Deljo the Rebel (Дельо хайдутин)

Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria

Rhodope 2 Rhodope 1

“Deljo the hajduk went out” (bulg. Излел е Дельо хайдутин) is a beautiful piece of Bulgarian folklore from the Rhodope Mountains which I want to share with you today. It is about Deljo, a Bulgarian rebel leader against the Ottoman Empire in the 17th-18th century. It is said that Deljo was unvulnerable by ordinary weapons, so that his enemies decided to use a silver bullet. In post-Pagan folk belief, such bullets are said to be an effective weapon against supernatural creatures.

In 1720, Deljo and his rebels took revenge for 200 Bulgarians who were murdered because they refused to convert to Islam.

The song itself is in an old Bulgarian dialect. I have used translated passages I could find on the internet and my very poor knowledge to give you the following translation. The Youtube version I’ve posted is the one I like most, although it contains only the first 6 verses of the lyrics.

English translation (scroll down for the Bulgarian lyrics)

Deljo the hayduk went out (of his village),
the hayduk, the rebel
with the Dumbovi and the Karadjovi clans.
Deljo gave the following orders
to the governors of  Zlatograd,
to the brazen-faced governors:
– There are two aunts of mine in the village.
Do not make them Turks (= convert them to Islam),
do not besmirch them,
because when I come back
a lot of mothers will cry,
a lot of young brides,
and unborn children.

Gyulsume told Deljo:
– Beware, Deljo, beware,
you are being threatened, Deljo
the Zlatograd rulers,
the brazen-faced governors,
they cast a silver bullet
for you, Deljo, to kill you.
– Gyulsume, my love Gyulsume,
not yet is born a man
who could kill me.

Rhodope Region


Bulgarian lyrics

Излел е Делю хайдутин,
хайдутин ян кеседжия
с Домбовци и Караджовци.
Зароча Дельо пороча
Дериденските аяне,
айяне, кабадаие:
– Две лели имам в селоно,
да ми ги не потурчите,
да ми ги не почърните,
че кога флезем в селоно,
млого щат майки да плачат,
по-млого млади нивести,
дете ще в корем проплака.

Гюлсюме Делю заръча:
– Варди са, Делю, чувай са,
канят са да та примажат,
деридеренски аяне,
аяне, кабадаие:
сребърен куршум ти леят,
та ще та, Делю, удрият.
– Гюлсюме, любе Гюлсюме,
не са е родил чилякън,
дену ще Деля примаже.

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6 thoughts on “Deljo the Rebel (Дельо хайдутин)

    • The story of Lalli is from an throughoutly Christian perspective (he kills the innocent bishop because his wife lied) and that’s why he actually isn’t a folk-hero in the poem he is mentioned, but someone facing the revenge of God.

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