Skip to main content

Full text of "Rumanian bird and beast stories"

See other formats
























" But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee ; 
And the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee." 

JOB xii. 7. 


$ttbltslu6 fxr the ^olk-Qort .Sotutj) bjj 




The right of translation and reproduction 
is reserved to the author 








" NEITHER can men hear the voice of the cattle ; both the 
fowl of the heavens and the beast are fled, they are gone." 
The forests are silent, over hill and dale hangs a black 
pall ; beast and bird are in hiding ; the voices are hushed. 
But before they have disappeared, following in the track of 
others, I have endeavoured to catch the hum of the bee, the 
twitter of the bird, the chirp of the cricket, the song of the 
dying swan, and all the tales which beasts and birds and little 
beetles tell their young before they go to sleep ere the flash 
of the glow-worm flits across the darkness of the forest. 

I have followed up to their lairs the ferocious wolf, the 
cantankerous dog, the sly fox and the wise hedgehog, have 
listened to the lark and to the nightingale, and paid homage to 
little king wren. Who knows how much longer they will 
disport themselves in the fields and forests of Rumania, where 
the hoofs of the horses, the feet of the marching men, the shout 
of battle and the thunder of the guns have silenced let us 
hope only for a while the voice of the dumb creatures, who 
still speak so eloquently to him who knows their language and 
understands the cunning spell of their hidden wisdom. It is 
as if I had gathered flowers from the field of the Rumanian 
popular imagination. They are fresh from the field, and the 
dew still hangs upon them like so many diamonds, flashing in 
the light of popular poetry ; nay, sometimes a few specks of 

viii Preface. 

the original soil are still clinging to the roots. I have not 
pressed them between the leaves of this book. I have handled 
them tenderly. It has been a work of love, the dreamy fancies 
of youth, the solace of maturer age. Peradventure one or the 
other may be taken out and planted anew in the nurseries 
of the West, where they may blossom and grow afresh. They 
might bring with them the breath of the open field, the per- 
fume of the forest. They might conjure up the time when the 
nations were still young and lived in the great Nursery of 
Nature. If one could only bring to the nations of the West 
for awhile a glimpse of the time of their youth ! In my wander- 
ings through these enchanted fields I have tried t.o find whence 
the seeds have come, whose hands have sown them, and 
what spiritual wind and weather have fostered their growth, 
whether the rain of heaven or the fountains of the deep have 
watered the roots, what sun has shone upon them, what fiery 
blast has made these flowers wither and die. 

Such as they are, then, they are offered in love to the 
English people. 

I have to thank Mr. S. L. Bensusan, who in true friendship, 
with admirable skill and with untiring zeal has helped me 
to remove the boulders, to level the ground, to plan the beds 
and to trim the edges ; Miss C. S. Burne, whose keen sym- 
pathy, unerring eye and deft hand have helped to weed the 
tares and group the flowers ; my son Vivian, who with loving 
care and gentle touch has brushed away the dead leaves that 
had fallen on the green sward, and last, but not least, the 
Folk-Lore Society, which has granted me a niche in its great 
Pantheon. It is indeed no small honour to be in the 
company of the gods. 

M. G. 

In the month when 

" smale fowles maken melodic." 






I. B. 




WAIST ? 71 













x Contents. 


*" PAGE 






















CATTLE ? 117 







Contents. xi 















XXX. A. 















KING ? - 151 

xii Contents. 









MOUTH ? 158 










HAWK ? - 172 





Contents. xiii 

L. l-AGE 


ROAD ? 179 





LIV. A. 












xiv Contents. 






















Contents. xv 

























xvi Contents. 










HOUND 290 




ITS MATE - 299 








Contents. xvii 



MOUSE - 311 


cvi I. 

GENTLY ? 315 











SOLOMON - 325 






xviii Contents. 






















Contents. xix 










DAY? - - 357 



ARE OF NO USE ? 357 









xx Contents. 













INDEX 369 


THE Rumanian animal tales, which appear here for the first 
time outside Rumania, are so weird, so different from any 
known to the folk-lore of the West, that they arrest our 
attention and invite close examination. They are, for the 
most part, not only beautiful in themselves, but by reason of 
a peculiar flight of fancy and a powerful imagination are 
so unlike anything known in other collections of folk-lore 
that they raise problems far reaching, and, I venture to think, 
of the highest importance to the study of popular literature. 
We are moving in a religious atmosphere. Many of the tales 
start, as it were, from the beginning of creation. God, the 
Apostles, the Evil One seem to take a hand in the work and 
to rejoice more or less in the labour of their hands. We 
have, besides, animal fables pure and simple, tales designed 
for enjoyment, tales of fancy in which the nimble and small 
creatures outwit the burly and heavy ones. We have also 
fairy tales like those known to us in the West and made 
familiar to us by numerous collections. A prominent charac- 
teristic is the childlike simplicity of all the stories, the absence 
of any dualistic element. No " moral " has been tacked on 
to these tales, and probably they were not even intended to 
teach one. The questions which the study of folk-lore has 
raised, whether anthropological, psychological, or historical 
will be raised with a renewed force. I shall endeavour, how- 
ever briefly, to deal with some of the problems in the light 
which this collection of Rumanian tales is able to shed upon 
the study of folk-lore. 

2 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

The anthropological, historical and psychological problems 
underlying our studies must be attacked I venture to think 
from a fresh point of view. The view I hold is that the 
European nations form one spiritual unit, and that within 
that unit the various degrees of development through which 
one or the other has passed are still preserved. I believe that 
we must stud} 7 the manifestations of the human spirit from a 
geographical angle of vision, that this development has spread 
directly from one group of men to another, and that, before 
going to the extreme ends of the earth for doubtful clues, we 
must first try to find them, and perhaps we shall succeed 
in finding them more easily and satisfactorily, among some of 
the European nations whose folk-lore has not yet been suffi- 
ciently investigated. We can find in Europe various stages 
of " culture," and these we must trace by slow descent to the 
lowest rung of the ladder. At a certain stage of our descent 
we may strike the stratum of Asiatic folk-lore which may 
lead us further in our comparative study. Let me give some 
practical examples of my meaning. The relation between 
man and animal has been the subject of numerous highly 
speculative but none the less extremely interesting and acute 
investigations. We have had Totemism, we have had 
Animism and many other explanations, which by their number 
became simply bewildering. Students have gone to the 
Bushmen of Australia, and to the Red Indians of America for 
parallels and explanations, or for proofs of their highly 
ingenious theories. But are there no animal and bird stories 
in Europe which would show us how, to this day, the people 
understand the relations between man and other living 
creatures, what views they hold of birds and beasts and 
insects ? Are the animals humanised using the word in 
the sense of impersonating a human being ? Do the people 
see any fundamental difference between the created things ? 
In the fairy tale, at any rate, no such definite clear-cut dis- 
tinction between man and animal can be discerned. 

But at the root of many anthropological myths the animal 
is only a disguised human being. The worth of these 

Introduction. 3 

Rumanian stories culled as they are from the mouth of the 
people is their ability to show how to this very day the people 
look upon the animal world. Perhaps another view will 
ultimately find its way among the students of folk-lore. 
What I am anxious to emphasise is the fact that there 
are, for the investigation of folk-lore students, mines of 
untold wealth that have hitherto not been sufficiently 

These tales represent one or more of the earlier stages of 
European folk-lore. The elements, not yet quite closely 
moulded together, allow us at times to lay bare the sources 
and thus trace the inner history of this part of folk-lore. 
The people are confronted by a world filled with weird and 
mysterious animals, birds, insects, each with their own 
peculiarities to invite question. 

Almost everything that is not of daily occurrence excites 
the people's curiosity, and they ask for an explanation of it ; 
where does this or that animal come from, and why has it 
this or that peculiarity in its habits, colours, form and other 
matters ? They are very grateful for instruction. But it 
must be of a kind adapted to their understanding. It 
must be plausible, even if it puts some strain on their imagina- 
tion. The more wonderful and weird that explanation, the 
more easily it is accepted by the people, and the more firmly 
is it believed. This question of " belief " has often been 
raised in connection with fairy tales. It is asked whether the 
people believe in the existence of fairies, monsters, marvellous 
and wonder-working animals, in short, in all the mechanism 
of the fairy tale. 

To this an unhesitating answer can be given in so far as 
these Rumanian tales and legends are concerned. They are 
believed in implicitly. They form an integral part I feel 
almost inclined to say they form an exclusive part of the 
popular religious beliefs of the folk. The people are neither 
too squeamish, nor too sophistical in their faith, nor do they 
enquire too closely into the dogmatic character of such beliefs 
or into the sources from which they have come. 

