The legend of King Matthias/Matjaž

The legend of King Matthias/Matjaž tells of a man whose real name was Matthias Corvinus and who ruled the Slovenian lands during the time of Carantania. Matjaž was a good king, night and day the poor and oppressed could come to him and he offered help and protection to all. Golden times prevailed during his reign in Carinthia. Because other rulers were jealous of his power, they united their armies against him.

King Matthias/Matjaž
King Matthias/Matjaž Geopark Karawanken/Karavanke

With only a hundred surviving heroes, he had to hide in a cave under the Petzen/Peca, which opened itself and hid him from his enemies. In the cave, Matthias sat down at a table, while the others sat on the ground around him and fell asleep. Legend has it that when his beard grows seven times around the table, he will wake up. Then a lime tree will grow in front of his cave in the middle of winter. It will bloom from midnight to one in the morning and then wither away. Then Matthias will come out with his soldiers, defeat and crush all his enemies, drive injustice from the world and rule again. Thus, there will be a golden age again.

K. Brenk, Babica narpoveduje, Slovene Folk Tales, Mladinska knjiga, Ljubljana 1992

Illustration: Kralj Matjaž/adapted, original: Zlatko Drčar

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