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The Dragon Of Blagaj ….

Dragon of Blagaj

Dragon of Blagaj

In ancient times, before the age of Illyrian, long before Ottoman Empire decided to pass by, when people still believed in dragons and fairies, there lived a mighty fierce dragon in the area that we came to now know as Blagaj. This area was full of mountains and rivers and the dragon had chosen the mountain which had a few caves at the top of this area .

To prevent people from reaching his lair, the crafty dragon first sliced the mountain side to make it sharply inclined. Secondly, he dug out a spring from the bottom cave. The water, gushing out furiously from the bottom cave combined with the steep surface, virtually made it impossible for anyone to approach the mountain. The highest cave at the top of the other caves was made his home.

For many years, the dragon destroyed and scourged many villages in the realm. Many villagers lived in abject fear of the beast and none knew the whereabouts of his lair.

In order to alleviate the sufferings and terror of his people, the ruler of the land then, a Duke, had no other means but to make an agreement with the terrible dragon. The most prettiest maiden in the land would be given as a sacrifice to the dragon every year. In return for this boon, the dragon would let the people live in peace.

300 peaceful years passed by without any disturbances from the dragon as the whole of this tiny kingdom dutifully abide by the agreement made since.

Till it came to pass ….,

a ruler by the name of Stjepan, who already had 3 sons, have the most beautiful baby daughter. For fear he would have to give up his daughter to the dragon, he decided to hide her until she is of an age to marry. He built a tunnel under his castle and through to the opening of the nearest hillside and created a small terrace. This terrace became her favourite place to read or other some such pastimes, where she could be hidden  and yet still feel the warmth of the sun.

As time passed, the princess grew in beauty and grace….

One day, there was much excitement as a circus  had come into the kingdom. Many people could not wait to see the circus and were thrilled that one of the attractions was a show featuring a couple of dancing bears. When the princess heard this, she begged her father prettily to see the dancing bears. The duke who did not have it in his heart to refuse his daughter, agreed reluctantly.

Dressed very simply, she mingled among the commoners on the grounds where the circus was set. However, her simple attire only made her beauty stood out even more. Attracting many admirations, she also caught the unwanted attention of a number of jealous women.

Envious, one woman decided to try to find out as much as she could about the beautiful maiden so that she could create havoc. Upon discovering that the beautiful damsel was in actual fact a princess, she loudly spread the news far and wide, in the hope that the dragon would soon find out about this. True enough, as soon as the dragon heard, he snatched the beautiful princess from her terrace hideout in fury and flew away, clutching the terrified maiden.

The duke immediately ordered his three sons to seek out the dragon in order to save and return their sister ….

The three princes searched far and wide until they came to the area of Blagaj. Noticing that the area was full of mountains and perceiving one with caves, they correctly surmised that they have found the dragon’s lair. The three brothers stopped at the bottom edge of the mountain. They thought and discussed at length about ways of reaching and defeating the dragon. [ It was way before the Ottoman Empire, otherwise they would most probably have some coffee during these discussions! 😉 ]

The youngest son came up with a plan to make a rope using the hide of one of the horses they were riding on. The other older brothers were not willing to sacrifice their horses so the youngest prince decided to sacrifice his. He skinned off the hide of the animal into thin strips and made these into a long strong rope. With the arrow tied to the rope, he shot it through to reach the highest cave and anchored it firmly onto the ledge of the cave.

Dragon of Blagaj, illustrated by globalresidence.me

Dragon of Blagaj, illustrated by globalresidence.me

None of the two older brothers dared to climb and enter the dragon’s lair. Again the young prince  bravely volunteered. He climbed and clambered into the dragon’s lair quietly.

The dragon was laying asleep with its huge head on the ravishing princess’s lap. The princess widen her eyes in surprise  and gladness to see her brother. She quickly motioned to the brother where to attack the dragon.

After the valiant prince killed the dragon, he showed his sister the rope at the edge opening of the cave so she could get out of the cave.

The two older brothers while waiting, full of fear, envy and shame, decided to plot against their brother, should he succeed in killing the dragon. They waited for their sister to climb down the rope before dislodging the rope from its anchor, thus leaving the young prince stranded.

They then threatened their sister not to speak to anyone about the truth. With that, the two older princes went with their sister back to their father and claimed that they had saved their sister and that the youngest prince was killed.

However, the ingenious prince managed to escape the cave. This time by stripping the dragon’s hide and making it into a long and strong rope.

Reaching the castle, the young prince told the duke what had happened. The princess, upon seeing the prince, ran to hug her brother tearfully and joyously.

The duke banished his two older sons from the land and crowned the youngest prince as his heir.

Like all fairy tales, all’s well that ends well …..

THE END.

The Classic Fable of The Dragonflies ……

Konjic Town

A long, long time ago, there was a village, full of farmers who became very wealthy as the soil in the midst was very rich. Only one farmer, living at the edge of the village, who owned a very small cottage on a tiny piece of land was very poor. This farmer and his family, though poor was known to be the kindest and the most generous family in this area,  whilst the others were of very stingy and greedy nature  and were busy accumulating wealth for themselves.

Old traveller woman looking for a place to rest. Illustrated by globalresidence.me

Old traveller woman looking for a place to rest.
Illustrated by globalresidence.me

One day,  a lone wayfarer on a skinny and tired looking horse came to this very village, asking for food and shelter for the night. Door after door, the old traveller woman was turned away until finally she came to the very last one on the outskirts of this village.

It was the poor farmer’s house. The farmer and his family shared with her everything that they had, though they had barely enough for themselves.

The next morning as the old lady turned to leave, she told them : “Take your family far away from here and pack all your belongings onto your donkey. Only when you see a river with many dragonflies, it will be a sign that it is safe for you to stop. There will be a huge flood coming and it will drown this entire village. Hurry, for you do not have much time. Do not stop or turn back.”

Having said that, the old lady suddenly transformed into a beautiful fairy and the horse that she was riding on sprouted huge wings. Then the fairy riding on the winged horse quickly flew away.

The poor farmer was not sure what to believe but his worried wife urged him to do as the fairy had bade them to do.

As they travelled away, they heard huge gushing sound of waves and cries of help. They remembered that the fairy had warned them not to stop or turn back so they hurried on. For two to three days they travelled till they saw the river that was full of dragonflies.

Fairy riding a dragonfly, illustrated by globalresidence.me

Fairy riding a dragonfly, illustrated by globalresidence.me

With much relief, they stopped and settled there. Because the land that they settled in was full of rich soil, the farmer and his family soon had bountiful of whatever they planted and became very rich. The land that they settled down was named Vilin Konjic, translated literary word by word, ” Vilin” is fairy and the word ” Konjic” means horse. For it was a belief long time ago that fairies rode on dragonflies as if they were their horses.

As time goes by, the name was shortened to just one word, that is, “Konjic”. So that is how this town came to have this name.

There are many versions of how this town was named. One was that it was named after the horse which brought the farmer and his family. But I kind of prefer this version as you and I know that dragonflies are always good indicators of a healthy environment. Hope you like this version. 😉

Till today, this idyllic town is called Konjic, well known for rafting activities, fly fishing and wood carving artisans. The river that was mentioned was of course the river Netreva and the area where the flooding supposedly occurred is known currently as Boracko Jezero, now a beautiful lake in the northern part of Herzegovina.

 

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