The Story of Zlatorog

Zlatorog used to roam the then beautiful garden valley of Triglav with the White Ladies, good fairies who kept the mountain pastures green and helped humans whenever they found them in need.


Meanwhile, down in the Soca Valley near Trenta, a greedy plot was being hatched. It seemed that an innkeeper’s daughter had been given jewels by a wealthy Venetian merchant. The girl’s mother demanded that her daughter’s lover, a poor but skilled hunter, match the treasure with Zlatorog’s gold hidden under Mt Bogatin. If not, he was at least to bring back a bunch of Triglav ‘roses’ in mid-winter to prove his fidelity – an impossible task.


The young hunter, seething with jealousy, climbed the mountain in search of the chamois, figuring that if he we re to take even a piece of its golden horns, the trea­sure of Bogatin – and his beloved -would be his. At last the young man spotted Zlatorog, took aim and fired. It was a direct hit.


The blood gushing from Zlatorog’s wound melted the snow and up sprang a magical Triglav rose. The chamois nibbled on a few petals and – presto! – was instantly back on his feet. As the chamois leapt away, roses sprang up from under his hooves, luring the hunter onto higher and higher ground. But as they climbed, the sun caught Zlatorog’s shiny horns. The hunter was blinded, lost his footing and plunged into a gorge.


The once kind and trusting chamois was enraged that a mere mortal would treat him in such a manner. In his fury he gored his way through the Triglav Lakes Valley, leaving it much as it looks today. He left the area with the White Ladies, never to return.


And the fate of the others? The innkeeper’s daughter waited in vain for her lover to return home. As spring approached, the snow began to melt, swelling the Soca River. One day it brought her a sad gift: the body of her young swain, his lifeless hand still clutching a Triglav rose. As for the innkeeper’s rapacious wife, we know nothing.




It was the people dwelling in the heart of the Julian Alps who invented a marvellous prophetic parable as a warning against greed.

A fantastic ecological warning! The instinct of greed and acquisitiveness stands at the beginning of a menacing ecological catastrophe, and Zlatorog is the symbol of elementary Nature and her riches.


Adapted from:




  1. RaiulBaztepo said,

    1 April, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  2. Michael Bark said,

    2 April, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Your English is fine. Feel free to practice it here as often as you wish. 🙂 I’m glad you liked the post, the stories of the Land around me is a keen interest of mine. I hope to discover and post more soon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: