Tosno is a small town – just about 40 thousand inhabitants, and therefore is rife with many legends and rumors. One of them goes back to ancient times, when Russian people just started settling here, long before St. Petersburg was founded.
As an old legend goes, once upon a time here on the banks of the river Tosno lived a nice guy, welcoming and friendly, always ready to shelter and feed the weary traveler, to entertain his neighbors, or to rescue a swan with a broken wing. That’s what he was like – an open-hearted king of the hill. And then one day the boy just disappeared without a trace, dissolved into thin air. There were a lot of speculations about his disappearance. Someone said that a forest fairy cast a spell over him and lured into her snares. Others had it that the young and smart guy escaped to look for happiness in another land. He had disappeared but the memory of him remained. Not just in words but in deeds.
Once a woman slipped on a wet ground while she was returning from a market with heavy bags. Suddenly as though some hidden power brought her up and escorted to her home. Another time a cart’s wheels were stuck on the muddy road after a rain – no way to drag it out of the mud. And suddenly as if a storm wind came on and the cart bobbed up like a cork. Or a kid got absorbed in playing and was lost in a wood, looking desperately for his way back home. And then as if someone took him by the arm and hurried out of the forest.
The local people have noticed that it is as if someone helps them in difficult situations and guards them from scathe. They remembered that nice boy and started calling him Tosnovichok, the local Guardian Angel. He left the village but never forgot its people, they thought.
Truth or fiction – no one knows it for certain, but the fact is that the city of Tosno hitherto has its patron.
What kind of person was he – everyone imagines him differently. For someone Tosnovichok has survived in the memory as a cheerful boy with kind eyes. For others he is a bearded old man looking more like Nafanya. The local youth jokingly nickname him a Superman and think of Hollywood-style outfits for him. One way or another, people feel a touch of the spirit-protector everywhere. Tosnovichok is round here.
You might happen to be walking down the street when something suddenly crunches behind your back. Turning round you see nothing, just crows in the trees. This is Tosnovichok amusing himself. You chuckle and walk on. Drivers often tell stories of someone helping them on the road. Going from St. Petersburg and to St. Petersburg, you get tired and sleepy, and suddenly hear a voice saying: "Stop driving, sleep for a while and then go further". Looks like Tosnovichok warns and calls to visit Tosno. There are a lot of similar legends out there. For the locals, he has long become not just a symbol of the city, but its talisman. As for visitors, he can make fun of someone - as luck would have it, but he is always ready to help in case of need. That's what our Tosnovichok is like!
The room of Tosnovichok is filled with details which are closely connected with this folk hero – the talisman of the city of Tosno. History and traditions, legends and stories are deeply intertwined here in this traditional Russian interior. It is no merce chance, anyone who crosses the threshold of the chamber gets as if in a fairy tale. It seems there is no host here, but the bright spirit of the good hero can be felt literally everywhere. Because Tosnovichok is round here.