The Threshing Floor
Mary of Harakas
Legends of Fragokastelo
The Lyre Player
year thousands of visitors, Greeks and foreigners, admire
the Samaria Gorge, at the plateau of Mount Omalos.
In the 39 kilometres of distance from Chania till Ksiloskalo,
there are many alterations of the landscape and many sights.
First is the plain of Ayia with the prisons. Then, it's the
bridge of Keritis with the monument of 118 witnesses. Then,
fascinating orange groves and the village Fournes. The view
is enchanting. After the village of Laki, comes the wild looks
of the mountain Madara.
The road, brings new impressions to the eyes. The landscape
becomes wilder. The Fokies, the pit of Vergeris and, finally,
the plain of Omalos is showing. If you go there, you will
stop. You look around. The wild beauty of the mountains carries
you away. The Gigilos, the Pahnes, the Agathopi and the other
peaks make you feel awe.
sky makes its presence more intense. Many times it unexpectedly
scares. In this magnificent and rough image the land of Omalos
rests calm. You look around again. You see everything. Your
look embraces it with anticipation. Later on, you continue,
after a while you 're in the plateau. Here, there is much
you can see and admire: The tower of Hatzi-Mihali Giannaris,
the church of Saint-Panteleimonas, the lodges of the pasturages,
Ksiloskalo, the caves. .. All these are connected to the legend
Observing all these, you are not going to see the ghosts and
spirits for sure. If however you are lucky, you can meet nearby
someone older who will narrate what the usual persons do not
see. And first of all about the moonstruck lyre playeri:
In these places, built from God, in Omalos, in Madares, in
the Gorge, lived once upon a time a shepherd. He was an upstanding
man, playing the lyre enchantingly. No one knew his name.
They called him "the Lyre Player". He was sitting
on the rocks, under the shadow of the trees, near above in
the rocks, in the shade of trees, near water springs, or in
the caves and he was playing the lyre, making celestrial melodies...
It was summertime when some people heard him playing. From
mouth to mouth it came known that a lyre player in Omalos,
competes the wind and the birds in playing.
Young and old people started to go and listen to him playing,
hearing the voice of the lyre that was recounting the sufferings
of the heart and was saying about the beauties of the world.
some time the lyre player was lost with no warning at all.
They looked for him everywhere, but he was not found. The
search took months and years! In the end the legend wrapped
him and his lyre...
It was a night in October or November, noone knows for sure,
with no moon. The wind was blowing strong, the sky was groaning
threatening, the rain was falling like mad on the cypresses
and the torrents were moving as if they were about to drown
the ground. At that night the lyre player was in the beginning
of the plain of Omalos and, not wanting to wet his lyre, he
entered te cave of Tzanis.
Immediately, a strange warmth wrapped him. Something like
a vision enraptured him. There were small ponds with water
inside the cave and out of the water tall beautiful women
were gushing, with faces like the bright moon. Their blonde
hair was falling like a river of gold till their knees.
Suddenly they began to dance. But this dance was with beauty,
greatness, it was air blowing, as the feather in the wind,
as the steam in the sun. .. they were not dancing, they were
flying! The lyre player began to play, accompanying the dance.
The hours passed, the dance kept going on, and the lyre player,
mad by the fairies - because they were fairies - as if they
were not on the ground, was playing and playing and playing...
Later on he followed them, out of his mind and got lost with
Since then he never come up in the light again. Only the moonless
nights returns with the fairies in Omalos, in the cave of
Tzanis and accompanies their dance. He plays and plays with
the lyre sad songs, without getting tired, with no stop, without
taking a breath. The peaks, the cliffs and the gorges echo
his magic music all around...
a young man heard him playing and went mad on it. He decided
to go near him to learn. An old woman adviced him to make
a circle with a cross in the middle and sit in there, to protect
himself from the fairies. So it was done. He took his lyra
and went tothe cave. He sat in the circle with the cross and
waited patiently. Then the lyre player appearred and started
to play while around him the fairies were dancing. The hours
passed by, the one after the other and the dance didn't mean
to stop. Only when the cocks started crowing, everything was
lost and he was left alone.
him, the secret became known. He admitted it. And he was saying
to those that begged him to teach them, that they should hear
the moonstruck lyre player. Those who dared, they went and heard
him. And they became similar to him...
he unwittingly touched the bow and started to play. The sound
that came out of his lyra, made his body numb. Without knowing
how, he was playing as the one who before was charming the
Those were the big, genuine lyre players of Crete. Those that
turned our pain into a song and our joy into a great feast.
And today they might still exist. If you find yourself in a
marriage or in where ever there's joy and you hear the lyra
sighing in the hands of the instrumentalist, remember the cave
of Tzanis in Omalos and the moonstruck lyre player...