Feb 9, 2013

Illyrians legend from Velika Kladuša

Based upon the Greek legend Illyrius, progenitor of the Illyrians was a son of Polyphemus and Galatea and the brother of Celtus and Galas. Illyrius children, Auterius,  Enchelus, Perrhaebus, Taulus, Daortho, Dissaro and Partho are the heroes of the epic poetry of Illyrian tribes. In this legend Illyrius is closely associated with a snake; she wrapped around him after being born and thus gave him all its magical powers. Modern philology aims to prove that etymologically names of Illyrians and the mentioned animal, plying the important role in the Illyrian religion, are connected.


As Japods occupied the entire territory of present-day Northwestern Bosnia, and elsewhere, it is logical to assume that they preserved and passed, on each generational shift, some of the old Illyrian legends. Such is a legend form Velika Kladusa about a father with seven sons which reassemble the Greek one. That legend describes the giant snake that guards the Gods treasure. She was living in a deep den near Velika Kladusa, in a suburb called a Rudnik. At a time when Romans achieve military superiority over the Bosnian land, there was an Illyrian family – father of seven sons and one daughter. Life was modest but nice until the day when children, out of sheer wantonness and youthful exuberance placed the flatbread on the stone and hit it with a spear. Horrified with this sacrilege of wheat, a gift of the Gods that feeds people, the father tried to reason the children and prevent them of throwing the spear to the flatbread, but in vain.      

Suddenly something strange happened and forced the young man to stop their game – the flatbread started to bleed?! Seeing this strange omen, the father grabbed his head with his hands and wept because at that moment he realized that the Gods will punish them for blasphemy.

Shortly after this event, all seven sons lost their sanity and scattered to all four corners of the World and any track of them got lost. The father died from deep sorrow for his sons. The only one that remained in the deserted house was the daughter, drowned in grief for her late father and lost brothers, but even she was spared of Gods’ punishment, because she was the one who baked the flatbread. They turned her into a huge snake and decided that she would guard their gold and gems until the moment when young man comes, enough brave to let the snake kiss his forehead.


Many centuries passed since then, the story about the snake-girl slowly became a legend, which is told in the long winter nights. Each spring, on the Hidrelez holiday, the girl would come out from the hole in her new shape repeating the same plea: “Help me! Is there any man, of any faith to let me kiss his forehead, so I would become his wife or sister?” Many knew about her said words but there was no one brave enough to liberate her from the curse and become rich.

But, one spring before the arrival of Hidrelez, a poor young man decided, persuaded by an old woman from the village, to go and let the snake kiss him. – Anyway, as poor as I am, I have nothing to loose, he was encouraging himself. He arrived at down to the hole in the ground, where the snake lived for centuries and waited on her. Soon, from the darkness of the large hole appeared the snake’s huge head followed by her long body. Seeing huge snake before him, the young man got paralyzed with fear. He could not move. But the moment the snake approached him to give him a kiss the young man pushed her and run away. The young man was running thinking that snake would go after him, but something quite different happened. She just looked after him sadly and said: - Let God gives you my sadness and loneliness, and makes you die since I can not!” After that she returned back into her hole. Shortly after this event, the unfortunate young man turned seriously ill and after great pain and suffering he died.