The Heathen Maiden of Prisank, Slovenia

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From the north face of the mountain she looks down, over the fir tree tops and the winding path, her eyes lowered from the higher mountains that surround her. They do not interest her, these peaks. Instead it is the mountain pass that eternally holds her attention; the path where she used to guide people through the mist and the snow. Ajdovska deklica – the heathen maiden – shared this job with her sisters until, one day, she made a prophesy about the son of a local hunter.

This boy would, she prophesised, grow up to hunt and slay Zlatorog, the golden-horned ibex of Triglav mountain. That someone could even imagine the death of Zlatorog was not only unimaginable, but inadmissible, and Ajdovska deklica’s sisters turned not on the son of the hunter but on their sibling, transforming her into stone. And that is how we find her, as we cross the pass in the mist and the snow, the sun and the wind, her eyes cast forever down to where we walk…

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Words: Paul Scraton
Pictures: Katrin Schönig

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