In 1896 the famous intellectual Lydia Shishmanova publishes a book containing interesting Bulgarian folklore works which, thanks to her work, have become widely known to the general public. It would be interesting to recall some of them, because in this way we can see what is the state of oral folk art of Bulgaria since the end of the XIX century. It will become clear what the worldview of our ancestors was, how the old Bulgarians imagined the surrounding world (the creation of the earth, mountains, forests, seasons, domestic animals, wild beasts, etc.).

The book in question has a solid scientific value because it is based on academic research contained in the well-known "Compendium of Folk Works, Science and Literature." This collection was first published by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education (until 1902), and later - by the Bulgarian Literary Society (since 13 February 1911, now the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences).

Here are some of the more interesting myths, legends and beliefs:

The Earth!

The earth was fastened by two saints clutching at each other's fingers. Water flowed around and below the ground. One snake, whose head and tail merge into one, envelops the Earth. This snake keeps the Earth from cracking.


The Birth of the Mountains!

The Lord was carrying a bag of flour, which, however, broke, and where the flour was strewn, mountains and forests appeared.


How did the Lord create the dog?

Once, as the Lord walked the earth, he met a flock of sheep in the forest. He decided that his flock needed a good guard, who would eventually teach people how to be shepherds. And he appointed a wolf to guard the flock. But one day, one of the sheep did not want to go, the wolf became angry, knocked her to the ground and killed her. Then the Lord lifted up his leather gloves, threw them in the direction of the wolf, and ordered them, "Chase him!" The leather gloves turned into dogs and rushed to chase the wolf. Since then, dogs have been keeping sheep with flocks and preventing wolves from approaching them.


The ox and the ant!

At one time, the ant was so huge that it could pull the yoke of the ox alone. She wanted to plow the ox with his plow instead, to work, and to provide food for himself. "You can't feed people!" The ox told her. "The Lord has assigned this work to me." "You do not want such a fate," replied the ant. "Because your master stitches you with a wall in your back to walk in the groove, and you cannot even make a step forward alone without a master, while I belong only to myself - I have no master."

At that time the Lord God was walking around the earth and all the animals were free to approach him and to complain to him about something or to make a request to him. That's why the ant and the ox came to him to complain about each other. "God!" Said the ox. "The ant wants to take down my yoke and plow with the plow you gave me to feed myself and the people." "This is not the job, Lord!" Said the ant - "I I want to provide food for people because they can't do it well enough. "

Then the Lord turned to the ant and said to her, "I know you are hard working, but let's see! Tell me, when you replace an ox, how many times a day will you give people to eat thanks to your work? "" I will give them to eat once every three days, "replied the ant. The Lord then addressed the same question with an ox. "And how many times will you give people to eat?" "They will be able to eat three times a day, although I work slowly, I will still be able to satisfy their food needs." Then the Lord blessed the ox: "You will to feed the people of the earth while the world is shining! "

Then the Lord turned to the ant. "To work forever and never see the fruits of your labor!" To remember their sentence well, the Lord ordered the ox to step on the ant and walk on its back. Then the ox's hooves split as the back of the ant began to narrow. Up to that point, the ox's hooves were as full as the horse's, and the back of the ant was not as narrow and thin as it is today. And so now the ox still feeds all of us, because with such a destiny God has blessed it. And people should eat three times a day and the food will not benefit the one who eats more than three times a day. The ant would have been so huge if the ox had not crushed it so much, breaking the hoof on her back.


Why doesn't the wolf attack oxen?

Once upon a time, when God was wandering the earth, he made the decision to teach men to work so that they could feed themselves. He made a pair of oxen and went to the field to plow. He worked for a while, but at noon left the oxen to do their naps, and he lay down and fell asleep. While the Lord was asleep, a wolf arrived from somewhere who attacked and strangled one ox. When the Lord awoke, he remembered who the evil villain was.

Then he ordered the wolf to take the place of the strangled ox in the harness and began to pry it with the wall in the ribs so that it would go faster in the groove. The other ox dragged the plow forward, but the wolf fell under the weight of the yoke and poured the mud into the dust. The Lord said to him, "Do you see now that you are weaker than an ox when you cannot pull the plow on it with it. From now on, the ox will stab you with its horns, wherever it sees you, and you will avoid it everywhere. "
That is why to this day wolves attack horses, rams, cows, but never oxen.


How did the Lord create fleas and lice?

Once upon a time there was a very old woman. She was always sitting in the same place, bored and not doing any housework. She was very bored all day, so she decided to ask God, "Lord, give me some work because I'm bored by staying out of work all day."
And then the Lord sent her fleas. Fleas began to pinch the old woman, and she was forced to search them out of her clothes to kill them. But the fleas were very jumpy and she could not reach them. Then she prayed again: "Lord, give me something more gentle! Those who send me are very restless! ”Then the Lord sent her lice.
That is why even today, when women are very old and not capable of any work, they only spare their ears, since the Lord has ordained this activity for their last years.



To create the wine, the Lord ordered the grapes to ripen quickly. But Satan had at the same time created the blackberry, ordering it to ripen even faster than the grapes. That is why the Bulgarians say: "Come on, the blackberries are ripe now, it's time for the grapes!"

Why did the Virgin Mary curse the mule and bless the cow?

When the Mother of God gave birth to the Savior, she hid him in the middle of a manger, in a bowl of straw. There was another cow and one mule in the manger. The cow with its muzzle pushed the straw and covered it with the Baby, while the mule, on the other hand, ate and removed the straw. Then the Mother of God cursed the mule to never have children, and blessed the cow to have one calf each year, and in one year two.


Why did the Lord create winter?

There used to be no winter like now. It's always been summer. All animals that were born, lived endlessly, the earth overflowed and became overcrowded. Animals became unusually powerful. Then it happened that the male frog wished at all costs to marry a beautiful young girl. The girl's father went to complain to the Lord who was walking around the earth at that time. The Lord said to his father, "Go home and charge the frog to gather around him all the reptiles he has in the world, to come with all this tuple and ask for your daughter's hand!"

The man obeyed God, told the frog to gather the reptiles and to come. The frog led them all to his bow tie. Snakes, frogs, lizards of all kinds, so numerous that the fields turn black from them. So they all went to ask for the girl's hand. But the Lord said to the man, "Open this door now!" - there was a secret door behind which the winds and blizzards were closed. When the man opened it, strong winds rushed to chase, snow began to fall, a terrible storm broke out, and nothing could be seen from the wind and snow. And the animals that accompanied the frog, some sought refuge in the forests, others in the water, others died. Those who fled through the woods stayed there forever. Hidden in the water also lived from that moment on in the water.

Thus the Lord called winter on earth, with half the year being summer, in which everything flourished and multiplied, and the other half was winter, in which some beasts died and were not as numerous as in the warm weather. This is what the frog caused us.

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