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Jagor

2

(This is a literal translation, with minimal changes, from the Croatian text.)

  The father came back from the field, in the evening, and he found a basket with a pot and Jagor's handkerchief. He goes home, and finds his wife in the barn, milking the cow.
- "Good evening, love! What happened with my lunch? What happened with Jagor?"
- "I don't know, my dear! Don't feel sorry for your son, when he's not even capable of bringing you your lunch. We'll need less bread without him."
- "You are right," the husband replies, and they go to the house, to have dinner.
     When they finished dinner, the wife shows to her husband a piece of bread that remained. The husband looks, but somehow he can't be happy about that bread.
     The wife goes to bed, and he goes to the barn, to take care of the livestock. As he found himself alone with the livestock and started working around it, the harder and harder it gets to him. The cow and the little goat look at him, and to him, like something is sneaking in his heart. And just the same he thinks of that remaining piece of bread. He sits in the doorway of the barn and gazes into the night.
     It's moonlit outside, and in the light of the moon, the house and the barn look like two little fists, and the field and the yard like two palms - all of them are encircled with straw on the ground. The field is three furrows, all three of which are plowed.
- "Next year I won't need to plow the third one," the man thinks, because he thought again how he needs less bread now. But then he remembers that without the third one, he never managed to plow the first two either. The plow is wooden and the ground is hard. If you don't have joy in your heart, you will die from suffering, and your work will be all for nothing*.
- "With joy my ancestors plowed it, by all fathers for their son. But me, sinner, killed my son, killed the joy in myself and in the land."
     He had barely thought of it, when something by his side from the door spoke. If it was not fake, it must have been a miracle of some kind.
- "Go, search for your son," the voice tells him. "He's in the lair of Grandma Poludnica. Take the road by the row of hay, but bring that cup from the pot, and put some water in it. When you enter the lair, follow the passage, and when you feel the terrible heat, you drink from that cup and nothing will hurt you, because Grandma drank from it, before you. You will feel brave, and you will deliver your son."
     The man gets up right away, takes the cup and the water, and follows the hay row. When he finds the lair, he enters it, and follows the passage until he came to that huge field underground, from which the terrible heat came. He sees those 12 ovens, and the servants around them, moving like devils around the flames. And in the middle of it, he sees his own son, in that fiery hell, fighting a red, huge ram.
     The father, shocked by the sorrow, forgets to drink the water from the cup, instead he opens his mouth to call his son. He had barely opened his mouth, when the heat burned his throat. He grabs his throat, and thinks regrettably: "I didn't deserve anything else," and dies like a mole in the tunnel, and his exhausted soul goes to God's judgement. When the stepmother saw in the morning that her husband was not there yet, she went out and called him for a little while; when he didn't answer, she left and searched for him; when she didn't find him, she waited till dinner time - and when he didn't return by dinner, she stood in the middle of the estate, looked around, rubbed her hands and said:
- "Good. It was his yesterday, and now it's mine."
     After she said that, she went in the house, closed the doors with a bolt, took the linen, that Jagor's mother left for her son, lit the candle and started to tailor a shirt and a dress for herself.
     But, in the barn, the cow and the goat got sad. That evening they didn't even touch a single piece of straw. They didn't feel like eating. And when the night fell, and everything in the house got quiet, the cow says to the goat:
- "What are we going to do, my friend?"
- "And what else can we do, should we go look for the child?"
     Bagan, too, climbs on the manger. Small like a thumb, with horse's hooves on his legs, and devil's little horns on his human head. Bagan says to the cow and the goat:
- "Go, there's no other way." The cow thinks and says:
- "Where to, how can we know, alone? Come with us, Bagan. You are wiser than us."
- "And who will keep all this for the child? It's for me to stay, and for you to go," Bagan decides. Bagan unties the mess with which the cow was tied to the manger. Then he takes the rope to untie the goat too. And she says: "Untie the rope at the manger, but leave it on me, around my horns. We could use it."
