Tales of Dwarfs

pripovedke o Å¡kratihThe underground is the domain of the dwarfs, who guard its treasures. They can lead to great riches, but never willingly. They must be tricked to reveal the hidden treasures of the earth. In their contact with humanity, they are mischievous and love to play tricks. They can also render help and keep a bargain once it was made.

Mountain Dwarf in Rož, Carynthia
In the mine shafts of Rož, where they dig for ore, lives the mountain dwarf, (škrat) by the name Skubrl. He has a long beard, pointy nose and wears a red beret and red trousers. When the miners leave he starts work and you can hear the sound of his digging all over the mine. Where Skubrl works, there is ore for certain.
He likes miners, but also likes to steal their food. Miners are forbidden to whistle underground. If they whistled the dwarf would make them lose their way and take their ore. Once the miners left some brandy for Skubrl. He drank till he could no longer walk straight. Skubrl was so annoyed, when miners laughed, that the sound of his digging was never heard again and he never again showed them where to dig for ore. That is why they had to close the Plajberk mine in Rož.
A miner once took a quarter litre of brandy to work and hid it in a hollow, so that he could drink it during the break. The miner broke the rule that forbids miners to come drunk to work or bring wine or brandy with them.
When he came to his hiding place during the break, he found the bottle empty. The next day the same thing happened. He was very angry. So he bought a litre of the strongest brandy and put it into the hollow. “Get properly drunk, so that I will know who you are!” he thought to himself.
When he came back after the break, he found a little man, so inebriated, that he could not move. The miner ordered the dwarf to show him where to dig for ore. The little man took him by the hand and together they walked all over Peca. He showed the miner lead, iron, silver, gold and diamonds. When they had been everywhere, the dwarf left the miner at the entrance and laughed: “ You were stupid, that you did not take my belt, while I was befuddled by the devil oil. I would have had to show you the way to my treasures. As it is you only looked, and will remain as poor a man, as you had ever been.”
The dwarf disappeared, and the miner went home. However, he did not find his people or his home. He had been underground for three hundred years.

Gorski škrat v Rožu na Koroškem
V Rožu je gorski škrat Skubrl. Prebiva v Rovih, kjer kopljejo rudo. Skubrl ima brado in koničast nos, nosi rdečo kapico in rdeče hlače. Kadar zapuste rufdarji rov, kljuje in trka, da se razlega daleč po rovih. Kjer dela Skubrl, tam je prav gotovo ruda, le da je zelo težko najti pravp mesto. Rudarjem je naklonjen, le malico jim rad na skrivaj poje. Rudarji ne smejo v jami žvižgati, da jih škratek ne zapelje ali jim vzame rudo. Nekoč se Skubrlu nastavili rudarji žganje. Napil se je,da ga je zanašalo pri hoji. Rudarji so se mu smejali, Skubrl pa jim je kljuboval ter ni več trkal in naznačeval rude. Zato so morali v Slovenjem Plajberku v Rožu opustiti delo v rudniku.
Neki rudar je vzel nekoč na delo četrt litra žganja in ga skril v vdolbino, da bi ga izpil v odmoru. Po navadi si noben rudar zaradi gorskega škrata ne upa pijan v rov in si tudi ne upa vzeti s seboj v rov vina ali žganja. Ta rudar pa je to prekršil. A v odmoru je našel v svojem skrivališču prazno steklenico. Drugi dan se mu je pripetilo prav tako. Rudar je bil zelo hud; kupil je liter najmočnejšega in ga postavil v skrivališče: “Napij se pošteno, da bom vedel, kdo si!”
V odmoru je šel k skrivališču in našel tam gorskega možička, ki ga je žganje omamilo, da ni mogel z mesta. Rudar je zahteval od njega, naj mu pokaže, kje je ruda. Gorski možiček se je oprijel rudarjeve roke in prehodila sta vso Peco. Rudarju se je zdelo, da sta prišla še celo dalje. Gorski možiček je pokazal rudarju svinec, železo, srebro, zlato in diamente. Ko sta vse prehodila, je pustil rudarja pred rovom in se smejal:
»Neumen si bil, da se nisi polastil mojega pasu, ko sem bil omoten od vražjega olja. Pokazati bi ti bil moral ne le svoje zaklade, temveč tudi dohod do njih; sedaj si pasel samo oči, drugače pa si prav tak siromak, kakor si bil prej!”
Škrat je izginili, rudar pa je šel domov. Našel ni več svojih ljudi in ne svojega doma, ker je bil tristo let pod zemljo.

