Raftsmen of the Drava River


Until the 18th century Maribor lagged behind other European cities since only leather trade and milling industry were developing. However, it held a very special gem, namely the Drava river, which revived the city.

Already in the Roman times, the Drava river was an important source of livelihood as well as an important transport route, mainly due to the city Poetovio (Ptuj) which was a Roman military base with its own river fleet. 

The beginnings of rafting, which was one of the main activities in Maribor and provided a source of income for the vibrant inns and taverns, can be traced back into the distant past. It also supported the timber industry giving rise to a number of timber warehouses along the Drava river. Namely, the European rivers where rafting had developed were flowing through lands rich in timber. Indeed, the Drava river flows through a magnificent timber-rich valley.

The oldest testimony about rafting on the Drava river dates back to 1280 and is recorded in a document of Otto Velikovški decreeing the collection of toll on barrel transport at the Velikovški bridge. The decree states that the empty barrels were transported on rafts to Maribor where they were filled with wine and transported back to Carinthia using carts. 

There is also a record from 1289, found in the land register of the St. Paul’s monastery which mentions serfs bringing timber to Styria, where the monastery used it in its vineyards. The land register of Sv. Lovrenc na Pohorju from 1371 states that the residents were involved in the transport of various types of timber with sticks for vineyards being of particular importance.

The river transport of timber was already well developed in the Middle Ages. In the 16th century extensive trade between Villach and Ptuj existed on the Drava river. Rafts were mainly used for transporting wine, ironmongery and textiles.

Due to increased transport on the Drava river, especially transport of timber, there was a growing need for larger and sturdier vessels, and thus in the 16th century the era of “šajka” rafting begun. They sailed all the way from Vuzenica to Vojvodina in the modern-day Serbia. The provincial estates appointed Vuzenica as a construction and military port for šajka vessels and it was known as a location where quality šajka vessels were built. The reputation of šajkas reached beyond borders. In 1541, they had presumably built 40 šajka vessels for the purpose of transportation of food to the imperial army in the Hungary. 

ŠAJKA VESSEL

Šajka was a vessel of a sturdy construction approximately 20 meters long and 6 meters wide. It was steered with tarpaulin sails by 6 rafters and could transport about 40 to 60 cubic meters of timber boards. The building of šajka vessels was more demanding and lasted longer than building ordinary rafts and it was also more expensive as it required greater quantities of wood. The wood used in the construction of a šajka, i.e. the basic vessel's hull was sold, while they also used it for transporting fruit, tannin and quartz sand for the Pohorje glass huts. 

The šajka was later replaced by a raft since a new method of tying the rafts enabled quicker loading and transportation of greater volumes of timber which of course lowered the final selling price of the timber. 

RAFT

The smallest raft could carry around 80 cubic meters of wood and the largest one as much as 130. The Drava raft had a trapezoid shape, it was 32 meters long and 6 meters wide in the front and 5 meters in the rear. Each raft had 3 front and 3 rear paddles, therefore it took 6 rafters to steer it. In the beginning of the 20th century, Italian rafters came to the Dravska dolina valley and introduced a different method for tying the rafts, making them wider in the front and narrower in the rear. The Drava rafters called those rafts “Italijančki” (i.e. Italians). 

The rafting reached its peak in the 19th century, mainly because it was very economical. A raft was an effective means of transport as well as the cargo itself thus the shipment reached its destination without any extra costs. The lumber industry was highly developed in the Pohorje and Kobansko regions, since both were rich with timber which was mainly used as a construction material. After 1918, the timber market expanded to Croatia and Serbia. At that time, more than 500 rafters were operating on the Drava river and they were building rafts in 60 ports between Libeliče and Maribor. Presumably more than 2000 people were involved in the rafting business since it was well paid and therefore very alluring. The tradition of rafting was very strong since it was passed down from generation to generation. Because rafting was a seasonal activity, the rafters took up small farming or logging during low rafting season.

MARIBOR AND RAFTING

Presumably, each year more than than 2000 rafters sailed down the Drava river transporting more than 200,000 cubic meters of wood. For the rafters, Maribor was the first stop. The port where rafts were landing in Maribor has kept its name Lent (Port) to this day. Maribor was a busy intersection and the passage from Dravska dolina valley to Maribor was considered to be the most difficult and dangerous one. Until the 20th century, the Drava driver was a torrential river, full of rapids, shoals, and rocky straits. The rafters arriving in Maribor were joined by the local rafters, i.e. they were mostly coming from Duplek. Here they would get some food and spend the night at the famous Dabringer tavern. The landing of the rafts was quite a spectacular event and the rafters’ profession acquired romantic connotations among the locals. 

From Lent to Dubrova six rafters were riding on a raft, but further downstream from Dubrova only four remained since the river was calmer while the unloading was done with the help of the locals. Further downstream from Donja Dubrova the Drava river became a bordering river between Hungary and the then Yugoslavia which meant they had to take care of customs formalities. The raft was sealed and customs had to be paid and rafts were prohibited to stay there.

The construction of hydroelectric power plants meant the end of rafting. The construction of the Fala power plant in 1941 was the first blow, but after the end of the World War II a series of power plants was constructed along the Drava river which made rafting impossible. To honour the rafting tradition, a traditional Rafters’ christening event is held in Maribor every year. 

RAFTERS – THE VOYAGERS OF THEIR TIME

Rafters were considered to be very knowledgeable because the nature of their work enabled them to visit new places and see different ways of life. The rafters weren’t very pious but they had their own patron nonetheless. It was St. Nicholas they prayed to. Hence, numerous churches along the Drava river are dedicated to St. Nicholas. The rafters changed the economic and cultural conditions in Dravska dolina valley by being members of a very rare group of people, who were able to introduce the experiences they acquired in neighbouring places and countries into their home villages. In the past it was not common for regular people to travel, but rafters were able to get to know different towns, i.e. Maribor, Ptuj, Ormož, Osijek, Sremska Mitrovica, Belgrade, Novi Sad etc. They were socializing with local inhabitants, bought different local items, tested local foods and got acquainted with local habits, dialects, garbs and newspapers. There were many stories about rafters that were passed down from generation to generation. Many legends and tales were born about rafters meeting various water creatures. 

A mandatory piece of clothing for rafters was a hat called Falotenhut (i.e. a knave’s hat) which underlined their adventurous and free-minded spirit. They distinguished themselves from the other workers in the ports by carrying an axe, a tail hook and a rafting rope.  

Each trip usually lasted a few days. Each rafter brought three shirts, a blanket and a raincoat, personal hygiene supplies, a razor, shaving brush, soap and a towel. They also brought some food supplies in the form of smoked meat, sausages, flour and bread. The meals were prepared in a clay fire pit on the raft and they used water from Drava river which was clean enough to drink until 1941. The rafters used to bathe and shave only in the river.

 

THE STORY OF DRAVA RIVER

Once upon a time our grandfathers didn't know about wheat and rye. But there in Carinthia a rich fisherman lived by the Drava river. He fished tirelessly from morning till dusk.

And one day he asked the Drava river: “Mother Drava, how can ever repay you for all that you've given me?”

And the river answered: “Go into the world. In faraway lands you shall come across people who knead wheat and rye bread. Bring a loaf of each.”

And on his way he went. He travelled for a long time till he finally reached splendorous and abundant lands. There the people ate bread that the fisherman never tasted before.  So he bought a loaf of wheat and rye breads just as Drava had instructed him. Upon returning to Carinthia he threw boath loaves into the river. Suddenly Drava started to rise. It flooded over both banks. But once the water receded, rye and wheat sprouted. And this is how our ancestors came into possession of rye and whaet seeds and started sowing them. 

Saša Pergar (adaptation and revision): Pravljica o Dravi (The Story of Drava River) (2005), taken from the book Mariborske vedute (Maribor Cityscapes)

 

GESTRIN THE WATER SPRITE

In certain parts, the Drava river ate its way into the very slopes of Pohorje. And when it broke a tooth on a crag too hard it had to meander away, and make a sharp turn. At such hairpin bends the raging waters froth and roar and devours in fathomless vortexes everything brought and whirled by the waves. 

