Slovenian Legends: The Legend of The Little Dragon Jami in Postojna Cave
Legend has it that years yonder, fire-breathing dragons used to dwell in the infamous Postojna Cave. The dragons plagued the people of the region until the Pivka River rose, broke it’s banks and swept the dragons away (plot hole: it’s possible that these dragons couldn’t fly, or were simply caught off guard by the powerful waters).
The Pivka waters took all but the little dragon, Jami, who unlike his brethren, was a ‘good’ dragon; peaceful, friendly and a lover of nature. Although he desired to play with children, understandably, they were terrified of him and what he might become.
Living alone, he became depressed. At the bottom of his despair, a drobnovratnik beetle came to his rescue and befriended Jami. The beetle introduced him to the other small inhabitants of the cave. Jami had no idea, he was shocked.
Jami’s circle of friends quickly grew.
After establishing trust, his new friends soon asked for help. The recounted their story, explaining their appointment to guard a treasure of pearls hidden deep within the cave. The prize they protected was under constant threat from a malign goblin, Switch. Jami gladly agreed to help and guard the pearls. Unfortunately for all but Switch though, Jami snores loudly, as snoring dragons do, and the cave walls shook with each breath.
The ill-willed goblin set off towards the din to investigate. Delighted at his find, and unintimidated by the dragon, he started loading up all the pearls he could carry. Jami awoke.
Jami snatched the goblin up, rendering Switch helpless. The goblin begged to be freed in a panicked voice, realising the seriousness of his confrontation with the little but powerful dragon.
The goblin, realising that he could not outmatch Jami in a game of strength turned to his wit. He told Jami he could perform magic and would grant his every wish if he should free him. Despite his new company, Jami still longed for the company of children, for playmates. He asked to be turned into a human being.
Switch agreed to grant the wish, chanted some ancient magic words, upon which a din, like a crack of thunder boomed through the cavern and both the goblin and dragon were enveloped in a cloud of smoke.
Jami felt himself grow smaller. His friend, the beetle had followed the thunderous noise and came rushing into the pearl filled cavern. There. On the top of the pearl treasure was a small dragon with human-like skin.
And so Jami forever became a human fish, destined to play with his cave-dwelling friends and guard the cave pearls.
Switch the goblin never returned. Some of the cave’s inhabitants will tell you that he has been spotted from time to time, and continues to lurk in the deepest, darkest depths of the cave. People often report hearing him scratching about in the distance. If you visit the cave, ask any small creatures you see about the legend, they may point you in the direction of where Jami is playing, or to the last spot Switch was suspected to have been.
[…] In the West, a dragon, zmaj, symbolises evil from ancient times, but in the East it represents wisdom, spirituality and protection – something more pleasant. It also symbolises strength and courage. A dragon is depicted on the 13 Slovenian coat-of-arms; on some of them there is a battle between Saint Jurij and a dragon (in the past this symbolised a victory of Christianity over paganism or, in other words, good over evil), on others a dragon is supposed to be a castle guardian and a guardian of a treasure. In Slovenia there are many myths and legends connected with dragons. We already wrote about Postojna Cave Dragon. […]