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St John of Nepomuk's dog: The creation of a myth

by eiviz Online Now Oct 23, 2009 at 1:38 AM

If you have been to Prague you probably have seen the plaques below the statue og St John og Nepomuk on the Charles Bridge. (see picture on: People touch both the plaques, and there are different beliefs as to what magic powers they possess. Some say the one on the right can be touched for good luck or you can make a wish, others say that when you touch it you will return to Prague. The plaque on the left depicts a dog. There are various myths connected to this plaque: Touching it means good luck or bad luck, you can make a wish or you can touch it to make sure that the wish you made when you touched the other plaque, is kept a secret.

Now, here's an interesting story concerning the dog plaque:
I visited Prague for the first time in 97. At that time the dog on the left-hand plaque was completely black. Everyone touched St. John , but as far as I could see, no one touched the dog. As a joke I went over to the dog and touched it. My friends did the same and some other tourists saw this, laughed at the joke and touched the dog as well. I said to my friends that when we come back in a couple of years, the dog will be just as shiny as St John. Of course, I didn't believe this myself, but I came back two years later, and the dog was shiny as gold. Now everyone touched both St John and the dog. Coincident?

These myths about good/bad luck must have developed after 97. Does anyone have pictures of the statue from 97-99? Or do you know anythin about this? I would really like to get to the bottom of this.

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