Legend of Water Man and the Boy
The Slovene folk tale O povodnem možu (Tale of the Water Man) comes from Prekmurje, the north-eastern region of Slovenia. It takes place along the river (probably river Mura). Povodni mož means Man of the Water.
The tale tells of a boy who liked swimming. Even when the river was flooded, in spite of the fact that his parents warned him that he should not, the boy jumped into the water, but because it was too high he started to sink and called for help. He was heard by Povodni mož who decided to save him and take him to his underwater kingdom. He placed the boy in a bed made out of glass, in a room made of glass. When the /boy woke, he started to play with toys made of glass. Then he remembered about his home and started to cry. Povodni mož asked him why he was crying, and the boy said that he missed his home. Povodni mož wondered if home is more valuable than riches.
Then the boy fell asleep and Povodni mož took him to another room, all made of silver. When the boy woke up, he started to play with toys made out of silver. He soon started to miss his brother and sister, with whom he played at home. He began to cry again.
Povodni mož then took him to a third room, all made of pure gold. When the boy woke up, all the brightness of gold shone into his eyes. He began to play with toys made of gold, but he soon remembered his mother and father, and began to cry loudly.
Povodni mož went and choose the most beautiful pearls. He wondered whether all these riches were more dear than the boy’s family. The boy said that they were not. Then Povodni mož realized that all the riches of the world would not make the boy want to remain with him.
He waited until the boy fell asleep and took him to the river bank, where his clothes were waiting. He filled the pockets with gold and pearls.
When the boy woke up, he thought he that he had dreamed, but when he put his hands into his pockets, he found the gold and pearls, and realized that it was all true. He ran home very happily. They were delighted to see him, as they thought he had drowned.
With the riches the family helped themselves out of poverty, made a new house, and lived in it happily ever after.
(C) Andreja Vavpetič & Zdenka Wicher