4 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

In the East too the people, as a rule, are good-natured, and 
a good story remains a good story, whether told by a believer 
or an infidel. 

The study of these tales promises to exceed by far in interest 
the study of mere " fairy tales." We are moving in a spiritual 
world, which appears to be much more primitive in the animal 
tale than in the fairy tale. We are getting much nearer to the 
very soul of the people, to its power of imagination and abstrac- 
tion. We can see more clearly the manner of its working. 

The comparative study of fairy lore has led to the surprising 
recognition of the world-wide range of these tales. In spite 
of investigations carried on for close upon a century, no 
satisfactory solution has yet been found which would explain 
the appearance of one and the same fairy tale at such widely 
separate parts of the world as India and England. Various 
answers have been advanced in order to explain this surprising 
similarity. And the same problem arises here. This col- 
lection of tales, as already mentioned, contains two groups. 
The larger group consists of the legend or creation stories 
in which, however, one section contains fairy tales though 
used also as creation stories and the other group consists 
of fables pure and simple. It would be unscientific, I hold, 
to treat these groups on one plane as if they were all con- 
temporary in their origin. They may represent various 
degrees either of local evolution, and if so, that may be 
found to be the best solution, or they may have come in 
various stages of transmission. The theory of migration 
has been applied hitherto to the fairy tale. I am not aware 
that the history of the popular fable has been attempted, 
still less that of the creation legends, which have remained 
almost unknown until quite recently. I will deal with 
each of these groups as far as possible separately, and the 
conclusions drawn from each group will afterwards be merged 
into one final conclusion established by the fact of their 
actual presence in Rumanian popular lore. 

Migration, no doubt, offers the best solution of the riddle 
set by the fairy tale. No one, unless he solves the riddle of 

Introduction. 5 

the heroine in the fairy tale, can win her. But still the 
opinion of scholars is divided. The mistake, I venture to 
think, has been that all the tales called by this title, and 
even culled from the mouth of the people, have been treated 
on one general principle, without recognising the possibility 
that there may be divers layers, some older, some of a more 
recent date. This probability seems to have been entirely 
overlooked. That which holds good for one cycle need not 
hold equally good for all the rest. But the question of the 
central origin of tales must not be confused with that of 
their transmission. Thus a tale may originate in India or 
Egypt, but once it has started on a journey of its own it will 
be carried, chiefly by word of mouth, from country to country. 
And as its structure is loose, a mere framework with a very 
simple plot, it will assimilate other elements and undergo 
those manifold changes, the investigation of which is the 
delight and despair of the folk-lorist. 

We are now faced by a new set of stories, some of which 
are mere tales, while others are of a more legendary character. 
I class under the latter heading all those in which the religious 
element stands out prominently. They have assumed their 
actual form no doubt probably under the powerful sway of 
some religious influence. The peculiar shade of religious 
teaching which has moulded the actual form of these legendary 
stories, and which is of decisive importance in our investiga- 
tion, will be discussed more fully later on, after we have been 
able to dispose of other solutions offered by the explanation 
of the origin of these tales. It will then be possible to 
approach the question of the fairy tales from the coign of 
vantage gained. 

Within this class of tales there are some in which the 
legendary character is not so pronounced, where the tale is 
intended to explain certain peculiarities of animals. These 
seem to be of so primitive a character that the closest parallels 
can only be found among primitive nations. Here a new 
problem sets in the problem of origins. For curiously 
enough a striking similarity cannot be denied to the 

6 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

Rumanian, Indian, African and possibly American tales. But 
the similarity is only in the aim. The other nations ask 
precisely the same questions about the animals with which 
they are familiar, and they endeavour to give an answer to 
their query. The parallelism is in the question. Are we, then, 
to treat these tales in the same manner as the " fairy tales " 
and account for that similarity in the same manner as that 
of fairy tales gathered from distant regions ? Or, in other 
words, have we here another set of tales which have been 
carried chiefly by word of mouth from one country to another ? 
Are these stories also new witnesses to the process of " migra- 
tion " ? And are we, then, to assume that this theory of migra- 
tion should be applied to these animal tales, as it has been to 
the fairy tale ? Or, are we to assume that the unity of the 
human soul works on parallel lines in divers countries among 
divers nations not otherwise connected with one another ? 
If not, how is this similarity to be explained ? True, the 
parallelism between Rumanian and Indian tales is not so 
close as it is between the " fairy tales." For the animals 
are often not the same. They are everywhere local beasts. 
This change in the animals chosen may be due to different 
circumstances and local assimilation. It is quite natural that 
for a tiger and jackal, a wolf and a fox might have been 
substituted when the animal tale reached Europe, for the tale 
had to be localised in order to preserve its interest in a new 
atmosphere. One need not go very far to find the same change 
taking place even in written literature. The jackals in the 
frame story of the Panchatantra become " foxes " in Kalila 
Wa' Dimna in the European versions. Or, to take another 
example, in the famous parable of the " man in the pit " in 
the Barlaam Josaphat legend the furious elephant becomes 
a camel, however incongruous the substitution may appear. 
If such changes could take place in the written literature 
in which the incidents are fixed, how much more easily could 
it take place when a story is carried only by word of mouth ? 
Then the substitution of a familiar animal for one unknown 
would be quite natural. The people want to know the reason 

Introduction, 7 

for the peculiarities of those animals that they know. They 
are not likely to care much for unknown fauna. Unless those 
other animals are of a purely mythical and fantastical char- 
acter, and as such appeal to the universal imagination, there 
is no room in the popular mythology for animals of foreign 

If, then, we admit that these animal fables have been 
brought to Europe in the same manner as the fairy tales, by 
means of oral transmission, then they have preserved their 
original character and their primitive form less modified than 
has happened in the case of the fairy tale, for reasons which 
would have to be explained. The only other suggestion is 
that these legends and animal tales are of a local origin, the 
product of the poetical imagination of the Rumanian peasant, 
and as such quite independent of any other source. If this 
is not acceptable we must admit a continuous stream of 
popular tradition, setting in at a time not yet determined and 
spreading from East to West or from South to North, the 
direction of the stream having been determined by the pre- 
sumable centre of origin in Asia, before or contemporary with 
the spread of the real fairy tales. 

But, it might be argued, as has been also done in the case 
of the fairy tales, that these stories are the product of 
individual efforts of local myth-makers and popular poets, 
that they are purely indigenous in origin. One cannot deny 
that the people could invent such stories. Some one must 
have invented them, and why could they not have been in- 
vented by the Rumanian peasant independently of the Indian 
-story teller ? 

The cosmogonic setting invalidates this suggestion. Such 
a setting presupposes a definite set of ideas about the begin- 
nings of things which are neither spontaneous nor indigenous. 
All that can be said is that, once the impulse had been given, the 
imagination of the people followed the lead and worked in its 
own way on the given lines. This is the general trend of real 
popular lore. Each nation mints in its own fashion the gold 
brought from elsewhere, and places its own imprint upon it. 

8 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

This view I find myself unable to accept. It could be 
entertained only and solely if no parallels whatsoever could 
be found anywhere to some at least of the more important 
and characteristic creation tales, fairy tales and fables. 

The. question then remains, Where do these tales come 
from ? Are they indeed the expression of the primitive mind, 
and if so, have we to recognise these specific Rumanian beast 
tales as so many indigenous products of the primitive 
Rumanian mind ? 

Tylor, in his Primitive Culture (i. 3 ed. 410 ff.), discusses at 
some length the beast tales found among primitive peoples, 
tales that as yet are not the excuse for a moral and have not 
been reduced to the background of an allegory. He takes 
his examples from the North Indians of America, from the 
Kamtchadals of Kamtchatka and from the inhabitants of 
Guinea. These stories are thus, as it were, the primitive 
expression of the myth-making imagination of peoples in 
which the animal stands in as close a relation as any human 
being. Be this as it may, the conclusions drawn by Tylor 
rest on this evidence gathered only from so-called dark ages. 
He is not aware of any such tales among the nations of Europe, 
who certainly cannot be classed among the primitive peoples. 
And on the other hand he is fully alive to the fact that a 
number of such beast tales have been worked up in the 
eleventh and twelfth centuries in the famous epic of Reynard 
the Fox. 

