As we sat drinking soft drinks in the heat of the day and watching the innumerable butterflies flitting by we googled for other things to see in the Velehrad area. It was I who found reference to a dolmen – the King’s Table (Kraluv Stul) in the area. I had never seen a stone in the Czech Republic – not one so this seemed like a reasonable objective.
Quickly, Jan started looking for references to it as did I and we both found it on Google maps and on several websites. Finishing our drinks, we got in the car and punched in the name of the village nearby where the stone was supposed to be. After several kilometers, I pulled over. Where we going to the right place? Still 33km and yet the stone was supposed to be nearby? We then discovered that there were two ‘Jankovices’ in the area and we had chosen the wrong one. “These stones can be hard to find,” I told Jan.
Arriving in Jankovice, we asked a man and his kids where the stone might be. He scratched his head and told us it was way back where we had started. This didn’t appear to gel with out Google map GPS so we decided to go with technology and go to the point on Google maps. After driving along gravel and bumpy single track roads, we pulled up and headed into the forest convinced the stone was just a couple of hundred meters away….
“I told you these stones were hard to find,” I said again. “In fact, Sue often tells me they sometimes don’t want to be found at all!” as we reached the spot on Google maps and yet saw nothing but forest. No sign of any stone nor anything that looked like the pictures we had seen on internet sites. By this time, it was 5ish and with an hour trip home to Brno, I figured the stone was hiding from us and didn’t want to be found.
A tad despondent, we got back in the car and drove along the road hoping perhaps to catch a glimpse of the stone in the vicinity but no such luck. We ended up in a small village well off the beaten track where we asked an older lady walking her dog. She had heard of it but didn’t know where it was – we should try the pub she told us. At the pub, detailed directions were duly provided and off we went.
“Told you these stones don’t like to be found,” I said again.
After following the directions back to Jankovice, we came to a road up and over the hill that I didn’t fancy driving on. It looked like one large pothole! However, one last try! “It’s hiding from us,” I said.
The road was horrendous and I feared for my suspension and drove slowly until we reached its end. “Perhaps I should have asked how far along this road it was,” Jan said. I nodded. Plainly, we had missed it and the stone was determined not to be found afterall.
Despite this, we stopped at the T-junction and walked a couple of hundred meters into the forest either side in the vain hope of sighting it. We didn’t but…. we did meet a family mushrooming who informed us that actually, it was 250m away down the road.
We thanked them and jumped back in the car.
The stone that didn’t want to be found had been found. The King’s Table.
According to one website,
The King’s table is shrouded in many legends, especially related to the Great Moravian past of Central Moravia. It is considered by some researchers to be a megalithic dolmen, which was supposed to be used to determine the days of the equinox and solstice. For this purpose, not only the marks on the stone block itself were to be used, but above all the surrounding stones, formerly called “benches” and destroyed in 1870 during the construction of the road. Apparently it could have been a cult place, as some archaeological finds suggest. Undoubtedly, however, for centuries it served as a natural landmark part of the boundary of the cadastre of the Velehrad monastery. It is first mentioned in the property deed of the monastery in 1228. As a natural landmark of the border, it remained at least until the 18th century, when a treaty on the mutual border between the Velehrad monastery and John of Rotal was concluded on October 6, 1706,
The king’s table was the subject of much research. The first detailed description with a plan and a map was prepared and published by the school board J. Chodníček in 1903. He was intensely interested in members of the Starý Velehrad association, who conducted a survey here in 1929 and published the results in the Velehrad collection. Antonín Zelnitius published the results of his research in a separate paper in the mid-1940s. Exploratory archaeological probes were carried out in 1976 and 1977. At present, it is again in the center of attention of researchers and archaeologists who are trying to answer the question of the true origin and purpose of this monument. Previous surveys have confirmed the prehistoric landscaping and artificial settlement of stone and Dr. St. Štěrb managed to prove the carved characters as Celtic runes.
The stone is a large block that immediately reminded me of a dragon’s head or snake – some kind of serpent – though the sign there says archeologists thing it was a bull’s head. It is within a circle of smaller stones but not in the center – it is offset to one side. My dowsing rods suggested to me the stone was displaced and should have been more or less in the center of the circle. It is marked with runes and as I touched it, it seemed to rock and sway under my touch.
In the fading light late in the day, it seemed at time to be ablaze with solar energy. Earth and Solar energies melded together in a dragon’s head circle.
I like to talk to stones and so I had a mental conversation with it. I talked about my desires, hopes and wished as well as thought on someone else who needed the stone’s attention. Jan also held a silent conversation with the rock. It listened in silence seeming to sway and rock under my touch. You could feel that there was a remnant of energy and that it appreciated our presence but I also knew it was damaged. The building of the road had disrupted its circumference and some stone had been removed for road foundation.
As we said goodbye and drove away in the fading light, I made a promise to return when I would have more time to sit, meditate and try to work with it further.