Occasionally a dishevelled head of the Gestrin water sprite would loom amidst the water vortex. Beard and hair fall down to his waist; fish-like grey eyes gaze sorrowfully through the bushy hair. Sometimes he would paddle to the crag on the shore and bask in the sun. But his feet would never leave the water. But he couldn't even he wanted them to since instead of feet he has a pair of flippers as big as oven-peels.

And where Gestrin appears water fairies would circle nearby. Like swans they would glide around their master with golden hair tresses running down their snow-white necks to their snowy shoulders and breasts.  But woe to those whom the sweet smiles and gentle gazes of the water fairies lure into the water. They would embrace him and bring him to the bottom of the pond where they reside together with Gestrin in a castle made of glass. 

The water fairies adore sparkling jewellery. Gestrin tries to win their hearts by bringing them shiny rings, earrings and similar ornaments. This is a thing well known to the ferrymen who transport timber and stones from Pohorje as well as fruits and other produce on their rafts and šajkas along the Drava river.

If Gestrin lifts his head from the vortex where the dangerous river turns lie, the šajka rafter doesn't think twice. Swiftly he removes a ring from this hand, ties it into a handkerchief and throws it into the whirlpool. Gestrin then smirks complacently, jumps after the handkerchief, while the šajka rafter passes whirlpool without a harm. 

And so it was that one time the ferryman didn’t have a ring on him when the watersprite appeared.  But he had a bright idea. From his ear he pulled out a negro's head earring, tied him into his handkerchief and he flung it to the hairy beast.  This way he escaped the danger unharmed.

But some ferrymen weren't as lucky when they came across Gestrin or the water fairies. Many suffered the same fate as Anže who once paddled his raft in this part of Drava. It was a beautiful sunny day. Anže whistled merrily without a care in the world with his left hand resting on the rudder. A golden ring was shining on his finger and the sun rays reflected from the ring and danced before his eyes.  It was only last Sunday when his neighbour Mojca gave him this ring that she brought back as a gift from pilgrimage to Uršlja gora. O how bright the stone shone on the ring! Nothing would make him remove it from his finger! 

Deeply immersed in his happiness, he didn't even notice how the stream at the bend was bringing him closer to the whirlpool. A splash is heard in front of him and the hairy head of Gestrin suddenly looms from the vortex. Right by the raft white hands were reaching for Anže; the water fairies are beckoning, pleading...

“What do you want from me, you tempting temptresses,” the infatuated lumberjack snubbed them. “It's my ring you want, isn't it? Nay, this you will not get!”

But Gestrin already took hold of his raft and pulled it towards him. The waters swirled and burbled and the vortex swallowed the raft with all the cargo. 

Anže leapt into the waves just before that.  But the water fairies tried to snatch his ring, clutching his hand and pulling him into the depths. The ferryman and his raft disappeared without a trace, never to be heard of again.  –

Another ferryman, a well-known prankster, escaped the same fate only by a hair's breadth.
 With his šajka he paddled along the Drava river, and just before he sailed off he filled his pockets with pebbles. 

“Just you wait, you slimy hairy Gestrin,” smirked the prankster, “I’ll pull a fast one on you like no one’s ever done it before!”

And so the ferryman passed the first vortex – and nothing happened! He passed the second whirlpool – again nothing! However, when his šajka reached the third bend – there he saw Gestrin rocking in the middle of the whirpool! Around him the water fairies were dancing splashing the water with their white hands. Mesmerised by the seducing creatures, he would keep on watching them if it weren't for the thick-headed hairy beast! 

The ferryman reached into his pocket and tied the pebbles into the handkerchief. He made three big knots and flung the wad right in front of the hairy creature. Gestrin sank into the vortex and the water fairies followed him into the depths.

The pranking ferryman swiftly navigated to the middle of Drava and the stream quickly took him downstream. But before šajka reached the second bend, the murky waves came a rumbling, roaring and thundering, as though a cloud burst open over Pohorje and all the torrents gushed forth into Drava. The prankster put all his weight to the stern and with utmost difficulty paddled to the bank. With his last strength he reached for the willow branch and pulled himself to safety. Šajka was seized by the raging waves which overturned it and it disappeared forever.

