How the beast of Kaunas fights adversity

When I first came to Lithuania, I knew it would be different from anything I had seen before. I’ve travelled a lot at this point and yet, arriving in Kaunas surprised me. As I walked through the streets of the old town I noticed my a warm and unknown feeling in my heart. I wasn’t sure what to do with this feeling, but I had heard stories about people describing it as something called „Home“, whatever that meant.

Now let me tell you that I do consider myself a rather smart kind of creature, I have read many books in the various lives I’ve lived and I do know quite a bit about various places of the globe, however, little did I know how much this little thing inside me would change, how getting to know Kaunas would change me. Or how I would change Kaunas.

Over the years I’ve had many years, some called me Baldorin others Baldur, some praised me as a dragon, or holy creature. But here, they would call me „Beast“, and they seemed suspicious about my dark shadow.
I’ve always tried to stay hidden, it is hard for human eyes, to see my whole size and form. I shape and shift from time to time. I hide in the corners and holes. Maybe that is how the rumours grew and people started telling tales.

Yet, they never knew who was really hiding in the cracks of old towns buildings, nor what I was doing there.

Now you may ask yourself „Hiding in the dark? Isn’t that what the villains do?“
In the darkness, they say, you find the robbers and rogue. And with them, often, the broken hearted, the ones left alone.
Yes. Right there in the darkness, that’s where I’d meet them. Walking in a small alley, the loners go their ways and try not to mind anybody’s business. I can smell the sorrow miles away, and I hear it come closer.

When I meet them for the first time, the shadows under their eyes tell their whole story. Some of them lost trust, others faith, but everyone lost something – that I know for sure.
Their shadows would be visible to each and every eye, but humans tend to ignore, what may cause trouble, or avoid what they don’t fully understand. They don’t like the shadows, that they carry as their burden.

Me, on the other side. I can see their truth. In every single one of them. I see the pain, like clear water drops and the tears that flood them inside out. But I see more than that. I see the soul and I see their inner child. 

It’s them, who see me. It seems like children are the ones who still believe in magic and fairy tales, in creatures like me, and when there is hope left, I appear. A spark hits their heart, as their inner child sees me. Slowly they start to believe again. And when they do,
That’s when my work is done, and I go back to hiding in my shadows. The shadows of another world.

I find them, and very rarely they also find me, because no one is meant to be broken. Beast, ironically, seems to have become my task. B-e-a-s-t. Because at the end of the day I am the one who befriends evil, anger, sorrow, tales.

Author: Maike

A Beast without a Mask

A beast by definition is something you should be afraid of. Something that lurks in the shadows and grinds its sharp teeth at the sight of your slender figure moving along the narrow streets of Kaunas old town… His long pale tongue more than able to circle your throat at least three times before the initial shock fades as you're struggling to gurgle out a gasp. His rock-covered skin, smooth as the stones in the river Nemunas covered with moss and cold as the touch of January wind on your reddish cheeks… the reddish that would so instantly fade from your face, leaving it pale and white, sometimes ice-blue with fear, if you ever managed to see the snout of this beast. The snake-like teeth sticking out of a rectangular mouth and eyes… the eyes that are said to have seen so much and for so long that everything and everyone that now attracts their attention is simply regarded as a faded memory in the making of history… yes, what an absolutely dreadful beast it is. Cruel, deceptive, cold-blooded, and everything else you can imagine, without actually seeing it… as it happens, people tend to make assumptions when the only facts are those born in the depths of their gloomiest imagination. Such was Kaunas beast, an image that has been formed for centuries to come, a monster, as they said, that shifts form and moves as fast as the fish in Nemunas, a beast, a creature of the past that does not want to let go… little did they know, and much did people so ingeniously fear to find out, what the beast of Kaunas was really about…in the Spring of 2020, however, this mystic creature decided to show its true form…
The decision was no less awkward and usual than the situation itself. At the end of 2019, a horrific virus started spreading all around the World and it crossed Lithuanian borders in the next couple of months. On March 16th Kaunas went into a lockdown state and one by one people locked themselves with three different sets of keys and some even shut all windows. The city started resembling a dessert at midnight – still and mystical. Even the beast of Kaunas, which had always been hiding in the middle of wild-flower filled fields, in the deepest point of Nemunas or at the tops of the highest Lithuanian Oaks, began wondering what had happened. Kaunas is usually overfilled with teenage girls gossiping in near Žalgiris arena with cups of iced coffee in their nail-polished hands, youngsters gather in rollerblade or bicycle-lover groups, newlyweds smile in front of their relatives toasting to their future prosperity and happiness in the town hall… Now, however, the city went silent.
The beast decided to drag his scally tale and everything that’s attached to it, outside and take a look. He had his doubts, of course… The first time he came out of the water, where he used to have his permanent residence, was when he met a girl named Eglė and fell in love. Being a foreigner… foreign by all his nature…he was not accepted by Eglė's parents and shamefully remembers his love story exploited in the pages of children literature… Žilvinas was how people called him then. The second time was even more shameful… He set up a small nest in the exact spot where rivers Nemunas and Neris meet…. he would emerge from the water and chirp and chatter love songs, for the girl he had once loved… not long after couples started coming to that enchanted river junction to listen to his heart-warming songs while promising each other true love. The beast could not take it – he moved again. And now, only now, he left his lurking-place for the first time in 230 years…
Everyone was in masks – they were all hiding their faces, just as the beast has done for so many centuries…and there was something wrong. 'The air doesn't smell right,'- he thought… 'It's sick.' The beast could sense the virus taking both hope and health from the citizens of Kaunas… Thus, being pure at heart, he decided to help the people in his home city. Each morning he would roam the streets of Kaunas gathering virus-particles with his enormous jaws. It took him at least one and a half months to clean the air again…and as he did so, people started coming back…at first, one by one; then in smaller groups and finally the city was alive again. And nobody, absolutely nobody knew what the beast of Kaunas had done. How he thought that adversity that had struck the heart of Lithuania. Maybe nobody needs to know? Yet, the creature rests now… and, by my own definition, definitely not a beast to be feared of… a friend…the guardian of Kaunas.

