The Story of Valja Prerast Passage – Asociaţia Pro-Mehedinţi

Thematic route: The Cultural Heritage Route

Name of the Touristic Attraction: The Story of Valja Prerast Passage

Description: According to the stories, once upon a time, this narrow passage in Valja Prerast used to be blocked by branches and mud brought by spring floods or summer rain. The power of the accumulated water in the lake created upstream from the gate unblocked the clog in the passage and torrents would overflow the narrow valley, flooding everything in its way. Floods seem to have been frequent, and devastating enough to force people to ponder of their situation. All unexplained phenomena associated with the supernatural beings, the Vlachs attributed them to the so called Vlva. Each place had its Vlva, and they arose from the living people, who, when needed, left the current job, fell into a trance and in this trance, flew into the sky and did good deeds. But besides the good Vlvas there are Vlva that fell under foreign influence, i.e. by falling into trance became servants of the alien people, who wanted to scare the people who lived there and stole their land. Thus the evil Vlva created floods and destroyed crops and houses and flooded people and livestock. Villagers knew by name the good Vlva which they called: “Vlve sbrješć” and the evil, treacherous one, which they called: “Vlve bugarješć”. Whenever there were heavy clouds over the earth, whenever they were threatened by hail or flood, the Serbian Vlvas called each other, gathered together to fly in the sky to begin the battle for the defense of the area. Vlvas had their leaders. One of them, named Trailo lived in the late 19th century in the vicinity of Prerast.

There is a story about Trailo: while serving the army in Belgrade, he suddenly fell into a coma that confused elders, sergeants and captains who did not know what to do with him, and the doctors tried to recover him without success. Fortunately, among the officers there was one who knew that the Vlva sometimes fall into a trance from which they recover themselves, and he ordered the soldiers to take him to a shelter in the shade and leave him alone. When Trailo recovered after an hour or two, he was subjected to military investigation. He said that he was called by Vlva comrades from his region and that he had to urgently go there to take command, because the Bulgarian Vlvas managed, in his absence, to secretly block Prerast, and the whole Porec region was threatened by a devastating flood that would have destroyed the whole region all the way to the Danube. When he arrived, there was, among the swirling dark clouds accompanied by thunders and lightning, an angry battle on – stronger Bulgarian demons were about to defeat the Serbian ones, who, without a leader, were losing the battle. Trailo said that he had to take an oxcart from one yard and that he used it as a club to attack the enemy. When the cart broke, he pulled out a huge pear tree and with it he was finally able to defeat the enemy and drive its army away from the rural area. Since the elders did not believe him, he asked them to go with him, to see for themselves the truthfulness of the story.

According to the story, when they arrived, they saw the broken cart far away from the house from whose yard, according to the testimony of the owner, it was lifted by the whirlwind, and elsewhere they saw a huge fresh hole in the ground with the remains of the roots of the pulled out pear tree – the tree was found on the other side of the mountain, without any trace in the soil to be able to think that this tree could have been pulled out somewhere near that place. They heard many witnesses, who confirmed that during the storm in the sky above the valley they heard squeal, shouting, screaming and yelling, like human voices, but nothing could be seen because everything was mixed with thunder and roar that was stronger than ever before. They also said that they saw the cart flying in the sky on its own. They saw with their own eyes how, as if guided by some giant hand, it plunged into the clouds, and how it fell on the ground completely broken. They also saw that, from other place, centuries-old pear rose and moved across the sky to break and drove away the darkest and the heaviest clouds, the ones that create flood and the horrible thunder burning houses, barns and haystacks, frequently killing cattle in the field, or killing people hiding under lonely trees. According to the legend, the elders were stunned, and, after returning to the barracks, Trailo got a promotion and a sword as a gift; he proudly wore the sword to the end of his life, and on major holidays he would put it on the belt and flaunted in front of the gathered people. After Trailo’s death, his grandchildren sold his sword to a gypsy who went from one fair to other buying up old things.