The question arises, Whence came some of the incidents 
believed to be more ancient ? They lead us straight to 
the supposition that such animal tales in a primitive form 
must have existed among the peoples of Europe, even as 
far west as Flanders and France. They were afterwards 
woven into one consecutive narrative, conceived in a spirit 
of satire on existing social and clerical conditions. A " moral " 
has thus been introduced into a set of more ancient tales. 
But of this anon. In view of these Rumanian tales we can 
no longer be content to leave the question of the compilation 
of Reynard where Tylor has left it. The new materials now 

Introduction. 9 

at our disposal allow us to follow it much further and to arrive 
at conclusions differing from those of Tylor. From the 
moment that we find in Europe similar beast tales to those 
found among primitive peoples in other parts of the world, 
we are confronted by a new problem. We may recognise 
the same spiritual agency at work : we may see the same 
action of the mind, asking everywhere for an explanation of 
the phenomena from beast and bird, from sky and sea. Thus 
far the minds of all the nations run on parallel lines. The 
differentiation begins with the answer, and here, then, the 
problem sets in. How many nations give the same answer, 
and in so doing form, as it were, a group by themselves ? 
How old is this or that answer or the tale that contains it ? 
And what is the form in which it is given ? Is it a fable or 
has it a religious colouring ? In endeavouring to reply to 
these queries we find ourselves face to face with the problems 
of indigenous character, primitive origin, independent evolu- 
tion and question of survival. We are thus brought face to 
face with yet another theory the theory of survivals the 
most important of all, which sways the trend of the study 
of modern folk-lore. I must deal with it here at some greater 
length. I mean, of course, the theory that sees in every 
manifestation of the popular spirit, in every story, in every 
ballad or song, a survival from hoary antiquity, a remnant 
of prehistoric times, to which the people have clung with a 
marvellous tenacity, although they have entirely forgotten 
its meaning. Out of an unconscious antiquarian weakness 
they are supposed to have preserved every fossil even if 
and when it had become burdensome to them. But it must 
not be forgotten that the people retain only those practices 
and beliefs by means of which they hope to obtain health, 
wealth and power, and they will take care not to jeopardise 
such benefits by any neglect. So long as these results are 
expected, the people will cling tenaciously to the beliefs which 
promise them the greater gifts. It is not impossible that 
such beliefs, being too deeply rooted, might survive local 
political changes. 

ro Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

But in order to survive, two conditions are essential, con- 
tinuity of place and continuity of ethnical unity. The re- 
ligious continuity is also an important condition, though not 
by any means so essential. The clash of two or more religious 
doctrines causes on the one hand the destruction of the official 
system of religious ceremonies and practices, and on the other 
drives to the bottom that mass of ceremonies from the observ- 
ance of which benefits to health and wealth are expected. In 
the moment when the belief in their efficacy has gone they 
disappear without leaving a trace. Very little, if anything, 
survives. It is a fallacy to believe, as is now the fashion, that 
without such continuity any real survival can take place. 
This theory has been carried to extreme lengths, without the 
slightest justification. It all rests on finely spun hypotheses 
in which time and space have entirely disappeared. 

No connecting link has been brought forward to bind the 
present to the past. However plausible some aspects of 
the " vegetation god " may appear, one must remember the 
essential fact, that there is now not a single nation in Europe 
living on the soil where such practices as the slaying of an 
annual king god has been practised, if, indeed, they have ever 
been practised, beyond a very strictly limited area in Asia 
Minor and possibly in Sicily or Italy. With whom could 
such practices survive, for example, in Bulgaria or even in 
Thrace ? It is known that the population there has changed 
its character many times, even within the last eight hundred 
years. There is such a medley of races, some old, some new, 
that it would be impossible to expect survivals from the 
Pelasgian or Dacian past. Nor would they have anything in 
common. The Rumanians of Latin origin are certainly not 
the oldest inhabitants of Rumania. If, then, each of these 
ethnical unities had separate practices or, to come nearer to 
our subject, separate tales and stories marked with its own 
individuality, it might perhaps be argued that these stories 
and popular beliefs are survivals from prehistoric times, rem- 
nants of a past long forgotten, embodying a folk-lore and 
popular psychology which date back to remote antiquity. 

Introduction. 1 1 

None of these nations, and, in fact, none of the modern 
nations of Europe, reach back to any extreme antiquity, 
nor are they homogeneous in their ethnical character nor 
the descendants of the autochthonous inhabitants. There 
may be a few rare strains of other blood in the modern admix- 
ture, but not of any decisive character, certainly it is not 
strong enough to have preserved any survivals. 

True, many of the modern practices are no more of yesterday 
than these tales and stories are, but again, they are certainly 
not so old as a modern school of thought endeavours to make 
out. Comparatively modern nations, often alien to the soil 
which they inhabit, none of them of a pure unmixed origin, 
cannot have retained beliefs, tales, etc., of which their fore- 
fathers knew nothing. They could not have laid stress on 
things which had disappeared with the nations whom their 
successors or victors had destroyed. If, then, we find that 
these nations of diverse origins and of diverse times possess a 
certain stock of folk-lore in common, it follows naturally that 
they must have obtained it in common at a certain definite 
period, when in spite of their ethnical and possibly political 
differences they were all subjected together to one pervading 
influence. A great spiritual force moulded them at one and 
the same time, and this produced one common result, which, 
in spite of its genetic unity, would have allowed a certain 
latitude for individual development. If, as I assume, it was 
the all-pervading influence of religious sects which stretched 
from far East to extreme West and embraced all the cultured 
nations of Europe, impressing them with the same seal a 
certain popularly modified Christianity embellished with 
legends and tales appealing to the imagination, containing a 
strong didactic and ethical strain, propounding a new 
solution of the world's problem suited to the understanding 
of the people, accounting satisfactorily for the evil in the 
world, warding off the effects of these spirits of evil then it is 
small wonder that their teaching sunk deeper into the heart of 
the people and brought about that surprising spiritual unifica- 
tion in the religion of the masses which survives in folk-lore. 

12 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

They would thus date from more or less the same period, 
when the whole of Europe felt the influence of teachings which 
lasted two to three centuries at least, quite long enough to 
leave indelible traces. 

It is not to be denied that among these tales some may 
belong to an anterior period. The newer facts had in some 
cases been grafted on older ones. Some remnants of ancient 
myths had survived the first process of forcible Christianisation. 
But only there where ancient paganism can be shown to have 
nourished when this new wave of proselytism set in, only there 
might one be able to discover such traces. These are the local 
incidents, the local colouring, which give to each tale its own 
popular character without changing its substance. Such 
process of assimilation is akin to the other before mentioned, 
viz. the substitution of the European fauna for Asiatic or 
Indian animals. Though references to ancient Greek myths 
occur in these stories, yet in spite of that the Rumanian 
versions approximate more closely to the later Byzantine 
than the ancient classical forms. The transformation sets in 
practically where the Middle Ages part from antiquity. Here 
is yet another proof for the more recent phase of this popular 

A grave danger threatens the scientific character of folk-lore, 
if a wrong method of investigation be persisted in much longer. 
I refer to the system of haphazard comparisons arising out of 
the view that everything done and every rite kept by the folk 
must of necessity be a survival from extreme antiquity and 
belong to a period anterior to our modern civilization a fossil 
from the age of man's childhood embedded in layers of more 
recent date. For proof of this theory parallels are sought and 
found among primitive nations, or those who we believe 
have not yet left the rude stage of primitive culture. If, then, 
something is found among them which resembles closely or 
remotely any of the customs, tales, and beliefs, in our own 
midst, we are convinced that these customs, tales or beliefs 
are really remnants of an older stage, through which the 
modern nations have passed before they reached the present 

Introduction. 1 3 

stage of development, and which they have cherished and 
kept unchanged throughout the ages. The history of com- 
parative philology offers the best analogy for the demon- 
stration of the futility of such reasoning. Nothing contributed 
so much to make the study of comparative philology a laugh- 
ing-stock as this endeavour to build up theories of the origin 
of the language on such arbitrary foundations. 

How deceptive such haphazard similarities can be is best 
demonstrated by the endeavours to derive all the European 
languages from the Hebrew. This was believed to have been 
the original language which Adam spoke. Nothing more 
natural, then, than to trace all the languages back to the 
Hebrew, which moreover was a holy language. Much ingen- 
uity and immense learning were spent nay wasted for 
centuries in this undertaking. The most trifling incident, 
the most superficial identity in sound or meaning was looked 
upon as complete evidence. It has taken close upon half a 
century to demolish this fabric of philological fallacy, and to 
place comparative philology on a sound basis. We know now 
that similarities in different languages may be the result of 
independent evolution. 

