Kvarner newsletter / no 22

Mythological creatures continue to live, even today

Such a small place, and so many legends – this would be a good way to describe Lokve, a magical place in Gorski kotar, located beneath Mount Risnjak, surrounded by mystical forests and lakes. The area of Lokve, which is very popular among visitors for its beautiful nature and interesting legends, now has another story to tell…

Each region has its own legends. The magical area around Lokve is no exception – it seems tailor-made for telling legends to its guests. Members of the Association of the Admirers of Lokve's Antiquities brought some of the most interesting mythological creatures to life. The legend has it that long time ago, these creatures used to protect or scare children and inhabitants of Lokve. With the aim of making this mythology available to visitors, some of the most interesting creatures from Lokve's underworld and heavens were brought to life in the forest environment.

The most attractive figure of the area's local mythology is without any doubt the creature called the Midnight Man (Polnoćnjak), a 14-metre tall giant in a long black coat with a hat over his eyes. Parents used to scare their children with this figure if they didn't want to come home from playing before the dark. Another frightening figure is the Aquarius, a dangerous water creature that no-one has ever seen, but whose scary cries used to discourage any person from approaching the small river of Lokvarka, where he supposedly lives even today. Also evil were the witches of Lokve, who are believed to gather at the rock of Pajova stijena even today. But not all heroes of the legends were evil. Peaceful creatures included the lighting "Candles" (Svećice), who used to appear in form of light near the river of Lokvarka, and also fairies and dwarfs who used to protect the area's waters and the underworld.

Finally, the inhabitants of Lokve used to have – and now have again – their domestic mythological creature. It is a small, rascally creature called Pancikul, who protects the attics of the houses where local meat specialities are kept, such as sausages, bacon, ham, etc.

Based on the legends of these interesting creatures, members of the association and pupils of the elementary school in Lokve made various drawings, designed costumes, and wrote a play to save them from falling into oblivion. They will also be glad to tell these stories to the visitors in the area.