Hitar Petar or Itar Pejo (Bulgarian: Хитър Петър, Macedonian: Итар Пејо, "Sly Peter") is a character of Bulgarian and Macedonian folklore. Hitar Petar is a poor village farmhand, but possesses remarkable slyness, wit and wile. He is often presented as the "typical Bulgarian" and the perpetual antagonist of either the rich nobles, clerics and money lenders or the "typical Ottoman" — Nasreddin, whom he always manages to outwit. He is therefore regarded as a strictly positive figure and a hero of the common folk.
As a character, Hitar Petar first appeared in the 16th–17th century, when Bulgaria was still under Ottoman rule. There's no certainty on the question from which part of Bulgaria the character originates. Tales on his deeds are present in the folklore of all regions inhabited by Bulgarians: Dobrudja, Thrace, Macedonia. It is generally thought, though, that the original Hitar Petar lived somewhere in present-day North-Western Bulgaria and in the city of Prilep in Macedonia. In 1873, he was introduced to literature, with Iliya Blaskov publishing several anecdotes involving him. His feats were adapted to an opera in 1967 and two comedy films, Nastradin Hodzha i Hitar Petar of 1939 and Hitar Petar of 1960.
Hitar Petar is similar to other characters of European and Oriental folklore, more notable Nasreddin of Islamic folklore, the German Till Eulenspiegel, the Hungarian Csalóka Péter and the Jewish Hershele Ostropoler.
In the Republic of Macedonia, it is thought that Hitar Petar (Itar Pejo) is a native of the region of Mariovo, an opinion not popular elsewhere, and a monument to the character was built in Prilep.
- "Bulgarian Operas: Hitar Petar". University of Pittsburgh Center for International Studies. Retrieved 2008-09-29.
- "Хитър Петър vs. Бай Ганьо" (in Bulgarian). bTourism. Retrieved 2008-09-29.
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