#FairytaleFriday: Greece

                               The Enchanted Fount

Today we are travelling to my homeland in the company of a slightly obscure Greek myth.

In Central Greece springs, fountains, forests, rivers, and mountains carry dozens of myths, most of them related to fairies, ghostly maidens, magic snakes that guard the treasure. A few kilometers outside Elati, one of the most beautiful villages in the country, there is an old fountain built upon a crossroads. What is special about it is the absence of water. For as long as the villagers remember the fountain is dry. The versions of the myth are many but all of them agree in one thing: the fairies are up to their tricks again…

Some say there is a large snake inside the fount, guarding a secret. Others claim that they have heard for a fact that during summer nights when the moon is full, the fountain becomes ”alive” and the fairies, who live in the forest nearby, come down to swim and dance. When dawn approaches, they disappear. Many children have tried to convince their parents to stay awake and verify the myth but no adult has ever accepted. Who would, after all? There are numerous sinister stories about young men who tried to ”creep on” the fairies. Others were struck by a sudden illness, some lost their minds and a few disappeared, never to be seen again…And to this day, the fountain has been standing at the end of the village, guarding its secret…

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για elati trikala

The fairies and their dwellings are favourite subjects in Greek Folklore. Let us not forget that our forests were the shelters of the woodland nymphs. Artemis, the virgin huntress, was the protector of hunting and wildlife and myths related to the beautiful, otherworldly women are extremely popular all over the country, from Thrace to Crete. What is interesting is the attitude of the Greek tradition towards fountains and springs. In certain areas, they are considered unlucky. However, the myths and beliefs related to running water are positive. The most well-known legend is the one we call ”The Feeding of the Water”. According to an old belief, young women used to ”feed” the water with honey and carry the jug to their families. But on no account were they to speak during the way back home or else ill fortune would befall their future.

DSC00188

(A nightly photo of the fountain located in St.Spyridon square in the old city of Nafplio. This was quite a mystical night…)

In Nafplio, arguably the most beautiful city in Greece, there are two famous fountains dating back to the times when the country was under the dreadful, vicious Ottoman occupation. These are among the numerous jewels of the old town and were widely considered fortunate, the running water supposedly had the ability to heal and bring wealth to the citizens. Well, the Ottomans didn’t bring any health or wealth – instead, death and desolation were their forte – but from an architectural point of view, these fountains are beautiful.

I haven’t visited the fountain of our myth, yet, but I’ve traveled to Elati and I can tell you that if fairies still exist, this should be their luxurious dwelling…

 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. happytonic says:

    Wonderful review, Amalia, and a very interesting analysis of folk beliefs and attitudes related to springs and fountains. I was really surprised by the feed the water with honey custom! ⛲

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Toni! This is one of the most widespread old customs in Greece. It still alive in certain parts of the country where traditions are still going strong.

      Liked by 1 person

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