Welcome to the heart of folk literature

Stories, myths, and proverbs, as part of oral traditions, are part of the immaterial culture and help to mold a country’s common imaginary. Bulgaria is no different and some of those stories had been collected by collectors of memories and written. It is still important to share those legends, an activity that some storytellers continue to do nowadays in front of an audience who’s eager to know more about traditional tales and legends.

Those tales go sometimes beyond Preslav and talk about Bulgaria in general, but some of them are coming from the very town and its vicinity.

Preslavian Folk Tales

The Business is Different

Book: Folklore Spectrum by Bogomil Momov (author and collecting)

Story taller: Nikola Angelov Kyosev, 62 years old, Veliki Preslav, Kirkovo district

Translated for us, from Bulgarian to English by Daniel Mateev (volunteer)


The business is different (business here refers to a tricky situation)

Nastradin Khojahad the habit of napping in the afternoon. One summer day he was taking a nap under the shade of a plum tree when The Cunning Peter came to him.

– What’s wrong? – asked the Khodja without moving.

– A while ago… – Peter began to talk worrisome – in the meadows, a cow slammed another cow with its horns and it killed it.

– Calm down. – said Nastradin – wait for me to understand. You say, in the meadows, a cow has smashed another cow with its horns…

– And the cow died, Hodja. Now what?  – Peter asked.

– Well, a cow will be a good meal. And the other cow isn’t guilty! – replied calmly the Khodja.

– Then I was afraid for no reason! – Sighed Peter.

– Why? – asked Nastradin Khoja

– Because my cow has killed your cow.

– Ah, wait then, the business is quite different! – angrily jumped Nastradin.


Book: Folklore Spectrum by Bogomil Momov (author and collecting)

Story taller: Hristo Dobrev Marchev, 1980

Translated for us, from Bulgarian to English by Daniel Mateev (volunteer)

One nice day the cat went out into the woods. A bear met her. She watched her and wondered – no such animal had she ever seen before. She asked her what she was doing here in the woods. The cat said she was running away from the man. The bear wondered why and they went to see him because she hadn’t t seen a man before. They walked, walked, and they saw a horse on the meadow grazing.

– Is this the man? – asked the bear. But she was startled because she had never seen a horse before.

– No. – answered the cat.

Further on they saw a peasant chopping a tree into pieces with an axe. The cat that was the man and stood aside because she was afraid of him.

The bear replied that she would immediately eat it. She went near the man and asked him:

– Are you the man? – The man was frightened, but because he was holding the ax in his hands, he answered yes.

– I will eat you! – said the bear to him.

– Eat me, but first wait for me to chop this tree and send it to my kids, so they do not die out of cold in the winter. Help me do it faster, the man asked. – You are strong, pull as the tree is split, and it will split into two.

The bear agreed. She stuck her two paws in the split, and the man hit the splitting wedge so her paws got stuck in the log. She started jumping, but she could not get rid of it. At that time, the man began to hit her with an ax.

– Olele, olele! – cried the bear, growled, and finally pulled her paws. She fled into the thick forest, leaving the cat alone.

After two days, the bear met the cat again and told her:

– Kitty, Kitty, you are very brave to live with the man. If I were in your place, I would have died a hundred times already. He was very scary.


Book: Folklore Spectrum by Bogomil Momov (author and collecting)

Story taller: Valcho Mitev Keltzonev, notebook

Translated for us, from Bulgarian to English by Daniel Mateev (volunteer)

This happened 63 years ago, when I was 17 years old, during the threshing season. I was standing on the threshing floor when two Turks came to me. By their costume, I realized they were not from our region. I asked them what they were doing here. They told me that they were making dikanes. Many people today do not know what this is. And it is joined together boards and underneath them pieces of flint. Then the livestock walk over it and after a whole day of threshing, the grain and straw are harvested. It was very hard work to make bread. When I talked to the Turks, I told them they would not be able to find a job here. In a few days, I learned that they came here with another assignment. As they came to the western end of Preslav, people saw that they were holding an opened book and looking around. Petar Spasov, who was passing by, also saw them. He asked them what they were looking at and what they were interested in, and they said they wanted to know where the main road went through Dervisha. Bai Peter told them it was further up and that he can take them there. And they went on their way. The Turks questioned him how the localities were called. He told them the names, but the name of the whole region was Lashkaka, and further up was the Mound, which was in my field. They then parted. After a few days, Peter Spasov went to his field and saw that the mound was excavated. He understood the interest of the Turks – it was not accidental. They were looking for a treasure. That there was one, spoke the golden treasure found in 1978. It undoubtedly testifies to this. And indeed, the main road to southern Bulgaria passed through there. The thick forest through which the road was passing was a place where robbers, who were raiding travelers and merchants, could hide. In these circumstances, it seems that sometimes the merchants had to resort burying their money and jewelry. So it will be no wonder if expensive deposits in this area continue to be discovered in the future.

