Folklore Friday: Kurent The Preserver (Serbia)

bacchus3Flood myths are so ubiquitous that they could be grouped in with sexuality, language, cuisine, ritual, toolmaking and dress as a part of our shared culture as humans. Today’s Folklore Friday entry comes from Serbia – a heartening story of perseverance and folk wisdom. From Sacred Texts,

MANKIND perished by the flood, and there was only one who survived, and this was Kranyatz. Kranyatz fled higher and higher, till the water flooded the last mountain. The poor wretch saw how the pines and shrubs were covered; one vine, and one only, was still dry. To it he fled, and quickly seized hold of it, not from necessity, but from excessive terror; but how could it help him, being so slender and weak? Kurent observed this, for the vine was his stick, when he walked through the wide world. It was agreeable to him that man should be thought to seek help from him. It is true that Kurent was a great joker; but he was also of a kindly nature, and was always glad to deliver anyone from distress. Hearing Kranyatz lamenting, he straightened the vine, his stick, and lengthened it more and more, till it became higher than the clouds. After nine years the flood ceased, and the earth became dry again. But Kranyatz preserved himself by hanging on the vine, and nourishing himself by its grapes and wine. When all became dry, he got down, and thanked Kurent as his preserver. But this didn’t please Kurent. ‘It was the vine that rescued you,’ said he to Kranyatz; ‘thank the vine, and make a covenant with it, and bind yourself and your posterity, under a curse, that you will always speak its praises and love its wine more than any other food and drink.’ Very willingly did the grateful Kranyatz make the engagement for both himself and his posterity, and to this day his descendants still keep faith, according to his promise, loving wine above all things, and joyfully commemorating Kurent, their ancient benefactor.

Always seek personal growth. Always praise the vine!