Kresnik appears to be the fire god, the son of the sun god, or in a later tradition a powerful hero with magic powers. The word Kresnik derives from kres/bonfire, connecting with the still living Slovenian tradition of bonfires (kresovanje) on the night of midsummer solstice. The name Kresnik therefore means the shining, the sparkling one. There are many tales of Kresnik in Slovenian oral tradition, and undoubtedly this mythical figure originates in ancient pagan beliefs. During a more recent cycle of Kresnik myth he appears also as the mythical Slovenian prince, who fights dragons, serpents and wizards to protect his people and merges with the tradition of the good ruler, represented by the myth of Kralj Matjaž.
The Tale of Kresnik and Princess Vesina
Once, when Kresnik was far away in strange lands, there came from somewhere a terrible serpent. When it entered Drava, in order to cross the water, the river banked up and flooded the fields; so huge was the monster. Then the snake crawled towards the castle and clasped it with its body, drawing tail into the mouth. In the castle lived imprisoned the beautiful princess Vesina. Six months the dragon lay in wait for Vesina beneath the castle walls. On St.George’s Day came the handsome count Kresnik with bright sword and stood on the snake. But the snake had wings and took to the air. Kresnik also had magic – he grew wings, and Kresnik and Ses did fierce battle in the air. When the serpent saw, that he was the weaker, he spoke to the hero: “No use to you, to take the maiden from me, she is your sister! No use to you!“
The hero answered: “What is fated, will happen; it will avail nothing to resist“, and swings with his arm the last, forceful blow against the snake. The snake fell heavily to the ground; the hero later threw it into the castle brook and chained it with heavy rope to the cliff, where it still lies today. When Kresnik defeated Ses, golden wheat fell to earth. Kresnik took Vesina for a wife and lived happily with her.