The writer Jan Vrba, whose mother was also a Kostlivy, writes in his book
'Chodsko pod Halravou' about a very interesting part of Czech mythology of which the Kostlivy lineage is a part.
Today’s Kostlivys are from the old lineage of millers from the village of
Klenci. Kostlivys were once also known in this region as 'Simanici'.
This nickname is derived from the name of Šimon Kostlivy who must have been the first known owner of the mill.
From time immemorial, the male members of our clan distinguished themselves
with their violent tempers, a character trait so pronounced in Chodsko, where
no 'lambs' were ever born.
This infamous characteristic was so legendary that it demanded
some explanation and so, according to the people's verdict and Czech mythology, the Kostlivy
males were not human sons.
And so the story goes...
The family mill stands on the outskirts of Klenci near, what was then, a deep forest.
It was in this deep forest where during the night and specifically during the full moon, many lovely redheaded nymphs could be seen.
These nymphs occupied themselves by keeping a close watch to see if any new male baby was born in the mill.
If so, it was their duty to attempt an exchange of the newborn for one of their own.
But this had to be done within the first six weeks of birth, otherwise they lost all their magic power over the "Simanik" sons.
So it was up to the new mother to diligently keep watch, day and night, over her newborn son during this six-week period because, according to tradition, this was the only way to prevent the exchange.
Since the short-tempered nature of every Kostlivy male brought many hard moments to their wives’ lives, we can only imagine that all new mothers took this very seriously as it was in their own interest not to get an another short-tempered male into their own family or a short-tempered husband for a future bride.
But, alas, history tells us otherwise - not one of the mothers was successful!
Jan Vrba also writes that he himself was born in the mill and that his mother went through this exercise of close watch during the six-week period with him, regardless of assurances from her husband and neighbors that this was but a fairytale.
Even he himself was never sure if she was successful...
How true is this fairytale? You be the judge!!
All I can tell you is, that I believe that there must be some truth to this! Just ask my wife!
How about you?
The mill is still standing.
Of course it is not in operation but it is still occupied. I visited it in 1999 and had the pleasure of taking a tour, sitting down in the kitchen and chatting with the occupant,
Mrs. Kostliva. I also enjoyed some coffee and cake with this charming host.
Here are some pictures from my visit