Povodni mož – The River man

In Slovenian folklore there are countless tales of Povodni mož/River man, sometimes called Gestrin. He is a water spirit, often described as half man, half fish, who can change his appearance on land and may play mischief on humans. Many tales have to do with kidnapping of young beautiful maidens, to whom they offer glittering treasures of pearls and gold, sometimes in gratitude for help.

Gestrin is young rather than old River Man who has fins instead of feet. On the Drava River the fishermen and boatmen fear him. At night he likes to shows his head out of the whirlpool, sometimes blowing into his horn. Instantly water and sea maidens arise above the water surface and swim towards him. Gestrin is fierce by nature; he drags humans into the whirlpool or throws them onto the rocks. Boatmen and fishermen have a custom of throwing a ring wrapped in a kerchief into the water before they venture onto. In this way they calm Gestrin, and gain his goodwill.

The River Man who is the master of Mura River, can be propitiated with gifts. A girl, a bold kind, was travelling with a large company by boat to a party in Prekmurje. It was not long before the River Man realized what kind of goods were being transported in the boat, and began to raise huge waves, in order to overturn it. There was grave danger, that they would all drown; then one of the company remembered, that the girl must throw in the water something that she values most dearly, otherwise the River Man would not desist until he had her. The girl did as suggested and threw into the wild Mura waters her new sandals with beautiful heels. Only in this way was the company saved from certain drowning.

Source: http://www.thezaurus.com


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