L I T E R A T U R E A N A L Y S I S
Every person has an Ora to protect them. Even animals, springs, and treasures can have protective Oras. Oras gather at night beside a bonfire to decide what qualities to give to newborn children. The work of Ora was to multiply “bereqet” (in Albanian, “bereqet” means abundance, the creation of life in abundance). They give gifts by giving their breast milk. Cult of song, Besa, and word is apparent among Albanians. When an Ora or fairy wants, they give the world lined up to the person and put the lahuta in their hands. Oras can curse a person. They can take the words out of them (make them mute) or turn them into stone. People cursed by Oras can’t think for themselves. Oras listen to people’s blessings and curses, which they would then aim to quickly fulfill (similar to what today is called “manifesting”). There are white Oras, which are the good ones, and they give their people the art of healing. The black Oras are the evil ones who are cowardly people. Oras are mortal, and their death brings the death of their respectful partner/being. Ora’s name was taboo at specific points. They live in oak trees, caves, streams of lakes, and forests. They can take the forms of serpents or human women. The Drin river was known to be very loud. Baron Franz Nopcsa documented the oral stories that reported that Oras lived on the cliffs overlooking the Drin river. The loud noise of the rivers constrained them from talking to each other. Therefore they commanded the Drin to flow silently. In Muji’s oral stories, the power of Ora seems to be held by three goats that live in Lugjet e Verdha.
Lugjet e Verdha (The Yellow Fields)
The first characteristic of this name is that it is written all in caps and locked in literature. In Albanian, we use this grammar characteristic to specify cities and important physical spaces with a lot of history. We understand that Lugjet e Verdha is a special place, not just any field. “Lugjet e Verdha,” written by Rexhep Hoxha, is not a place he created or just a place created by his story of Shpend. Lugjet e Verdha is also mentioned in the “Lute of the Highlands” by Fishta. Lugjet e Verdha is the place where Oras keep the goats that hold their powers, and it is also the place where Muji buries his son. Lugjet e Verdha is not just a physical field with borders. It is a metaphysical entity of the Illyrian folklore. Ismail Kadare, one of the most prominent Albanian writers from Kosova (nominated 15 times to become a Nobel Prize winner and invited multiple times to run for president of Albania), agrees with this statement. Lugjet e Verdha and the folklores of the highlands are part of this metaphysical entity where time never changes (or doesn’t exists), but it travels through the physical space where people live. He differentiates this characteristic of Illyrian/ Albanian folklore from the Homeric epos, where space is set and time changes.
In Lugjet e Verdha, Bardhec makes a promise (Besa) with a wolf to send him the firstborn creature in his house in exchange for the Wolf not to eat him. WHen BArdhec goes home, his wife gives birth. Bardhec keeps his word and sends the Wolf his newborn son, Shpend. Shpend means bird in Albanian, and in the story, he is saved by birds (animals) and sent to the mother of the forest, eremira (translates to good wind). In the yellow valleys, the story begins to circulate through the tracks of reality; the town has its name Arrnjet; the family of Bardhec and Ajkuna is also real; they had seven daughters and no sons; the one dream of all seven sisters to have a brother is naturally based on Albanian culture of families desiring sons; the sisters do the various household chores every day, while Bardheci, their father, every morning releases the sheep on the mountain. The event seems to be disconnected from the real world when Bardhec sends his only son to the Wolf, only to keep his word as a man. And then, as if the fantastic elements prevail, forest creatures are introduced. And precisely then, when it seems that the event is far removed from reality, Shpendi one day meets the shepherds of the village, and the action materializes again; the idea crystallizes and connects with reality again.
The Kanun of Lek Dukagjini, a codification of the customary laws of the highlands, was named after Lekë Dukagjini. He was a medieval prince who ruled in northern Albania. The Kanun is divided into 12 sections and 1,262 articles regulating all mountainous life aspects. These aspects include household economic organization, hospitality, brotherhood, clan, boundaries, work, marriage, and land. The Kanun applies to Christian and Muslim Albanians (Gawrych, 2006). These laws are translated into English as "Tribal laws ." I had a mindblowing realization just by reading the translation of the name. English allowed me to parallelize f kanun to other tribal laws. In English, "tribes" have the connotation of "wild" or "primitive," whereas in Albanian, it translates to "fise," which is similar to "noble" as a character trait. Thus "tribal laws," when analyzed in English, would mainly be criticized because of the constrained available vocabulary. Although the negative implications of the constrained vocabulary, it helped me use concepts from other tribal laws worldwide that are only shared in English (Hawaiians in Hawaai and Mapuche in Argentina). Besa and nderi (honor) are important in Albanian law, especially as part of the Kanun of Lek Dukagjini (Gawrych, 2006). The verb "bessare" is thought to be a trace of Old Albanian. Therefore, it is viewed as concerning early evidence of the Albanian institution of Besa (Çokaj, 2017). Besa as a concept is also seen to be what drives the main characters in the folktales. In Ymer Age Ulqini, the wife gives her besa that she is going to wait for him for nine years and nine days, and Ymer gives the besa to the princess that he will return to the prison if he is let go to visit his wife for a day. When the fairies and Oras sing in Muji's story, they sing in the name of Besa and words. In Lugjet e Verdha (The Yellow fields), Bardhec gives his besa to the Wolf. And in each story, the moral seems to be that keeping your besa will always be to your advantage, and it will even make you respectful in enemies' eyes