Interpretation of Names, Etc.


The original names in these Fairy Tales are either taken from Slav folk-lore or chosen or composed so as to convey a suitable meaning. In the English text the translator has therefore tried to render the significance of the original names in English in preference to reproducing the Slav names in English spelling.


How Quest Sought the Truth.

1. Bjesomar (Rampogusto). The name given by the old Slavs in some regions to the ruler of evil and malignant forces. Analysed, the name might be translated as Cherish-goblin, one who cares for hobgoblindom.

2. Svarožić (All-Rosy). The ancient Slavs pictured the sunshine in the form of a beautiful youth named Svarožić, All-rose.

The names of the grandfather and his three grandsons — Witting, Bluster, Careful and Quest — are as near as possible equivalents of the original names Vjest, Ljutiša, Marun and Potjeh.


Fisherman Plunk and his Wife.

1. Zora-djevojka (the Dawn-Maiden). To this day many old folk-tales of the Slavs tell of the Dawn-Maiden who sails the sea in the early morning in her boat of gold with a silver paddle and dwells in the Island of Bujan.

2. The Sea King. Slovenes and Slovaks alike tell of a mighty and wealthy Sea King who reigns in the depths of the sea.

3. The Island of Bujan (the Isle Bountiful). This is a wonderful island, so named for its abundance and fruitfulness and luxuriant vegetation. It was the ancient Slav’s conception of Paradise. To this day the Russians mention it in refrains and spells against sickness, for a plentiful harvest, etc.

4. The Stone Alatir (Gold-a-Fire). Is mentioned in ancient Slav tales as “the white burning stone on Bujan,” and may perhaps be taken to stand for the sun.

5. Sea Maidens (Mermaids). In Slovene and Croatian folk-tales, as with us, this term is applied to fabulous sea-creatures, which are beautiful women to the waist, and from the waist downward shaped like a forked fish tail.

6. The dumb speech. The Jugoslavs popularly believe that animals converse with each other in a special “language,” and that certain human beings can “speak” and understand this “language.”

7. The Monstrous Snake, the Bird with the Iron Beak, the Golden Bee. Three monsters which, according to folk tales, stir up the waves, raise tempests, and provoke thunderstorms round the Isle of Bujan, whence the storms spread throughout the world.

Palunko (Plunk) has no special significance, but the sound suggests a doleful, feckless sort of person.

Winpeace is a translation of Vlatko.



1. Legen (Ledjan) (Frosten city). An ancient marvellous city which is mentioned in Croatian folk-songs and tradition. Leden means frozen, icy.

2. Regoč, Regoc(Reygoch). A huge simple giant of fairy kin. He is mentioned by the poet Gjorgjić, of Dubrovnik (Ragusa), in his Marunko.

The name Kosjenka is derived from kose (hair), and indicates the little fairy’s flowing tresses.

Apart from being a simple fairy-tale, this story contains an allegorical element. Reygoch, the benevolent, simple-minded giant, is a character from Marunko, by the poet Gjorgjić, of Dubrovnik. The city of Legen, or Ledjan (which, to all intents and purposes, means “frozen”), is to be found in Croatian folk-tales and ballads.


Stribor’s Forest.

1. Domaći (“home sprites,” from dom, house, home), Brownies. In all Slav nations this is the name given to the little domestic sprites which haunt the hearth. They are sometimes harmful and sometimes beneficent.

2. Malik Tintilinić (Wee Tintilinkie). Old popular name for one of the most lively of these domaći.


Little Brother Primrose and Sister Lavender.

1. Kitež (Mount Kitesh). The Russian author Merežkovski mentions the mysterious Kitež region, an uninhabited forest, and the Lake Svetlojar (which latter name might very well be transliterated by the Holy Lake), which used to be inhabited by all sorts of monsters.

2. Vile Zatočnice (Votaress Fairies). The term Votaress snakes (zmije zatočnice) is popularly applied to snakes which are supposed to have taken a vow in the autumn not to go to sleep for the winter without having killed somebody.

3. Relya (Hrelja). A Croatian ballad makes mention of a certain Hrelja as a better and stronger hero than even Kraljević Mark.

The names Rutvica and Jaglenac have simply been translated into Lavender and Primrose.

Bukač is derived from buka, noise. Hence Belleroo.

Medunka, from medved, a bear (Bruineen).

The term božjak (applied to Relya), which suggests a powerful, poverty-stricken churl, the translator has sought to render by rowfoot (a rough fellow).


Topoko the Wanderer and Nine Princes.

1. Neumijka (Old Man Weather; Neumijka comes from ne umiva se, “does not wash his face”). In Russian tradition, a ragged and unwashed old man named Neumijka wanders around the world and across the skies. But when he blows his nose, it starts to rain silver.

2. Lutonja (Wanderer) A child born from a log. If an old man and an old woman want a child, they rock a cradle with such a log and nurse it, it comes to life and turns into a child.

In name Toporko ‘r’ has been omitted to avoid the part of the word having any similarity to ‘pork’. ToporiÅ¡te is a word of Russian origin which means “axe handle”.

Neumijka walks the skies and takes care of weather conditions. In German translation it is Großvater Wetterwart, therefore Old Man Weather in English.

Words župan, župančić and županija (something like a county) are translated as king, prince and kingdom. The word župan appears in the 1924 translation of Fisherman Plunk and His Wife and is translated as sheriff.


Bridesman Sun and Bride Bridekins.

1. Mokoš (Muggish). A mighty force which, according to the beliefs of the ancient Slavs, ruled the earth, and especially in marshlands. She is mentioned in connection with the heavenly thunder god, Perun.

2. Kolede (translated by Yuletide). A winter festival celebrated at the end of December in honour of the sun, whose power once more begins to increase in those days.

3. Krijes (translated by Beltane). A festival in honour of the summer sun at the time of his greatest strength.

4. Omaja, omaha. Water which is flung from the mill-wheel. To this day peasants bathe children in this water so that evil may be turned away from them.

A Ban is a Warden of the Marches.

Neva means bride. Nevičica is the diminutive of Neva.



1. Poludnica (The Noon crone, from podne, poludne, noon). The Serbs, and the Sorbians (Wends, German Slavic people), have a folk tale in which a bedraggled old woman lives among nettles. She scares children and lashes them with nettles when they try to cross the fences.

2. Bagan. One of ” Domaći” (The Brownies). In Russian tradition Bagan protects horned livestock, and Vazila or Vozila protects horses. They prepare a special little pen for Bagan in a barn. He lives there and brings luck to his master and his cattle.