… 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.
Many centuries ago, it was a tradition for men to go for a turkish bath from time to time. This was where men would gather in a relaxed ambience to exchange small talk. This area was called Hamam.
Then, one young man who was returning from the Hamam, passed by the garden of the city imam (Muslim Pastor), saw the daughter of the imam. Struck by her beauty, he wrote a poem which later made him a famous poet.
Here is my humble translation of the poem, hope you like it.
At dusk, while returning from the warmth of the Hamam,
I passed by the garden of the old city Imam.
There in the garden, Under the shade of the jasmine tree,
A pitcher in her hand stood beautiful Emina.
What Beauty! I could swear by Imam!
That even the sultan would not be embarrass to have her as his wife.
The way she moved with the gentle sway of her shoulders,
Not even the Hodja’s (Muslim Holy man) amulet could save me.
I salaamed her agreeably despite by my faith. (For the young man was a Christian but he greeted in her faith, which is Muslim.)
She didn’t want to hear me, the beautiful Emina.
Instead, down the garden She went,
With her silver pitcher to scoop out water for the blossoms.
Breeze blew down the tree onto her lovely shoulders,
Unravelling her braided plait;
Causing the hyacinth scent from her washed hair to waft gently by
And struck me suddenly with a sense of dizziness and giddiness.
I swear to God I almost fell,
But still Emina went about impervious.
Only to look at me with askance. (For it was not done for young man to behave so forward with young ladies,)
Uncaring that I could expire from my tumultuous feelings for her.
This young man who later on became a famous poet because of this poem was called Aleksa Šantić
So if you passed by the streets of Mostar. You can see the statue of him and the statue of Emina too.
Because of the diversity of religions in Bosnia & Herzegovina, it is not unknown for young people to fall in love with one who is from different religion. However, in those times, it was sadly not encouraged to marry outside faith.