Created by local sculptor Róbert Kühmayer in 1914, the fountain at Šafárikovo Square is often considered the most beautiful in Bratislava, but otherwise, it may not attract much attention from those uninterested in public art.
The story behind the fountain, however, is rather fascinating. It was inspired by a local legend that Kühmayer happened to overhear at an inn, involving the ducks and the shepherd boys that are depicted in the sculpture.
According to tales, there was a water goblin who would watch the young shepherds as they played a variety of games while the ducks grazed on the meadow. The water goblin wished to join the fun, and one day he disguised his amphibian physiognomy and green hair made of seaweed.
But as it happened, it was a hot sunny day and the boys started taking off their shirts, which the water goblin couldn’t in fear of exposing his true identity. Seeing this, the boys made fun of the goblin. Angered, he used his magic to turn the boys to stone—together with the poor ducks.