Author of all texts about mythology on these web-pages is Lidija Bajuk:

  1. PERUN
      - The Sky
      - The Mountain
      - Leluya
      - Ball lightning
      - Candlemen
      - Fairies
      - Witches
      - Water
      - Bogorodica
      - The Moon
      - Corn Spirit
      - Hair
      - Embroidery
      - Light
      - Forest
      - The Cap, Little Hat


if it is the soul of a good ancestor then it is a house ghost (KUĆNI DUH/DOMAĆI/NEČISTAK) who helps to keep the house clean and prosperous, watches over crops, cattle and preservation of  customs. In some parts of Medjimurje the glowing souls of dead ancestors ("svečari") are called dwarves ("patuljci").

You can lure it into your home by leaving the bread crust in the attic of the house that has just been built. It is good hearted and naughty. An older dwarf grows a long beard (it is a symbol of bravery, masculinity and wisdom) and wears a long red pointy hat that he never takes off. He wears clothes the colour of the forest in order to blend in. His favourite dwelling places are the roots of an oak or linden tree which are never stricken with disease or thunder because they were planted on the day he was born. (It was a custom in Medjimurje to plant a tree when a child was born.) He likes empty animal lairs, bird's nests, mills and barns, attics and hay-barns. He inhabits one of these places permanently, with his family or alone. He studies the Book of Secrets every day. A female dwarf rarely leaves their home because she takes care of the young twin dwarves or does needlework.

All of this is an evidence of their connection with the underground. They eat forest berries, honey, porridge, mushrooms, milk, eggs, stewed fruit and jams. They do not eat meat. They drink water from springs, herbal drinks and honey dew. They are very skilful in lighting a fire using two stones. They are craftsmen. They make candles, do woodwork,  metal work (using gold, silver, copper and iron) and cut quartz glass. They are very good at making clay pots, musical instruments and clocks and gardening. That is why they always carry a tool belt with them. They are so strong they can move rocks and pull out trees. Sometimes they have horns, live on the field and sing into the horse's ears and thus help the farmers to plough. They are afraid of holy water just like "hudici", the bad ones with red hats also known as the temptations/devils/beasts of an impure mind.

Not bigger than an inch they are very similar to palček/palčić (dwarf the size of a thumb). Paprišek is the most popular of them, especially in lower Medjimurje. He is said to be resourceful, wise, witty and merry. He is the size of a pepper ("papričica" in Croatian) and he lives inside a horse or cow's ear helping the men to drive the carriage. A legend says that he was caught by devils and imprisoned in hell. They knew of his virtues and in order to stop him from running away they pushed against the gates of hell with their hands. Their long fingers rammed through the gate and Paprišek nailed them down with his hammer, which he always carries with him. After a while they opened the gate thinking Paprišek burned, but he ran away. The smallest dwarf from Medjimurje is no bigger than an inch (Croatian "pedalj") and therefore he is called Inchman ("pedalj čovek - laket brada") and in some other parts of Croatia "mogaš(ec)". His beard is five times longer that his body. That's why he is also called Feetbeard (five inches is one foot).

He has long hair. He always carries a small axe and a red pointy hat, so he is known as the Red Hat. There are a few of them, they live in the forest and are rarely dangerous. They steal food from the people who spend time in the forest cutting down trees. Sometimes the lumberjacks would catch them and punish them by putting their beard in a cleft. They would always free themselves, sometimes alone and sometimes with the help of an animal whose language they understand.

metimes it is the animal they helped earlier to prepare food for the winter or find its young, saved it from traps, cured it with medicinal herbs they know very well. If this happens, they can become dangerous and vengeful, waiting for the one who did hem wrong and imprisoning them in a large cage from which they will be released when they guess the answer to the riddle. Dwarfs help all the good people when they are in some kind of trouble. They offer the evil ones who have imprisoned them gold, although they know it will not bring them happiness. They speak very fast so it is sometimes difficult to understand them and they speak in riddles. Their senses are very sharp, although their vision is not so good in daylight. That is why they are prudent, clairvoyant and fast as rabbits, so they rarely fall prey to owls, skunks and fish, which want to catch them.

They can sometimes change form and turn into small animals. There is a folk story of dwarf hunters ("jagari"), little foresters, night hunters. They are not hunters that kill animals, they are more similar to the mythical Green George who hunts the one he loves embodied in the form of a forest animal. They can find underground water, coal and treasure using a forked branch. They are owners and keepers of mines (coal mines, salt mines, goldmines, jewel mines). It was believed that, where a bearded dwarf with a lamp on the mountain Bilogora appears, the rocks will slide. Miners marked these places with a cross as a warning.

Dwarves are immortal. They live about four hundred years. This is how long the cult trees live, because they represent them. It was recorded that the longest living European dwarf lived five hundred and fifty years somewhere on the Adriatic coast feeding on sour milk and olives every day. Dwarves are talented for music. They like playing and dancing, especially in circles. Depending on their dwelling place and their trade there are different kinds of dwarves like house dwarves, garden dwarves, field, forest, mountain, sea and sand dwarves.

An Albanian folk tale was recorded of Snow White and dragons instead of dwarves. (Snakes are also bearded and sleep on the fleece.) All of these little people ("malci" or "malići" as they are called in Primorje) are in some way similar to some other Croatian mythical creatures, like candle-bearers, giants or dragons. They actually have the same origin. They are demons of nature, their beardedness and hairiness is the symbol of the sunrays, i.e. plants. Their hat is a sign of their noble birth. Their red hat and lamps and candles and the choice of their trade show their connection to the fire. Their homes are in shady, dark and underground places. They eat similar food. They are strong. They understand the mute language and have mysterious knowledge often recorded in special books. They are owners and keepers of treasure. They like music and dance in circles. They award the good and punish the evil. Sometimes they are accompanied by a horse or a cow or drive a carriage. They are handy with tools and weapons, etc.

Physical deformity was often connected with wisdom and wit and therefore fools and hunchbacks were often close with dwarves in some way, like keeping their secret, etc. In general, small creatures from stories represented a deity that lost its positive powers because of the power of the storm, cold, darkness, hunger, disease and any other misfortune or a diminished male principle. Diminutives people use to name them, like "boužik" and "boužiček" which mean "the poor one", are a proof of it. Croatian mountains Malicka near Topusko and Maletić near Karlovac are named after them.