Bulgaria

Legends of Pirin Mountain

Once upon a time, in the distant pagan times, people believed in god Perun, who lived in most beautiful mountain. But when Christianity was adopted everywhere, god Perun, retreated slowly to the highest point on the mountain, which was named after him - Perin.

Pagan god Perun lived with his sister, Perunika, an unsurpassed belle, whose beauty was brighter than sunshine. Much as she was beautiful, she was thrice more industrious – she was always working, never jobless. Throughout the winter she wove cloth and early in the spring she went down to the big lake in the Pirin Mountain to wash it and dry it on the mountain top close by. Since that time the peak was called Maiden’s Yard (Momin Dvor).

Perunika died young – whether she was struck by a disease or she strained too much in her work, it is not clear. A beautiful blue flower grew on her grave and people gave it her name – perunika (iris). It blossoms only in May, the time, when beautiful Perunika washed her cloth and everybody could see her and enjoy her beauty.

A Christian priest climbed the mountain to present a gift to God Perun and this was the first time he saw the lake, where Perunika washed the cloth she had woven in winter. The priest sat by the lake to have a rest after the long journey and to enjoy the beauty around him. At that time God Perun stood on the hill and inadvertently pushed a rock, which rolled down and hit the sitting priest, who splashed in the lake. Since that time the lake came to be known as Priest’s Lake (Popovo Ezero), which was later renamed Papazgyol by the Turks.

The local community believed that a water ram lived in that lake and it did not allow any other water animal to come and settle there – neither fish, nor frog, nor snake or any other living creature. Many people brought over and released fish in the Priest’s Lake, hoping that they would survive, but they soon found them dead by the lake.

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