Walking down the streets of the Island of Krk simply cannot be dull! You’ll likely to bump into stone structures which at first look intriguing and beautiful, when in fact they were very important tools used in every-day life, years and years ago.
Remember that stone container Kamenica full of flowers which you can see in almost every old part of the towns on the island? Today it’s only a decorative peace which locals love to use as a flower pot when years ago it was where locals were keeping their olive oil.
In the same vein, almost on every traditional local house you will see a half circle stone built into the exterior house wall with a hole in the middle – the local name for it is roćina because it looks like an earring. What do you think it was there for? Certainly not for tying up the donkeys! Nope.. it was there for a whole different reason we’re about to reveal..
A Dry Branch from the Past Called Ostrvica
The stone, known as roćina (earring), was used to hold an ostrvica or a dry branch locals used for drying clothes or even dishes, ham and sausages.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that a a string would have been better for this purpose. Well, the locals of Punat in the good old days did not use clothes pegs so they would simply stretched clothes over the ostrvica after washing them.
There is a saying in Punat, “Put your teeth on the ostrvica” which means that a famine is imminent. Since there is nothing to eat, you put your teeth on the ostrvica to dry. This saying was included in a delightful anecdote about a judge from Punat known as Pigurina (1739-1814).
And What Would a Local Story Be Without an Anecdote 🙂
So, here it is..
Judge Pigurina’s wife Kate loved to meddle in everything so people tried to avoid her, attempting to speak directly to the judge. One woman wasn’t that lucky! She arrived when the judge was not at home and had to explain her problem to Kate: her son had been in the Venetian Army for too long. She asked if the judge could write a letter to have him sent home. Kate answered her very confidentially, “Don’t worry, my husband is a judge and he knows more than us regular people do. He says that republika je šupljika (meaning the Venetian Republic is rotten) and will soon fall, so your son will be home soon.”
The woman met her neighbour as she was leaving and told her the story, in confidence of course, so within two hours all of Punat knew that the judge had said that the Venetian Republic was republika šupljika. This information got to the authorities in Krk who then arrested the judge for speaking badly of the state. As the Venetian Republic did indeed fall not long after, the judge was promoted to an even higher position by the French authorities. The new authorities did not take care of the people and a famine ensued, causing the disappointed judge to state that “In the end we will still put our teeth out on the ostrvica.”
One thing is sure, having read our stories, when you finally come to this island, you will see it with different eyes.
Or you can walk with us and