Lake Kaukinė (Žiedelis)
Should you be planning to visit Lake Kaukinė (or Žiedelis), prepare to be overwhelmed with the grandeur of nature. The small, nearly perfectly round water pond will take your breath away. Old people tell of a howling ball of fire, which suddenly appeared in the sky and hit the forest. The explosion blasted a huge hole, breaking and burning down the forest trees in a kilometre radius. The hole was filled with water and the farmers that settled around it named the lake Kaukinė. This name is related to kaukas – the mythical chthonic being, which brings fertility, yield and fortune. These are small human-like creatures, which used to show up at homesteads, bringing presents, e.g. bread, hay, etc. Should the home-owner accept the gift, kaukai would show up at night and be treated to milk or beer. Otherwise people used to see them only at moonlight or on a misty day.
Because of its round shape and the surrounding ring-like elevation, this lake might be the only water pond in the country to be created by a fallen meteorite. The other name – Žiedelis – literally means ‘a small ring’. This lake belongs to a special group of water ponds and what makes them special is that you can’t measure their depth. There are two reasons for that. First of all, attempting to measure the lake makes it angry, and the other – it might not have a bottom at all… People talk of one man, who attempted to measure the depth of the lake. He hacked a hole in the ice and dipped a rein in the water. The evening came and the man wasn’t yet finished measuring, because something was pulling the rein down. The man went home, leaving everything at the lake. At night he dreamt the lake, which said to him: ‘Should you attempt to measure me, I’ll take a human life every year.’