Tourism / Hiking Tracks / Hiking trail of Ebavere


Eesti Vabariik 100
Georg Lurich
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Legends of Ebavere

Ebavere Hill at the beginning of the twentieth centuryEbavere Hill (height 146 m) is considered to be the same sacred hill about which Hendrik of Latvia wrote, that the great god of the inhabitants of Saaremaa, Tharapita, was born there and had flown as a jack-o-lantern from Ebavere to Saaremaa. Nowadays it has been related to the incident of Lake Kaali, that was formed by the fall of a meteorite. The meteorite entered the atmosphere here and became visible as a fireball. Under the Ebavere Hill as well as near the Lake Kaali, there was and still is the village of Kaarma.

Gods were believed to live on the sacred hill and people went there to pray and sacrifice. In one lean year the most beautiful girl of the village called Eba was sacrificed to the hill. Ever since the hill has been called Eba-vere (Eba's blood).

The town of  Ebavere inside the hill. Artist E. Veermäe There are stories about a town inside the Ebavere Hill (Smoke on the Ebavere Hill). In quiet summer mornings there is fog over the hill that arises as wriggling jets like the smoke of many chimneys. The folks say that in ancient times there was a big town in the place of the Ebavere Hill. It grew and grew and was short of space. But the land belonged to an evil witch who did not like the matter and transformed the town into a hill. Yet, life inside the hill continues, hence the smoke above the hill. Some people are said to have stumbled upon this town.

A longer poem, the Call of the Hill by Erich Meerja tells a story about a curious young man who came there on one Midsummer Eve. The town was very lively. All the shops and even the taverns were open. The man entered a shop where a nice maid smiled at him. A pair of yellow shoes and an iridescent belt caught his fancy, but he was short of money. The sly shop-girl gave the goods for nothing, even tied the belt over his waist. Before leaving the town the young man went to a tavern to wet the bargain, got drunk and fell asleep on a bench. When he woke up the town had gone as well as the shoes and the belt. But he did not forget that enchanting town and the beautiful maid until his old age.
 
The elf of Ebavere has a good outlook from the top of the tower The same legend was versified by Jakob Tamm in 1896 already, but in this variant the young man bought leather gloves and these remained for him.
 
In the story The Gate of Ebavere, a man with an empty stomach went to the underground town, but was only allowed to eat there. He filled his stomach with good fare, but could not resist the temptation. He took along a hat-full of golden and silver coins and, in addition, fancy leather gloves. Having arrived at home, there was no more in his hat than dry leaves with a large puckered burdock leaf on them.

An elderly woman with freezing feet called Tiina also came by chance to the Ebavere shop (Shop on the Ebavere Hill). Her shoes were full of holes, not mended, for the needle was broken. There were a lot of commodities in the shop, but the old woman only took a needle and carders as well. When she wanted to go to pay the money the next day, there was no town any more. Yet, the needle and the carders served her until her dying day.
 
The Fire of Money at Ebavere tells a story about a herdsboy who lost a heifer while tend- grazing cattle. The unfortunate little fellow was not allowed to return without the animal and stayed overnight on the Ebavere Hill. There he saw three grey-bearded old men sitting by the fire. They put live coals into the boy's hat. Later they turned to golden coins and so the poor boy became rich.
 
The witch of Ebavere prowls just in that kind of forest. The Witch of Ebavere is a story about a mean woman, who wanted to become the richest of all and made a contract with the Prince of Darkness. As the greedy woman was not able to fulfil the promises given to the hell-hound, she sank along with her house and cattle to the underground. There she became the infernal prince's herdswoman. Once in a year she was allowed to come on earth to seek for an assistant. That day she roams about the Ebavere woods in order to take a boy or a girl with her to work as a herdchild. She can take only a bad child, who is disobedient and naughty, who lies, treads on flowers, breaks the tops of young trees or smashes up the birds' nests. She is not allowed to take good kids.

In the story The Milking Pail some wayfarers started to take refreshments beside the road at the foot of the Ebavere Hill. A beautiful maid appeared out of the bushes, holding a milking pail with frothy beer in her hand. She offered the beer to the men, who enjoyed sipping it. When the milking pail was empty, they put it under the bushes. But in the morning the drinking vessel was not found, although nobody had been there. Surely the Evil One had had his hand in it! Later the Ebavere tavern was built upon that place.

Jakob Liiv and the members of the cast of GNOME in 1906. a.Jakob Liiv's verse drama Gnome has been written in the beginning of the last century and is based on the following legend. In ancient times a wide river passed by the Ebavere Hill. The hill was protected by a Gnome, the river by a River-elf. They were at enmity with each other, because the river constantly undermined the hillside. To solve the problem, the grandfather Uku made the Gnome and the Elf run a race. The Gnome was the first to reach his goal: the hill remained but the river had to leave. The row of the seven Äntu Lakes originate from the graves of the dried river.
 
Jakob Tamm dedicated 16 sonnets and several shorter poems to the Ebavere Hill. Kersti Merilaas wrote about the witch of Ebavere in her poem Childhood. Eduard Leppik has compiled 7 legends of Ebavere in his booklet Tales of Väike-Maarja (including those described above).