A wonderful article on a Hvar legend I had not heard from the lovely Silvana from Tomic winery today, starring Zeus, Poseidon and a nymph called Dahomar, telling the story of how the Pakleni Islands were formed. Check it out here.
1. How lavender came to Hvar.
Velo Grablje was once the centre of lavender production for the whole of Dalmatia, and legend has it that the origin of lavender has its origins in a lovestruck young peasant from the village. Having found the love of his life, he needed to find the financial means to win her, and he sought the advice of the local priest.
"Grow lavender," came the rather unexpected reply, "it is all the rage in Paris, and will become a rich man if you sell your lavender oil there."
The young man did as he was told, and was widely ridiculed by the rest of the village for his lavender experiment. At least until he was so successful with his lavender sales in Paris that he became the richest man in the village, and won the girl in the process. Nice.
2. The Palmizana mermaid and the Hvar fisherman
Or the other way around. I have heard versions of this legend, linking Hvar and Palmizana by love, on a couple of occasions, but it has been late at night in the pub, and the details are a little hazy. Can someone fill me in?
3. The forbidden love of the priest and the girl from Svirce.
I have a feeling that this once is a true story, and I have already written about how a priest and local girl were banished from the village of Svirce in the 1930s, to live in a very isolated house, which just happens to be the home of a vineyard which makes the rather outstanding Plancic Grand Cru... Read the story here.
4. Henry VIII and the Tudors of Milna and Malo Grablje.
The most famous legend of all. An illegitimate son of Henry VIII is shipwrecked off Milna, where he finds a beautiful Hvar maiden (can believe that bit...) washing her clothes by the water. They fall in love, found the village of Malo Grablje and start the Hvar Tudor dynasty, which explains why such a non-Croatian surname is so prominent in this part of Hvar.
Truth or legend? Who knows, but all the above contribute to the colour of the island, so if anyone has any more details on the above, or some other Hvar legends, I would love to hear from you.