Author: Monika Karpavičiūtė

How the Mythical Beast of Kaunas fights the adversity

Well known, yet unidentified. Heard of countless times, yet voiceless. Flashy and bright, yet grey and dark. Never seen by anyone that could be declared sane, stories about it told only by the elder and lonely. The mythical beast of Kaunas has been luring in the darkness of the sewerage for hundreds, possibly thousands of years.

Every 4th semi moon, 3.5 hours into the night, it opens the heavy lid of it's home, Kaunas' old town sewerage. With no human, insect or animal around, it pops up in the middle of Vilniaus gatvė, dark furred head first, pointy nose into the black mantle of night. It has small whiskers for a creature that size, which still equals the height of a 2nd grader.

As soon as it's paws firmly but smoothly hit the stones of the street, it senses a familar, unpleasant sensation – Adversity…!
Walking towards the strong energy this red brick building, the beast was unsure about what it will face. It used it's mythical powers to phase through a new, brownish door and held still after rebuilding it's body in the building.

"YOU WERE ALWAYS LIKE THIS, DON'T PRETEND! YOU SAID YOU'D CHANGE BUT YOU NEVER DID!" a woman screamed at a visbly angry, anxious and sad man. "I MEAN NOTHING TO YOU, NEVER HAVE AND NEVER WILL!" she kept on yelling. "Enough is enough" he mumbled to himself, getting up from his armchair, preparing himself to raise his voice and possibly his hand towards his wife.
"IF YOU THINK THAT WAY AFTER ALL I HAVE DONE FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY, THEN MAYBE YOU" he suddenly stopped. His mouth keeps open, he cannot say a word. The beast manifested itself behind his wife, large, magical, mythical. It's dark fur contrasts his wifes beautiful, shiny blond hair, it's dark and mystical eyes are the opposite to her shiny, blue ones that look at him in fear and confusion. Now, for the first time in days he actually looked at her, the woman he fell in love with, he married and settled in with. He sees into her eyes and into her sould and recognizes the woman he vowed to spend the rest of his life with. He just looks at her, at her only, entirely forgetting about the beast. She is the most beautiful woman in the world to him. Back 17 years ago when they first met in school and now as well. He sees her for what he hasn't seen her in years: His companion, his best friend, his love, his desire, his passion and his shore of peace. In that moment he fell in love with her again, just like he did in school. He is stunned by her beauty, amazed by her energy. Lowering his hand, clearing his throat, he just looks at her with a smile, "that look" he hasn't given her in an eternity. Her fear fades and is replaced by total confusion, she is frozen where she stands. He walks towards her, puts his arm on her cheek and pulls her in for a kiss. "I love, I always did and I always will. I don't want to fight you, I don't want to hurt you. Let us be what we used to be to each other, now and forever". She cannot keep tears running over her cheeks while wearing the biggest smile she's ever had in her whole life. "That's all I needed to hear" she whispers, giving into his arms again.

The beast, long gone, was on it's way back to the next house. It wasn't the only adversity it sensed that night, but it was the strongest one. It knows there is a lot of work to do and that plenty of problems don't solve themselves, but they can be dealt with by a change of perspective. And so it is out there, among us, day and night, waiting to be unveiled.

Author: Adylos

Manuscripts of the Kauno Marios

What follows are texts found underground in Pažaislio Šilas.

Only excerpts, expressed as someone's personal journal called Mystic.

Fate wanted these experiences, in words steeped in past and myth, to be discovered today, and not yesterday.

Manuscripts of the Kauno Mariu I

Something had happened in the underworld, without warning, but everyone and every one, even the children, understood deep down in their breasts what was the reason.

The Kaunas Beast had been denied – careless love – and it had released its protection from the evils of the underworld in order to heal the anguish that made it sick.

Kaunas, had been left out of any treaty of coexistence, between myths, miseries, and people.

Or perhaps the Princess; Keeper of balance with the world of emotions, she felt overwhelmed, tired and decided to disappear. Heroes are, until apathy and selfishness strike. Miseries.

Perhaps the world of myths is not so different from the world of the living.
Perhaps anguish, discontent, laziness, disappointment, apathy, selfishness and betrayal, deserve their own reality; far from myths and people but; there they are, balancing their miseries, between the reality of people and that of the underworld.

It was terrible, there wasn't much to save, and few places were safe.
From Brūžė to Kaunas, everything was anguish and uncertainty. No one understood too much why the miseries and the constant plagues and miseries that plagued the margins of Neris and the Niemen.

Few places then, were left to hide. The Forests scattered in the field, were the safest place. Miseries, they couldn't see through them. Forests are not only safe, they keep the charm about the underworlds. The forests have their own rules, their own souls. They were untouchable.

The countryside, one of the many jewels of Kaunas, is – even – more beautiful and valuable than mountains of emeralds. Everyone knows them, who live from him and in him; who inhabit the underworlds without protection. Everything valuable is in danger.

The society of the beast – or as some call it – "The Custodians of Love" – ​​was preparing its soldiers to give a battle, which nobody knows how sacrificed it will be.

Legions of starkas, show themselves, prepared to guard the miseries and accompany custodians. Only they could see both realities, only they from the heights knew that place was safe, that misery was approaching. Only they negotiate freely and protected, for us against miseries.

You, curious reader, take these words as a precious legacy of love. We can only communicate with fire by learning its language. So, take care of our Princess and never forget.