The Balkans is more than an important area for the whole Europe, partly because of the rich history, but also because of the treasures that it hides. From the mineral resources and the big and colorful nature, to the legends and myths, the Balkans is very warm and nice place to start your life. But, be aware, this land has much bigger secrets than you can even imagine! Hold yourself and discover the world of magical creatures that reside within this territory. In this part, you will find what lies beneath the water surface. These are just some of the water creatures hidden in the Danube, Sava and other rivers all over the Balkans.
These water demons are the oldest fairy creatures on the Balkans. Unlike all others that throughout the time decreased in number and ran away in the deep forest and caves, Danube demons have the same population. They inhabit the whole river and its tributaries, but there aren’t any of these little creatures in the Black Sea. They only live in fresh water.
Even though they are the oldest, Danube demons are the most innocent of all water creatures, so if you encounter on one, don’t be scared. Beneath the sad look lies one happy and frivolous fella. They are only capable of making a few jokes or gags just to scare or do a bit harm to passersby. Nothing too evil.
Vodenjaci are the most typical representatives of water ghosts on the Balkans. They are always males since their female forms are actually water fairies, or so-called rusalke. Vodenjaci are very short, black and hairy, and these creatures also have hats and long beards. No, they are not hipsters! The myth goes that vodenjaci are actually part horses since they have hoofs. But, don’t say that to them, because they are ashamed of their origin.
Evil and sinister, vodenjaci will gladly drown passersby, so be careful around them. These creatures can call you by the name, and legend goes that if you call back, you have to die. Older vodenjaci are always more malicious than young ones, and because of that if you get caught by old vodenjak there are small chances for you to survive. In rare cases, vodenjaci did actually help fishermen, but they always ask a lot in return. There is a myth that says how some people stayed eternally in possession of these evil beings.
These creatures are water fairies. Rusalke live near vodenjaci, but some of them also live alone in lakes and rivers. Unlike their male forms, rusalke don’t have hoofs and they are very pretty with long red hair. The thing that separates them from ordinary fairies is that they are always naked. This species of fairies has their own queen that summons them with a horn, but nevertheless, all of them are subservient to the king of vodenjaci.
Rusalke also drown people and they are most dangerous when sing and dance on the shore. The best way to keep rusalke away is to use wormwood and people practiced that in the past. Now, the best replacement for that is to drink pelinkovac. Cheers!
Aždaje are often mistaken for dragons. However, these beings live in water, can’t fly, and spit fire. They have a snake-like body and usually one, but sometimes three or more heads. Of course, they always have an odd number of heads. Due to very developed fins, people often think aždaje have wings.
As for the food goes, aždaje are not too picky. They will eat everything from fish to men. There are even some cases where these creatures blackmailed the whole cities in exchange for food. But, that occurred in the Middle Ages, so you don’t have to worry about emptying your fridge now. According to the belief, there are just a few of them left in the Adriatic Sea. Outside the borders of the Balkans, aždaje have relative, called Nessie, a monster from Loch Ness in Scotland.
These are the most popular representatives of water creatures that lurk from the depth of local rivers. So, next time when you go for a dip in a river and you feel something touching your feet, think twice – maybe it’s not seaweed. Anyway, in the next part you will find out if forests are calm and peaceful as you think. Stay tuned and mysterious!