The Other World

Oni svetIn his article Perceptions of Landscapes, Zmago Šmitek speaks of wealth and diversity in the Slovenian folk tradition, of the imagined, dream, fantastic, utopian, fairy-tale, places and landscapes. The best known of these wondrous “other worlds” is India Koromandija, which have lived  among Slovenian people since times immemorial.

The Glass Mountain.
My late mother often told me stories of a glass mountain. This mountain is far away in the Morning land. On the mountain is a golden castle, where Kresnik lives. In front of the castle grows an apple tree with golden apples. The fortunate person that happens to find the glass mountain and picks a golden apple, never dies. Once Vidovina climbed onto the glass mountain, but as he had not crossed himself in the morning, he slipped down the mountain side onto a small level bit of land and was devoured by a dragon.

Steklena gora.
Moja rajna mati so mi večkrat pripovedovali  o stekleni gori.Ta gora je daleč v Jutrovi deželi. Na njej stoji zlat grad, v njem pa prebiva Kresnik. Pred gradom raste visoka jablana z zlatimi jabolki. Kdor je tako srečen, da se povzpne na stekleno goro in si utrga zlato jabolko, nikoli ne umre. Svoje dni je do steklenega gradu priplezal Vidovina, ker pa se zjutraj ni prekrižal, je zdrsnil v ravnico, kjer ga je požrl zmaj.

The Bower.
Somewhere high on Gorjanci a mountain range in Dolenjska (Lower Carniola) there is a great outcropping of rocks. Among the rocks there is bower, a small flower garden, full of loveliest fragrant flowers. The outcropping is hard to find, even harder to cross it to find the wondrous garden. And this is good! Those who had in the past managed to wander into the Bower, were so endlessly rapt and overwhelmed by the splendour of flowers and fragrances, that they ceased thinking about food and drink, sleep and returning, and died without feeling any pain from prolonged lack of sleep and sustenance. However, happy is the one who by chance or good fortune finds a blossom of the noble flowers. When he takes a wife, he should insert it into her bridal wreath. Then he will live with her in Christian harmony and love as long as he lives. Just one petal will calm the family strife, if it is laid beneath the pillow of the quarreling married couple. Whoever keeps this blossom about him, cannot be defeated by an enemy, nor pierced by a bullet.

Cvetnik.
Nekje visoko gori na Gorjancih kipi črno pečevje. Med pečevjem pa se širi Cvetnik, prav majhen vrtec, ves poln najlepših in najbolj dišečih rožic. To pečevje je težko najti, še teže pa se pride čezenj v čudoviti vrtec. In to je dobro! Kdorkoli je kdaj zablodil v Cvetnik, je bil tako neskončno zamaknjen in prevzet od krasote rožic in dišav, da je nehal misliti na jed in pijačo, na spanje in tudi na povratek, ter je umrl, ne da bi čutil kakšno bolečino od predolgega bedenja in stradanja. Blagor pa tistemu, ki dobi po sreči ali naključju cvet teh plemenitih rožic! Če se ženi, naj ga dene svoji nevesti v venec in živel bo z njo v krščanski spravi in ljubezni do groba. Že eno samo peresce umiri dužinski prepir, če se položi sprtima zakoncema pod vzglavje. Kdor nosi tak cvet s seboj, ga ne premaga noben sovražnik, ne predre nobena krogla.

Garden of Eden.
In the beginning people lived an easy life without much toil. God gave them such strong will that they could get anything they desired. In those days there was no cold winter in the world nor burning summer.  All the grain and trees greened, blossomed and bore fruit all year round, according to one’s wishes.  The wheat was twice as high than today and the ears reached from top to bottom. Food only had to be prepared, no other work had to be done on it: it grew and came to people on its own.  Man said to the apple-tree: give me ripe apples! Instantly the tree filled with sweetest apples and bent down for easy picking. If he fancied fish or some other animal, he called them to him and cooked and roasted them, according to his like. In this plenty and happiness people forgot God and became spoilt. They began to hate each other, cause harm and murder.

Zemeljski raj.
Sprva so živeli ljudje brez velikega truda. Bog jim je podelil tako močno voljo, da so imeli vsega, kar so poželeli. Takrat ni bilo na svetu ne mrzle zime ne pekočega poletja. Vsako žito in drevje je zelenelo, cvetelo in rodilo sad celo leto, kadar je kdo sam hotel. Pšenica je bila dvakrat višja od sedanje in klasje ji je šlo od vrha do tal. Jed je bilo treba le pripraviti, drugega dela z njo ni bilo: zrasla in prišla je k ljudem sama. Človek je rekel jablani: Daj mi zrelih jabolk! In tisti hip se je drevo napolnilo z najslajšimi jabolki in se nagnilo k njemu, da si jih natrga. Če ga je mikala riba ali kaka druga žival, jo je poklical k sebi in si jo skuhal ali spekel, kakor se mu je zljubilo. V tem izobilju in sreči pa so ljudje pozabili na Boga in se razvadili. Med seboj so se začeli črtiti, preganjati in moriti.

