The Water Man (Slovene: Povodni mož) was the first Slovene art ballad.[1] It was written around 1825 by the Slovene Romantic poet France Prešeren and published in 1830 in the first almanac of Krajnska čbelica.[2] It is a narration about Urška, a flirt from Ljubljana who ended up in the hands of a handsome man who happened to be a vodyanoy (povodni mož). The poem was based on a story from The Glory of Carniola about a dance at Old Square in Ljubljana in July 1547, when Urška Šefer was enchanted by a vodyanoy and pulled into the Ljubljanica. Prešeren wrote it against the backdrop of his unfulfilled love for Zalika Dolenc.[3] In the first publication of the poem, Urška was named Zalika. Later, in Prešeren's Poems (1847), she was named Urška.[4]

Cultural references


The Water Man was put to music several times, e.g. in 1910 by Viktor Parma,[5] and in the 21st century by Miha Renčelj[6] and Vitja Avsec.[7] In 2021, an eponymous ballet was performed by Opera and Ballet of Slovene National Theatre Maribor on the Bled Island at the beginning of 2021 Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.[8] In 2022, a pop rock musical based on the ballad and addressing the dangers of social networks was created and performed by popular Slovenian artists.[9][10]


  1. ^ Golež Kaučič, Metka (2018). Slovene Folk Ballade. p. 51. ISBN 9789610500711.
  2. ^ Loriana, Ferko (2011). Podobe tujcev in tujine v poeziji Franceta Prešerna, Simona Gregorčiča, Antona Aškerca in Ivana Cankarja [Images of Foreigners and Foreign Lands in the Poetry of Franže Prešeren, Simon Gregorčič, Anton Aškerc and Ivan Cankar] (PDF) (in Slovenian). Faculty of Humanities, University of Nova Gorica.
  3. ^ "Zalika Dolenc". Retrieved 28 December 2022.
  4. ^ Karel Štrekelj: Zgodovina slovenskega slovstva III-IV [Karel Štrekelj: The History of Slovene Literature III–IV] (in Slovenian). ZRC SAZU. 2014. pp. 795–796.
  5. ^ "Viktor Parma: Povodni mož". Glasbena Matica Ljubljana (in Slovenian). Retrieved 2022-05-13.
  6. ^ (2016-02-05). "Glasba za dobro jutro: Miha Renčelj, Povodni mož". (in Slovenian). Retrieved 2022-05-13.
  7. ^ "AVSEC Vitja". Retrieved 2022-05-13.
  8. ^ "Povodni mož - Program - Opera Balet | Slovensko narodno gledališče Maribor" [The Water Man – Programme – Opera Balet | Slovene National Theatre Maribor]. (in Slovenian). Retrieved 2022-05-13.
  9. ^ Jerman, Gal (13 September 2022). "Neisha – 'To je album, s katerim sem se lahko res ustvarjalno 'razpištolila'" [Neisha - 'This is the album that really allowed me to creatively 'fly off the handle']. (in Slovenian).
  10. ^ "Izvirni slovenski muzikal Povodni mož: v glavnih vlogah Raiven in Jure Kopušar" [The Original Slovenian Musical The Water Man: Starring Raiven and Jure Kopušar]. (in Slovenian). 22 August 2022.