The Slovenia Times

Mythological beings, part 2



The giant known as Divji Moz (Wild Man), or Hostnik, who also roamed in the woods at night, was less dangerous than Divja Jaga. He was a kind of shepherd to the wild animals and always tried to stay away from the settlements. Even though people were afraid of him, there were occasions when he helped them to find their way if they were lost and occasionally he would even befriend the foresters. On the other hand, there were also occasions when Divji Moz would hurl candles at those who had dared to enter his cave. Caves were the dwelling place of wicked creatures and old hags with inverted feet, called Krivopete. These old hags were cruel to beautiful women, who they killed out of jealousy. They were even crueller to children, who they captured and fattened up for the pot. Even though caves were generally terrifying places, there was one cave in particular that had a different reputation. This was the cave of Kralj Matjaz (King Matjaz) under the Mt Peca in northern Slovenia. King Matjaz was a well-known and very powerful leader; he was terrifying to the Turks and even to the gods at times. He and his army have been asleep in the cave since he repelled the Turks, and he will wake up and come out only when his beard is long enough to encircle the stone table on which he is leaning nine times. It is believed that anyone who should happen to stumble upon the cave would leave very much the richer for it. A similar thing happened to those who encountered the Vile (Fairies), beautiful young women with long blond hair who slept in remote forest clearings. They were known for their power to grant wishes to anyone who was kind and amiable to them. However, if anyone took the liberty of watching them dance, or tried to exploit them, they could be merciless. Even though their mission was different, they very much resembled Rojenice and Sojenice, important deities who determined the future and the faith of the people. Rojenice would enter a house where a baby was about to be born in order to determine its destiny. Usually there were three of them; one determining youth, another wedlock and the last one old age. Also present in the house on such occasions were Zalik Zene, also known as Bele Zene (White Women). They helped with the birth and protected the newborn child from evil later in life. Their home was high in the mountains, where no one could reach them. They tended a herd of white goats, which was led by the great and beautiful steinbock known as Zlatorog (Goldenhorn), who protected the Slovenian mountains. If wounded by a hunter, blood trickling onto the ground from the wound would instantly cause a Triglav rose to grow, which he would then eat and miraculously recover. Despite his former greatness, however, Zlatorog has now been reduced to just another beer trademark. This may be a little sad, but at least it keeps the memory of Zlatorog alive.


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