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Croatian Legends - The Legend of the Origin of the Bell-ringers

Article Index
Croatian Legends
Legend about Zagreb
The legend of St. Anastasia,
The legend of the roosters
The legend of Miljenko and Dobrila
The legend of the Klek witches
The Legend of the Origin of the Bell-ringers
How Kastavska Crekvina was Built
The Myth of Cres
Karolina of Rijeka
Хорватская легенда Morčićima

The Legend of the Origin of the Bell-ringers

When the eruption of Turks or Tartars reached Grobničko Polje, the shepheds at that time did not have anything with which to defend themselves. So, they wrapped themselves in sheep skins, strapped on bells, put on horrible masks, and in one hand they carried an axe, which even today bell-ringers call a balta (in Hungarian). In the other hand they carried a sack with ashes and they began to ring the bells and make noise. The Turks or Tartars became very frightened by these strange, terrible "beasts" and fled without looking back.

When the time for the Carnival drew near they would always ask, "When will that day come when the infidel went crazy?"

In honor of that custom bell-ringers go through the villages, wrapped in bells with terrible masks on their heads, carrying wooden swords or axes, but the bag of ashes - which also served to stimulate fertility - is no longer carried and the ashes are no longer sprinkled in female company.

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