This is how Gestring took revenge on the ferryman for his prank.

Josip Brinar: Pohorske bajke in povesti (Tales and Stories from Pohorje) (1933: 52-55)



DRAVSKI SPLAVARJI

 

Maribor do 18. stoletja zaostaja za drugimi evropskimi mesti, kajti razvijata se samo usnjarstvo in mlinarstvo, vendar ima prav poseben dragulj, ki je mesto oživel, in to je reka Drava.
Reka Drava je bila vir življenja in pomembna prometnica že v rimskih časih, predvsem zaradi mesta Poetovijo (Ptuj), ki je bil rimski vojaški sedež z rečno floto. 
Začetke splavarjenja, ki pa je bila ena glavnih panog Maribora in od katere je živela živahna gostilniška dejavnost ter zaradi katere so zrasla skladišča lesa ob Dravi, lahko umestimo daleč v preteklost. Predvsem zaradi tega, ker evropske reke, na katerih se je razvilo splavarstvo, tečejo skozi dežele, bogate z lesom. Tudi Drava teče skozi prečudovito dolino, bogato z lesom.
Najstarejša pričevanja o splavarjenju najdemo v listini (1280) viteza Otta Velikaškega, v kateri omogoča pobiranje mitnine za prevoz sodov pri velikovškem mostu. V listini je zavedno, da so prazne sode vozili na splavih, v Mariboru so jih napolnili z vinom in jih z vozovi odpeljali nazaj na Koroško. 
Najden je bil tudi zapis v urbarju samostana sv. Pavla iz leta 1289, ki govori o podložnikih, ki so pripeljali les na Štajersko, ki ga je samostan potreboval za svoje vinograde. Leta 1371 pa urbar iz sv. Lovrenca na Pohorju navaja, da se prebivalci ukvarjajo s prevozom različnih vrst lesa, prav poseben pomeni naj bi imeli koli za vinograde.
V srednjem veku je bil rečni lesni transport že razmeroma razvit in v prvi polovici 16. stoletja smo priča močno razširjeni trgovini na Dravi med Beljakom in Ptujem. S splavi so večinoma prevažali vino, železne izdelke in tekst.
Povečan promet na Dravi, predvsem transport lesa, pa je prinesel potrebo po večjih in solidnejših plovilih in v 16. stoletju se tako začne obdobje šajkarstva. Plule so od Vuzenice vse do Vojvodine v današnji Srbiji. Vuzenico so deželni stanovi določili za gradbeno in vojaško pristanišče šajk in je slovela kot kraj, kjer zdelujejo preko meja znana in kakovostna plovila po Dravi – šajke. Leta 1541 naj bi tam izdelali, za prevoz hrane cesarski vojski na Ogrskem, kar 40 šajk. 

ŠAJKA

Šajka je bila trdo grajeno plovilo, dolga okoli 20 metrov in široka 6 metrov. Upravljalo pa jo je s ponjavami 6 splavarjev ter je lahko prevažala nekje od 40 do 60 kubičnih metrov desk. Izdelava šajk je bila zahtevnejša in zamudnejša kot izdelava splavov, zaradi lesa je bila tudi dražja. Les, ki je sestavljal šajko, torej osnovno plovilo, je bil namenjen prodaji, na njej pa so prevažali še sadje, čreslovino in kremenčev pesek za pohorske glažute. 

Šajko je izpodrinil splav, kajti zaradi novega načina vezave splavov je bilo omogočeno hitrejše nakladanje in prevoz večjih količin lesa, kar je seveda pocenilo končno ceno lesa. 

