“Accursed Mountains” - The legend behind it
There are several stories about the origin of the name “Accursed Mountains”.
One version explains it with their harsh nature, rugged terrain, deep valleys and canyons. Others say that these mountains were cursed by the wives of warrious who never returned from war for the protection of Albanian lands and mountains. Another version is related to the story of Ajkuna, who cursed the mountains due to her pain following the murder of her son, Omer, which we will see further.
One of the legends is about two brothers and their families descending from the skies riding a gigantic iron bird with eagle wings. The flying iron bird suddely hit the mountains, and its destruction caused two large valleys to form. When they landed, families found only a few sheep, goats and other wild animals in the area, but nothing to eat. The two brothers decided to split in different directions to find food and springs of fresh water. While separating, they cursed these dry and infertile mountains and the giant rocks that caused their misfortune, calling them “Accursed Mountains”. One of the brothers found a place where he founded the village of Bogë, while the other brother found a beautiful field surrounded by century-old forests, springs with ice cold waters, and high mountains, in Gusinje.
Another legend says that God himself gave the name to the Accursed Mountains. God created Hrid Lake high in the woods for the mountain fairies to bathe in it, and for himself to enjoy their beauty and joy. The fairies would go and make the lake curative but, one day, they had to leave. Upon seeing the empty lake, God got angry and started throwing lightning and thunder until only bare rocks were left behind and finally he cursed these mountains.
Finally, there is the legend of the “Brother’s Curse”. The town Duklja close to modern Podgorica in Montenegro was created when two brothers – the older one was called Dukljan and the name of the younger one was forgotten – competed over a woman. They had a sister of such a beauty that they both fell in love and wanted to marry her. They fought fiercely at first then they agreed on the following: the younger would build a fortress on the highlands and Dukljan would bring water to it from the foothill by a ditch. The one who finished the job first, would get the girl. Although the job was easier for the younger brother, he paused before placing the last three stones and fell asleep. When he woke up, he realized that Dukljan had finished his task first, so he took his sister’s hand and both started running downhill. Dukljan threw stones at them and cursed them with the words: “You will find no rest and no survival anywhere”. Fleeing, these two came upon a high mountain where they froze to death. So, The Accursed Mountains got its name after the two of them, the cursed ones.
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