Mount Triglav and the Golden Horned Ram

“At that time, too, the White Ladies lived beneath Mount Triglav–the highest peak in Slovenia. These benevolent spirits, showed shepherds which herbs would cure their illnesses, and they willed rich grass to grow on bare stones for the pasture of poor men’s sheep. No one was allowed to come near the White Ladies; their dwelling was guarded by a flock of snow-white goats led by a ram with golden horns. It was impossible to kill this ram, for if he was wounded a wondrous flower sprang from each drop of his blood; and the ram had merely to eat a petal from one of these flowers to be healed instantly, even if he had been struck directly in the heart. The ram’s golden horns had an even more marvellous power. Whoever could gain possession of one horn could then claim the entire fortune which was buried beneath the nearby mountain—if he could get past the many-headed serpent that guarded the treasure. Is it any wonder, then, that many hunters tirelessly sought the golden-horned ram and found death on the precipitous slopes of Mount Triglav?”


So I read in a newly bought second hand book yesterday, The Golden Bird – Folk Tales from Slovenia, Valaimir Kavčič.


Zlatorog is the name of that legendary white ram, his name literally means “Gold Horn” (zlati rog). Many men tried to kill Zlatorog in order to steal the treasure. One day a hunter came, stalked Zlatorog, and shot him. The dying Zlatorog’s blood ran for miles, carving out the mountains and lakes surrounding Triglav. From his blood, a lovely flower, the world’s first edelweiss (planika), grew. Upon eating one of its leaves Zlatorog instantly recovered.



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