Eglė, Queen of Serpents

Eglé, Queen of serpents

Voriagh draws its source from travel through time, but also folklores. Each trip we take to the lands that inspire our clothes, or even contribute making them, are just as many experiences allowing us to discover new cultures and legends.

During a trip to the Baltic coast, Elena, the girl with fiery hair, told us an ancient legend, taken from Baltic mythology: the story of Eglė, a young woman married to the king of serpents (Zilvinas) , who appeared before her while swimming in the Baltic Sea.

The melancholy of this mythological tale served as inspiration for the poetic pictures that you can discover here. In these shots, Elena suddenly embodies Queen Eglė, screaming towards the sea the magic formula that was meant to return her to her husband, the king of snakes.

We would like to share with you this mythological tale, this singular story between Eglė and Zilvinas... We hope you enjoy reading it!

One warm summer day, Eglė, the youngest daughter of a local farmer, went bathing in the sea with her two sisters. Afterwards, returning to the shore to get dressed, she found a serpent in her clothes. To her surprise, the serpent spoke to her in a man's voice and demanded that she promise to become his wife for the return of her clothes. Faced with an immediate need to get dressed and not thinking about possible future consequences, Eglė agreed.

Three days later a great number of serpents pulling a wagon showed up at Eglė's parents' farm to claim the bride. Eglė's family tried to trick the serpents by giving them one of their farm animals, but each time a cuckoo warned the serpents about the deception. Finally, wise to the trickery, serpents succeeded in taking Eglė with them to their master.

At the seashore they were met by Žilvinas, a handsome young man, the Serpent King, who took Eglė to a nearby island and then to his palace under the sea, where they wed. Eglė and Žilvinas lived together happily and had three sons, Ažuolas, Uosis and Beržas, (Oak, Ash and Birch) and a daughter, Drebulė (Aspen), their youngest.

One day the children started asking about their mother's former home. Eglė became homesick and asked Žilvinas to allow her and the children to visit her parents' farm. Žilvinas was against it and set a number of what he thought were impossible conditions - to spin a never diminishing amout of silk, to wear out a pair of iron shoes, and to bake a pie without kitchen utensils. Eglė, however, with the help of a local sorceress, was able to accomplish them and Žilvinas had to allow Eglė and the children to go.

The reunion with the family was such a happy event that Eglė's family did not want to let them return to the sea and decided to kill Žilvinas. But first, they needed to know how to get Žilvinas to appear from the sea.They demanded that the children reveal the family secret. Sensing danger, the sons refused to comply, but the youngest daughter Drebulė became frightened and revealed the secret call.

Eglė's twelve brothers rushed to the seashore, called Žilvinas, who appeared in serpent form, and killed him with scythes.

Not knowing her husband's fate and ending her stay with her parents, brothers, and sisters, Eglė returned to the seashore and called Žilvinas. In reply only a bloody foam appeared.

In her grief, after she realized that Žilvinas was dead, Eglė transformed her family into trees - her sons into an oak, an ash and a birch, her daughter into a trembling aspen, and herself into a spruce.


In order to illustrate this story, we would like offer you not only these photographed moments, but also our latest Youtube video, filmed during this magical shoot in Lithuania. We hope that the camera managed to capture the almost surreal atmosphere that the story of Egle and Zilvinas, still floating in the air, had created.

This timeless moment is dear to our hearts... And especially to our designer Vivien’s, who saw our "Elina" dress, a precious piece of linen notably inspired by clothing from the Viking era, travel beyond the Baltic Sea, in the depths of the sea, where the memory of Egle and Zilvinas will live on for centuries and centuries.

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2 Comment(s)
Peg Brown
Jul 19, 2023 20:28
What a tale
Voriagh team
Apr 30, 2024 11:30
We are happy you loved it! Thank you so much Peg.
(And our apologies for the very late reply - our software didn't allow us to see your comment and reply to it!)