The legend says: “Had there not been for the Black Queen, there would be no Black nor White River. Had there not been for these rivers, there would be no Plitvice Lakes…”
A long, long time ago, these lands were exhausted by drought. Trees collapsed from thirst, herds perished, soil turned into dust and rocks burst under the bright sun. The tormented people sought refuge in the depths of cold caverns, praying to the gods and crying out for rain. One day, a voice spoke from the skies: “At sunrise, gather on the Well of Life, where you quenched your thirst and appeased your hunger for life. Reveal all that lies hidden inside your soul. Speak with dignity, with a measure of heart and truth. If you do so, I will be by your side.” The elders knew that it was the voice of the Black Queen, who would address the people when hard times and evil befell them. They pondered the evil that had come upon them and their own pettiness in times of abundance: how they alienated from one another and distanced their hearts from misfortune and their loved ones. They fearfully awaited the break of new dawn. As soon as the roosters first crowed, they set off for the Well of Life. They sat around the parched well and the elder said: “The Black Queen shall listen and discern by your words whether you are telling the truth or willfully deceiving her. Do not let your gaze search for love and kindness, because they cannot be seen. To recognize them, search within yourself.” And so, they began telling stories of what lies hidden inside their soul, except for one, the richest and most selfish man in the tribe. He was evil and conceited, indifferent to everyone else’s troubles. He was the only one who did not want to repent, but instead began to judge others. When the elder heard, he became furious and banished the man from the tribe forever. As soon as he did so, a rainbow appeared above the Well and people heard a familiar voice. Out of joy, fear and hope they pounced to the arid land and the Black Queen spoke: “This land is your homeland, they only one you have. Even when it’s parched and tough, ugly and barren, it is the richest and most beautiful land for you. Love it! I am your daughter and I am not a celestial miracle. I am your love and hope. I have heard and recognized your hearts. You have freed your tribe of the human evil. Those of you who spoke – spoke the truth. It is my truth as well. Go to your homes, rain shall come once again to the thirsty fields and forests and you shall have the most beautiful land for yourselves. Others will come to admire it. My tears shall make the water – my right eye a spring of the Black River and my left eye of the White River.” At that moment, the rainbow disappeared and two clouds appeared at the horizon above the Well – a black and white cloud. The first drops of rain kissed the parched soil. Everyone stood with hands reaching for the sky, enchanted, listening to the birth of the Black River spring. Since then water has been flowing ceaselessly, murmuring through sixteen beautiful lakes.
The happening has been recounted in the tribe for a long time, adorned with made up tales about the Black Queen’s golden carriage, her golden hair, fairies, maidens who accompanied her… but only the wisest knew that the Black Queen can only be recognized through the kindness of your soul.