At the skirts of the Pirin Mountain*, in the small village of Oranovo, lived two brothers, two dragons. They lived peacefully and quietly, lived fraternally and protected the village from mischief.
At one time the villagers began to complain that a Hala** was harvesting wheat in the fields and grapes in the vineyards. And also the milk of sheep and cows was lost. The dragon brothers noticed that the wheat in their fields was declining, that someone was milking their sheep and cows.
The brothers spent the whole summer looking for the Hala in the fields, walking around the mountains, but they couldn’t find the Hala anywhere.
There was a girl named Guirgya in the village. She lived at the end of the village in a house alone, without a mother and father, without relatives. She grew and became uglier day by day. She didn’t hang out with anyone, didn’t dance, didn’t go to the village’s gatherings.
She was often disappeared in the fields, in the mountains, and no one knew where she was going. And the other girls started stalking her, seeing where she was going and what she was doing. Once Guirgya washed a canvas alone on the river. Quietly and imperceptibly, the girls approached behind her and were stunned. Guirgya’s bare feet were covered with fish-like scales. The girls fled in fear.
Word of mouth was heard in the village. The dragon brothers also heard and figured out that Guirgya was the Hala, that she was stealing from the field and the milk. The dragons began to lurk. Guirgya sensed that they were watching her and began to hide even more.
Winter passed, spring came. The snow melted, the mountain turned green, the forest came to life, the birds sang, the field awoke. They lambs started playing and ran around their mothers all day.
But the day has come when they separate the lambs from their mothers so that they will not suckle anymore. This day was celebrated by people as a great holiday. They gathered all the sheep to graze together and sent the dragon brothers as shepherds to guard the flock from the robe.
At noon the whole village: maidens, boys, brides, women and men, all went with coppers for water*** to the mountains. On that day the people milked the sheep together and the milk was distributed equally to each house in the village.
Everyone left, only Guirgya did not. She was afraid of dragon shepherds. She knew their power and was afraid of them. The other girls asked Guirgya to come with them, but she did not want to. Finally, after long pleas and exhortations, she agreed, changed, and went with them.
They reached the forest. The girls and boys came down singing and laughing. They picked geraniums, made crowns of flowers, and put the beautiful crowns on their heads.
Laughter, shouts and songs rocked the mountain. Only Guirgya did not run on geraniums, did not pick flowers, did not enjoy herself. She had seen a flock of sheep whitening like a white cloud across the mountain. And there were thousands and thousands of sheep with milk. It darkened before her eyes, she forgot her self and her place, she breathed, she sucked and sucked all the milk from the whole herd.
The other girls looked for Guirgya and when they saw her, they burst into fear like chickens. She was ugly, swollen like a balloon, and could not move.
The dragon brethren knew at once that the sheep’s milk had been sucked out. They looked around and saw Guirgya at the geranium. One brother flew straight at her, and the other came down to cross her path.
The Hala slid down the valley and fled. The dragon threw its arrows at her. She ran straight towards him, whipped with one of her braids from her hair, and broke his right arm. She had such great power. The dragon dropped its arrows. The Hala ran past him.
The other dragon brother came down after her with a bang. He threw his fiery arrows and hit her. The Hala fell down – dead. A terrible milk storm flowed from her and dragged stones and rocks as big as houses …
Even today, these huge rocks protrude into the valley below the geranium and whiten in the distance, as if drenched in milk. These are the same rocks and stones that the milk storm carried, and the people of the surrounding villages call them the “Milky White Stones.”
*Pirin Mountain – it is situated in Bulgaria.
**Hala or ala – is a mythological female creature in the folklore of Bulgarians and Serbs, including the Slavic-speaking inhabitants of Northern Macedonia. In folklore, the halls are demons-personifications of some natural elements (storm, fog, whirlwind, hail).
***Coppers for water – a copper-made bucket that was used to gather water from the near-by rivers.