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Legends of Crete


: Drosoulites
: The Lyre Player
: Virgin Mary of Harakas
: Legends of Fragokastelo

: The Threshing Floor

A little bit further of «Koumpedes» in Heraklion, in the feet of Stroumpoulas, next to the old highway, in the 14th kilometre to Rethimno, there is a big circular ditch known as the «Threshing Floor».
This extraordinary settle was always causing the justified curiosity of passerbies, because the place around is rough, almost inhospitable, full of hard stones and a little dust. At what time, therefore, they wonder, and for what reason did this circular piece of ground settled down? And does its name has any relation with what the word expresses or it is owed only to its shape? The experts say that this was formed by a collapse of an underground cavern, but people from the around regions support that in this place really existed a regular threshing floor that was lost with its owner.
That threshing floor, noone has ever seen it, but the tradition does not allow any doubts.

In the old times, Crete, thanks to its residents hard work, was a bright green garden. And still today, where thorns and bushes are all over the place, at that time, the diligence of the Cretans made the ground to produce almost everything.
All those who walk along the Cretan countryside see today, here and there, threshing floors in desert places, almost razing, full of grass and earth, but it is certain that in other times and particular during the summertime, they used to present a completely other image.
A big threshing floor was there that today is the circular settle. And as it used to happen everywhere, in the beginning of each summertime its owner used to clean it, fix every damage that had occured since last year and prepar it so as to work for the new harvest. He was transfering in there the reaped ears and the stacks would look as high towers. Then they would thresh and carry in the house the fruit for the people and the straw for the animals.
One year the harvest was so rich that even the most barren fields fructified! The owner of the big threshing floor was anxious whether he would have the time to thresh so many strewn, to carry the straw and the fruit in his house? The weather was very good, but since when? But how could not be in a hurry, when a sudden cloudburst could destroy the hard work of an entire year? Justified, therefore, the owner would put the oxen in the threshing floor earlier than usual and finish when the sun would set.

With such hastiness the day of Prophet Helias came soon. A big day, festive one. No one should be working. The big prophet should be honoured. But the owner of the big threshing floor could not lose an entire day.
-" We will go to the threshing floor!", he said to his wife and daughter, with a tone in his voice that did not raise any objection.
- "Today? The Saint will set fire on us!", the wife dared to say.
- "The Saints have other work to do", he said back, and forced them to go to the threshing floor with him.

Those years the agricultural or stock-farming life was depending mainly on the wheather. If it was drought, cold in spring, if there were floods etc. the harvest could be destroyed and people could be hungry. Thus, our ancestors, as they could not face nature with their own forces, they turned to the superior force, God. They became pious, they upholded with fastidiousness all the things that the Church and the common conscience was saying and they hoped that with all this they would have the help «from the above» .
During the «skolades», the big feasts, they should not work in no way, because the Saints didn't want to. There were though certain days of peak, as we would call it today, for the agricultural work. Such were the days of the harvest and vintage. The work should be done fast, because with a sudden cloudburst, they could lose the work and the hopes of a year. So, in some of these days, they did not observe the religious holidays, as they used to do the rest of the time.
But let's go back to our story: When they reached the thresing floor, the owner and his wife yoked the oxen, and they begun to thresh with their only daughter. Her voice, singsong, echoed all around: «All around and all the straw is theirs...»
They were making sheafs and lift the straw. No one was around.
- A day like this and we are working! the woman whispered with sadness.

«All around and all the straw is theirs...» the girl started again, however before she completes the couplet, a horrible bang was heard. Frightened they looked around, but they did not have the time to move. The threshing floor went down taking them all, people and animals as well, to the bottomless depths of the ground! The prophet punished hardly those who did not respect his day!
Some people say that the owner was a priest and not only didn't he officiate the holy day, he went to the threshing floor to work... Who knows?
Each year, on the 20th of July the creak that the straw makes is clearly heard, as they are mixed by the owner and his wife and the song of the girl, «All around and all the straw is theirs...»

If you don't listen to it, those of you that you will go there, it can be from the sound of the cars that sent away the old sounds and all of this that the legends were bringing to the heart and the ears of the people.
It might be our own heart that is not worthy listening to the secret voices of the legends...


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