 

SPLAV

Najmanjši splav je lahko prepeljal do 80 kubičnih metrov lesa, največji pa kar 130. Dravski splav je imel obliko trapeza, dolg je bil 32 metrov, širok pa od spredaj 6 metrov, od zadaj pa 5 metrov. Spredaj in zadaj je imel vsak splav po troje vesel, kar je pomenilo, da je splav upravljalo 6 splavarjev. Na začetku 20. stoletja pridejo v Dravsko dolino splavarji iz Italije, ki so začeli splave vezati na drugačen način in jih s tem spredaj razširili, zadaj pa zožili. Dravski splavarji so te splave imenovali »italijančki«. 

Splavarstvo je doseglo razcvet v 19. stoletju zaradi ugodnih transportnih izračunov. Splav je namreč bil hkrati transportno in tovorno sredstvo, kar je pomenilo, da je pošiljka do cilja prišla brezplačno. Lesna industrija se je močno razvila v pohorskih in kobanskih krajih, ki so bile bogate z lesom, ki so ga uporabljali predvsem kot gradbeni material. Po letu 1918 se lesarsko tržišče razširi tudi na Hrvaško in v Srbijo. V tem času naj bi bilo na Dravi več kot 500 splavarjev, ki so sestavljali splave v 60 pristaniščih od Libelič do Maribora. Od dela splavarjev naj bi živelo vsaj 2000 ljudi, delo je bilo namreč dobro plačano in zato zelo mikavno. Razvila se je močna splavarska tradicija, kajti splavarstvo se je prenašalo iz roda v rod. Splavarsko delo pa je bilo sezonske narave, izven sezone so se splavarji ukvarjali z drobnim kmetijstvom ali gozdarstvom.

MARIBOR IN SPLAVARSTVO

Letno naj bi po Dravi plulo tudi do 2000 splavarjev, ki naj bi prepeljali več kot 200.000 kubičnih metrov lesa. Maribor je bil za splavarje prva postaja. Pristajališče splavov v Mariboru se še danes imenuje Lent − pristanišče. Maribor je bil prometno križišče, do katerega je bila iz Dravske doline opravljena najbolj naporna in nevarna pot. Drava je bila do 20. stoletja deroča reka, z obilo brzic, plitvin in skalnatih ožin. V Mariboru so se splavarjem pridružili splavarji z mariborskega konca, večinoma iz Dupleka, oskrbeli so se s hrano ter prespali v znani gostilni Dabringer. Pristajanje splavov je bil spektakularen dogodek, zato splavi in splavarji dobijo v mestu romantičen pridih. 

Od Lenšata do Dubrove je bilo na splavu 6 splavarjev, od Dubrove dalje pa samo štirje, kajti reka se je umirila, za razkladanje pa niso bili potrebni več samo splavarji, ampak so lahko najeli domačine. Od Donje Dubrove je bila Drava mejna reka med Madžarsko in takratno Jugoslavijo, kar je pomenilo, da so morali opraviti carinske formalnosti, tako so splav zapečatili in plačati so morali carino, na tem področju se tudi ni bilo dovoljeno ustavljati.

Konec splavarstva so prinesle gradnje hidroelektrarn. Prvi udarec splavarstvu tako zada izgradnja Falske elektrarne (1941), po 2. svetovni vojni pa niz elektrarn vzdolž Drave, zaradi katerih je postalo splavarjenje nemogoče. V Mariboru vsako leto v čast splavarjenja priredijo splavarski krst. 

SPLAVARJI – POPOTNIKI SVOJEGA ČASA

Splavarji so veljali za razgledane ljudi, ki jim je bilo, zaradi svojega dela, omogočeno, da so spoznavali nove kraje in načine življenja. Splavarji niso bili posebej verni ljudje, vendar so kljub temu imeli svojega zavetnika – Sv. Miklavža, ki so se mu priporočali. Sv. Miklavžu so posvečene številne cerkve ob Dravi. Splavarji so spremenili ekonomske in kulturne razmere v Dravski dolini, kajti bili so redka skupina ljudi, ki so v svoje domače kraje prinašali izkušnje sosednjih krajev in držav. Potovanja so bila nekoč prava redkost, splavarji pa so imeli možnost spoznavati kraje vse od Maribora, Ptuja, Ormoža, Varaždina, Osijeka, Sremske Mitrovice, Beograda, Novega Sada itd. Družili so se z lokalnim prebivalstvom, kupovali stvari, preizkušali lokalno hrano in spoznavali lokalne navade, narečja, noše in časopisje. O njihovem delu in dogodivščinah je krožilo mnogo zgodb, ki so prehajale iz roda v rod. Nastale so številne legende in bajke, ki so pripovedovale o srečanjih splavarjev z raznimi vodnimi bitji. 

