There were many origin stories for what became known as the “swan shrine.”
Some claim the obelisk served as a grave marker or tombstone carved by the ancient, indigenous people who occupied this land tens of thousands of years ago. The theory was that this stone stele was erected as a monument for commemorative purposes. The belief was that the site was used to bury one of their kings or high priests. But when archeologists first dug into the ground around the rock, no evidence of the site being used as an ancient burial ground was found.
The truth of the obelisk’s origin, though, dates back only a few hundred years to the farmer who originally owned this property. At that time there was a large lake on the farmer’s land and the lake was inhabited by the most magnificent white swans any of the locals had ever seen.
The farmer would come out every day and feed his beautiful swans. But something happened that turned the lake waters putrid and all of the farmer’s beloved swans died. He was bereft and almost inconsolable at the loss of the swans he so cherished. Ultimately he had to dredge the lake and fill it with soil, as nothing he tried was able to purify the water.
Once he had reclaimed the land, he took a large boulder and crafted a shrine for his swans. He etched crude images of three of them on its face and carved-out a deep-set, triangular arch toward the top of the obelisk to hold offerings and to light candles, which he did every day at the same time that he used to feed his swans.
After the farmer’s death, his land, along with the shrine, were purchased from his heirs by the city. The city dug out a new lake, which is now populated by numerous ducks, geese, and beautiful white swans. The farmer’s swan shrine overlooks what is now known as “Swan Lake.”
Written for this week’s Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent.