Polish legends: Mr Twardowski

Fragment of cover art of a vinyl audiobook with legend about Mr Twardowski released by the Pronit company.

This legend tells the story of Mr Twardowski (in Polish: Pan Twardowski) who was a Polish nobleman, alchemist and wizard living in the city of Kraków in 16th century, when Kraków was the capital of the Polish Kingdom.

Mr Twardowski (pronounced like Tvar-dov-skii) was initially an aspiring alchemist seeking for formulas that would make his name remembered. According to the legend he eventually made a pact with a devil (or with a chort or bies – Slavic demons comparable to devils) in order to gain wealth and fame, and to possess the wisdom about magic. He was sure that he could outsmart the devil, and included a special clause in their contract. It stated that the devil could take Twardowski’s soul as a payment only when the alchemist will visit Rome – place to which Twardowski never intended to go.

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