Dear friend of Ikaria,
Today I will tell you a story that I already promised you long time ago. For those that remember: it has to do with houses and … nicknames!
The Rabbit’s House
The ruin are the remnants of the ‘Rabbit’s House’. The ‘Rabbit’ was a man that had been left – in exile - on Ikaria by pirates around the year 1760. (Also pirates were punishing with exile their men if they weren't obedient). Ikarians were always giving the disobedient men asylum, honoring the rumor of hospitality.
To his luck and surprise, ‘The Rabbit’ soon found the village of Laggada and stayed there for some years. It was at the time that the Pirates’ Era was about to finish. He was from the first people who left Laggada village and started to move around the island to find a place to live. While he was wandering around – stealing food from the fields - he earned his nickname ‘Rabbit’. Here is the story of his nickname:
In the area of the castle of Koskinas was living a man named Atsidis with his wife and beautiful daughter. They were missing their wheat from their fields and one night Atsidis said to his wife: ‘Go to the field and get the rabbit that eats our wheat!’ She went off into the dark night and she came back with the man who was stealing the wheat to eat and from that time he was known as ‘the Rabbit’. Atsidis and his wife offered him a bed and food and after some time the Rabbit got married with Asidis’ daughter. Once married, he started wandering over the island again, together with his wife. Even now there is a neighborhood in Amalou named after him: Lagoudato.
Finally they found a place to live, in what we now know as the village of Agios Polikarpos. They settled in the ruin that you see in the photo, as the first inhabitants of Agios Polikarpos. Off course the oficial general nickname of the villagers of Agios Polykarpos even now is "Rabbits".
The Monk’s House
About 100 years later, after 1860, a monk from the Peloponnese was looking for shelter in Ikaria. That monk had killed his sister’s husband to get all the dowry for himself but the murder came to the light and the Turks wanted to kill him (Greece was still under Ottoman occupation and laws). So he ended up at the Rabbit’s house. Together with the villagers he transformed the house by adding a new room, the one with the stone roof. The monk stayed there until his death. During his stay he would gather the children of the village and teach them how to read and write. The villagers thanked him by covering his daily needs: they brought him food and clothes. His contribution of wisdom and knowledge was priceless for those times! Since then that house is known as the Monks' Little House.
Hope you enjoyed the content ...
Mazari G. Eleni