Ełk, in German Lyck, in the 19th century was the capital of the district. It has a famous castle of the Teutonic Knights, a few Evangelical churches, one Catholic church, a high school and some other schools. In September 1875 Kolberg visited the parish priest Reinhold Giżycki and the protestant superintendent Karol Remus in Ełk. The following passage comes from a letter to Remus: “Sir, the information about the speech, customs and way of living of Masurian people, which I received from you, encourages me to ask you if I may take advantage of your kindliness one more time and stay at your place to complement my material”.

However, he did not receive any answer from the Protestant priests to any of his letters. Instead, he was sent a letter by the superintendent Karol Cludius: “During my residence in Kraplewo in the years 1861-1873 German people took over Poland and old Polish customs disappeared along with Polish farmers and Polish language. We would be more interested in the scientific aspect of ethnographic research if Polish people return to the gospel and the Prussian Evangelical church”. Cludius, clearly irritated, wrote reminded about the recent victories of Prussia over Austria, Denmark and France (in 1864, 1866 and 1870-71). Moreover he opposed the activity of Gustaw Gizewiusz, another protestant clerk, who in the years 1836-40 documented Polish songs from the vicinity of Ostróda. The collection of Gizewiusz and material of W. Kętrzyński were used by Kolberg in the monograph of Masuria.

The following text is an illustration of local beliefs:

“In this region there are small, almost transparent creatures called cold manikins; in the vicinity of Hohenstein they are called dwarfs. They bring about madness, headache and fever, which should be treated on Thursday after supper”.

The below passage is about Christmas in Ełk:

“On the first day of Christmas they organize special type of Lauds, a popular service among Masurians. In Ełk I was told that it takes place in local churches around 5 in the morning. Boys and girls are dressed up as angels. They wear white dresses and blue belts. In addition they have wings attached to their shoulders and paper hats on the heads. They run about the altar, organ gallery and the whole church. Each has a candlestick with six candles in a circle decorated with hearts, stars or squares from colourful, golden or silver paper. The ceremony includes singing, sermons listening etc.”

About the Feast of the Transfiguration (August 6) of Evangelicals as well as Catholics in Ełk and its vicinity, Kolberg wrote:

“This day is believed to be very important; they organize a festival. For Catholics it is connected with a parish fair. In churches they organize services for both denominations. The Masurians go often to both churches to give sacrifice in the form of money, wine, candles or wax”.

Kolberg also collected an account of a bride moving into her husband’s house:

“On the third day, which is a Sunday, the bride moves to her husband’s house. Wedding guests gather in the morning for a breakfast. Neighbours lend them two large carts with horses. They fill the carts with a dowry. The bride can be accompanied by some friends and family members on the way to the new house. When they arrive they carry everything into the husband’s house. The rest of the day and the following Monday is spent on a feast with neighbours and relatives of the groom”.