Serbian hermit inherits fortune, gives it away: Report

BELGRADE (AFP) - An elderly hermit living in a mud hut in the Serbian mountains inherited a fortune from her estranged husband in Australia - but swiftly gave it all away to live off her meagre pension, local media reported.

Marija Zlatic, 86, who lives two hours from the nearest village in eastern Serbia, recently received 940,000 Australian dollars (S$943,708) bequeathed by her husband who died there in 2011, the Vecernje Novosti newspaper said this week.

But Zlatic has given all of her newfound wealth to people from the village who look after her, bringing food, water and wood.

"Where I am going soon I do not need money, so I gave it away. They need it more. I am fine with my 8,000 dinar (S$100) monthly pension," Zlatic told the daily.

Zlatic and her husband Momcilo left for Australia in 1956 where he worked as a carpenter, but she came back less than two years later to take care of her sick mother and never returned.

She kept in occasional contact with Momcilo who was thought to have acquired several cattle farms, one of Zlatic's carers told the newspaper.

The carer, who did not wish to be named, said she spent years helping Zlatic track down details of her inheritance, adding that the old lady had even refused to move into a more comfortable house.