The Parade of Dragons is a production put on by the Theater of the Grotesque in Krakow, Poland. It is sponsored by a joint effort of Norwegian and Polish cultural entities and has as its aim of strengthening cultural ties between both countries. As both countries have a rich lore related to dragons, the Parade of Dragons offers the perfect venue for enlivening the lives of both children and adults. Dragons are often used to represent the fundamental elements of human existence: water, air, fire and earth, and are said to be fundamental the formation of human personalities. In a sense, dragons can be said to represent archetypal human characters. Since they are so fundamental, they offer one more link to describe to common experience of Poles and Norwegians.
Of course, Krakow has its own legendary dragon, Smok Wawelski, or the Dragon of Wawel Hill, whose lair is located at the foot of Wawel Castle. Legend has it that, during the reign of King Krak, Krakow's legendary founder, Smok Wawelski would roam the countryside, devouring livestock, setting fire to the crops, and setting fire to the farms. It was said that the only was his appetite for destruction could be appeased was by leaving him a fair maiden once a month at the foot of his lair. We can guess her fate. One month, as the day drew nigh for the sacrificial maiden to be offered, the King Krak sat in his castle and despaired. He had sent all of his bravest knights to slay the dragon, but to no avail. And now, there was only one maiden left in the city, the King's very own daughter, Princess Wanda. Fearing the fate of his daughter, Krak made an offer to the unmarried males of Krakow: whoever could slay the dragon would receive the hand of his daughter in marriage. Only one youth rose to the challenge, Skuba, an cobbler's apprentice. Knowing that he had no chance to defeat the Smok in hand-to-hand combat, Skuba instead resorted to his wits. He slaughtered a suckling lamb, stuffed it with sulphur, and laid it at the foot of the dragon's lair. When Smok found the succulent lamb, he quickly devoured it. As soon as he swallowed it, though, he developed what must have been the worst case of heartburn. He quickly swooped down the banks of the Vistula River and drank, and drank, and drank, but still could not quench the sulphurous firing burning inside his guts. So he drank so more, until finally, he burst at the seams. And this is the story of how Skuba outwitted Smok Wawelski and gained King Krak's daughter Wanda's hand in marriage.