The Building of Skadar

The Building of Skadar

Heroic Ballads of Serbia

translated by

George Rapall Noyes & Leonard Bacon

Once there were three born brothers, a hold that had begun—
The three sons of Marnyáva. Vukáshin the king was one,
The second was Voývoda Úglyesha, and Goyko the third was he;
And Skadar on the Bóyana were they building busily.
With fifteen score of masons three long years labored they,
But they could not for the fortress the strong foundations lay,
Much less raise up the wall thereof, for what was set upright
By the masons in the morning, a vila (1) wrecked at night.
The vila called from the mountain in the spring of the fourth year:
“Plague not thyself, Vukáshin, and squander not thy gear!
King, thou canst not for the fortress the strong foundation lay,