But, usually, you make him a monetary present at once, which he takes with thanks, at your own price.
If it were not for money, what an ideal race the Montenegrins would be! But then that is the same with a good many people.
Medun—Voivoda Marko—His life and heroism—His part in Montenegrin history—Our ride to Medun—His widow—We visit his grave—The death dirge—Montenegrin customs at death—Target practice—Our critics—The hermit of Daibabe—We visit Spuz—A typical country inn and a meal—The Turkish renegade gives his views on warfare—Dioclea.
During our repeated sojourns in Podgorica we made several excursions to places of interest in the neighbourhood, chief amongst which was a visit to Medun, Voivoda Marko Drekalovic’s grave.
Medun lies in the heart of the mountains, about four hours’ ride from Podgorica, and is the capital (if one can apply such a high-sounding name to a ruined fortress and two or three houses) of the Kuc. The Kuc is a large province inhabited by one of the most warlike tribes of Montenegro, and only recently came under its rule, though their sympathies were never with their Turkish rulers. The fact that it borders on Albania is significant, and accounts for its fighting qualities.
Voivoda Marko was largely instrumental in bringing about the last war with Turkey, which was so successful to Montenegro, when the Kuc, Podgorica, Niksic, the entire provinces of East Montenegro, the Brda, and the sea-coast from Antivari to Dulcigno were won and confirmed to Montenegro.
The famous battle of Fundina was won by Marko and his tribe alone against an overwhelming Turkish army before war had been officially declared with Montenegro.
Beginning life as a shepherd boy, Marko ended his days as Voivoda (or Duke), and his name is famed in many a song and beloved by the Montenegrins as one of their greatest heroes. Many were the stories of his reckless bravery, which one of his relations told us. Before he had reached the age of twenty he had killed many Turks in single encounter, and was in consequence outlawed. He lived for some years in the mountain fastnesses of his land, and together with a handful of adventurers, who had cast in their lot with his, made descent after descent on any bands of Turkish soldiers that happened to pass through his domain. His fame soon reached the ears of Prince Nicolas, who sent for him and placed him for some years in his bodyguard—that corps d’elite of the Montenegrins.