Šemík The Talking Horse

Although there actually was a real Přemyslid dynasty, it’s a perfect example of how Czech history and legend are interwoven. First you have the origins of the real dynasty which is based on legend, Přemysl and Libuše. Then, mixed in with the actual princes that ruled Bohemia, there are seven fictional ones (not including Přemysl himself): Nezamysl, Mnata, Vojen, Vnislav, Křesomysl, Neklan, and Hostivít. Number five of the fictional Přemyslid princes, Křesomysl, is associated with another very popular Czech legend that takes place in the actual Vyšehrad castle.

Prince Křesomysl had been obsessed with wealth. He put a large emphasis on mining, which saw many farmers leaving the fields in search for silver and gold deep in the earth. The miners were very successful, but the downside was, because everybody was now mining and not farming, a famine started approaching.

A squire from the village Neumětelích, Horymír, warned the prince of the impeding hunger that would strike the land if things continued as they were, but Křesomysl wouldn’t listen. The miners also weren’t fans of what Horymír had to say. In retaliation to his protests, the miners burned his property. When Horymír saw the destruction, he got onto his white horse, Šemík (Shemeek), and returned the favor. He burned the miners’ homes to the ground.

Of course, this didn’t go down lightly. Horymír was sentenced to be beheaded by the Vyšehrad court. Horymír requested that he be able to ride his horse around the castle one last time before he dies. He was granted this last request. Before mounting his horse though, he whispered something into its ear, then got on and started to ride.

The large gate to the caste was closed, so naturally Horymír couldn’t have escaped. He rode Šemík up to a high point in the castle, and with out hesitation, he jumped over the wall with his rider. Everyone was aghast when the saw what had happened, and rushed to look over the wall. They had expected to see Horymír and Šemík to be lying dead at the bottom of the cliff that awaited them on the other side. Vyšehrad was built over a large cliff looking over the Vltava river, there was no way that the foolish squire and his horse could have survived.

To their astonishment, not only had the two survived, but they were on the other side of the large river, racing towards Horymír’s hometown.

When they finally arrived to Neumětelích, Šemík was very weak. The miraculous jump had drained him of all his strength. He was dying. The white horse wasn’t done yet though, with the last bit of strength he could muster, he spoke to his master, asking him to bury him and make a tomb.

Horymír did just that. It is said that Šemík was burried in his master’s homeland, Neumětelích. You can actually visit the town and see a monument dedicated to the intelligent, speaking horse. Though the actual tomb has since been long lost, the memory of Šemík lives on. They say his spirit rests under the Vyšehrad rock, and that Šemík will come to the Czech’s aide whenever they deperately need him.

 

 

 

Today you can visit Vyšehrad rock, which is located in Prague 2. There is a decent view of that part of the city, looking directly over the Vltava river. There is also a very famous cemetery where famous Czechs, like Smetana, were burried. Not far from the castle itself, is a hotel called Hotel U Šemíka, in relation to this legend.

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