The similarities are often quite superficial. No one would, 
for example, compare a modern English word with an old 
Latin or Greek stem or with any archaic dialect of these 
languages, without showing the gradual development of our 
modern word. He would take it back step by step, and then 
compare the oldest English form with a contemporary form. 
Most of the European languages, as we now see, are derived 
from one common stock, more archaic than any of them. 
No one would now trace a French word directly to that old 
Indo-European root, without going first to the Latin ; and so 
with every other language belonging to the same group. 
Each nation has put the seal of its own individuality on its 
language, which it has moulded and shaped according to its 
own physiological and psychical faculties. The one will have 
retained more primitive forms; for example, local and historical 
as well as ethnical continuity have kept the Italian much closer 

14 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

to the Latin than Spanish or Portuguese. No one dreams 
to-day of reducing a French word to a Hebrew root, despite 
any similarity of form which they might have in common. 

We can go now one step further and suggest a common origin 
for the Indo-European and Semitic groups of languages, a 
unity which lies beyond the time of their separation, and it 
is the dream and aim of comparative philology to attain this 

Returning now to our science of folk-lore, we have a perfect 
analogy in the study of comparative philology briefly sketched 
above. The analogy is so complete that it is almost unneces- 
sary to elaborate it in detail. It is obvious that safety and 
scholarship lie in the following line of investigation. A 
European group of folk-lore must first be established, and the 
dependence on an earlier common stock demonstrated. But 
the historical connection stands foremost, and the fixing, 
more or less definitely, of the time of its appearance in the 
form in which it now exists. In adopting this line of investiga- 
tion, it will then become unscientific to postulate early 
survivals for elements that may date from a comparatively 
recent period, and for which an explanation can be found by 
this historical and comparative study. And just as it has 
happened in the case of the study of comparative philology, 
so it will happen that we shall be in a much better position 
to separate and to appreciate the individual character of 
the folk-lore of each nation, the form which the common 
stock assumes under the psychical and cultural conditions 
which characterise its spiritual life. This method will give 
us also the key to the ethno-psychology, the ultimate aim 
and goal of folk-lore studies. No doubt some higher unity 
may possibly emerge out of this historical investigation, for 
which again the study of comparative philology offers us the 
best parallel. Separate groups may be formed of European 
and Asiatic folk-lore. The artificial geographical division need 
not form the separating barrier either in folk-lore, or, as has 
been proved, in the study of language. But to continue the 
method of haphazard parallelism and indiscriminate com- 

Introduction. 1 5 

parison between old and new will be indefensible. It will be 
found that even in the so-called immutable East continual 
changes have taken place which do not allow us to assume 
favourable conditions of continuity and " survivals." Still less 
is this the case with the peoples who concern us more directly, 
the inhabitants of the south-eastern part of Europe. One has 
only to cast a glance at the medley of nationalities inhabiting 
the Balkan Peninsula and the neighbourhood to realise the 
profound differences of faith, origin and language -of Greeks 
and Albanians, Slavs and Rumanians, Hungarians and Saxons, 
and one is forced to the conclusion that whatever these may 
possess in common is not a survival from olden times, but 
must have come to them at a time when they were all living 
together in that part of Europe, subject to one common 
influence strong enough to leave an indelible impression on 
their imagination. 

This result is unavoidable if we remember also the past 
history of these countries. They have been swept over by 
nations, one more barbarous than another, one more ruthless 
than another, and none remaining there long enough to 
become a decisive factor in the formation of the existing 
nationalities. Dacians and Pelasgians, Romans and Goths, 
Petchenegs and Cumans, Alans and Huns, Tartars and 
Hungarians, Bulgars, Slavs and Turks have succeeded one 
another with great rapidity, not to mention the numerous 
colonies of Armenians, Syrians and Gipsies planted in the 
heart of the Byzantine Empire by the foreign rulers on the 
throne of Byzantium. It would be a sheer miracle if anything 
of ancient times could have survived. Assuming even the 
theoretical possibility of such a miracle and those who hold 
strongly to such a theory of unqualified survivals evidently 
do believe in such miracles even then it will remain to be 
shown, with whom these ancient beliefs and tales originated 
and survived. The romantic legend may have, and prac- 
tically has, been forgotten in its entirety. Out of one of the 
episodes have grown the popular Rumanian poems of the 

1 6 Rumanian Bird and Be as I Stories. 

If folk-lore is to become an exact science I venture to think 
that the problem of survivals will have to undergo a serious 
re-examination. We shall have to revise our views and try 
to define more precisely the method according to which we 
ought to label certain practices, customs and tales as survivals, 
and also to determine the period to which such survivals may 
be ascribed. A primary condition consists in establishing 
historical continuity and ethnical unity. 

If nations of diverse origin and of different ages possess the 
same tales and practices, it follows that this common property 
cannot be a survival, but each must have received all these at 
a certain fixed date simultaneously, quite independent of their 
own ethnical or historical and local past. All of them must 
have been standing under one and the same levelling influence. 
This new influence may have brought with it some older 
elements belonging to different traditions and to a different 
past, and introduced them among these nations, as in the case 
of the Barlaam legend or that of the legend of St. George and 
the Dragon ; but though locally accepted and assimilated they 
are not original constituent elements of the local folk-lore of 
these nations. These were only adopted and assimilated 
materials brought from elsewhere. They are not local survivals. 

The analogy between the study of folk-lore and that of 
comparative philology can be pursued profitably much * 
further. It may prove of decisive importance. It is not an 
indifferent question as to whether language and ethnic charac- 
ter are interchangeable terms. Russified Tartars, Magyarised 
Rumanians, Anglicised Hindoos will speak Russian, Hungarian 
or English as the case may be, but this will not change their 
ethnical character. They will remain what they were : 
Tartars, Rumanians or Hindoos. Thus also nothing can be 
proved for the specific origins of folk-lore if found among any 
one of these nations ; it may be just as much Tartar as 
Russian, Rumanian or Hungarian, etc., for it can easily have 
been taken over with the language. 

The fact that these tales are found in Rumania and are told 
by Rumanian peasants is in itself not yet sufficient proof of 

Introduction. i / 

their indigenous origin. We are taken out of the region of 
hypothetical speculation into that of concrete facts by modern 
philology. In the first place, it is put on record, on the irre- 
futable evidence of the modern languages themselves, that 
there is no nation in Europe which speaks a language of its 
own so pure as to be free from admixture with foreign elements. 
All owe their very origin, in fact, to this clash of languages, 
which was the determining factor in their creation and form. 
English is typical in that respect in the west, and Rumanian 
in the east of Europe. Both languages have been born 
through the combined forces of at least two different languages. 
In England, through the violent Norman conquest, French 
was superimposed upon Anglo-Saxon. In Rumania, through 
peaceful penetration and religious influence, Slavonic became 
part of the Rumanian language. 

If, then, we should examine each of the European languages 
to find the various elements of which they are composed, we 
should be able to trace the origin of much that is also the 
spiritual property of these nations. Every word borrowed 
from another language represents a new idea, a fresh notion 
taken from elsewhere and embodied. We can study the 
history of nations from their vocabulary. We can trace the 
migrations of the Gipsies by the foreign words now in their 
language. The proportion of these alien elements helps us to 
determine the period which elapsed since they went from one 
nation to another. The large number of Rumanian words 
in the Gipsy language shows that the Gipsies must have lived 
a long time peaceably among the Rumanians, and the 
Rumanian words in all the dialects of the Gipsy, from Spain 
to Siberia, are conclusive evidence for the fact that Rumania 
was a centre of diffusion for the European Gipsy. And yet 
step by step one can follow up a modification ; small at 
the confines of the Balkans, it grows greater the further it is 
carried westwards. 

The conclusion is obvious. In Rumanian, the language is 
preponderantly of a Latin origin, but other tongues come in 
to make up its present character. A comparatively large 

1 8 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

proportion of the popular language which alone is of import- 
ance is Slavonic ; then follow in decreasing proportions 
Hungarian, modern Greek, Turkish and Albanian elements, but 
scarcely any trace of a more ancient local language. In the 
Hungarian language there is a large proportion of Slavonic, 
then of Rumanian and German elements. The other languages 
of the Balkans show a similar mixture of heterogeneous 
influences. So thorough has been this process of assimilation 
that the original Tartarian language of the Bulgars, who 
hailed from the Volga hence their name has entirely dis- 
appeared. The same has happened with the Cumans in 
Hungary. If there is anything tenacious it is undoubtedly 
the human language, the means of satisfying one's daily wants. 
And yet there is constant change and assimilation going on 
all the time, one nation borrows freely from its neighbour and 
enriches its own treasury with the possessions of the others. 
How easily, then, could a philologist of the eighteenth century, 
who wanted to compare these languages among themselves, 
by collecting similar words haphazard prove that Rumanian 
was Turkish, that Hungarian was Slavonic and that Bulgarian 
was Greek, or on finding some Albanian words in Rumanian 
and Bulgarian how easily could he declare these languages 
to be survivals of the ancient mythical Pelasgians with whom 
the Albanians were connected. Thanks to our modern com- 
parative science these languages are placed on their proper 
basis, and the words and elements are sifted and separated 
from one another. Each one by the form in which it appears 
in the other languages yields to the scholar the secret of the 
time when it was adopted. - Having got thus far, we may now 
apply these results to the question which is before us, viz. the 
origin of these tales and apologues. 

