Folk-belief in Serbia is still very much alive, even though several centuries old, many do not renounce them even today. Such is the tale about watermills.
According to folk tales, the watermill was built by God, but the devil knew the secret of how to make corn falling into the grinder, making it the only common creation of two powerful forces – good and evil.
Legend has it that vampires, fairies and other supernatural beings gathered in the watermill at night, so when the night came, villagers rarely went to watermills without a stake and garlic. Even though this fear is unfounded, it has remained alive for centuries in the Serbian people.
”Watermills are, in people’s minds, mysterious buildings between God and the world beyond ours. That is why it is believed that demons gather there at night when they are most active and harmful to a man. They have always been detoured at night for these reasons, although it is quite clear that fairies do not dance in the watermill, this popular belief remained strongly rooted in some parts of Serbia”, said ethnologist Snešana Ašanin.
The belief in the mysteriousness of watermills has remained to this day in Serbia.
”Fear arose because they were often made in isolated places, on a creek in the forest. In the past these weren’t easily accessible locations”, said Ašaninova.
But if you ask any old miller about these stories, they mostly remain reserved, and some often say that the stories of vampires and fairies were started by the mill owners of the mill to save her from the robbery at night.
”I have been working for decades in a watermill and I have no fear, though I rarely come to the creek at night”, said the miller Sofija Marković from Bajina Bašta.
The milis were places o mystery and will remain such.
According to the list of watermills from 1867, there were 7.510 watermills in Serbia, the highest number was in the Užice region, more than 100.
Thousands of locals from nearby villages came to grind grain, but only during the day.
During daylight, the millstone was constantly turning, and when the night fell the mills would become silent.