The elf's cave

There's an interesting anecdote about the Elf's hole connected to Bela Cerkev. The entrance to this hole is still preserved until this day. A long time ago the entrance led into a long passage under Bela Cerkev. According to older people's telling there were small and kind elves living in the passages. They helped the people and were their true friends. The peace ended when a greedy young man settled in the village. He didn't like the elves and chased them. They didn't want to argue with him and so they moved away through their row to the near Vinji Vrh. People who were left without their help chased the worthless young man out of the village, but the elves didn't come back. The people were facing some hard times. To prevent the village from falling apart the older elf decided to help the people despite everything, but he never revealed himself in broad daylight. Since then the passage has been called the Elf's hole.


A story about the water sprite Dalde

Probably the first to discover warm springs at Šmarješke Toplice was the water sprite Dalde who, according to folk tradition, reigned in this area. He was supposed to be living in one of the two sources of Zavetrščica stream approximately two kilometres away from Šmarješke Toplice. The sources were and still are in the wooded part at the end of the valley with the same name, below Ravnik, in the area of the wine-growing Koglo. In one of them (today it is captured into a water system that covers the area from Klevevž through Šmarjeta to Novo mesto) the always cold water never dried up and it muddied only when there was a great storm. The second source about 100m along the valley upwards spewed water only during heavy rains. Otherwise it looked like a swampy cave with a diameter of a few metres. During the dry season when water dried up, there was only a swampy caldron left with an aperture in the centre which was supposed to lead to Dalde's dwelling. Only the bravest of the shepherds who shepherd the cattle a bit lower in the valley dared to come closer to the aperture. If they threw a stone into the hole they could hear it land after more than a second. All pointed to the fact that in depth the cave extends so therefore Dalde had a comfortable dwelling (today the cave is quite overgrown; the aperture in the centre can't be seen).

For a lot of locals Dalde was a made-up story. Some said they saw him how he drove the herd of dormice towards Šmarješke Toplice through the valley of Zavetrščica dressed in red velvet trousers. The most daring shepherds wanted to make sure if Dalde really existed. Hence one day two of them approached the hole. One of them screamed in the hole saying »Dalde, haaard!«. Dalde recognized Jože Grahut from Gorenja village and replied loudly »Jože Grahut, haaard!«. Of course the two hurried back to their cattle and home where they described the event to their families and townsmen.

Today young generations don't know anything about Dalde but the elders told about how every track of him got lost after a great storm, when there was a bunch of hay travelling through air towards one of the water sources to the slope of Vinji Vrh. This source doesn't dry up, not even during summer. It kept the locals alive in famous prehistoric eras of Vinji Vrh, especially when they were besieged. For Dalde there wasn't enough water in the source and no cave for dwelling. It seems like he had dried up too much and didn't have the strength to go back to Zavetrščica.

The story about Dalde is a funny way of telling children what could happen if they were walking around the unprotected source. In the past and even after the war the mothers from near homes frequently washed their laundry and took with them children who played in the cold water which running out of the lower source.


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