It is obvious that where new words went, stories could also 
go, and very likely did go. It is clear that the presence of a 
large number of foreign elements in the language denotes a 
peaceful intercourse between these nations, long enough and 
intimate enough to make them borrow freely from one another 
and to become fixed into one spiritual unity. 

Introduction. 1 9 

If a language contains a large number of foreign elements, 
no one can deny the direct influence which the latter has 
exercised upon the former. Words, then, are not a mere 
combination of sounds, they are the outward expression of 
the mind. They are the materialised spirit of the nation, and 
whither they go that spirit also goes. Spirit communes thus 
with spirit. There is and there has always been such a give 
and take. And it is for us to follow up this constant barter, 
in which the richer unhesitatingly parted with their treasures 
to the poor, for the more they gave the more was left with them, 
as is meet in the charmed realm of folk-lore. 

These nations learn from one another not only words, but 
the thoughts and ideas expressed in words. The proportion 
of these linguistic elements in the vocabulary connotes the 
proportion of influence upon the other people. It must not 
be forgotten that we are dealing with illiterate nations, and 
with " oral " literature. It takes less time and it requires 
less influence to disseminate a tale than to disseminate a 
language and cause it to be acquired. The difficulty of borrow 
ing is thus obviously eliminated. We have the fact that even 
the language had been borrowed and thoroughly assimilated. 
No archaic linguistic element has been found in these languages. 
And it is therefore not possible to postulate for the tales and 
apologues survivals of such antiquity as is now so often 

Two more points stand out clearly from this investigation 
into the history of the language : First, the existence of numer- 
ous layers in the modern languages, some elements being older, 
others of a more recent origin. There is no uniformity either 
in language or in literature, no contemporary unity of all the 
elements, but as far as can be seen none are very old, except a 
few stray elements of an older period which may have survived, 
always subject to the two fundamental conditions, ethnical 
and geographical continuity. 

The second point is the principle of concentric investigation. 
If tales and apologues are borrowed, then those nearest the 
centre will preserve the original form less changed ; and the 

2O Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

further a tale travels always by word of mouth the more it 
will lose of its original character and the more it will become 
mixed up and contaminated with other tales which have 
undergone a similar emaciating and attenuating process. 

Following up, then, this line of investigation, our first en- 
deavour is to find out whether there are parallels to these 
Rumanian animal tales among the nations round about, and 
if so, how far they agree with the Rumanian, and how far they 
differ. The fact itself that parallels exist would be an addi- 
tional proof that we are dealing here with matter introduced 
from elsewhere, matter that has been transmitted from nation 
to nation and possibly may have also reached the west of 
Europe, although very few traces have been preserved to this 
day. This is not yet a question of origin, but the next step 
towards the solution of the problem. For obviously, if these 
tales had been imported, their origin must be sought else- 
where. If we then compare Rumanian tales with those of 
the ancient Byzantine Empire and especially with those of 
the modern Greeks, then, in our case, it might be argued that 
the Greeks were the repositories of ancient folk-lore. The 
logical conclusion would be that these tales must be found 
most profusely and in a more archaic form in the folk-lore of 
modern Greece, and that the variants and parallels among the 
other nations must show a distinct falling away from the 
original types. Literary tradition or written folk-lore is, of 
course, excluded from this investigation, for once folk-lore 
becomes fixed by being written in a book it is no longer subject 
to any appreciable change. 

We are dealing here exclusively with the oral folk-lore of 
illiterate peoples. The relation between written and oral 
folk-lore and the mutual influence of one upon another will 
be incidentally touched upon in connection with the tales 
themselves. But, curiously enough, a comparison of these 
stories with the known and published tales of modern Greece 
is thoroughly disappointing. Only very few bird tales no 
insect or beast tales seem to have been preserved, and these 
mostly in Macedonia, the population of which is overwhelm- 

Introduction. 2 1 

ingly Slavonic, but scarcely any from among the Greeks 
proper inhabiting European Greece. On the other hand, 
those few tales, which have been mentioned by Abbott and 
Hahn, are very significant. They show the profound differ- 
ence which separates these modern bird tales from the " Meta- 
morphoses " known in ancient Greek mythology. A goodly 
number of changes into animals are recorded in ancient Greek 
literature. The story of Philomela and Halcyon is sufficiently 
well known. All these are, with perhaps a few exceptions, 
the results of the wrath of an offended god, rewards for acts of 
personal kindness or for steps taken to assuage physical pain. 
They are all strictly individual in character, and while none of 
them is intended to explain the origin of bird, beast or insect, 
still less are they of the " creation " type, in which each 
animal stands as the beginning of its species. And even in 
those few tales in which supernatural beings are mentioned, 
very little of the " Moirai " or goddesses of fate appears in 
the Greek form, though the belief in them is now very strong 
among modern Greeks. Even then these " Moirai " differ 
considerably from those of ancient Greek mythology. Their 
attributes differ and their appearance and shape have nothing 
in common with those of classical antiquity. The name also 
has assumed a peculiar significance, different from that of 
ancient times. This, then, is all which the modern Greeks 
have retained of the ancient goddesses of fate ; none of the 
other neighbouring nations knows the " Moirai " by name. 
They have other goddesses of fate, Vilas or Zanas, etc. 
Charon, who is now the angel of death among modern Greeks, 
is remembered by them also as the boatman who carries the 
souls over the waters of forgetfulness. The boatman alone 
may still be found in one tale or another retaining something 
of the Greek local colour. But no other direct parallels are 
found among the animal tales of modern Greece. Much 
greater, on the contrary, is the approximation with the 
Slavonic nations south and north of Rumania. 

Turning, then, from the Greek to the Slavonic tales, we shall 
find a much larger number of parallels between them and the 

22 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

Rumanian. In the collection of South Slavonic tales and 
fables published by Krauss only one or two real " creation " 
tales are found, and others are pure and simple animal tales 
of the type of the " Gnat and the Lion," " The Wedding 
Feast of Tom," etc., agreeing more or less with the Rumanian 
versions. They prove thereby the popular character of the 
Rumanian tales ; yet they differ sufficiently from them as is 
shown later on, when they are quoted in connection with the 
above. One of the creation stories is that of the sheep which, 
according to the South Slavonic tale, was made by the Evil 
One, when he boasted that he could improve on God's creation. 

Incidentally I may mention the collection of tales from the 
Saxon colony in Transylvania, collected by Haltrich. There 
is not one single " creation " tale among them. Only two of 
the Rumanian animal fables find their parallels in that col- 
lection. Turning to the Russian tales, notably the great 
collection of Afanasiev, we shall find a large number of animal 
tales, including also a number of " creation " tales. In the 
former the central figures are, as in the South Slavonic, 
Rumanian, Saxon, etc., the fox, the bear, the wolf, the hedge- 
hog and sometimes domestic animals, the dog, the cock, the 
hen, the duck, etc. The same can be said also of tales collected 
from the Lithuanians, Letts and Ruthenians, and to a smaller 
degree of those from the Poles and Czechs. All, however, have 
retained definite traces of such animal tales and legends. The 
animal character has been thoroughly preserved. The fox 
is generally the " clever " animal, but is, as often as not, out- 
witted by smaller animals or by man. The general trend of 
these animal tales is to pit the cunning of the smaller and 
weaker against that of the more powerful animal and to secure 
the victory for the former. It is so natural for the people, 
who live under the despotism of the mighty and powerful, to 
rejoice in seeing the discomfiture of the great and stupid 
brought about by the wit and cunning of the small and 
despised, and answers so aptly to their feelings. 

In these tales, which belong to the group of animal fables, 
we are in a different atmosphere, far removed from that of the 

Introduction. 2 3 

creation legend. We are approaching that phase in the 
evolution in which the animal stands for a disguised human 
being, which, in spite of its appellation, speaks and acts 
entirely in accordance with human ways and notions. These 
have not yet been found among the Rumanians and those 
nations whose folk-lore shows close affinity with theirs. 

