ONE - Samodiva

It was in that old cruel times, when the warriors of Islam began their invasion on the East-southern Europe. The times of blood and fire, when the cradle of Old European Civilization fell into the darkness for long black centuries.
The times, when all of Christian kings had forgotten about Love and Mercy, about people, they were responsible for. The only things, they thought about were Power and Wealth, and it never were enough for them...
Two kings, two brothers, two deadly enemies, were separate our land and our people on two parts. Two kingdoms of the Hate and the Envy, in a war, it seamed would never end... They both were blind about danger coming from the south, even when all Southern lands had already fallen under Muslim power. Blind because of burning hate, they felt to each-other...


Oh, no, this is not a story about Hate, but the story about Love, and about a noble man, who had found all, what had been worth to live for, and had lost everything, except his name.
Saramut Vokil was one of the best noble warriors of the king Shishman's men, and he ruled a big part of land of the south of the kingdom. But king Shishman was angry with him, and wanted him dead, so Saramut had to escape to the king Sratcimir's kingdom. People said, that it was because, when Saramut was in Thorn Town, the capital, the princess Mara fell in love with him, and the king was afraid to loose his throne. Other said, that Saramut just wanted to stop the war between brothers, and to lead the two armies against Muslims on the south.
Probably both of them were right... Soon princess Mara was sent to be the 100-th wife in the harem of sultan Murad, the leader of Muslim hordes, and King Sratcimir gave Saramut to rule a little fortress on the south frontier with three small villages around.
Since no one there had seen this man to smile. Everyone was afraid of his grim flashing dark eyes. He spent his time riding with his warriors far behind Hemus mountain to let their swords drink some blood, or hunting alone for days, deep in the old dark forests near his fortress...


Once the night reached Saramut alone far in the place called 'The Holy Forest'. He decided to sleep there in the hole of a big old oak tree, stretching its branches over a singing stream.
As he tied his horse near the water, the moon showed off the clouds, and when he rose his head, he saw seven flashing stars flying over the trees and falling down one after other somewhere near down the stream. He ran toward this direction to see what's happened.
What he saw, when he reached the place, made him to lost his breath...
There were seven magnificent barefooted young women dancing on an absolutely circle glade, covered like a carpet with soft short bright green grass. Their white dresses light as a spider web, sparkling, if they were woven from silver dust and moon beams, were hiding and revealing their fine graceful bodies at the same time. Their hair, with colors from the deepest shadows of the night, to the brightest sunlight, streamed down to their knees. Their laughter, like song of nightingales and silver bells, sprinkling like fountain drops on his harsh stern soul, filled it with calm, joy, and goodness...
He knew, he saw Samodivas. The demigoddesses of the forest from old legends, still living here even in the Christian times. He knew, he saw that no one of mortals should ever see...
Since if they saw him, they could turn him into a cold stone just laying there, or would take his soul and clear his brain, leaving him just roving around as a wild animal, without ever knowing what once he was...
But he never knew what fear was. He could not resist the delight, to know, to see, to have, and be, the one, that no one else could ever be.
So, when samodivas ran down the little river to a big pool there, Saramut followed them, lurking in the shades. The seven heavenly creatures let their white robes dropped down, then jumped one after other in the pool.
I have no words enough to describe this scene... There isn't any of human languages, that could express that feeling of the Joy and Beauty, that celebration of the immortal Life enjoyed by itself...

At last the samodivas left the pool, put on their dresses of moon light, and flew one by one in the night sky. Some flashing stars among the other stars... except one... She was still there in the water, laughing, jumping, and spraying around. "Oh, sisters,sisters, wait! It's so nice! Let me to enjoy a bit more time!"
Seeing, she was alone, Saramut crept like a snake ahead, grabbed her clothe, then slide back in shades and run toward his night camp. He hid samodiva's dress in the old oak tree's hole, untied his horse and ride back to the pool.
The samodiva was still there standing on the beach. Her marble white body covered with her copper-golden hair only. Her eyes of colors of the summer sky and May green grass, were dimmed by the tears rolling down to her flushed cheeks...

Oh, yes! Saramut knew well the old legends! He knew well, that the samodiva could not fly without her magic dress! He knew well, that without it, she'd loose her power, or at least a half of it, and immortality... And she would be just a woman then... A poor human being...
Oh, yes! What hunting was tonight! What award the smart experienced hunter had got now!
With triumphant laughter he took his precious trophy on the saddle in front of him. But... when he felt her warm, vibrating, frail body in his arms, when he saw her wide opened wet eyes, saying without words:"What would be with me now!", he felt some feelings, he had felt so long time ago, that all were forgotten... Mercy, Tenderness and... Love. So, this severe stone-hearted warrior embraced gently the scared girl, kissed her eyes and said: "As I drink your tears, I swear my dear, I'll always take care about you, and I'll never let the tears gush from your eyes again, until I am alive!"


He kept his promise. As he turned back to his fortress, he married her. And everything around had changed, because of Love. He really loved his Samodiva. He was a tender, careful and gentle husband, and she gave him the same love as return. That grim man, who never did care for the anyone's sake, become so nice, with his people too. He was always ready to help with money, or advice, to say a good word, or joke. No one could believe that he could have so nice laughter. But when the Samodiva laughed at his jokes, there became miracles. Flowers bloomed allover around. Little singing birds came to join her. All sadness and suffering vanished from anyone's heart, if someone heard her sweet voice.
The peasants just adored her! If someone was sick, it was enough, if she came and put her thin delicate hand on anyone's head, and illness was gone forever. If she caressed some fruit tree, it gave twice more fruits, than before. The same was with the animals, and the fields, where she liked to go for a walk.
That Love had it's fruit too. Nine months after, the Samodiva had a boy with his father's dark hair and his mother's light eyes. A sweet child - the biggest joy in common human's life.
The life in that land had changed too. By Saramut's order, there were built many fountains and irrigation system for peasant's fields, wide roads with pavement between villages and the fortress, a new church, and a school, where went all children and older people, who wanted to learn to read and write. The dark old fortress became a little beautiful castle with always bloomed flower gardens around.
And very soon this happy people completely forgot, that somewhere near, there still was a war...


