Learn How To Talk About Animals In Polish

16 November 2023
By Sarah Angela Almaden
Japanese House

Unsplash: Paweł Kielar

Animals are great, wouldn’t you agree? I mean they are always there making you laugh, cry, smile, and more. They are also there to help you learn important lessons about life and your surroundings. Therefore, we should learn about them and take care of them, because they bring us a lot of warmth and love.

On another note, have you ever heard of the Polish legend of The Golden Duck? In Polish, this is known as Złota Kaczka (pronounced as zwoh-tah katch-ka), which translates to golden duck in English, and the story goes something like this:

Once upon a time, in the old town of Warsaw lived a young man called Lutek. Lutek was a poor shoemaker who worked in one of the shoe shops in the area. At nighttime, he was always found listening to locals who love telling interesting and exciting stories.

On one starry night, an old man decided to share a story about a cursed princess living in the Ostrogski Castle. The storyteller said that this damned princess turned into a beautiful and magical, golden duck and is now living in the basement of the palace. But she’s a dangerous one, and not easy to find. Many have gone looking for her, but they never were ever seen once more. However, it was said and believed by many that whoever meets the her would become rich forever.

Now, after hearing the story, Lutek decided that he wanted to go for a little adventure. A treasure-hunting adventure. But this time, this adventure was all about finding this magical duck of the Ostrogski Castle.

So, Lutek walked and walked the city center until he reached the palace. There, he found an area that took him to the cold and dark underground part of the castle. And Lutek continued to walk in search of this golden duck, the duck that could offer him a lifetime of riches. As he continued walking, he found this special room decorated all over with gold, and in the middle of it was a blue lake. And there it was, floating gracefully in the middle of the lake, the bewitched princess who turned into a beautiful and magical, golden duck.

Since Lutek found the duck, he was offered a fabulous prize. The golden duck gave Lutek a coin purse containing 100 ducats and, of course, one very important condition. She told Lutek that the only thing he must do now is to spend the 100 ducats all to himself and that he cannot share the money with anyone, ever.
So Lutek right away decided to spend the money all to himself, as the golden duck told him to. First, he bought the finest and most expensive suit he could find. Next, he bought a very fancy cane and a pair of very expensive leather shoes. Then, he ate at this very expensive restaurant because all the shopping made him hungry. And last, dear Lutek bought the most expensive ticket for a show at the city theater that night. Per the golden duck’s wish, Lutek only bought and ate the most expensive items for himself all through the day.

But, he soon realized that he spent only half of the ducats she gave him. Wondering what to do with the rest of the coins, he looked around and around for other things to buy. Sadly, stores were already closing because it was now time for people to head home. On top of that, he was already too full to buy any more food. So he didn’t know what else to do and what else to buy.

Just several steps away, Lutek noticed an injured and starving war veteran begging. Out loud, the war veteran said something like he may have survived many dreadful wars and won many medals, but he’s been left penniless, hungry, and thirsty.

So, Lutek decided to share the rest of his ducats with the war veteran. Right away, the princess appeared. She told Lutek how disappointed she was that he did not meet her one and only condition. As a result, she took away all of the things that Lutek bought and left him empty-handed. And, in a flash, the princess disappeared.

Afterward, the soldier reminded Lutek that it’s not money or the finest of things that will bring him happiness. But a good heart and honest work. Lutek heard and understood what the veteran said and was not at all mad as to what happened with his supposed rich fate. Rather than being upset, Lutek walked home relieved and ready for something new.

After that magical encounter, he decided to learn more about the art of shoemaking. Lutek worked as hard as he could, day and night until he became a master shoemaker. And, then, he met a beautiful woman whom he ended up marrying. Once they got married, they both lived happily ever after. The end.

And that’s the legend of The Golden Duck. This beloved Polish tale serves as a gentle reminder to listeners, readers, and all sorts of people in general that honesty and purity of heart are the only ways to true happiness. But what do you think? What’s your take on this Polish story featuring a golden duck?

Anywho, a duck, specifically a golden quacking one, isn’t the only animal highlighted in Polish stories. Actually, there are plenty more animals who serve as the main characters of many more Polish legends. What are these animals? You’ll find out later. First, you must know what different animals are called in Polish.

  • chicken: kurczak (kur-chak)
  • cow: krowa (krow-wa)
  • dog: pies (pyes)
  • puppy: szczeniak (sh-che-nyak)
  • bird: ptak (ptak)
  • duck: kaczka (katch-ka)
  • elephant: słoń (swon)
  • cat: kot (kot)
  • horse: koń (kony)
  • bear: niedźwiedź (nyedj-vyedj)
  • tiger: tygrys (tig-ris)
  • lion: lew (lev)
  • hamster: chomik (kho-mik)
  • goat: koza (ko-za)
  • guinea pig: świnka morska (shvin-ka mors-ka)
  • owl: sowa (so-va)
  • pig: świnia (shvin-ya)
  • octopus: ośmiornica (osh-myor-ni-tsa)
  • rat: szczur (chur)
  • rabbit: królik (kru-lik)
  • camel: wielbłąd (vyel-bwad)
  • fish: ryba (reh-ba)
  • giraffe: żyrafa (zhe-rah-fa)
  • shark: rekin (re-kin)
  • swan: łabędź (wa-betch)
  • squirrel: wiewiórka (vye-vyur-ka)
  • monkey: małpa (maw-pah)
  • frog: żaba (zha-ba)
  • rhinoceros: nosorożec (no-so-ro-zhets)
  • snail: ślimak (shli-mak)
  • turtle: żółw (zhowv)
  • zebra: zebra (zeb-ra)
  • kangaroo: kangur (kang-goor)
  • lizard: jaszczurka (yash-chur-ka)
  • mosquito: komar (ko-mar)
  • ant: mrówka (mruv-ka)
  • squid: kałamarnica (ka-wa-mar-ni-tsa)
  • parrot: papuga (pa-pu-ga)
  • chameleon: kameleon (ka-me-le-on)
  • butterfly: motyl (mo-til)
  • snake: wąż (wohzh)
  • starfish: rozgwiazda (rozg-vyaz-dah)