This is what Kolberg wrote about the inhabitants of Kujawy: “The Kujawiaks are a separate type of Polish people. The scent of difference is visible in many aspects of their life, such as clothes, songs, customs, and language. The ancient Slavic eating traditions and the food itself are the most outstanding. Kujawiak, the dance, is quick and playful. Women here have natural charm. They smile with contentment expressing in this way their level of happiness and good standard of living. The Kujawiaks are physically rather slow, yet they have an agile mind and are rather rational. Their common sense and experience usually provide the best solutions in family matters, and beyond that. They work hard and are open to new solutions to develop their farming, unlike the Mazurians or Podlachians [inhabitants of the north-east of Poland]. The Kujawiaks learn quickly how to operate a new tool. They easily manage some economical and mathematical tasks; moreover they use the zloty currency”.
Kolberg came to this region twice; the first time in 1860 and the second time in 1865. During his first trip he visited, among other places, Bodzanowo and Bogusławice, where he was hosted by the Biesiekierski and Komecki family, respectively. The second family he visited again five years later. At that time he also had contact with the Sokołowski family in Głuszyna, the Morzycki family in Ruszkowo and the Kretkowski family in Więsławice. Among other people, it was Józef Bliziński, a writer interested in folk culture, who helped Kolberg to meet those people. The working conditions in this region happened to be so favourable that the collected material from this region is enormous. Józef Bliziński sent Kolberg plenty of information about the Kujawy region, even when the research in this part of the country had concluded. He became one of the most faithful co-workers of Kolberg.
The material from Kujawy, published in volumes 3 and 4 of ‘The Complete Works of Oskar Kolberg’ (CWOK) deserves special attention. There are plenty of descriptions of folk dances. Kolberg’s fascination with the Kujawian musical culture and customs is expressed in his opera ‘Król pasterzy’ [The King of Shepherds].