… Several days passed after that and still both the king’s sons did not returned home.
By this time, the whole palace was brimming with anxiety over the disappearance of the two princes.
And so it fell upon the youngest brother to seek the missing princes and to find out what had befallen them.
The young Prince had no sooner left the city walls when he encountered the same rabbit. He went at once after the rabbit. But when the rabbit fled into the cave, the young Prince did not follow. He turned around and proceeded to continue with the search for his brothers.
After many fruitless hours spent in the woods, the young Prince found himself near the vicinity of the cave again.
This time, the Prince entered the cave. To his surprise, he found an Old Woman cleaning the cave.
The Prince greeted the Old Woman politely and the Old Woman replied in kind.
He then asked the Old Woman if she had notice a rabbit entering the cave.
The Old Woman answered sadly that she did and informed him that it was not an ordinary rabbit but a dragon in its true form. She told him that the Dragon often transformed itself into a rabbit to lure people into his cave.
Many had fallen to the Dragon’s clutches in this very same way and so she mournfully advised the young Prince to be on his way.
The Prince explained that he was looking for his brothers and that he would not leave without knowing what had befallen to his brethren.
Observing the Old Woman’s bleak countenance, he surmised aloud that she was held against her will to serve the Dragon.
The Old Woman acknowledged woefully that she was indeed taken at an early age from her family to serve the Dragon and had been enslaved to serve the Dragon ever since.
The Prince persuasively told the Old Woman that they could defeat the dragon but only if she would help him. The plan of how to destroy the Dragon would include ferreting out the information of where the Dragon would be most vulnerable, that is, the location where it hid its strength.
When the Dragon had entrusted its great secret with her, the Old Woman was to show her elation by embracing the very spot and kiss it. The Prince said that he will return to find out what happened and thereafter he took his leave.
There was once a king who had three sons.
The kingdom being surrounded by a bountiful and beautiful nature, it was no surprise that one of the favourite past times of the princes were hunting.
One day, the king’s eldest son went on a hunt.
With his faithful horse beside him, the prince was walking through the woods in search of animals when a wiry rabbit suddenly jumped from the bushes and onto the path in front of him. The rabbit turned and sped away quick as lightning. Without much ado, the prince jumped onto his horse and went after it immediately.
Weaving through the deep forest, the rabbit was always just a step ahead of the prince.
As dusk approach, the rabbit suddenly bolted into a cave amidst the dark forest. Happily thinking that he had the rabbit cornered, the prince went after the rabbit into the cave without hesitation. Instead of the rabbit in the cave, he found a mighty and fierce dragon …. and thus the eldest prince disappeared.
As days passed without the return of the eldest prince, the old monarch grew worried and so he sent his second son on a quest to search for the oldest prince.
While searching for his brother, a rabbit bounded in front of his path. With a wiggle of his bushy tail, the rabbit dashed away.
The second prince couldn’t resist giving chase after the rabbit.
The chase eventually ended with the rabbit slipping into the very same cave and so the second son shared the same fate as his brother.
End of Chapter 1
- This fairytale was passed down from generations to generations verbally in Bosnia for about 300 years till it was first written down in its language about 300 to 4oo years ago.
- One of the earlier English version of this story was written by Parker Fillmore in 1921, he made it clear that the stories that he collected and edited were not exact translations.
- For the fairytales that globalresidence.me have collected and written in English, while in no way are exact translations too, still my husband and I have kept close to the details as much as possible to show the beauty of the Bosnian and Herzegovinian myriad cultures and values wrapped in these stories.
- The picture above was taken on the mountain Rujiste. The rabbit incorporated into the pictures is typical of the types of rabbits found in this region. Mountains are not only great for winter activities but they are great during hot summers as the air is cooler. With unfamiliar territories, it is always a great idea to have a knowledgeable guide beside you.
Wishing all happy summer and a good day to all. 😎😄