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The Legend of Ülemiste Warden Janne Kants Estonia, 3rd June, 2007 Lake Ülemiste Every autumn at a dark midnight a little grey man rises from Lake Ülemiste, goes down the hill and asks the people: „Is the town ready already or is there anything left to build?” As it is now common in bigger cities: building and construction work never ends. And even if new buildings are not erected, the old ones need to be fixed and renovated so, that there will never be such a break, when workers would rest. But even if all the work would stop for a while, it should never be told to the lakeman. Because of that, the people are told to answer the old grey man each and every time: „The city is far from being ready, many things have to be done, still. It may take some years before everything will be finished!” The strange old man would nod his head angrily then, mutter words, turn around and go back to the lake, where his permanent residence is. If anyone should answer his question, by chance, that the city is ready and there is nothing to build, then the city would be finished at that very moment, because Lake Ülemiste would pour all its water down into the valley and drown Tallinn for good. The city would look like this then But how did Lake Ülemiste and its warden come into being? Once there had been a field in the place where now Lake Ülemiste lies. One peasant had been ploughing his field when a dark cloud came and shouted: „Get out of the way!” the man couldn’t run fast enough and drowned in the lake pouring down from the cloud. He had to remain in the lake as a lake warden. At present Lake Ülemiste is the most important part of Tallinn’s water supply. Many artificial lakes feed it through channels. The fear that the city may be flooded is due to the fact that the lake is situated 36 metres above sea level and the city itself much lower than that. In fact, the water of Lake Ülemiste has flown to the streets of the city many times through the history. Last time it happened in 1867. Today, after long periods of rain the water level of the lake is observed very anxiously. The lake flooded Tallinn some years ago • So, if you happen to see an old gray man in the streets of Old Town late at night, asking if the city is ready, you know what to answer! Thank you for your attention!
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