Having thus far established that these animal tales, fables 
and creation legends are neither of a local nor an indigenous 
origin, nor survivals from a remote past, and also that the 
Rumanian tales do not stand isolated, but form part of a 
group of tales and legends common to most of the nations 
surrounding Rumania in a more or less complete degree, it 
behoves us to endeavour to trace these tales to their probable 
origin, and also to account for the shape which they have 
assumed, as shown in the course of this investigation. These 
tales among the Eastern nations of Europe are so much akin 
to one another that they must have reached these nations 
almost simultaneously. All must have stood under the same 
influence, which must have been powerful and lasting enough 
to leave such indelible traces in the belief and ifi the imagina- 
tion of the people. 

A great difficulty arises, when we attempt to define the 
influence which brought these stories and fables to the nations 
of the near East and thence to the West. Some have connected 
them with the invasion of the Mongols. If similar tales could 
be found among them, such a date might fit also the intro- 
duction of the animal tales into Eastern Europe, especially 
if they had originally a Buddhist background. Nothing, in 
fact, could apparently harmonise better with the Buddhist 
teaching of Metempsychosis and the principle of man's 
transformation into beast in order to expiate for sins com- 
mitted than some of these tales. Of course, Egyptian influences 
cannot be overlooked in this connection. I may refer to them 
later on. The burden of the majority is indeed that the birds 
and insects are, in fact, nothing else than human beings 
transformed into ungainly shapes for some wrong which they 
have done. 

24 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

Many theories have been put forward on the mediation, 
among them also the theory of transmission by the Gipsies. 
These came first to Thrace, and lived long enough among the 
nations of the Balkans, in Rumania and Russia, to have 
exercised a possible influence upon them. But this theory 
can be dismissed briefly. The Gipsies are not likely carriers 
of folk-tales. They came too late, and their march through 
Europe is nothing if not a long-drawn agony of suspicion, 
hatred, persecution. 

Some occult practices may have been taken over by some 
adepts of the lower forms of magic, and possibly Playing 
Cards, originally an oracle of divining the future, may have 
been brought by the Gipsies to Europe, but popular tales, 
though they possess a good number, have certainly not been 
communicated to Europe by them. They never had the 
favourable occasion for meeting the people on a footing of 
equality, or of entering with them into any intimate inter- 

The Gipsy of the Rumanian fairy tale is mostly a villain, 
and is merely the local substitute for the Arab or Negro of the 
Eastern parallels. In the Rumanian popular jests the Gipsy is 
always the fool. From such as these the people would have 
nothing to learn. 

Next the Mongolian theory has long been put forward as a 
plausible explanation, for it has been believed that Russia 
formed one of the channels of transmission. This latter 
assumption, however, rests on a geographical misconception, 
and also on a want of historical knowledge. Up to com- 
paratively modern times, the whole of the South of Russia 
was inhabited by Tartars, and the Mongolian influence upon 
Russia could not pass the border of the so-called White Russia. 
Nor can a temporary invasion of Europe by the Mongolians, 
who left ruin and desolation behind them, have been the means 
by which such tales could be introduced. They are told at the 
peaceful fireside or in the spinning-rooms, and are not carried 
by the wings of the arrow sped from the enemy's bow, nor are 
they accepted if presented on the point of the sword. They 

Introduction. 2 5 

are frightened away by the din of battle. Years must pass 
ere the blood is staunched, the wounds healed, and only after 
peaceable concord and social harmony have been established, 
can a spiritual interchange take place ; this was impossible 
between Russians or Mongols. We must look elsewhere, then, 
for a possible channel of transmission, always subject to the 
theory of " migration." 

Besides, to Kieff, the centre of Russian inspiration, the 
place hallowed by the minstrels and poets, the Mongols never 
came. The only influence which prevailed there was that of 
Byzance, and to that we shall have to look as the channel of 
transmission and the centre of dissemination of these tales 
and legends. These had come from Asia, carried on the 
crest of the wave of that religious movement known as 
Manichaeism and Bogomilism, and from there they started 
their triumphant course throughout Europe. They came 
along with other religious legends, carried by the current of 
thought which also taught the doctrine of Dualism and 
Metempsychosis. This is the only possible Source for most 
of the legends and tales found among the Rumanians and 
Slavs, and, as will be seen, it must have been the primary 
source for such tales in the West of Europe. 

A dualistic heterodox teaching with such a background 
reached from the confines of India far into the South of 
France across central Europe. It was probably the same 
agency which transformed the life of Buddha into the legends 
of the saints Barlaam and Josaphat. 

Nor is this the only legend invented, manipulated and 
circulated by the numerous Gnostic sects. Those who have 
studied the history of the apocryphal literature are fully 
aware of the apocryphal Gospels, Acts of the Apostles and 
of the rest of the apocryphal tales which were already put 
on the " Index/' in the first centuries of the common era. 

Some of the cosmogonic tales of the dualistic origin of the 
world, of the influence of the Evil Spirit, of the origin of the 
Bee, the Glow-worm, the Wolf and others show unmistakably 
such a Gnostic origin. 

26 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

It is therefore not too much to assume that they have 
been brought to Europe and disseminated by the same 
agency. These sectaries alone came into direct contact 
with the masses of the people. They preached their doc- 
trines to the lowly and the poor. They were known them- 
selves as the pure (Cathars) and the poor (Pobres). They 
alone reached the heart of the people, and were able to influence 
them to a far higher degree than the murderous Mongols, or 
other nations that ravaged the country. 

The dualistic tales connected with the story of the Creation 
are found also among other nations, especially among those 
in Russia and in the countries which belonged to the ancient 
Persian Empire. Dahnhardt, who has made the investigation 
of such legends and tales the object of special study (Natur- 
sagen, i. ; Berlin 1907), comes to the same conclusion that 
they rest ultimately on the Iranian dualism of the Avesta. 
He believes that Zoroastrian teaching has penetrated far 
into the North and West, and has produced these peculiar 
dualistic cosmogonic legends. 

The point to bear in mind in this investigation of the origin 
of the Rumanian tales and legends is not so much to trace 
the remote possible source of dualism, but the immediate 
influences which have been brought to bear upon the shape 
which these legends have taken. This is the salient problem. 
Dahnhardt, of course, discusses the further development of 
the dualistic conception, through Manichaeism and Bogomil- 
ism, and thus far is helpful in establishing the connection 
between Iran and Thrace, and in strengthening the argument 
that we must trace a number of these " creation " legends 
to the propaganda of these sects. 

It must be remembered that these tales in the European 
versions have a thoroughly Christian aspect. They pre- 
suppose the existence of God and His saints ; nay, they show 
a close acquaintance with apocryphal narratives, which have 
gathered round the canonical biblical stories and episodes. 
The Evil Spirit is a clearly-defined personality, and his anta- 
gonism to God is not of the pronounced acute controversial 

Introduction. 2 7 

type as is the Angromainya who, in the teaching of the 
Avesta, is the direct opponent and almost negative of God. 

A complete transformation had taken place ere these tales 
became the property of the Rumanian peasants, and for 
that, also, of the Russian and other North-Eastern peoples, 
who also have similar tales akin to certain of the cosmogonic 
legends to which reference will be made at the proper 
place in the short notes to the stories themselves. It will 
not be disputed that some of them are imported, i.e. belong 
to the circulating stock of popular literature. Mongolian in- 
fluence as already remarked above is entirely excluded, 
in spite of Dahnhardt. The Mongols never came in direct 
contact either with the Rumanians or with the nations of 
the Balkans, who also possess a number of similar tales, and 
must have derived them from another source, more direct 
and, as will be seen, more complete than the versions published 
by Dahnhardt from Russia, Lithuania, Finland and Esthonia, 
not to speak of Noithern Asiatic nations. Of real animal 
tales there are only a few among those studied by Dahnhardt, 
such as a peculiar version of " the Bee and Creation," very 
much shorter than the Rumanian version ; then a version 
of the creation of the Wolf and the Lamb, and of the Goat's 
knees. These are all taken by Dahnhardt from South- 
Slavonic and Albanian collections, again corroborating the 
view that we have to look to the Balkans as the immediate 
centre of this class of " creation " tales, and then further 
back to Asia Minor. 

The appearance of the " Creation " legends in a compila- 
tion of the seventh or eighth century is not to be taken as 
the date of their origin. They may be very much older, 
and no doubt are, and may have formed part of a primitive 
Physiologus in which the origin as well as the peculiarities of 
the various birds and beasts were described. This is not 
the place to discuss the remarkable history of the Physiologus. 
The only point to be noted is that the symbolical and alle- 
gorical interpretation of the tales contained in the Physiologus 
is of a strictly religious Christian character. 

28 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

The absence from the popular literature of such bird and 
beast tales as are found in the Physiologus the Bestiaires of 
the West is not surprising, for the Physiologus deals mostly 
with animals and birds which are of an outlandish character. 
Very few have any reference to the animals with which the 
people are familiar, and in which alone they take an interest. 

Though the book was known also among the Rumanians, 
only a faint trace of it could be detected among the popular 
tales in the present collection. The oldest Fathers of the 
Church made use of this Physiologus in their homilies, and 
the other sects have no doubt done the same. Some of the 
creation legends may have found their way into the old 
legendary homiletical interpretation of the creation, like the 
Hexameron of Basil, and other kindred compilations. All 
these tales form part of a wider cycle of allegorised animal 
fables. In Jewish literature a collection of Fox fables is 
mentioned as early as the second or third century. 

Indian literature is full of such animal tales, approxi- 
mating often to some of the Rumanian fables. The collec- 
tions of Frere, Temple, Steele, Skeat, and Parker abound in 
such animal tales, in which the more nimble and quick- 
witted, though small and weak, animal regularly gets the 
best of the bigger and stronger, yet duller and slower rival. 
No moral lesson is squeezed out of the tales, and the animal 
is not a thinly-disguised human being. Yet there can be no 
greater fallacy than, guided by this similarity, to assume a 
direct Indian origin for the Rumanian fables. 

None of these animal tales finish with the usual " moral," 
known to us from Aesop onward. Nor do the people 
seem to be influenced by these artificial fables. In the 
literary European fable the animal is merely a disguised 
human being. The animals are performing acts which have 
nothing of the animal in them. The Indian and Oriental 
fable differs in this respect from the European, inasmuch as 
in a good number of them the animal character of the 
performing beasts is faithfully preserved. Exactly the 
same happens with the Rumanian animal fables. The cat 

Introduction. 29 

does not play the r61e of the queen, and the fox is not a sly 
courtier. Cat is cat, and fox is fox. And yet they were not 
unaware of the fables of Aesop. I have found these fables 
in many old Rumanian manuscripts, and one of the first 
printed popular books of the country was the Collection of. 

Unquestionably a good many proverbs are intimately con- 
nected with tales. The " moral " in Aesop has often dwindled 
down to a simple proverb, or has expanded out of it. These, 
proverbs are, as it were, succinct conclusions drawn out by 
the people. Anton Pann (in the middle of the last century) 
to whom the Rumanian popular literature will for ever remain 
indebted therefore calls his Collection of Proverbs and 
Tales " Povestea vorbii." i.e. " The tale which hangs by the 
Proverb." One and all of the hundred tales found in the 
second and last edition of this book are mostly of a purely 
popular origin. The process throughout is not to invent 
a story for the moral, but the " moral," such as it is, is to 
flow naturally from the story. 

This is not the place to discuss the origin of the animal 
fable in general. But one cannot overlook the fact that all 
the Indian fables with the exception of some embodied in 
the Panchatantra are found in modern collections. All 
that we know of them is that they live actually in the mouth 
of the modern people. They may be old, they may be of 
more recent date. 

Against these modern collections must be set now the 
story of Ahikar, which carries us back at least to the fifth 
century B.C., and is thus far the oldest record of animal 
tales. It has become one of the popular stories which circu- 
lated in a written form, and became the source of many a 
quaint proverb, as probably also of some animal tales. 

The recent discovery among the Papyri of Elephantine in 
Southern Egypt of the Story of Ahikar has carried back the 
knowledge of allegorical beast fables to at least the fifth 
century B.C. For not only do we find in that story the 
prototype of the life of Aesop, but also a number of maxims 

30 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

and saws, and not a few beast tales, which are mentioned 
by Ahikar in order to teach his ungrateful nephew Nadan. 
We find there, e.g. the prototype of " pious " wolf, who 
appears in the Ahikar story as an innocent student, but who 
cannot take in the lesson given to him, his mind wandering 
to the sheep. There are other wolf, fox, rat and bird fables 
in the Rumanian and, still more so, in the Oriental and other 
versions. Ahikar himself relates the beast tales, allowing 
Nadan to draw the lesson. By the manner in which these 
tales are referred to, it is obvious that they must have been 
well known tales current among the people. 

The real importance of this discovery lies in the fact that 
we have here a number of cleverly-used popular animal tales, 
more than two thousand years old, whose home was in all 
probability Syria or Egypt, embedded in a collection which 
has deeply influenced the apocryphal Book of Tobit, and to a 
certain degree even the writers of the New Testament, as 
shown by Professors Rendel Harris and Conybeare in the 
Introduction to their edition of the Story of Ahikar (second 
edition). The claim for an Indian origin of these fables will 
have to be abandoned, unless someone could show older 
writings from India, and the possible road by which these 
fables could have reached the Western shore of Asia Minor 
and been taken up by the peoples of Syria and Egypt at such 
an early date. It is not at all unlikely that some of the 
fables, just as they travelled westwards, also travelled east- 
wards and found a home in India as they found a home 
in Rumania and Russia. If one remembers now that the 
fabulous " Life " of Aesop ascribed to Planudes is almost 
identical with part of that of Ahikar, as I have shown, as 
far back as 1883 in my History of the Rumanian Popular 
Literature (Bucharest 1883, p. 104 ff.), it will not be difficult to 
account for the West -Asiatic origin of the fables themselves. 

From a Rumanian MS. of the eighteenth century, I have 
since published the fuller narrative of that version in an 
English translation (the Journal of the Royal As. Soc., 1900, 
pp. 301-319). The two tales contained therein have also been 

Introduction. 3 1 

leprinted here at the end of the collection, especially as they 
vary somewhat from the other ancient and mediaeval recen- 
sions of the Story of Ahikar. This story has become one of 
the Rumanian popular chap-books in the shortened version 
of Anton Pann. The practical application of the fable, the 
" moralisation," is a second stage, limited, as it seems, to the 
purely literary composition. The people put their own 
interpretations upon the fables and often dispensed with any 
such interpretations. 

We are brought back again to the same centre, Syria and 
Byzance, for the dissemination of these fables. Such tales 
were then within the reach of the teaching of the various 
sects, such as Manichaeans, Bogomils, Cathars, etc., and 
travelled with them from East to West, where they met 
the other current of the Aesopian fables transmitted to 
the West through Latin and Arabic sources. According to 
this theory the religious sectarians made deft use also of 
animal tales, for the purpose of inculcating a moral, of draw- 
ing a lesson, of holding up the Church and State to the ridicule 
and contempt of the masses, and thus creating the animal 
satire, the best type of which is the cycle of Reynard the 
Fox. I am not oblivious of the fact that an allegorical use 
has been made of animal tales in the Arabic literature, such 
as the " Judgment of the Animals," under the title of Hai 
ben Yokdhan, written in Arabic by Ibn Tophail, translated 
into English by Simon Ockley in 1711, in which the lion holds 
a court, and animal after animal appears to accuse man ; 
or the collection of Sahula (thirteenth cent.) in his ancient 
apologue Mashal ha-kadmoni. But there is no real connec- 
tion between this cycle and that of Reynard the Fox. 

Any reference to the epic of Reynard the Fox must be 
incidental. It can only be alluded to here, and not followed 
up in detail. A real Western origin for these tales, taking 
them separately or as " branches," as they appear in the old 
French versions, has not been found, nor any explanation 
for their sudden appearance in the eleventh or twelfth 

32 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

There are two or three points in connection with this cycle 
which have to be kept steadily in view. In the first place its 
almost complete independence of the purely Aesopian fable 
with its polished form, with its thinly-disguised human 
attributes, and with its stilted and stiff " moral." Though 
modified somehow in Babrius, Avianus, even Marie de France 
and Berachya, this latter cycle belongs more to the literary 
class. The " clerks " could not take umbrage at them. Not 
so the tales in the Reynard, cycle. They are thoroughly 
popular. The animals retain their natural attributes, they 
act as they are expected to do, and they are utilised in the 
same manner as " political broadsides " were in later times. 
The human beings represented in these " satirical sheets " are 
disguised as animals, and not the animals disguised as human 
beings. There lies the profound difference between these two 
sets of beast tales. 