     Bagan does so and coils the rope around the goat's horns - then opens the door of the barn, and the cow and the goat leave into the night, to look for Jagor. Bagan stays behind, to keep Jagor's property safe.
     The cow and the goat don't know where to go, which way to take, but Bagan told them to go to the rocks and look for the child where the stones are the highest and scariest.
     The first day they went past all the fields, and there was as much water as you wanted: the cow fed nicely, and drank clean water. The second day, they went all through the thick plants, and found a creek. The goat ate nicely, and drank clean water. The third day, they went and entered the hills with dry rocks. Not much grass to eat, and water only in one muddy pit. The fourth day, just pine and fir trees, not a single drop of water, stones barer and steeper, and the cow is losing all her strength. When she can't move anymore, she gets depressed and says:
- "My friend, I can't go further, and look, the peek is still high above us."
- "Lie here, under the fir tree, and wait," the goat tells her. "If we both break ourselves on this height, we'd lose all the milk, and we wouldn't have any to give to the child. I'll go to rescue him, and you will feed him."
     The cow stays under the fir tree, and the goat continues forward. She climbs and climbs - the rocks get barer, and steeper, to a big awful height, pointing to the heavens itself.
     The goat's legs are bleeding, but she comes upon the iron walls. She sees that under her is a mighty basin, surrounded by cliffs, and iron walls, and over the basin, even the sky and the air was white with heat.
- "There's no worse place in the rocks, here's where the orphan will be," the goats says and climbs to the rim, where the climb meets the iron wall, and she looks down across the wall.
     The wall is two-men high, smooth as glass, and hot like hell. Under it, in the basin, the child sleeps; he got exhausted in the past 4 days, stretched out on the rocks, and fell asleep.
     The goat calls the child, but he doesn't hear it; only those huge sheep lift their scary heads. But, what do they know, big stupid things, they just bend their heads back down, and they eat those coppery leaves, that throw the flames around their red heads.
     And the goat kicked a small stone, and it fell close to the child and woke him up.
     Jagor opens his eyes, and he sees above himself a brown beard and 2 small horns, and two eyes. If they were angels from God, he wouldn't have liked them more. The child jumps, lifts his hands and says:
- "Deliver me, my dear."
     When he called her so, and when she heard the voice of the child, she forgets that her legs are hurting and wounded, she just wants to get to the child, or the child to her.
     She stood on the wall firmly, and shook her head. That rope uncoiled down, and the end fell right into Jagor's hands, and the other end is tied to the goat's neck. Jagor grabs the rope, and starts climbing on it, higher and higher, until he happily reaches with his hands around the goat's neck. And she lifts the child over the wall, and rescues him from the hellish basin and lies down with him on the stones, to get a breath.
     And the child, as he finally got together with his little goat, can't let go of her. They lay like that for a long time, like that, side by side, alone, like two little ants on that scary height.
- "Come, my dear Jagor," the goat finally says.
- "I can't, little goat. I'm burning with thirst. Let me drink some milk."
- "There's no milk in me - I'm dry. Let's go to the cow."
     They go, hungry, thirsty and wounded down the steep slope. With their lives in danger, the child holds the goat, and the goat holds the child, so they don't fall down, and they managed luckily to get to the fir trees.
     Under the fir tree the cow lies; she rested well, had lots of shade, she drank the early rain, and even though she didn't eat anything for two days, she welcomed them happily:
- "Fear not, my darlings, I will give my milk to both of you." They lay, and drunk as much as they could, and then they cheerfully say:
- "Cow, my dear, the softer and nicer grass there is, it will be yours. You hungered yourself, but you fed us." And then they stood up, and went back the same way the cow and the goat came, through the fir trees, over the stone grounds, through the bushes and across the fields. What took the cow and the goat 4 days to travel, with the child it took one day to get back to the house.

To be continued...