Splavarjevo obvezno pokrivalo je bil klobuk – Falotenhut, s katerim so označevali svojo pustolovsko in moralno svobodomiselno držo. Od ostalih pristaniških delavcev jih je ločevala sekira, cepin in splavarska vrv. 

Pot je trajala več dni. S seboj na poti so imeli tri srajce, odejo in dežni plašč, pribor za osebno higieno, britev, brivski čopič, milo in brisače ter od hrane prekajeno meso, klobaso, moko in kruh. Hrano so pripravljali na ognjiščih na splavu, uporabljali pa so Dravsko vodo, ki je bila do leta 1941 pitna. Splavarji so se vedno umivali in brili izključno samo na reki

PRAVLJICA O DRAVI

Bilo je v davnih časih, ko naši pradedje še niso poznali pšenice in rži. Takrat je na Koroškem ob Dravi živel bogat ribič. Od jutra do večera je pridno lovil ribe.

Nekega dne je Dravo vprašal: »Mamica Dravica, s čim naj ti povrnem dobroto?«

Reka mu je odgovorila: »Pojdi po svetu. V daljnih krajih boš našel ljudi, ki poznajo pšenični in rženi kruh. Prinesi mi vsakega po en hlebec.«

Ribič se je odpravil na pot. Potoval je dolgo časa, naposled je prispel v lepe in bogate kraje. Tam so ljudje jedli kruh, ki ga ribič dotlej še ni okusil. Kupil je pšenični in rženi hlebec, kakor mu je velela Drava. Ko se je vrnil na Koroško, je oba hlebca vrgel v reko. Takrat je Drava začela naraščati. Poplavila je oba bregova. Toda ko je voda odtekla, sta vzklili rž in pšenica. Tako so naši predniki dobili njuno seme in ga začeli sejati. 

Saša Pergar (priredil in pregledal): Pravljica o Dravi (2005), zapisano iz knjige Mariborske vedute

 

VODNI MOŽ GESTRIN

Drava si je ponekod izlizala strugo prav do trdih reber Pohorja. Kjer se ji je ukrhkal zob ob pretrdi peči, se je morala v ovinku ogniti, se zaokreniti. Na takih ključih kipi in šumi razbesnelo vodovje pa golta na dno globokih smrkov vse, kar ji valovje donaša in privrtinči.

Sredi cmrka se kajkrat pokaže kuštrava glava vodnega moža Gestrina. Brada in lasje ga pokrivajo do pasa; sive ribje oči žalostno zro iz barus. Včasih zavesla do peči na bregu in se ogreva na soncu. Pa nog pri tem nikoli ne pomaže iz vode. A saj jih niti ne more, zakaj namesti nog ima plavute, kot loparje velike.

Kjer se pokaže Gestrin, se smučejo tudi vodne deklice, kje kod v bližini. Kakor labodi se vozijo po vodi krog svojega gospodarja, zlati lasje se jim sipljejo čez bele vratove na snežna pleča in prsa. A gorje tistem, ki ga vodne deve s sladkimi smehljaji, z milimi pogledi zvabijo v vodo. Oklenejo se nesrečneža in ga potope na dno tolmuna, kjer bivajo z Gestrinom v steklenem gradu. 

Vodne dekline imajo bleščeč nakit nadvse rade. Gestrin se jim najbolj prikupi s tem, da jim prinaša svetlih prstanov, uhanov in podobnega lišpa. To prav dobro vedo brodniki, ki v plitkih in šajkah vozarijo les in pohorski kamen pa sadje in druge pridelke po Dravi.