India Koromandia.
India Koromandia is the ninety-ninth land and lies beneath us. It is a fertile and beautiful land, overflowing with honey and milk, and surrounded by the sea. In India Koromandia there are only few people and they live together like brothers. Since they don’t have to work, the inhabitants of this land just have good time. In India Koromandia there is eternal spring and autumn, and trees have blossoms and fruit at the same time. Houses are made of cheese and butter, used instead of lime.  Doors and windows are made of bacon and pork shoulders, the gate to the courtyard and garden are woven from sausages and pork ribs. In the gardens all the trees are full of fruit, and branches are bending under its weight. The trees grow low, so there is no need to climb them. In India Koromandia grow the loveliest flowers and the sweetest wine runs in the streams, but hardly anyone drinks it. In India Koromandia there is an immensely steep hill, that nobody is able to climb. It is surrounded by a rocky outcrop. On the top of the hill grows the best vine with the sweetest grapes. Since nobody can get to the top, the grapes ripen, berries burst open and the grape juice runs down into the earth. This is the wine, that runs in the stream at the foot of the mountain. Beside the stream stands a man, who distributes the wine. In India Koromandia there is another hill, where dumplings are cooking. These dumplings are boiling so hard, that steam throws them from the cauldron and they roll down a steep slope, sprinkled with cheese and sugar. A crowd of men and women are waiting there, catching dumplings. So the inhabitants have lunch every day at the foot of the hill. When they get bored, they go and nibble the grapes, which have berries as big as apples.

Indija Koromandija.
Indija Koromandija je devetindevetdeseta dežela in leži pod nami. Rodovitna in lepa dežela je to, v njej se cedita med in mleko, vendar je vse naokrog z morjem obdana. V Indiji Koromandiji je le malo ljudi in žive med seboj kakor bratje. Ker pa tam delati ni treba, se prebivalci te dežele le kratkočasijo. V Indiji Koromandiji je večna pomlad in jesen, ker ima tam drevje cvetje in sadje obenem. Hiše so narejene iz sira in surovega masla, ki ga tam rabijo namesti apna. Duri in okna so iz slanine in pleč, Lese pa, to je vrata na dvorišče in vrt, so spletene iz samih klobas in prašičjih reber. In na vrtovih je vse drevje polno sadja, da se veje šibijo, in drevje je nizko, da ni treba nanj plezati. V vrtih se nahajajo najlepše rožice in najslajše vino teče tam v potokih, a tegale malokdo pije. V Indiji Koromandiji je neznansko strm hrib, ki mu nihče ne pride na vrh. Samo pečevje ga obdaja. Na vrhu tega hriba raste najboljša trta, ki rodi posebno sladko grozdje. Ker pa nobeden ne more na vrh, dozori grozdje tako, da se jagode razpočijo in jagodni mošt zleze v zemljo. In to je najboljše vino,ki teče iz studenca pod goro. Zraven studenca je mož, ki vino deli.
V Indiji Koromandiji je še drug hrib, vrh katerega se štruklji kuhajo. Ker pa ti štruklji močno vro, jih para meče iz kotla in valijo se navzdol po hribu, ki je potresen s sirom in sladkorjem. Tam čaka množica mož in žena, ki lovijo štruklje. Tako hodijo prebivalci te dežele vsak dan pod oni hribček kosit. Ko se pa tega naveličajo, gredo zobat grozdje, katerega jagode so tako debele kot jabolka.


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Zmago Šmitek
Zmago Šmitek

Dr. Zmago Šmitek was born in 1949 in Kropa, Slovenia. He graduated in 1973 at the Faculty of Arts in ethnology and history of art. In the same year he was appointed to the Department for Ethnology and in 1974 was elected assistant. In 1979 he completed the degree of Master of Arts (“Division of work as a part of social culture of Vitanje”) and in 1983 the PhD (“Horizon of Slovenes in the field of non-European cultures”). In-between he spent one year (1979-1980) on professional development in New Delhi. He was nominated Associate Professor and in 1995 Professor for non-European Ethnology and Ethnology of Europe. For several years he acted as Chairman of the Department.
Prof. Zmago Šmitek lectures on Religious Anthropology and Ethnology of Asia, and conducts seminars in both fields. His fields of study are History of Slovenian Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, religion, comparative mythology, culture of Slovenes and Slavs, Slovenian links with non-European cultures, cultures of Asia. He has published several books and a number of articles in his field of studies, notably Slovenian folk narratives: Myths and Legends (2006) Most recently the exceptional Slovenian mythological series of eight books The treasury of Slovenian Tales, in cooperation with Roberto Dapit and Monika Kropej.