Myths and legends of Monemvasia
Myth “The water and Talanta”:
Near the seaside settlement of Plytra was once the ancient town of Kyparissia, which suffered from a lack of fresh water.
According to legend, ancient Kyparissia once had a king who had two children, a girl and a boy.
When it was time for his daughter to marry, she put her two suitors (each a prince from a different kingdom) to a test.
In those days, members of the same royal family, that is a brother and a sister, were permitted to marry each other. So one of her suitors was her own brother, but the other was her beloved.
The one to win her hand, she decreed, would be the one who would bring water to the kingdom. Naturally, to be sure that her favourite would be the victor, she sent him to bring water from the Molai area, where the ground was flat, thinking that it would present him no problems.
Her brother, on the other hand, was sent to the place where the village of Talanta now stands, in rocky, mountainous country.
Her beloved began to dig a channel, through which the water began to flow, but it was soon brought to a halt on the plain where it formed a lake, and never reached ancient Kyparissia.
Her brother, however, let the water run downhill in the direction he wanted to dig, so it reached its destination without any obstacles.
When his sister heard the news, she ws so embittered that she went and hid in an oleander plant and asked it to take her beauty and to give her its bitter sap (which is poisonous). So the princess died and the plant acquired beautiful flowers.
The people who lived near the source of the water were paid in the currency of the time, the talanton, which gave its name to the town that now stands there.