National Geographic : 1933 Mar
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Boulevards, of whose "croissants," if the story be true, John Sobieski, Polish savior of Vienna from the Turks, is the god father, the crescent-shaped roll being the product of a Pole who, because he brought the news of the Turkish flight to Sobieski, was given the concession for Vienna's first coffeehouse. Monotony is the keynote of Polish geog raphy; yet in the south there are idyllic mountain retreats of rare beauty. Through the obscure but inspiring Krak6w Proto col, Poland and Czechoslovakia agreed to turn the whole Tatry mountain region into one splendid national park, shared between the two lands in somewhat the way that Canada and the United States share the beauty of the Rockies (see page 342). 'InEVELOPING NATIONAL PARKS Our own national parks, notably Yellow stone, have been an inspiration to the Poles, and in their efforts to perpetuate beauty and safeguard picturesque areas they have closely studied our National Park Service. Many forms of wild animals living in the Tatry cross back and forth across the frontier ridge, and to the tourist hotels on both sides of the boundary countrywomen bring the same highly flavored wild straw berries (see Color Plate VII). Not so long ago Poland and Czecho slovakia were at grips over Cieszyn (Tes chen). Now they work together to pre serve in the Carpathians a retreat "for the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People." The Czarnohora group, a range deeply covered with primeval forest and the home of the Huzuls, is another area reserved as a people's playground and health resort. Not individuals alone are benefited in the sanitaria of these park lands. National sanity is also served when adjoining na tions cooperate in beautifying their com mon boundary rather than fortifying it. American progress and prosperity have been fostered by ignored State frontiers, while unnatural boundaries, emphasized by political, economic, cultural, or linguis tic barriers, are thorns in the flesh of strug gling Europe. A buffer park instead of a buffer State is at least original. Poland, which owes its very being to unceasing race loyalty at home and good will abroad, now quite naturally desires to maintain a status quo arrived at when war time prejudices were still potent. Whether it does so is no longer a problem of words but of deeds. That amazingly versatile Pole, Pade rewski, tells the following story: "Once upon a time, somewhere in Uto pia perhaps, a large sum of money was offered as a prize for the best description of the elephant. Among the competitors there were a Frenchman, an Englishman, a German, and a Pole. "The Frenchman immediately went to the zoological garden, visited the elephants' house, made friends with the keeper, in vited him to luncheon, took several photo graphs, and, after repeating the experience a couple of times, began his work. Within a few weeks a brilliant book was ready under the title, 'Les Amours d'Elephant.' "The Englishman proceeded quite dif ferently. He bought a complete hunter's outfit and in that sporting attire, provided with excellent rifles, supplied with plenty of ammunition, cartridges, biscuits, Scotch wine, and pipes, he went to the jungles of India, to the wilderness of Africa, saw thousands of elephants, killed quite a few of them, and upon returning home within six months he wrote a concise, graphic essay, calling it unpretentiously, 'The Elephant.' "The efficient German acted more thor oughly. He started on a long, extensive journey, visiting all the most renowned libraries of Europe. He read every book, studied every pamphlet, examined every document pertaining to the huge animal, and, after several years of that conscien tious work, produced two big volumes under the name, 'An Introduction to a Monograph on the Elephant.' "As to the Pole, he wrote his book al most as rapidly as the Frenchman. Its title was, 'The Elephant and the Polish Question.'" The "Polish Question" has been sup planted by Poland, living land of the per sistent Poles. 344 ~4~ j"