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 Bogomil story about life and death

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Donaton
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PostSubject: Bogomil story about life and death   Sun Sep 22, 2013 5:48 pm

Bosnian story about Did Adža is actually an old Bogomil story about life and death and Did Adža is nothing more than a Bogomil priest. He appears at the very beginning of the story about three brothers (three life stages) whose food he steals (soul, life) with which he tests and tries them. While the two brothers fail the exam the third brother beats him with his wisdom. But, the story doesn't end there but turns into and odyssey which leads our hero into the world of the dead. According to Bosnian belief one reaches that world through a well. In the underworld the hero is freed from his sins by doing a good deed and in such a way he gets an opportunity to return to the land of the living. On that journey he offers as kurban (sacrifice) 40 lambs and at the end of the sacrifice a part of his body which is a classic example of the Bogomil philosophy that the human body was created by Lucifer and that it is full of sin from which one can be freed only if it is sacrificed. The story has a happy ending and in the spirit of the Bosnian Bogomil tradition it acquaints that a man can win against evil inside and around us with his will and belief.

According to the story from Velika Kladuša about Did Adže it is said that in the old days there was a father with three sons. Since they didn't have a mother the father always left one son at home to make food so the others have something to eat when they come back from the field. The first morning the eldest of the three stayed home. When his father and brothers returned home for lunch they found an empty table. To the father's question: "Where is our lunch?" the son replied: "Did Adže came by with his white beard riding a rooster and he stole the food". The next day the father left his other son at home, the middle one, with the task of cooking food and they went to the field. However, the same thing happened as yesterday. On the third day the third son stayed at home. Knowing that Did adze will arrive he started thinking what to do and he came up with an idea. Finishing lunch he went outside and bent a sapling and he split it in half. Sometime later Did Adže appeared on his rooster. As soon as the boy saw him he asked him for help to hold the sapling, which he did not suspecting anything. As soon as Did Adže grabbed the tree the boy grabbed his beard and placed it into the split and tied it and then released the sapling and Did Adže hung from it by his beard wallowing in pain. Did Adže begged for a long time for the boy to release him which he refused until he told the boy that he knew of a place where people brought and sacrificed a virgin each month to a dragon so that he would release the water and save them from a drought. Did Adže revealed that the dragon has a weak spot and if he is struck there he will immediately die. The one who killed the dragon could then marry the beautiful girl. The youngest son liked the story and he released Did Adže who told him where that place is located.

When the father returned home with his sons he was happy that there was food on the table. After the meal the youngest brother revealed his plan to his brothers which decided to help him by lowering him in a basket made out of brushwood (sepet) into a deep well (čatrnja). In the darkness of the underworld he saw a girl but also a dragon who was preparing to eat her. Since he knew what the dragon's weak spot was the youngest brother stood up to him and killed him. Since both of them couldn't fit in the basket the young man decided that the girl should be hoisted up first. When the girl game up and after the two brothers saw her beauty in the light of the day they quickly decided that they are not going to hoist up their younger brother, but that the two of them shall compete for the girl's love. They covered the well with branches and stones so that their youngest brother can't come to the surface. In such a manner he stayed in the underworld doomed. After he figured out that his brother's abandoned him he decided that he isn't going to give up but to search for a way out of the land of the dead. Since it was cold he decided to collect some wood to make a fire so he searched for some branches. His search lead him to a giant tree his gaze lifted upward and he saw a nest with baby birds inside it. He also noticed a large snake crawling up the tree with the intent of eating the birds. That saddened him so he decided to help the birds and kill the snake, after that he continued with his search. However, not long after that a large eagle comes flying by whose wings were a few feet wide. While descending the eagle made a huge gust of wind so the boy covered his face with his hands. All of a sudden the eagle spoke up with a human voice thanking him for saving his children and offered a favour in return. The young man told him that he was searching for a way out of the underworld. The eagle thought about it and said - I will fulfil your wish but you will have to find 40 lambs which you will throw in my beak every time I gawk since the path to the human world is long and difficult I will need a lot of strength.

The young man asked the eagle to give him a few days time to find the lambs and then they can be off. The eagle agreed. A few days later since he met the conditions that the bird asked for, he sat on the bird's back and they flew away. They flew through a deep darkness through which they heard screams of unhappy people, various silhouettes appeared as well as various scenes of torture and suffering. The eagle answered all of the questions that the boy had. Seeing a naked woman with bloody feet running after a small bird he asked the eagle what is her punishment and the eagle replied that while she was alive she killed her baby while it was still in her stomach. Then he saw another naked woman sitting atop a young pine tree licking blood off of a blade. That also seemed strange to him so he asked the eagle who replied that she was unfaithful to her husband.

The journey was really long and the eagle gawked for the first time, the second and third... they crossed large distances and the boy noticed that the scenes from the underworld slowly disappeared and that somewhere in the distance there was a dim light. His heart started beating faster. Just a bit more and I shall be out, I will see my old man and my brothers, he thought. But, he was startled by the fact that he gave the last lamb to the eagle and that they are not out yet. The possibility of the eagle failing started to worry him. Seeing that the eagle is slowing down and loosing strength he decided to do a desperate deed, he cut off his leg and in horrible agony he threw it into the eagles mouth after he gawked. When he woke up he was lying on a green meadow, the sun was shining and he heard the song of nightingale. After he came to his senses he saw the eagle standing beside him.

- When you threw your leg I felt in my beak that it wasn't lamb meat so I couldn't eat it out of great respect that I have for you. That's why I gathered all my strength and decided that I shall bring you out to the land of the living no mater what. And, as you see I made it. Your leg is where it always was. I'm going back to my little birds, I don't need a lot of strength to go back since it is easy to enter the underworld but difficult to come out.
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