The story of the unusual mare EPONA.
Four generations before the birth of Jesus Christ the son of God, a Celtic clan was fighting for survival on the junction of the Vltava river and the Kremezsky creek. An important crossroads of a commercial trail it drew the blatant Germanic raiders as a bee hive loaded with honey would draw a bear. As it should. The Trisovska fortress was hiding desired treasures of its time behind a thoughtful fortification. Craftsmanship was dominating over agricultural production. This was the biggest difference from the neighboring communities and quarters. The lavishness of the Trisov Celts was in their community, handing over of knowledge and craftsmanship. No other tableware included graphite. The Trisov pagans knew how fashion graphite with clay in the form of unique ceramics. They fashioned iron ore in the form of usable articles. In the last time blacksmiths rather than plowshares and jewelery, made heads of arrows, spears and shields for warriors in the oppidum.
The expansion of Germanic raiders onto Czech lands and the aggressiveness of the attacks continually increased. As a bad sign from gods the Celts interpreted the epidemic of a mysterious disease in herds of their war horses. Daily in fever and with bleeding nostrils dozens of poor animals vanished. Druids resorted to pray for their salvation. They believed that horses have souls belonging to Goddess Epona, the heavenly mother of all fillies. They invoked her and conciliated with a human sacrifice. In the idol made of wicker they placed a virgin girl, put her on fire and left her to die in immense pain. The desired end of the deadly epidemic by divine intervention did not materialize. That is to say Epona lost a bit from her might to protect Celtic horses and their riders. As the only one of the Boii gods she sold herself to roman conquerors. To be worshiped by one ethnic group was not enough for her. She was enticed by her growing glory in the Apenine peninsula. Besides she was not just Goddess of horses, she was also the idol of abundance and prosperity. On the outside she was favoring cosmic laws opposing maltreatment. On the inside a hedonist stepping on or jumping over enemies of her inconsiderate ride with mighty hoofs, if she used her mare form. She appropriated the abundance and prosperity only for herself, without considering the means used.
As soon as the flared Epona spotted the burned herd of horse cadavers and the virgin tortured by flames, as the only remainders of life on the abandoned oppidium, in the crystal mirror while combing her golden mane, she felt an unending sorrow and divine remorse.
At full tear and with white foam she galloped in the died out residence of the human clan, once so peacefully caring for their horse companions. At the spot she only found the blacksmith, finishing last weapons for his companions before leaving the oppidium, where no single horse foot remained to be coated. She kneeled before him and begged him for forgiveness. In desperation she swore to rid herself from any service to evil, without consideration for the human race and its religious believe. The bitterness of her determination melted all reserves of iron ore surrounding the oppidium. She turned into a huge horse and asked the blacksmith to make her a shield from the molten iron that would bounce of attacks of greed for power and selfishness. The master of the blacksmith guild layed the red hot metal directly on the living mare body. The body burned continuously and evaporated. While accepting the punishment, the painful neigh was the only relief, that Epona chose for herself for the wasted lives, which she could not save. The half insane animal with divine soul was melting after touching the red hot pieces of metal. The pieces of the armor remained put however, copying the curves of horse head.
As soon as the sculpture framing the original animal stature was ready, the confused blacksmith went for a jar of water, to satisfy his thirst after heavy work. As he came back, the mare has disappeared. Only in the distance, somewhere against the current of the Vltava river, between the rocks, the delightful sounds of a watering horse have been heard. And at the same time steam rose from the river bed and a hissing noise not unlike the one from iron moved from the oven and anvil to a water bath made itself heard.
From that time the local residents spotted Epona only occasionally during the centuries. Plentiful legends have been spreaded on her. She reportedly gladly coursed on the Vltava river bed from Divci Kamen to its spring. And she did good deeds in her territory saving pure human and horse souls. Allegedly it was her, who prevented the devil from finishing the stone dam on the Vysebrodky notch with the intention of flooding the Vysebrodsky Cistercian monastery. A stike with a hoof was enough. She held her back to falling rocks a few times, to protect the workers building the Lipenska dam. In times of the iron curtain she transported Czech migrants over the barbwire into neighboring Austria. Drowning paddlers, (non) swimmers, fishermen told the story about a steal Pegasus carrying their bodies on the surface, as they started giving up hope. Creaking of steel and the smell of hot metal was repeatedly registered in stables, where according to breeders miraculous healings happened.
Maybe those are only horse fables. But visit the Kobylnice settlement. If you have a pure soul, and no evil is happeing in the Vltava basin, you will have a chance to spot her. The godly Epona - watching over the silvery surface of the Lipno dam.