Ako na nevarnih ključih Gestrin pomoli glavo iz cmrka, se šajkaš pač nič ne pomišlja. Brž smukne prstan z roke pa ga zaveže v ruto vrže v smrk. Gestrin se zadovoljivo zareži, pljusne za robcem in šajkaš srečno odpluje mimo vrtinca. 

Zgodilo se je, da brodnik ni imel prstana pri sebi, ko se mu je prikazal vodni mož. Pa mu je šinila dobra misel v glavo. Iztrgal si je uhan murček iz ušesa, ga zavil v rut in jo vrgel barusaču. Tako je srečno ušel nevarnosti.

Toda nekaterim brodnikom se ni tako gladko izteklo, ko so srečali Gestrina ali vodne deklice. Zgodilo se je marsikomu kot tistemu Anžetu, ko je s svojo plitko veslal do tam po Dravi. Lep sončen dan je bil. Anže je zadovoljno požvižgaval, držeč z levico za krmilo. Zlat obroček se mu je svetil na prstancu in svetel »zajček« mu je v sončnih žarkih priplesal v oči. Šele prejšnjo nedeljo mu je sosedova Mojca prinesla ta prstan za odpustek z Uršlje gore. Kako se iskri kamenček na obročku! Za nič na svetu ga ne bi dal s prsta! 

V srečo zatopljen niti ne opazi, kako ga je na ovinku zanesel curek naravnost proti vrtincu. Zdajci zapljuska pred njim in iz cmrka se prikaže košata glava Gestrinova. Tik ob plitki pa se stegujejo bele roke proti Anžetu; vodne deklice ga vabijo, prosijo ...

»Kaj mi hočete, zapeljivke!« Se obrezne zatelebani drvolom. »Ejej, prstan bi rade imele? Nak' tega pa ne, tega!«

Pa je Gasterin že zgrabil plitko in jo potegnil k sebi. Zacmrkala, zaklokala je vod in cmrk je pogoltnil plitko z vsem tovorom. 

Anže je zadnji hip planil v valove. A vodne deklice so hlastnile za prstanom, se oklenile roke in potegnile Anžeta v globočino. Nikoli nikdar več ni bilo ne za brodnikom ne za plitko ne glasu ne sledu. –

Le za las bolj po sreči se zgodilo nekemu drugemu brodniku, ki je bil znan burkež. Veslaril je s svojo šajko vzdolž po Dravi; pa si je nadeval kamenčkov, lahkega prodca, v žep, preden je odrinil po vodi. 

»Le čaj, polzkorepec Gestrin-kuštrin,« se je muzal burkež, »tako te nabrišem kot še nikoli nobeden!«

Ko je vozil brodnik mimo prvega cmrka – nič! Mimo drugega vrtnica – spet nič! A ko je splavala šajka v tretji ključ – lej, že se pozibava Gestrin sredi smrka! Okoli njega pa rajajo vodne deklice, popljuskavajoč z belimi rokami. Kar gledal bi jih, zapeljivke, ako bi ne bilo tistega debeloglavca barusastega poleg!

Brodnik ročno seže v žep pa zaveže okrogel prodec v facenetelj. Tri debele vozle napravi, ato pa zaluča kepo tik pred barusača. Ta se potopi v cmrk in za njim švignejo tudi vodne deklice v globočino.

Brodnik – burkež brž zakrmari na sredino Drave in vodni curek ga jadrno odnese nizdol po reki. A preden je šajka okoli drugega ovinka, že pridero kalni valovi, šumeč in grmeč, kot da se je oblak nad Pohorjem utrgal pa da so vsi hudourniki hkrati planili v Dravo. Z vso silo se je uprl burkež v krmo in le z največjim trudom pribrodil do brega. Jedva se je bil ujel za vrbovo vejo ter se rešil na suho. Šajko pa je zgrabilo besneče valovje, jo prekucnilo in izginila je za zmerom.

Tako se je Gestrin maščeval brodniku – burkežu: za njegovo prevaro.

Josip Brinar: Pohorske bajke in povesti (1933: 52–55)


Tekst zbrala in uredila: Eva Mataln 

Prevod: Maja Miklavc & Miha Odar

Fotografije: Igor Unuk

Viri / Sources: