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Youth Everlasting and Life Without End

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Salt in Dishes


The Daughter Of The Rose


Youth Everlasting and Life Without End

from The Tales and Stories of Petre Ispirescu

It happened once upon a time. For had it not happened there would be nothing to tell. It happened in the days when poplar-trees bore pears and willow-trees flowered into violets; when bears fought each other by colliding their tails; and when wolves and lambs embraced, kissing each other like true brothers.

In those days a fly would sign its name on the wall. The bigger liar he who doesn't trust me at all.

Once upon a time there was a great emperor and an empress. Both were young and handsome, and as they wanted to have children they did everything that was necessary to that end. They asked wise men that they should read their fortune in the stars and tell them if they were to have children. But ail in vain. At long last the emperor heard of a clever old man in a neighbouring village and sent for him. But the old man said to the messengers:
"Those who want advice, let them come to me."

So then the emperor and the empress made ready and taking along a few boyars, soldiers, and servants, they made for the old man's house.

As soon as he saw them from afar the old man came to meet them and said:
"Welcome, and I'm glad to see you in good health. Yet what is it that Your Highness is trying to find out? The longing you have shall bring sorrow."

"I have not come to hear that," said the emperor, "but rather, if you have any cure that would enable us to have children, to ask for it."

"I have not come to hear that," said the emperor, "but rather, if you have any cure that would enable us to have children, to ask for it."

After a time, the empress gave birth to a son.

However, after the hour of his birth the child began to sob and no doctor was able to quieten him. Then the emperor started promising him all the wonders of the world, but it was still not possible to put an end to his sobbing.

"Quiet, my son," the emperor would say, "for I shall give you such and such lands. Be still, son, for I shall give you such and such emperor's daughter in marriage." And so on and so forth. Finally, seeing there was no way of soothing him he added: "Be quiet, my son, for you shall have youth everlasting and life without end." At that the baby stopped crying. The emperor's men beat the drums and blew their fifes and for a week there was great rejoicing throughout the empire.

As he grew older so did the boy become more astute and more daring.

They sent him to schools and to men of learning, but all the schooling that took other children one year to learn, he would master in one month, so that the emperor was as happy and as proud of his son as he could be. The whole empire would boast that it would have a wise and learned emperor such as King Salomon had been.

Yet after a while there seemed to be something wrong with the boy for he was constantly melancholy and sad and deep in thought.

One fine day, on the boy's fifteenth birthday, just as the emperor was dining and making merry with all the boyars and the dignitaries of the empire, Prince-Handsome got up and spoke thus:
"Father, the time has come for you to give me that which you promised at my birth."

Upon hearing this the emperor grew very sad and said to him:
"How now, my son, how could I possibly give you a thing unheard of? And if I then made such a promise it was solely to soothe you."

"If you, Father, cannot give it to me, then I must ransack the world in quest of that for which I came into this world."

At these words the emperor and the boyars fell upon their knees pleading that he should not leave the empire.

"Your father is now an old man," the boyars said, "and we shall put you upon the throne and shall get you the handsomest princess under the sun to be your wife."

But they were unable to change his mind, he being as hard as a rock in his decision.

Seeing there was no way out, his father gave him his blessing and ordered food to be prepared and all the necessaries got ready for the journey.

Prince-Handsome then went to the court stables, which held the finest horses in the whole empire, to choose one for himself, but as soon as he grabbed one by the tail it would fall down, and in this way, one after the other, all the horses went down. Just as he was leaving the stable, he once more glanced around, and saw in one corner a horse that was covered with sores and was mere skin and bones. He went up to him, but when he grabbed him by the tail the horse turned its head and said:
"What is your wish, Master? Thank God for granting me days that I might once more feel the touch of a brave man's hand."

And straightening his legs he stood as upright as a candle. Then Prince-Handsome told him what he meant to do, and the horse said to him:
"In order to have your wish you must ask your father to give you the sword, the lance, the bow, the quiver and the arrows, and the armour that he wore as a young man. And me you must tend with your own hands for six weeks, and the barley you give me must be boiled in milk."

When the prince asked the emperor for the things that the horse had advised, the emperor sent for the court steward and commanded him to open ail the chests containing clothes so that his son could choose those he liked best. Having rummaged for three days and three nights, Prince-Handsome at last found the weapons and armour that had been his father's when a young man, but they were very rusty. He began to clean off the rust with his own hands and after six weeks he succeeded in making them bright like a mirror.

At the same time he tended the horse as he had been told to. Work he had in plenty, but no matter since he succeeded.

When Prince-Handsome told the horse that the armour and weapons were well cleaned and polished and ready for use, the horse suddenly shook himself and ail sores fell off him and he appeared just as young as he had been years before: a strong shapely horse with four wings.

Seeing him thus, Prince-Handsome said:
"In three days from now we'll be off."

"God bless you, Master," the horse answered. "I'm ready today, if you'll have it."

