#Fairytale Friday: Croatia

Today I chose to depart from the Baltic Sea and return to the Balkan region to visit one of the most beautiful countries in my neighbourhood. Our destination is Croatia, in the company of a tale of wolves, transformations and a son’s love.

                                    The White Wolf

Imagine an old mill, standing alone, abandoned. A young man returns from one more war and the mill is almost singing a song for him, a tempting call to become alive and useful again. The young man listens and begins to ponder. What if this is a sign that now it’s the time to settle? 

And thus, the young man starts working and the villagers are watching him cautiously.

-You should be careful, they say.

-Careful? Of what?

-The wolf.

The wolf?

-The big white wolf that haunts the mill.

But the young man isn’t afraid of wolves and he’s certainly not afraid of ghosts. He’s fought in battles, he has killed and has watched others kill. He has seen and done terrible things. What can possibly frighten him more? The night falls and the moon is shining over the mill. It is the time of shadows and the time when a white wolf appears in the woods by the mill stream.

The young man raises his gun and aims when suddenly the wolf skin falls off and a beautiful woman is standing there. She steps into the mill stream and he is watching her, transfixed and unseen by her. Since that night, the young man works harder and harder until the mill is finished, One night, he decides to free the girl from what he perceives to be a spell. He seizes her wolfskin, nails it to the mill wheel and sets it turning. She doesn’t say a thing, she doesn’t utter a single word, she doesn’t cry. And he takes her silence for consent…

Eventually, they have a child. A clever and brave boy. And very inquisitive. His mother has never spoken, he has never heard her voice. He only sees a deep sadness in her eyes. And then he starts listening to the villagers and it doesn’t take long for him to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

It is now the middle of the night. The miller wakes and feels his heart heavy. He sees the mill wheel is still, the skin nowhere to be found. The only thing he sees, aided by the bright moonlight? Two white wolves running away. The miller has lost everything. Now, he wanders from war to war, seeking someone to end his life…

This sad, haunting tale makes use of the concept of the animal bride who is tricked by a young man and freed by her children who follow her to her own realm. The wolf has been a popular icon in numerous traditions. In Slavi mythology, it is associated with the god Veles, the god of earth, waters, the underworld, magic and medicine, and stands as a symbol of the power and freedom of the wilderness. In many countries, the wolf stands for fearlessness and independence

*This myth can be found in the collection The House of the Cats written by Maggie Pearson, and in almost every volume of Slavic fairy tales.

16 Comments Add yours

  1. I never heard of this tale! Thanks for sharing it! 🙂 Are you going to continue doing Fairytale Fridays? I love them. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely! I’ve got a post coming dedicated to… I’ll leave you to guess the country of honour 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hehe could it be the Czech republic? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Is that a no or did you use the wrong smiley? 😅

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I absolutely used the wrong smiley! Blasted mobile phone keyboard, black as my soul!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Hahaha it’s okay, I know you’d never eye-roll directly on me, but I have to admit I got confused for a second there 😁💞

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Οh, my God, never! 😨😨I had the cleverest idea of choosing a dark castle with a dark sky looming over it PLUS a dark background as my keyboard and I am practically blind every time I use it. I can’t wait for autumn and my red leaves background keyboard. 😁😁

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Haha I approve the background but I get the problem! 😀 I’m “patiently” waiting for autumn too. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I mean Prague was 37 Celcius two days ago…This summer has been quite unbearable in terms of temperature and it’s going to get worse and worse in the future. And to think that there are people who deny that climate change is an issue. I am so done with the stupidity in the world.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Ooooh :S Yup, here too, but yesterday it finally went below 20, thank god! People who deny climate change are idiots, I don’t have better words for them. I mean, we don’t have spring anymore, hello! I remember beautiful and long springs when I was a kid, it was my favorite season, especially the flowers, and now… Sometime in May we go from horribly cold rains straight to blazing sun and short sleeves. Also, we have less and less snow each year, the comparison to just 10-15 years ago is striking. You couldn’t see it only if you were blind and immune to heat/cold.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Exactly! It seems we have been left with two seasons, going from heatwaves to blizzards in the blink of an eye. It’s all about politics. As long as the world is manipulated by 5-6 countries that are manipulated in turn by businessmen and shady oligarchs, there is practically no hope for our planet…Our guide in Prague told us that there was practically no snow all winter. When I was a child (during the early 90s), I remember we used to sort of pray each year to witness a tiny amount of snow in Athens. For the last five years, snowstorms in the centre of the city have been extremely common…

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Yup, I don’t even want to think of Autumn, it used to be my favorite season, but if I look at it now, it’s almost gone too.. Way shorter with much more rain storms and less chilly days. I noticed summer showers are gone too, the last one was several years ago.. Yes, it’s all about politics, took me a while to realize because I usually avoid such talks, but my boyfriend loves talking about it. He would totally love that you said “shady oligarchs”. 🙂 Yeah, I don’t remember the last firm snow, I don’t count muddy drizzle as snow. We had 1-2 meter piles of it when I was a kid. 😦 Yup, you have a different climate there, but major changes are noticeable everywhere. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      11. He he, sounds like your boyfriend must definitely meet my boyfriend. They’d discuss politics to their heart’s content. Autumn is practically extinguished in Athens. I am fortunate to work in the northern suburbs of the city where the temperature is always lower and the trees are still dressed in red and gold. I wonder how long until this starts to change…☹

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Haha, sounds about right. 😀 I shouldn’t have said anything about the weather getting colder, because here comes the blazing sun again! :S Hopefully we’ll get a few days of autumn here, and if we don’t, I’ll keep it’s spirit alive. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      13. In the mountain area of Peloponnese (where I am currently ), autumn has decided to timidly show its face. Fingers crossed!

        Liked by 1 person

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