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Original scientific paper



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The material published in this article was gathered over many years of field research in the area of the Velebit foothills from Sveti Juraj to Karlobag, derived from within the project The Identity and Ethnogenesis of Coastal Bunjevci and Identity and Ethnoculuture of the Formation of the Bunjevci under the leadership of dr. Milana Černelić from the Department of Ethnology and Cultura Anthropology, Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb. The field research included a set of themes from the spiritual culture, including in particular the highlighted prose forms of oral literature. As the informants did not remember the fairy tales, fables, and longer stories, the narrative repertoire is mainly based on short stories, legends and traditions. Given that the greatest number of collected articles fell precisely into the submitted substantial thematic variety and rich expressions, this contribution is based solely on this form of oral literature. This work is conceived as a collection of traditions accompanied with an oral introductory part, which describes the writer and the particular situation’s saying. After the texts themselves, there comes an overview of the relevant motifs associated with the parallels in oral literature and beliefs of the Southern Slavs, and beyond. Among the texts, mostly historical and mythological traditions predominate, along with less common etiology. As with the historical, the etiological lore are mostly related to the period of war against the Turks, when the Bunjevci settled in this area. One special case represents the lore related to the older population, i.e. the Greeks. Within them are discernible transposed memories of historical events mixed in with elements of various folk traditions, especially the images of buried treasure. The natural characteristics of the foothills region are reflected in the various tales, whether it is just about places or a theme close to mythological motifs, such as the belief that on some mountain peaks fairies dance. Thematically speaking, the most numerous are the mythological legends, whose motives are based on the belief in supernatural beings such as fairies, witches, werewolves, Satan, the so-called “Black Man” and the deceased being returned to the living. Also, the mythological tradition includes a wide array of unusual events, of which many were played out at night, often on the Velebit slopes. Finally, there is a special place in the narrative repertoire of coastal Bunjevci who had many amazing stories about snakes.


Bunjevci; Velebit foothills; oral tradition

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