On the morning of the third day the court and the empire were full of sorrow. Prince-Handsome attired like a knight, sword in hand, and astride the horse he had chosen, was taking leave of the emperor and the empress, of all the high and low courtiers, of the soldiers, and of all the servants of the Royal Household. Tears stood in all eyes and all begged him to give up his journey lest he should, alas, lose his very life. Yet he, spurring his horse on, rode out as fast as a windstorm. After him came the carts carrying foodstuffs and money, and after them some two hundred soldiers that the emperor had commanded to follow.

Once he had left his father's empire behind and had reached an unfriendly country, Prince-Handsome, keeping for himself just as much food as his horse could carry, divided all his goods among the soldiers and, bidding them farewell, he sent them back. Then turning eastward he rode on and kept riding on and on three days and three nights, till he reached a broad plain.

While they were resting the horse said to him:
"Know ye, Master, that we here stand on the land of a Woodpecker who is so wicked that none steps upon her domain but to find death. She was once a woman like every other, but the curse of her parents, whom she would not obey but only anger, caused her to turn into a woodpecker. At this moment she is with her children but tomorrow we'll meet her coming to destroy you in this forest that you see before you. She is fearfully big. Don't be frightened, but have your bow ready to shoot an arrow into her. Your sword and your lance have at hand for use at the right time."

They dozed off, yet one of them was always watchful. The following morning, as dawn was breaking, they made ready to cross the forest.

Prince-Handsome saddled and bridled the horse, fixing the girth tighter than usual, and then they set off. When lo! such a woodpecking was heard, something fearful. Then the horse said:
"Be prepared, Master, for here the Woodpecker comes."

And she came, felling the trees in passing, so swiftly did she come. But the horse soared wind-like and hovered above her head so that Prince-Handsome was able to shoot off one of her legs with an arrow. And as he was about to shoot a second arrow, she cried:
"Stop, Prince-Handsome. I do not mean to hurt you." And seeing that he didn't trust her she gave him a sworn oath.

"Long live your horse, Prince-Handsome," she then said. "He is endowed with magic powers for had it not been for him, I should have utterly destroyed you. As it is, you have now destroyed me. Know you that no mortal man has so far dared to cross the borders of my land. A few fools who took it upon themselves to do so did barely reach that plain."

She took them home with her and there she entertained and honoured Prince-Handsome as you should every wayfarer. While they were dining and merry-making, Woodpecker meanwhile groaning with pain, Prince-Handsome suddenly fetched the leg that he kept in his quiver, set it in place and Woodpecker was hale and hearty again. So great was her joy that she kept up the feast for three days, and she asked Prince-Handsome to choose one of her three daughters to be his wife. Lovely as they were, as all fairies are, he would have none, and honestly told the Woodpecker what he was after. Then she said:
"With such a horse as yours, and valiant as you are, I trust you shall succeed."

When the three days were over, they made ready to go and set out. He rode, did Prince-Handsome, on and on, a long way, yet ever longer. At last, when he rode over Woodpecker's boundaries he came upon a lovely plain. On one side the grass was strewn with flowers, on the other side it was burnt. Then he asked of the horse:
"Why is the grass scorched?"

The horse answered:
"We are now on the lands of a she-Scorpion, Woodpecker's sister. So wicked they are, they cannot live together. The curse of their parents is upon them and therefore are they turned into animals just as you have seen. The hatred between them is fearful and mortal. They want to steal each other's lands. When the Scorpion is very angry she belches forth fire and black pitch. It may be she has had some difference with her sister, and as she came to oust her from her lands, she scorched the grass on her way. She is more wicked than her sister, and she has three heads. Let us rest ourselves, Master, and be ready tomorrow at break of day."

On the following day they got themselves ready as they had done before reaching the Woodpecker's lands, and then they set forth. All of a sudden they heard such howling and blowing as they had never heard before.

"Take care, and be ready, Master, for here comes the old Scorpion."

The Scorpion, mad with rage and belching forth fire, was coming as fast as a windstorm. The horse soared up like an arrow and came plunging down somewhat on one ride of her. Prince-Handsome shot an arrow and sheared off her tail. As he was preparing to shoot again the Scorpion appealed for mercy with tears in her eyes, swearing she would not harm him. And that he might rest assured, she gave him a sworn oath. The Scorpion then entertained Prince-Handsome even more handsomely than had the Woodpecker; while he for his part gave her back the tail taken off with his arrow which fitted and stuck as soon as he put it back on; three days later he and his horse went on their way.

Leaving behind the boundaries of Scorpion-land, they rode on and on and yet still further until they came to a meadow that was full of flowers and where it was always springtime. Every flower was beautiful, and so sweet-smelling that the scent went to your head. There was a soft breeze, such that you hardly noticed its breathing. Here they sat down to rest and the horse said:
"We've done it so far, Master, as well as we could. There is one more trouble ahead. We shall come upon great danger, and if God be willing that we shall come through, then will we be brave indeed. Somewhat farther on there is a castle where dwells youth everlasting and life without end. That dwelling-place is surrounded by a tall, thick forest, full of the most savage beasts to be found in the wide world. Day and night they watch sleeping not a wink, and their number is great. Fighting with them is out of the question, and crossing the forest is more than man can do. We, however, shall do our best to take a big jump over the forest."

They rested themselves a couple of days, and then began to get ready. Sucking in his breath, the horse said:
"Make the saddle-girth as tight as you can, Master, and once in the saddle hold fast, well fixed in your stirrups, and clinging to my mane. Your legs you should keep close under my forelegs so they shan't be in the way when I soar."

They rose by way of a trial and in one minute they came close to the forest.

"Master," the horse further said, "now is the time when the beasts of the forest are being fed and they are all assembled in the courtyard. Let us push through."

"Let us do it," Prince-Handsome said, "and God's grace be with us."

They shot up into the air and they saw the castle shining in the sunlight. You could have looked into the sun, but the castle was even more blinding to the eyes.

They flew over the forest and just as they were about to come down on the steps of the castle, the horse lightly touched the top of a tree and at once the whole forest burst into life. The beasts howled so that one's very hair stood on end. They made haste to come down to earth. And had it not been for the lady of the castle who was outside feeding her chickens—so, they say, she called the beasts of the forest—they would have found their death, forthwith. She saved their lives for very joy at their coming; for she had never seen a human soul in those parts. She called off the beasts, soothed them, and sent them about their business. Their mistress was a fairy; tall and slender; fair of face; and kind of heart. As soon as he set eyes on her, Prince-Handsome stood transfixed. But she, considering him wistfully, spoke thus:
"Welcome, Prince-Handsome. What is it you seek here?"

"We seek," said he, "youth everlasting and life without end."

"If that be what you seek, then here it is."

So he dismounted and entered the castle. Within there were two more women, both equally young. They were the elder sisters.

He began to thank the fairy for saving him from danger, while the other two, overjoyed as they were, cooked a tasty dinner all in gold dishes. The horse was set free to graze wheresoever it pleased. They were then introduced to ail the beasts that they might walk the woods at their leisure and when they pleased.

The women asked Prince-Handsome to stay with them for ever because, as they said, they were sick of always living by themselves. And he never waited to be asked twice but joyfully accepted, as one who had found what he had been searching for.

By degrees they got used to one another. He told his story and what he had been through before reaching them, and shortly after he married the younger fairy. On their wedding the mistresses of the house gave him leave to roam about as he wished in ail the neighbouring territories. In one valley alone, which they actually pointed out, they forbade his going, for then, they said, it would fare ill with him. And they even told him that the valley was known as the Vale of Tears.

He stayed there, forgetful of time and without ever noticing the passing of the years, for he remained as young as upon his arrival. Carefree would he walk through the forest, taking delight in those golden palaces. He lived in peace and quiet with his wife and sisters-in-law, enjoying the beauty of the flowers, the sweet pure air just as any happy creature. He would often go hunting. It so happened that one day, as he was hunting a hare, he shot one arrow, shot a second and yet still missed. Much annoyed he ran after it and shot a third arrow that hit the target. But the unhappy prince did not notice that in the heat of the chase he had stepped into the Vale of Tears.

Picking up the hare, he was on his way home when suddenly—what do you think happened? He was seized with a sudden longing for his father and mother. He could not find it in himself to tell those fairy women and yet they knew right away for they guessed from the sadness and perplexity that they saw in him.

"Alas, unhappy you. You've gone into the Vale of Tears!" they said, frightened beyond measure.

"So I have, my dear ones, without ever intending to do such a foolish thing. And now I pine away with longing after my parents. Yet my heart won't let me abandon you either. I have spent many days with you and have no cause for complaining. I will therefore go and see my parents once more and then return, never again to leave."

"Do not leave us, beloved. Your parents have been dead these hundreds of years. We fear that you yourself, once gone, may never come back. Stay with us, for our heart tells us that you shall perish."

Neither the prayers of the three women, nor those of the horse, could stop the yearning after parents that ate at his heart and sapped his strength.

At long last the horse said:
"If you won't listen to me, Master, you alone must bear the blame no matter what happens to you. I have a word to say and if you accept my proposition I shall take you back home."

"Granted," he said contentedly. "Say it!"

"As soon as we reach your father's palace I shall put you down; and should you wish to stay there, be it only for one hour, I may be free to return."

"So be it," he said.

They made preparations for the journey, embraced the women and, having spoken their farewells, they set out, leaving them sobbing and tearful. They reached the lands they had known as the Scorpion's. There they found towns. The forests had been turned into fields. He asked one man after another about the Scorpion and its dwellings, but all said that their grandparents had heard their great-grandparents tell of such far-fetched tales.

"How is that possible?" Prince-Handsome would ask. "It was only the other day that I passed through here." And he would tell them all he knew.

The people laughed at him as if he were wandering in his mind or dreaming in broad daylight. He, becoming angry, went on his way never noticing that his beard and hair had turned white.

On reaching the Woodpecker's lands he asked the same questions, he had asked about the Scorpion, and received the same replies. He could not figure out how it came about that places could thus change within a few days. And annoyed once more he would turn away, his white beard reaching down to his waist, his legs ever shaking under him. And so he came to his father's empire. Here there were more people and more towns, while the old things were so changed that he wouldn't have known them. At long last he reached the palace where he was born. As soon as he dismounted the horse kissed his hand and said:
"Fare thee well, Master, for I am going back whence we came. If you will go with me, just jump into the saddle and let us go!"

"Farewell, go by yourself. I, too, hope to return soon."

The horse darted off like an arrow.

He saw the palaces fallen into ruin and overgrown with weeds. He moaned. Tears stood in his eyes, and he tried to remember how they once had shone with light, and how he had spent his childhood in them. He went round two or three times seeking out every room and every small corner that would remind him of things past; even the stable where he had found the horse. He then went down into the cellar, the entrance of which had been blocked by the fallen ruins.

Searching here and there, his white beard reaching down to his knees, propping up his eyelids with his own hands, and hardly able to walk upright, he found nothing but a ruined chest. He opened it but found nothing in it. He lifted the cover of a secret drawer and there! a weak voice said to him:
"Welcome. And a good thing you've come," the voice sounded from afar.

And as he had grown very old, he felt tired of life and was ready to pass away from this world.

Petre Ispirescu
Illustrated by Done Stan
Translated from the Romanian by Ana Cartianu
Murrays Childrens Books, London
First Published by the Ion Creangă Publishing House, Bucharest

Salt in Dishes

a story from Romania, translated in english by School”Ion Borcea”, Agigea, Romania

Once upon a time there lived a king. This king had three daughters. He loved them very much, especially after his wife’s death, (the girls’ mother). One day the king asked the oldest daughter: “ My girl, how much do you love me?” “ Father, I love you like honey”, she replied. “ God bless you, my daughter”. Then he asked his second daughter: “What about you? How much do you love me?’ “Like sugar, father.” ‘God bless you too” The king was very pleased and happy when he heard how much his daughters loved him. He believed that a great love is sweet as sugar and honey. Then, the turn of the youngest daughter to be asked came: “How much do you love me, my dear?” “Like salt in dishes, father!” answered the girl. Her sisters started to laugh when they heard her answer. But the king turned red with anger and said:
“How so? Did you not hear what your sisters said and how much they love me? That’s your gratitude for how much I work to raise and teach you? Go away from my house with all your salt! The youngest daughter was sad because she had upset her father and said: “Forgive me, father. I didn’t want to upset you. That’s how I thought I love you, at least as much as honey and sugar.” ‘I don’t want to hear you, said the king, go away, you shameless girl!’ And he left, leaving the girl crying. Seeing the king’s anger, the youngest girl took some ragged old clothes and left. She went from village to village until she arrived at the court of another king. She stopped at the gate to have a rest, when the cellarman’s wife saw her and asked her: “What do you want?” “She answered: “I’m a poor girl without parents and I’m looking for work, if there is anything. As the cellarman’s wife’s helper had just left and she was searching for another one, she looked at the girl carefully and thought that she was just perfect for the job. “What salary do you want?” “I don’t want any money, I want to work for a while and if I do a good job, and then give me whatever you think I deserve.” Hearing her humble answer, the cellarman’s wife hired her. The girl was nice and clever and she also proved to be very hardworking. She didn’t gossip with the other servants at the court and when she had any spare time, she read. The news about the helper‘s modesty and work reached the queen’s ears. She asked to see her. As soon as she heard her and saw that she was honest and nice, the queen liked her. So she decided to take her by her side. Wherever she went the girl also went. She was never separated from the queen. The queen loved her as if she were her own child. Even the king was amazed by such attachment.

This king had a son, and he loved him greatly and so did the queen. One day the king had to go to war and he took his son. The king’s son was wounded in battle. It was a great sadness and sorrow at the court because of this. He was brought home and cared for with great attention by the queen. But when she was very tired, her place was taken by the girl. Her gentle words, sweet caresses and her modesty made the prince like her. One afternoon, when he was healthier, he told his mother: “You know something, mother, I want to get married! “Ok, my son, ok. I will find you a good king’s daughter, kind and beautiful too.” “I found her, mom” “Who is she?” Do I know her?” “Don’t be upset, mother. I like the girl who is always with you. I love her very much” The queen resisted at first, but she couldn’t make her son change her mind. So both of them went and convinced the king that the girl was modest, honest, hardworking and kind-hearted. So the wedding was decided. When they started sending the wedding invitations, the future bride asked her fiancé to invite her father, a certain king, but she didn’t say that she was his daughter. The king and the queen agreed and invited him. The wedding day came, all the guests arrived and the party lasted all day, just like a king’s wedding always does. In the evening the royal table was filled with various foods, drinks, pies and many other goodies. The bride told the chefs what to cook. But they cooked the same dishes for all the guests except one. Then she told a servant: “You will take these dishes cooked by me to one guest. Don’t take them to someone else, because it is very dangerous.”

Everyone sat down, began to eat and have fun. The king, who was the bride’s father, ate very little. Since he had come he kept looking at the bride, and she looked familiar, but he could not believe it. He recognized her, but he couldn’t figure out how she ended up marrying a king’s son, that’s why he didn’t tell anyone anything. He found her changed, probably because of all the trouble and misery she had to endure. The king wanted to eat and have fun too, like all the other people at the wedding. But after just one bite he stopped. The servant who brought him the food, picked it up untouched. He was very surprised because all the other guests were eating the food which to him tasted strange. So he decided to try some of the dishes of the guest sitting next to him at the table. They were delicious, mouth-watering. He wanted that food, he couldn’t eat the horrible food he was brought. Finally he couldn’t take it anymore and he stood up and said out loud: “Well, king, did you invite me to your son’s wedding to make fun of me?” “Oh, no, your highness! How can you think of this? You are taken care of just like any other king at this wedding!” “Do forgive me, king, but the food of all the other guests is good to eat, unlike mine, which is not.” The father-in-law king got very angry and asked for the chefs: “What did you put in this food? Taste it and tell me what’s wrong!” and told them to find the one responsible for this and punish him harshly. The bride had cooked all the dishes for her father with honey and sugar and without any salt. Even the salt cellar on the table had sugar in it. At that moment the bride stood up and told her father-in-law: “I cooked the food for the angry king and this is why I did it: This king is my father. We were three sisters. One day my father asked us how much we loved him. One of my older sisters told him she loved him like honey, and the other told him she loved him like sugar. I told him I loved him like salt in the dishes. I thought there isn’t a bigger love than this. But my father was so angry that he threw me out of the house. I got where I am now with God’s help and through hard work and honesty. I wanted to prove to my father that a man can live without sugar and honey, but he can’t live without salt, that’s why I cooked all his dishes without salt. Please judge for yourselves who was right.” All the guests said that her father unfairly threw her out. Then her father said that he had been wrong and he hadn’t been able to treasure his daughter’s wisdom and he apologized. The girl kissed his hand and apologized for her deed, too. Then, everybody started dancing and having fun. And they all lived happily ever after.

Translated by the pupils of 6th grade- “Ion Borcea School, Agigea, Romania (Podaru Gabriela, Paicu Gabriel, Badau Claudiu, Radu Oana, Gafar Selvin, Teslaru Alexandru)

The Daughter Of The Rose

In clays gone by, there dwelt a King and a Queen in Jassy, who, to keep their only son at home with them, were always making him fine promises, which they never fulfilled.

One day this young Prince, Marin by name, went to his mother's apartments, and announced to her, that if she did not speedily bring to him the beautiful Princess from foreign parts which she had promised him to wife, he should set off in search of her himself. After waiting some weeks, finding that this promise was not likely to be fulfilled, he called for his horse and his retainers, and set off on his travels. He rode along until he came to a vast prairie, studded with the most beautiful flowers, through which meandered a silvery rivulet of pure water.

By the side of this rivulet grew a large rose tree with spreading branches, under which Marin stretched himself, and was trying to seek repose when he heard issuing from the tree these words:
I pray thee sweet and loved rose tree,
Open thy bark and let me free,
To seek the brook's refreshing wave,
To cool my face, my limbs to bathe,
To cull sweet flowers to deck my brow,
Then know'st my soul is pure as snow."

The rose tree unfolded, and from its centre came a fair golden-haired maiden, so dazzling, that to see her was brighter than sunlight. When the Prince Marin cast his eyes upon her, he was petrified at the sight of her beauty; but recovering his confidence he approached her and said, "lovely maiden, if you will give me a flower from your girdle, I will give you a nest in my palace; if you will give me a flower from your lips to kiss, I will dig up your rose tree and transplant it in the garden of my palace; if you will give me your love, I will make you Princess." The maiden, like most other young maidens, believed this flattery, and gave to Marin all that he asked and desired.

Sitting hand in hand talking of love, they fell asleep. Marin waking before the maiden, mounted his horse, and went on his way with his followers, leaving only a bunch of flowers in the lap of the sleeping girl. Journeying on, the young Prince arrived at length at a golden palace studded with topazes. He enquired of the first man whom he met, whether in that palace there dwelt a young Princess? It so happened that it was the owner of the palace to whom he had addressed himself, and who could boast of possessing a most charming daughter. He had heard of the good looks, and of the riches of this Prince of Jassy, and readily came to the conclusion that this could be no other but the young Marin, so he replied willingly, "Yes, here dwells the Princess Lexandra, and I am her father." Marin heard this with joy, and requested to be introduced into the Palace, with the view of soliciting the hand of the young Lexandra.

The invitation was given, and after some days' sojourn, and finding that the Princess was as lovely as she was good, and that he had found favour in her eyes, he set off with his future father-in-law, and intended bride, in a chariot to present her to his parents at Jassy.


The rose maiden on awaking, finding herself alone, and with but a bunch of flowers for her only companions, sighed and said, "dear little flowers, why have you made me sleep so long, and why have you separated me from my beloved?" Rising from the ground, she went up to the rose tree, and striking it, said:
I pray thee, sweet and loved rose tree,
Open thy bark, make place for me."
but the rose tree would not unfold itself, and only answered, "Go away, my pretty maiden, for you have sinned and can no more enter here."

