Slovenia – The Little Dragon in Postojna Cave

A long, long time ago dragons lived in the depths of Postojna Cave. These dragons were so terrible that they breathed fire from their great snouts. The Postojna dragons terrorised people for centuries, until one day the River Pivka became so swollen that it washed all the dragons away… except for one: a little dragon called Jami.

Jami wasn’t a wicked dragon, he was a small, friendly, good-natured little dragon who loved sunshine and flowers. He wanted to play with the children – catch or hide-and-seek – but the children were afraid of him. So he was left all alone, and grew sadder and sadder. Just when he thought he couldn’t get any lonelier, he met a drobnovratnik beetle who offered to be his friend.

The beetle told him that lots of other animals lived in the cave too. ‘Look,’ he said, and whistled three times. Immediately, lots of other beetles, spiders, water snails and other creatures appeared from behind the stalagmites and stalactites. There were so many of them that the little dragon could only stare in amazement.

Jami made friends with all of them, and soon his new friends asked him a favour.

They explained that deep in the secret hollows of Postojna Cave was a hoard of cave pearls, which the beetle and his friends had to guard day and night. A greedy goblin called Switch was desperate to get his hands on them. Jami, happy to have found some new friends, promised to guard the pearls. But soon after his friends had left him alone, stretched out on the chests containing the cave pearls, he fell asleep. He began to snore so loudly that the walls shook.

And of course Switch, hiding in the distant depths of the cave, heard him too and immediately set off to find out who was making all that noise. He wasn’t at all frightened of the sleeping Jami, and crept right up to the chests to try and steal some pearls… but then Jami woke up.

He seized the goblin in a vice-like grip, whereupon Switch, unable to escape, started begging Jami to let him go. He told him that he could do magic and could grant his every wish. Jami remembered his loneliness and how much he had longed to play with the children. He told Switch that he would like to be turned into a human being.

Of course the crafty Switch had no idea how to do such a thing, but he immediately accepted Jami’s proposal. He repeated some magic words several times over, and suddenly a loud pop was heard and the cave filled with an enormous cloud of thick smoke. The dragon felt as though his body was shrinking.

The drobnovratnik beetle, who had heard the noise, rushed to the edge of the little pool into which Jami had fallen, and to his surprise he saw a tiny dragon with human skin.

And that is how Jami the dragon became a human fish. Ever since then he has lived in Postojna Cave, where he plays with the other little animals and helps guard the cave pearls

And what about Switch the goblin? He vanished forever into the dark depths of the cave where no one will ever find him, but if you listen very carefully you can hear him in the distance – switch, swish, switch, swish – leaping from stalagmite to stalagmite.