The Shepherd and the Dwarf

A shepherd took his herd to the forest to graze. Once he drove the herd high up to the rocks, where the grass was juiciest. The cattle grazed placidly, the shepherd sat down on the rock and whistled. Then he saw, on the other side of the rock a man. Taking him for a shepherd, he called out to him. The man was a dwarf. When he heard the call, he took it to be the voice of dwarfs inside the rock; he turned around so swiftly, that he drove into the rock headfirst. The blow was so forceful that part of the rock broke off and pieces flew into the valley below. The shepherd took fright, quickly drove his herd home and reported on what he had seen.
The villagers went to take a look and saw, lying underneath the rock, a little dead dwarf. From that day the spot became unlucky. Several cows were killed, a large number of dogs and deer, even a woman. That is why they call these rocks Kravje (cow rocks), Pasje (dog rocks), Košutine (doe rocks) and Ženske peči (woman’s rocks).

Pastir in Škrat
Kranjčev pastir je gonil živino na pašo daleč v gozd. Nekoč je prignal čredo do visokih skal, okoli katerih je rasla sočna trava. Živina se je mirno pasla, pastir je sedel na skalo in žvižgal. Na drugem robu skale je zagledal moža. Mislil je, da je pastir, in ga poklical. Mož je bil škratek. Ko je škratek zaslišal klic, je mislil, da ga kličejo škratje v skali; tako naglo se je sukal, da je treščil z glavo s takšno silo v skalo, da se je del skale odkrušil in jezdrknilo veliko kamenja v dolino. Pastir se je ustrašil, brž odgnal živino domov in povedal, kaj je videl.
Ljudje so šli k skali in videli pod njo mrtvega škratka. Od tistega dne so se dogajale pri the skalah nesreče. Pobilo je nekaj krav, več psov, košut in neko žensko. Zato imenujejo te skale Kravje, Pasje, Košutine in Ženske peči.

The Cobbler and the Dwarf
Once a dwarf visited the cobbler in Podpeca and asked him, if he could make him a pair of shoes without taking measurements. If the shoes fit, he would pay for them in gold. It was a challenge. The cobbler sat the little dwarf on the bench – to rest a little, he said. In the meantime he quickly slipped from the room and sprinkled ash on the threshold. To the dwarf he said, that he would make him shoes that would fit, without taking measurements.
When the dwarf had gone, he left imprints of his feet in the ash, and the shoemaker had the measure that he used to make the shoes. After one year had passed the dwarf returned, tried on the shoes which fit perfectly and left. When he passed by the window, he threw in a gold coin.

Čevljar in škrat
K čevljarju v Podpeci je prišel škrat in ga vprašal, ali mu more narediti čevlje, ne da bi mu jih meril. Če mu bodo čevlji prav, jih bo plačal z zlatom. Čevljar je posadil škratka na klop, češ naj si malo odpočije, sam se je pa izmuznil iz sobe in nasul na prag pepela. Škratu je rekel, da mu bo naredil čevlje brez mere, da mu bodo prav.
Ko je škrat odšel, so bili v pepelu odtisi njegovih nog in čevljar je imel mero in je naredil čevlje po nji. Čez leto dni se je škrat vrnil, pomeril čevlje, ki so mu bili prav, in odšel. Skozi okno je vrgel čevljarju zlatnik.

Vinko Moederndorfer, Koroške pripovedke, Mladinska knjiga,1977

Translated into English by Aleksandra Ceferin



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.