Weeping, she turned aside, and seeing that she could no more be received in the bosom of the rose tree, seizing a staff she set off on the same road as that which the young Marin had taken. After going some distance she met with a Monk, and entreated him to exchange with her his rough frock and cowl, in return for her rich dress. He accepted willingly; the maiden wrapped herself in his garment and went on her way. On the confines of a wood, being very weary, she seated herself under the shade of a large elm, in order to take a little rest; shortly after, she saw in the distance a chariot drawn by eight horses approaching, and as it drew near, she recognised her faithless lover.

"Good day, young Monk," said Marin. "I thank thee, Highness," said the Monk, approaching the carriage. "From whence come you?" said Marin. "From the valley," said the Monk. "What did you see there?" asked the Prince. "Nothing, very extraordinary," said the Monk, "only near to a large rose tree, there was a beautiful girl weeping, and on my enquiring the cause of her grief, she told me her history." "Repeat it to us," said Marin, visibly moved. "This was what she told me," said the Monk, "that her home had been in a rose tree, where she was loved and nurtured; that coming out one day in search of flowers, she met with a young Prince, who begged a flower from her waist, which she gave him." Now the Monk looked fixedly at the Prince, but the latter bade him go on with the story. "Then he asked a flower from her mouth to kiss, and then for her love, and she gave even that also." "Go on," said the Prince. "Sitting hand in hand amongst the flowers, sleep overtook them; but when the maiden awoke she found herself deserted, and only a bunch of flowers on her lap. Going to the rose tree, she repeated the rhyme which would open its bark to admit her into its body; but the rose tree remained solid and firm, because she was no longer worthy to enter within, and for this the young girl was weeping alone, and in misery." "Is that all?" said the Prince. "So far as I know, for I left her crying in the field." "To what town are you going, my good Monk?" asked the Prince. "To the same as your Highness, to Jassy," said he. "Jump into our carriage, then," said the Prince, opening the door and making place for him. The Monk accepted readily, and during the whole of their journey, the Prince questioned him for further news of the young maiden.

Arrived in the Capital, and at the home of Marin, he invited the Monk to be his guest, and gave him a room next to his own in the palace. Yet in three days this marriage with the Princess Lexandra was to take place, and still Marin could not forget the rose maiden, and each evening on passing the door of the Monk, he would stay to talk about her.

At length the wedding day approached, and the Monk disappeared.

One evening, the Prince stopped as usual at the Monk's door, hoping to hear more of the deserted maiden; but for answer he only heard a muffled sigh! Breaking open the door, he saw the poor Monk suspended by a cord to a large book on the wall; cutting him down, and taking off the Monk's frock, underneath it the golden hair and the pale face of the rose maiden met his view. Then he called the King and Queen-his parents, and exclaimed, "Look! this is my Princess, do what you will with the other."

So the Princess Lexandra was sent back home with her father, and with great riches, enough for her dower, and the rose maiden was married to the Prince Marin, and they had many children and lived very happily ever after.

Roumanian Fairy Tales and Legends, by E.B. Mawr, [1881], at


by Mihai Eminescu

There was, as in the fairy tales,/ As ne'er in the time's raid,
There was, of famous royal blood / A most beautiful maid.

She was her parents' only child,/ Bright like the sun at noon,
Like the Virgin midst the saints/ And among stars the moon.

From the deep shadow of the vaults/ Her step now she directs
Toward a window; at its nook/ Bright Evening-star expects.

She looks as in the distant seas/ He rises, darts his rays
And leads the blackish, loaded ships/ On the wet, moving, ways.

To look at him every night/ Her soul her instincts spur;
And as he looks at her for weeks/ He falls in love with her.

And as on her elbows she leans/ Her temple and her whim
She feels in her heart and soul tha/ She falls in love with him.

And ev'ry night his stormy flames More stormily renew
When in the shadow of the castle She shows to his bright view.

And to her room with her slow steps/ He bears his steps and aims
Weaving out of his sparkles cold/ A toil of shaking flames.

And when she throws upon her bed/ Her tired limbs and reposes,
He glides his light along her hands/ And her sweet eyelash closes.

And from the mirror on her shape/ A beam has spread and burns,
On her big eyes that beat though closed/ And on her face that turns.

Her smiles view him; the mirror shows/ Him trembling in the nook
For he is plunging in her dream/ So that their souls may hook.

She speaks with him in sleep and sighs/ While her heart's swelled veins drum:
-"O sweet Lord of my fairy nights,/ Why comest thou not? Come!

Descend to me, mild Evening-star/ Thou canst glide on a beam,
Enter my dwelling and my mind/ And over my life gleam!"

And he listens and trembles and/ Still more for her love craves
And as quick as the lightning he/ Plunges into the waves.

The water in that very spot Moves rolling many rings
And out of the unknown, dark, depth A superb young man springs.

