The Stribor's Forest
Once upon a time, there was an enchanted forest
whose ruler was the Great Stribor, and the
forest was named after him – the Stribor's forest.
The forest was to remain enchanted for as long as
someone who cared more about their troubles than
about the whole world's happiness steps into it.
A young man came to the forest to cut some wood,
but he didn't know that it was under a spell nor that
different kinds of wonders, good and bad, often
He came across a small snake that started to fawn
around him. She fawned and cuddled around him
until she finally turned into a beautiful young girl.
The girl said to the young man: ''Here I am! Take
me home and marry me!''
But, she was a wicked soul under a spell,
transformed into a snake for all the mean things that
she has done in her life. Only a man, who would
marry her, could set her free from all the spells.
The shy and naive young man agreed to marry her
and took her home where he lived with his old
mother. When they came home, he introduced his
wife to his mother. His old mother was a wise
woman, much wiser than her naive son. She knew
right away what her daughter-in-law had inside her
mouth, and that she was a snake. She tried to warn
her son. But he didn't listen to his mother. In fact,
he started to hate his mother more and more.
The three of them began to live together. Oh, but
The daughter-in-law was a vixen, mean, greedy and
spiteful. She ordered the poor old woman to do all
kinds of dangerous tasks without mercy. The first
day, the daughter-in-law told her to bring some
snow from the mountain peak, so that she could
wash her face in it. The second day, she sent the old
woman to the frozen lake to catch her some fish for
lunch. With God's help, the old woman did
everything to please her daughter-in-law. And the
son? He supported his wife in everything just to
keep her happy.
One cold evening, the son and the daughter-in-law
went to see their cousins. They ordered the old
woman to heat some water until they come back.
So, the old woman took some dry pieces of wood
and lit the fire. All of a sudden, she heard some
tapping and clicking.
Knock, knock, knock.
- Who is it, for God's sake? – she asked.
- Domaći, Domaći.
The fireplace was full of bright flames, and some
strange small creatures were dancing around the
fire. They were the Domaći, tiny little flame men
who came out of the fire.
More and more of them danced out of the flames,
laughing and chirping, screaming and joking
What a joy! What a pleasure!
The old woman felt younger as well. She was
smiling, jumping around like a young girl and
dancing with the Domaći…
• What happened next in the story?
• Did the old mother get rid of her daughter-in-law,
• Did her son find happiness and true love?
• Read Ivana Brlić Mažuranić's story Stribor's forest,
and you will find all the answers.