So, seven wonderful years passed, and at the end of the seventh one, all came to the it's end... Something unexpected happened with the gorgeous Samodiva...
She was the Life itself, but now it seemed, she was loosing her own life... Drop by drop it streamed out. She became light like a feather, just two huge eyes full of sadness.
Her disconsolate husband was always beside her, and mostly she was in his arms with her head on his bosom, as they were that first time, when he took her from the forest...
"You know who I am, my Love." she said once with tired smile "I was too long time, too far from the spring of life. I need to fly! I cannot live anymore without the sky!... Oh, please, forgive me, my beloved knight... I'm leaving you... and our child... I already said 'Good bye' to him, before he went for riding with your stableman... I know, you'll care for him... and I believe, he will grown up as a strong, like his father man, even without his special mother's care..." she sighed.
"And... my last wish is... please,... bring me to that place, where you had found me. And when my last breath will be gone, put me in the earth under the cover of green grass in the center of the samodivas dancing place... Let my sisters feel me... so close... again... when they come to dance there... sometimes... some next time..."
"I will." ,were the only words, he said.

And they rode again together on his black horse toward the Holy Forest, to the samodivas place. He put her down on the carpet of the unbelievable soft green grass. Around, where the samodivas' bare feet had been touching the ground, then bloomed many little white night flowers.
"Stay here for a while, my dear. I'll be right back..." Saramut said, then disappeared among the trees.
He went toward that old huge oak tree, where was his hunting night camp seven years ago. With pain in heart he put his hand in the secret hole, and yes! The samodiva's magic dress was still there! Shining, sparkling...the silver dust with moon light beams, so fine, like the spider web, and no dirt on it, neither the time had left some trails on it.
"Oh, God!" he groaned, "Could you forgive me, if she does not! Is there mercy for what a selfish man has done! Were seven years of heavenly happiness enough, and does it worth, what the price is of this!?!" then he ran to his wife.
She was laying there with closed eyes, without movement, almost already without breath...
"Forgive me darling!!! I pray, if it's not too late! Now you're free...Now you can fly...Now you can have your sky... your spring of life... oh, please,.. just live!!!..."
As Saramut was talking, he undressed her quickly and put on her the magic dress... And the miracle was done...
Her cheeks become pink again. She opened her marvelous blue-green eyes. The nice tender smile bloomed on her rose-like lips again. She held his hand, then sat, and said:
"I knew this all the time, my love. I knew, you were that thief, who had stolen my dress... but I don't regret for anything. You gave me something, no one of my sisters had ever known... Love, Maternity, and that so hard reached, pure human Happiness... but now..." she sighed, "I do have to go! Good bye, my Only One... And don't forget your Samodiva..."
She kissed him, and releasing from his embrace, she rose her hands to the sky, and flew...

Saramut was looking at the empty noon sky, long time after she had vanished in the blue depths... Than a roar came deep from his chest. Desperate yell of a deadly hurt animal...
He fell down on the grass, his fingers stuck deep into the ground, and something, that this man had never knew what it was, tears, came from his eyes. A bitter-salt moisture was slowly watering the tender little white flowers beneath his face...
And man's tears worth too much, believe me!

When the sun colored the sky on west in red, the man went back to his wasted home. He rode like dark cloud. His face was hard like a stone. His deep eyes were empty, like two dry wells in a desert.
But was the sky so red because of sunset only? Were these black shadows on it, just rainy clouds coming from the south? Was that sound of terrified voices just some strange song of the wind in the trees' branches?
As Saramut left the forest, he saw the truth. The three villages were three huge torches of fire. Countless Muslim fanatics scrambled on the fortress walls, and cries "Allah! Allah!" drowned the screams of dying people, and jingle of a steel on steel...
"God!!! My son!!! My people!!!", Bloody shade fell on Saramut's eyes. He rise his sword and with a war-cry flew over the enemies. A black horse with a black-dressed, white bloodless face mad rider - the Death it self, leaving behind him just pieces of flesh and streams of blood...

Saramut died in this hopeless battle. All of his men too. The warriors of Islam had no mercy. Our women were rip, the little children were stuck on the spears. Soon all country fell under the Muslim power. Wave after wave Muslims flooded Europe. All united forces of the all of western kingdoms were needed to stop them at Vienna, Austria, then beat them a bit back.
But my country was erased from the world's map for centuries...


Well, Saramut's son, his stableman, and some peasants, women and children had escaped from that terror time. The most of them had been working near the forests, when enemy's troops had came, and people had been searching for salvation among the trees.
The legend says, that the Samodiva's son had been leading them deep in the forest, to that round glade, where had been the samodiva's dancing place. The enemies had been pursuing them, but when the fugitives reached the magic circle, the bloody killers had just passed beside about twenty scared women, children, and some men, looking at them, but never seeing them.
When enemy's army had retreated to the north, the survivors had build their new village there, in the forest, near to the chain of pools, full of fishes, down the little river.

It's still stay in our days. The Holy Forest is almost cut. The river with the pools is almost gone. Just the name Pools-village rest, and
this old legend.

The Owl