As on a threshold o'er the sill/ His hasty steps he leads,
Holds in his hand a staff with,/ at Its top, a crown of reeds!

A young Voivode he seems to be/ With soft and golden hair;
A blue shroud binds in a knot on/ His naked shoulder fair.

The shade of his face is of wax/ And thou canst see throughout -
A handsome dead man with live eyes/ That throw their sparkles out.

-"From my sphere hardly I come to/ Follow thy call and thee,
The heaven is my father and/ My mother is the sea.

So that I could come to thy room/ And look at thee from near
With my light reborn from waves my/ Fate toward thee I steer.

O come, my treasure wonderful/ And thy world leave aside;
For I am Evening-star up from/ And thou wouldst be my bride.

In my palace of coral I'll/ Take thee for evermore
And the entire world of the sea/ Will kneel before thy door."

-"O thou art beautiful as but/ In dreams an angel shows,
The way though thou hast oped for me/ For me's for ever close.

Thy port and mien and speech are strange Life thy gleams don't impart,
For I'm alive and thou art dead And thy eyes chill my heart."

Days have past since: but Evening-star/ Comes up againd and stays
Just as before, spreading o'er her/ His clear, translucent rays.

In sleep she would remember him/ And, as before, her whole
Wish for the Master of the waves/ Is clinching now her soul.

-"Descend to me, mild Evening-star/ Thou canst glide on a beam,
Enter my dwelling and my mind/ And over my life gleam!"

He hears: and from the dire despair/ Of such an woeful weird
He dies, and the heavens revolve/ Where he has disappeared.

Soon in the air flames ruddy spread,/ The world in their grip hold;
A superb form the spasms of the/ Chaotic valleys mold.

On his locks of black hair he bears/ His crown a fierce fire frames;
He floats as he really comes/ Swimming in the sun's flames.

His black shroud lets develop out/ His arms marbly and hale;
He pensively and sadly brings/ His face awfully pale.

But his big wonderful eyes' gleam,/ Chimerically deep,
Shows two unsatiated spasms/ That but into dark peep.

-"From my sphere hardly I come to/ Follow thy voice, thy sight;
The bright sun is my father and/ My mother is the night.

O come, my treasure wonderful/ And thy world leave aside
For I am Evening-star from up/ And thou wouldst be my bride.

O come, and upon thy blond hair/ Crowns of stars I shall crowd,
And more that all of them, up there,/ Thou wild look fair and proud."

-"O thou art beautiful as but/ In dreams a demon shows,
The way though hast oped for me/ For me's for ever close.

The depths of my breast ache from the/ Desire of thy fierce love
My heavy, big eyes also ache/ When into them thine shove".

-"But how wouldst thou that I come down?/ Know this - for, do I lie? -:
I am immortal, while thou art/ One of those that must die!"

-"I hate big words, nor do I know/ How to begin my plea;
And although thy discourse is clear/ I don't understand thee.

But if thou wantest my flamed love/ And that would not be sham,
Come down on this temporal earth,/ Be mortal as I am!"

-"I'd lose my immortality/ For but one kiss of thine!
Well, I will show thee how much too/ For thy fierce love I pine!

Yes, I shall be reborn from sin,/ Receive another creed:
From that endlessness to which/ I Am tied, I shall be freed!"

And out he went, he went, went out, / Loving a human fay,
He plucked himself off from the sky,/ Went for many a day.

Meanwhile, the house-boy, Catalin, / Sly, and who often jests
When he's filling with wine the cups/ Of the banqueting guests;

A page that carries step by step/ The trail of the Queen's gown,
A wandering bastard, but bold/ Like no one in the town;

His little cheek - a peony/ That under the sun stews;
Watchful, just like a thief, he sneaks/ In Catalina's views.

-"How beautiful she grew" - thinks he -/ "A flower just to pluck!
Now, Catalin, but now it is/ Thy chance to try thy luck!"

And by the way, hurriedly, he/ Corners that human fay:
-"What's with thee, Catalin? Let me/ Alone and go thy way!"

-"No! I want thee to stay away/ From thoughts that have no fun.
I want to see thee only laugh,/ Give me a kiss, just one!"

-"I don't know what it is about/ And, believe me, retire!
But for one Evening-star up from/ I've kept my strong desire!"

-"If thou dost not know I could show/ Thee all about love's balm!
Only, don't give way to thy ire/ And listen and be calm.

So as the hunter throws the net/ That many birds would harm,
When I'll stretch my left arm to thee,/ Enlace me with thy arm.

Under my eyes keep thine and don't/ Let them move on their wheels
And if I lift thee by the waist/ Thou must lift on thy heels.

When I bend down my face, to hold/ Thine up must be thy strife;
So, to each other we could throw/ Sweet, eager, looks for life.

And so that thou have about love/ A knowledge true and plain,
When I stoop to kiss thee, thou must/ Kiss me too and again."

With much bewilderment her mind/ The little boy's word fills,
And shyly and nicely now she/ Wills not, and now she wills.

And slowly she tells him:- "Since thy/ Childhood I've known thy wit,
And as thou art and glib and small/ My temper thou wouldst fit.

