On an impulse I would grabbed it just as my flashlight faded out.
Was there something moving in the far corner of the attic? I made a dash to the light that shown from the light below through the attic entryway.
I scrambled on to the ladder and placed the trapdoor in place as I climber into the lower room. I sure didn’t want to become food for the attic monster.
I stumbled into the living room and flopped down on to the couch. Crouching in the attic for an hour or more sure does not lead to stable legs.
I studied the leather bound book for the first time in decent light. Tooled into the cover were the words:
"Odezwy króla Kazimierza III WIELKI Z POLSKA." The pages inside were filled with like words.
Oh great, this leather bound book, possibly filled with words of great wisdom, was written in a foreign language. And what language?
It could be Polish. My Mom was Polish. The word “Polska” sure looked like a Polish word. But why would Bachi have a 500 plus year old book in a leather trunk in her attic protected by a mythical attic monster?
Puzzles better left for a later date. The leather bound book would be a great conversation piece sitting on the coffee table until I could translate the words it was filled with.
While fixing my dinner my mind kept drifting to thoughts of Kyle, Grandpa's fine first Grandson and the leather bound book on the coffee table.
I could not explain the continually thoughts of Kyle and the book. Were they somehow related? A Polish book almost 600 years old and a young man in the present.
The book had to be translated, but how? Then I, MELVIN ZWICK, remembered Google translate program. That program was amazing. You can download it on your computer. You type in the language you want translated and the program translates it into the language you want. I could type in the Polish words from the book and have the program translate them to English. Simple!
I never finished dinner. It was on to the computer and Google translate.
The first challenge would be the tooled inscription on the front cover of the leather bound book.
"Odezwy króla Kazimierza III WIELKI Z POLSKA."
I diligently typed the Polish words into the Polish side of the translate program. Now I tell you typing in the Polish words with all their z,s y,s and k,s sure was a challenge. But once in the program the following words spilled out into the English side of the program.
"Proclamations OF KING KAZIMIERZ III WIELKI OF POLAND."
Those words sure do not stimulate the curios mind.
For curiosity I did a COMPUTER search on Polish history. One of the selections in the Google search listed the timeline of Polish History. I selected to read that listing.
The listing started with Duke Miesako I in 966. He was Poland’s first recorded leader.
The listing seemed to list dates and significant names or occurrences.
I indexed down the list looking for “KAZIMIERZ III WIELKI”
I got to the date 1333-1370 and found “KAZIMIERZ III WIELKI (Casimir the Great).” He was the leader of Poland at the time.
Then I remembered the engraving on the plaque on the lid of the trunk. It read WIADYSLAW II JAGIELIO 1386-1434. The name Wladyslaw II Jagiello appeared at the date line of 1382.
The listing stated “The polish crown was passed on to 10 year old Jadwiga. Poland forms an alliance with the pagan Lithuania when young Jadwiga marries Duke Jagiello of Lithuania. Jagiello converts to Christianity and becomes Wladyslaw II Jagiello, ruling from 1386-1434.” That sure indicates Jagiello was a lady.
The leather bound book with the words "Odezwy króla Kazimierza III WIELKI Z POLSKA” tooled on the cover were proclamations of King Kazimierza. It was in a trunk of his daughter Wladyslaw II Jagiello.
All that info about Polish leaders almost 600 years ago. Made my head start to spin. I was about to set the book down but the thoughts of Kyle and the book kept flitting through my spinning mind. Only now the number thirty nine joined the mix of thoughts. Why Thirty nine? What did it mean?
A quick input of the words thirty nine into the program and the translation to Polish gave me the following:
A though led me back to the pages of the book.
As I flipped through the pages I noticed each page had a heading and the text on each page seemed to be a short statement.
Then I remembered the translation of the words tooled into the cover of the book. The translation said "Proclamations...."
Maybe each page was a Proclamation. That might mean that the thirty ninth page might be the page I was looking for.
I started counting the pages. As I counted the excitement started to build up.
At the thirty ninth page the words "trzydziesci dziewiec" appeared as the header.
Maybe just maybe I was getting close to the end of this puzzle. The puzzle that kept flitting through my mind. How were Kyle, the leather book and the number thirty nine all tied together.
The words written on the thirty ninth page were:
"I króla Kazimierza III WIELKI dekretu POLSKA, że gdy dziadek kurczy się w wysokości, jak się zestarzeje, da jego wysokość jego wnuka, który rośnie w wysokości w ich wieku."
Typing those all those words into the translate program was a gigantic task. Anyone who thinks it would be easy should try it themselves. It was a monumental hunt and peck task.
Eventually the input was done.
The translation was there. What was the English equivalent of the Polish Proclamation written some Five hundred and seventy seven years ago ?
I, MELVIN ZWICK, might pull a ZWICKISM and let you translate the Polish words yourself.
I just might do that. I just might.
Then again I just might not.
Then again I might. The result has to do somewhat with Kyle, Grandpa's FIRST MALE GRANDSON and Grandpa.
OK!! Here is the translation:
"I King Kazimierza III WIELKI of POLAND decree that when a grandfather is shrinking in height as he grows old, he will give his height to his first Grandson, that grows in height as he ages."
How about that. The King just might have something. Grandpa was 6 ' 3" tall. He now is about 6' 1" tall. His first grandson is 16 and is now 6'the 4" tall.
Grandpa is shrinking as Kyle his first Grandson is growing in height.
Go big guy!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh by the way I, MELVIN ZWICK, ventured back into Mom’s monster's den again. I had to get the trunk out of the clutches of the attic monster.
Armed with two powerful flood lights and a samurai sword I cut my way back to the trunk. I grabbed a bunch of pages and passed them down to Grandpa who was standing at the bottom of the ladder.
Grandpa was a big help in getting the trunk down.
On closer inspection I determined the hinges, latch and trim were not brass but solid gold.
While searching through the papers in the trunk several very old gold and silver coins got to see the light of day for the first time in 500 plus years.
Maybe some time in the future I, MELVIN ZWICK The great story teller will write about how the Polish, gold framed leather trunk ended up in Polish Bachi's attic in Tucson.
I bet I, MELVIN ZWICK THE GREAT STORY TELLER, could weave a whopper of a tale about how the trunk ended in Bachi's monster infest attic and what the many papers had to tell us.
THE END FOR NOW
Grandpa here. Melvin you have done it again. I asked you to send a note to Kyle complimenting him on his height. I casually mention that my height has reduced from 6’ 3” to about 6’ 1” and Kyle has grown in height to 6’ 4”. What do you do?
You concoct an 1800 word wild story about an attic monster, a gold framed leather trunk, gold coins and a 577 year old leather bound book with a nutty Proclamation written by a long ago King.
You are correct about Mom being Polish. Both her parents came to this country from Poland about 100 years ago. I did some searchers on Polish history and found that you at least had some truth n your story. There was a WIADYSLAW II JAGIELIO who lived in 1386-1434 and there was a KING KAZIMIERZ III WIELKI OF POLAND.
You are also correct about my great first male grandson Kyle the mole slayer. In a few months he will probably be taller than I ever was.
Just look at Kyle. He towers above his sisters
Valerie, Victoria and Caroline.
By the way you used the title of Bachi interchangeable with Mom to describe our Mom. Mom did become Bachi and Bachi Bachi as Grandpa’s daughters were born and his Grandkids were born.
LOVE YOU ALL BIG BUNCHES,