Tale about Baba Marta, Pizho and Penda


Here, is one version of the tale for the Martenitsa.

Book : Стопанката на Господ by Розмари Де Мео.

Translated for us, from Bulgarian to English by Daniel Mateev (volunteer)

Once upon a time, there was an old woman, people called her Marta. The whole village knew she was a witch.

One day, a girl named Penda came to see her.

– Baba Marta, I am very sad. In my heart, I am cherishing the image of a brave guy. I love him so much!

– Does he love you, Penda?

– He loves me too. Every day he sends me a message.

– Where is your young man ?

– On the warfront , he is fighting for Bulgaria, far away through nine lands to the tenth one.

– If you love him so much, you will wait, Penda. Five months will pass.

– But I’m scared, afraid that he will die. The fierce battle is waiting for him. I came to ask for an amulet from you. He has to live to return.

The girl looked at Baba Marta,  her eyes glittering with love.

– What is the name of the brave boy?

– Pizho, grandma. – Penda whispered.

– I want you to come early in the morning and bring me an apple tree sapling. Baba Marta ordered. – Plant it on the other field. Over the three full moon seasons, I will go to sleep under the tree and sing my favorite love songs.

Penda ran to her home. Early in the next morning, she did as Baba Marta told her. She brought a young apple tree and planted it herself.

Three bright moon seasons passed. The three seasons of her voice echo. She sang love songs for her brave Pijo guy.

– And now what to do next, Baba Marta?

– Now you’ll wait. Through all summer, autumn, and winter. And when spring comes, come back here, with your sapling.

– Still just waiting! My empty heart is crying for him, Marta, I am so heartbroken! I don’t know what to do, will I find my Pijo guy?

– I want you to go home, get clean wool rolls, make a nest and sleep in it. If your tears are about to fall, wool will absorb them. If the sad words are in your soul, wool will savor them. In the morning, take a thread and put a drop of blood in the evening. By the spring when I arrive, bring a white roll of wool and a red roll of blood.

Penda did everything with love and faith in her heart. Tears, verses, and blood saturated the white wool rolls and strong wool fibers.

Then next spring, the ground was awake. Penda ran to see Mrs. Marta. The old witch took the white wool and the red wool and braided it for three nights. In the end, she made two dolls, one white, and the other red. While praying, she prayed and prayed:

I weave light and blood into the young girl’s love. That innocent affection I put in here the power and love of girls.

At dawn, Baba Marta went to the apple tree and clapped her hands. A white stork flew over and landed next to her. The witch tied the two dolls onto the leg of the bird and whispered something in its ear. Then and the stork flew away.

The stork flied forever, through nine lands to the tenth . And there in a canyon, Pijo was lying wounded. The stork landed next to the boy and placed the two dolls on him. The white one on his forehead, while the red one on his chest. The boy gradually became rosy again. The blood of Pijo and Penda mixed in the doll. And Pijo slowly opened his eyes. It seems that he heard the love song somewhere that Penda still sang.

Day after day passed …

The apple tree started to sprout … and to blossom …

Penda still slept under the tree, and Baba Marta kept looking up at the sky.

One morning the stork flew back and placed the dolls on the grass. The witch gently fed the stork and went to Penda.

“Wake up, little girl, it’s about time – she woke up the girl.

She blindfolded Penda and quietly told her.

– Now go to the meadow. Go on until you feel the wind blowing. At that place stop and remove your blindfold. Open your eyes and look, it will be your luck

Penda ran barefoot on the grass. Her heart felt like flying away from her chest. Penda ran faster, her eyes didn’t see, but her soul was watching. In that moment she felt the wind blowing. She paused like she was buried in the ground. She waved the blindfold. Eyes wide open. … and she saw Pijo.

And while the young couple stared at each other, Baba Marta went to the apple tree. Then she tied up the two red and white dolls on the small branches, where the blossoms  were.

– I name you Pijo and Penda. Bring love and health. Keep love and health. Give birth to children in love. And be healthy !

Baba Marta named them Pijo and Penda and they are still in the heart of Bulgaria until today.

Baba Marta
Baba Marta, Preslav / ©Hunt On Photos Studio
Baba Marta
Baba Marta, PIzho and Penda, Preslav / ©Hunt On Photos Studio
Pizho and Penda
Martenitsa, Preslav / ©Alice de Villeblanche



In Bulgaria, there is a funny tradition when a child loses his teeth.

He throws it on the roof of his house saying “На ти Вранке костен зъб, дай ми железен” ( Great raven, I give you my bone teeth, give me an iron tooth“)!



When it rains on Saint George’s Day it brings good luck because it is good for the soil, vegetation, and gardens. The rain becomes like silver money because it fertilizes the Earth.



If you hear the cuckoo for the first time, you must take your purse full of money and hold it in your hands. Then, the money in your purse will multiply many times as the cuckoo clock will sing.

For example, if you have 10 leva in your purse and if the cuckoo sing 10 times so you will have in your purse 100 leva.