But Evening-star sprung from the calm/ Of the oblivion,
Though, gives horizon limitless/ To the sea lone and dun.

And secretly, I close my eyes/ For my eyelash tears dim
When the waves of the sea go on/ Travelling toward him.

He shines with love unspeakable/ So that my pains he'd leach,
But higher and higher soars, so/ That his hand I'd ne'er reach.

Sadly thrusts from the worlds which from/ My soul his cold ray bar...
I shall love him for ever and/ For ever he'll rove far.

Like the unmeasured steppes my days/ Are deaf and wild, therefore,
But my nights spread a holy charm/ I understand no more!"

-"Thou art a child! Let's go! Through new/ Lands our own fate let's frame!
Soon they shall have lost our trace and/ Forgot even our name!

We shall be both wise, glad and whole/ As my judgement infers
And thou wouldst not long for thy kin/ Nor yearn for Evening-stars!"

Then Evening-star went out. His wings/ Grow, into heavens dash,
And on his way millenniums/ Flee in less than a flash.

Below, a depth of stars; above,/ The heaven stars begem, -
He seems an endless lightning that/ Is wandering through them.

And from the Chaos' vales he sees/ How in an immense ring
Round him, as in the World's first day,/ Lights from their sources spring;

How, springing, they hem him like an/ Ocean that swimming nears...
He flees carried by his desire/ Until he disappears.

For that region is boundless and/ Searching regards avoids
And Time strive vainly there to come To life from the dark voids.

'Tis nought.'Tis, though, thirst that sips him/ And which he cannot shun,
'Tis depth unknown, comparable/ To blind oblivion.

-"From that dark, choking, endlessness/ Into which I am furled,
Father, undo me, and for e'er/ Be praised in the whole world!

Ask anything for this new fate/ For with mine I am through:
O hear my prayer, O my Lord, for/ Thou gives life and death too.

Take back my endlessness, the fires/ That my being devour
And in return give me a chance/ To love but for an hour!

I've come from Chaos; I'd return/ To that my former nest...
And as I have been brought to life/ From rest, I crave for rest!"

-"Hyperion, that comest from/ The depths with the world's swarm,
Do not ask signs and miracles/ That have no name nor form.

Thou wantest to count among men,/ Take their resemblance vain;
But would now the whole mankind die/ Men will be born again.

But they are building on the wind/ Ideals void and blind;
When human waves run into graves/ New waves spring from behind.

Fate's persecutions, lucky stars,/ They only are to own;
Here we know neither time nor space,/ Death we have never known.

From the eternal yesterday/ Drinks what to-day will drain
And if a sun dies on the sky/ A sun quickens again.

Risen as for ever, death though/ Follows them like a thorn
For all are born only to die/ And die to be reborn.

But thou remainest wheresoe'er / Thou wouldst set down or flee.
Thou art of the prime form and an/ Eternal prodigy.

Thou wilt now hear the wondrous voice/ At whose bewitched singing
Mounts woody get skipping to skies/ Into sea Island sinking!

Perhaps thou wilt more: show in deeds/ Thy sense of justice, might,
Out of the earth's lumps make an empire/ And settle on its height!

I can give thee millions of vessel/ And hosts; thou, bear thy breath
O'er all the lands, o'er all the oceans:/ I cannot give thee death.

For whom thou wantest then to die?/ Just go and see what's worth
All that is waiting there for thee/ On that wandering earth!"

His first dominion on the sky/ Hyperion restores
And like in his first day, his light/ All o'er again he pours.

For it is evening and the night/ Her duty never waives.
Now the moon rises quietly/ And shaking from the waves,

And upon the paths of the groves/ Her sparkles again drone...
Under the row of linden-trees/ Two youths sit all alone.

-"O darling, let my blessed ear feel / How thy heart's pulses beat,
Under the ray of thy eyes clear/ And unspeakably sweet.

With the charms of their cold light pierce/ My thought's faery glades,
Pour an eternal quietness/ On my passion's dark shades.

And there, above, remain to stop/ Thy woe's violet stream,
For thou art my first source of love/ And also my last dream!"

Hyperion beholds how love/ Their eyes equally charms:
Scarcely his arm touches her neck,/ She takes him in her arms.

The silvery blooms spread their smells/ And their soft cascade strokes
The tops of the heads of both youths With long and golden locks.

And all bewitched by love, she lifts/ Her eyes toward the fires
Of the witnessing Evening-star/ And trusts him her desires:

-"Descend to me, mild Evening-star/ Thou canst glide on a beam,
Enter my forest and my mind/ And o'er my good luck gleam!"

As he did it once, into woods,/ On hills, his rays he urges,
Guiding throughout so many wilds/ The gleaming, moving, surges.

But he falls not as he did once/ From his height into swells:
-"What matters thee, clod of dust, if/ 'Tis me or some one else?

You live in your sphere's narrowness/ And luck rules over you -
But in my steady world I feel/ Eternal, cold and true!"

English version by Petre Grimm

Transcribed by Andrei Giurgiu