And because of their animal propensity, the human beings 
are ridiculed and lampooned in the form of animals and 
held up to the scorn and laughter of the reader. The bad 
man, as in the old story of Ahikar, is likened to the beast, 
and chastised accordingly. The popular origin and character 
of this kind of satire is self-evident. Courtiers and clerks 
would not attempt such persiflage of their superiors, and 
certainly not in so sustained a manner. 

Of the men thus ridiculed none are so virulently assailed 
as the Clergy. People do not mind occasionally a slight 
skit on priests and other privileged classes, and there are 
abundant fabliaux which leave very little to be desired 
from the point of view of ridicule. But to have singled out 
the Clergy for such unmeasured vituperation shows a deliber- 
ate attempt to lower and destroy the influence and authority 
of the Church in general and of its ministers in particular. 
Only partisans of heterodox teaching could find pleasure 
and profit in applying the beast tales to break down the 
walls of the Church. Only men in contact with the masses 
could throw that leaven of critical examination into the 
hearts of the people and open their eyes by means of animal 

Introduction. 33 

tales to the weaknesses and vices of their official clergy. 
Such outspoken criticism seldom comes from within. It is 
often imported wholesale from without, or at least comes 
from an opposing quarter. In their polemical propaganda 
these heterodox teachers brought and used also some of 
those fox tales for which, significantly enough, parallels are 
to be found mostly in Slavonic tales from Russia and the 

If such be the partial origin of these Reynard tales, one 
can easily understand why they appeared in the eleventh 
or twelfth century, and notably in the countries then the 
very centres of such heterodox teaching : South of France, 
Flanders and elsewhere. A very remarkable fact seems to 
corroborate this hypothesis. One of the presumed authors 
of a " branch " of the French Reynard cycle, Pierre Cloot, 
was burnt in Paris in 1208 for heresy. Here we have a man 
who paid with his life for his heretic faith, actually working 
on these tales. It may be a mere coincidence, still some 
connection between the Reynard poem and " heretics " 
cannot be denied. 

With the victory of the Church, Reynard nearly disappeared, 
yet that satirical leaven has continued to work in those 
political animal broadsides, which stretch from the " Who 
killed Cock Robin ? " in England to " Who killed the Cat ? " 
in Russia among the Russian broadsides. 

There remains now still one section of these Rumanian 
tales to be considered, that in which the origin of the animal 
is closely connected with what is commonly known as the 
fairy tale. It is just in this fact that the pre-eminence of 
these tales can be found. It is like a window through which 
the East is looking westwards. It is noteworthy that the 
" fairy tales " found here connected with the origin of the 
birds and beasts do not stand so isolated as the legends. 
To more than one of them parallels may be adduced from 
other than Eastern collections. In spite of similarity, they 
differ, however, in many points so profoundly that they lead 
to a very serious question. It cannot be passed over, though 

34 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

it cannot be treated here at such length as the problem raised 
would demand. To put it briefly, the difference between 
these fairy tales and those of the West, is that in these ver- 
sions of the former a " moral " or perhaps a plausible reason 
is given to the fairy tale which is often missing in the general 
form of the fairy tales. 

The question has been asked repeatedly, " What is the 
meaning of such and such a tale," e.g. the " Cinderella " 
tales or " Bluebeard " ? To Miss Cox's indefatigable labour 
we owe a monumental investigation of the first-mentioned 
tale, and yet for all that the main question has remained 
unanswered. This is but one example out of many. 

Every collection of fairy tales teems with them. Of 
course, the aesthetic pleasure of seeing innocence triumphant 
and virtue rewarded might be a sufficient motive, and no 
doubt often is. The people like to see, in the imaginary tale, 
a vindication of the justice which they often miss in real 
life. The adventurous hero will also appeal to the chivalrous 
instincts of the people, and especially to the young. Such 
tales as the epic romances of old require no further explana- 
tion. Still there are a good many fairy tales the reason 
and meaning of which are anything but clear. If it can now 
be shown that there is a cosmogonic background, or one which 
gives the clue to it, inasmuch as it tells the " origin " of 
certain creatures, such a tale is at once its own explanation 
and justification : if e.g. the final development of " Cin- 
derella " is not that she becomes the wife of a prince, but 
that she becomes the " dove " or the " sparrow," then 
"Cinderella" assumes a definite meaning. Under other influ- 
ences, when such heterodox teachings cannot be tolerated by the 
powers that be, obviously the creation tales, with this specific 
character, had to lose their " tail," as the stork does in the 
story, and hence the fairy tale became partly meaningless. 
Thus, if the " Bluebeard " could no longer be " a cannibal," 
as in the tale No. 83, such a person not being tolerated in 
a modern state, except as a wizard, lycanthropos, or werwolf, 
he had to be changed into what he is now. The modern 

Introduction. 35 

" Bluebeard " is a mere pale reflex of the original monster. 
He does not even make the flesh creep sufficiently. This 
watering down may have taken place also in other tales 
which appear to us without any sense. They have lost that 
decisive part which gave point to the story. 

I am fully aware of the objection which could be raised 
against this view of the original character of some of our 
fairy tales. It might be urged with some show of plausi- 
bility that the process might have been an inverse one, that 
the popular story-teller used a fairy tale to tack on his moral, 
that the question of the origin of the bird or insect was an 
" after-thought," and did not belong originally to the tale. 
Theoretically, such an objection could be urged, and it might 
even gain in force if applied to the fairy tales of the West. 
Andersen, not to speak of minor poets, would supply a proof 
of it. But we must bear in mind that we are dealing with 
the unsophisticated people, who would not use the folk- 
lore material in the manner of the literary artist. They have 
no preconceived idea to which a tale or legend is made artifi- 
cially to fit. Moreover, these tales and legends are believed 
in implicitly. They bear the stamp of their primitiveness. 
They do not represent a later degree of development, such as 
the parallels from the West often show. The existence side 
by side with them of other creation tales of animals is 
an additional support of the view that the fairy tales have 
not been " edited " or adapted to cosmogonic purposes to 
explain the origin of beast and bird. 

Fairy tales are, as a rule, taken out of the range of the sur- 
vival theory. The similarity of fairy tales, so striking among 
a large number of nations, precludes the possibility of seeing 
in them local survivals, and yet it appears unscientific to 
separate one section of oral literature from the other. The 
line of demarcation between creation legend and creation 
fairy tale is so thin that it is often indistinguishable. Both 
spring from the same root, and the theory that endeavours 
to explain the origin of the one must also be applicable to 
the other. 

36 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

In the theory of survivals, however, no attempt is made 
to deal at the same time with the question of origins. It 
has not yet been made clear, by any of the more prominent 
representatives of the theory of survivals, how the similarity 
in customs and ceremonies is to be explained, in tales and 
fables, between the most diverse nations living separated from 
one another. If these survivals represent local tradition, 
which has persisted throughout the ages, how, then, does it 
come to pass that they should resemble so closely other 
ceremonies and customs observed by different nations also 
as local traditions ? Is it to be inferred that at some distant 
time, far back in the prehistoric ages, some such ceremonies 
were used, that, in spite of evolution and separation, they have 
survived everywhere almost unchanged, in spite of the pro- 
found modifications of the nations in their ethnical, political 
and religious status ? Either they are local inventions, in 
which case they could not resemble any other, or they all go 
back to one common stock, and have survived in such a 
miraculous manner contrary to every law of human nature. 
The only explanation feasible and satisfactory is, I believe, 
the theory of transmission from nation to nation ; those 
resembling one another closely in modern Europe are not 
of so early an age as has hitherto been assumed, but have 
come at a certain time from one definite centre, and were 
propagated among the nations, and disseminated by means 
of a great religious movement at a time when the political 
and national consolidation of the peoples of Europe had 
already assumed a definite shape. 

To this conclusion we are forced by the examination of 
these Rumanian animal tales in their manifold aspect, " crea- 
tion " tales, fables, fairy tales. They are all more or less of 
comparatively recent origin. They owe their actual shape 
to the dualistic teaching of the Manichaeans and Bogomils. 
They have come by these intermediaries of the religious sects 
from Syria and the Balkans. These tales stopped first among 
the nations in the Near East, and then by the same agency 
were carried to the extreme West. Only in such wise can we 

Introduction. 3 7 

explain the appearance of these tales whatever their archaic 
character may be among nations of comparatively recent 
origin like those now under consideration, Rumanians, 
Bulgars, Russians and even Saxons and Hungarians. This 
is the only possible explanation of the very remarkable 
dualistic character, and of the peculiar teachings embodied 
in these tales. For, whatever these nations have in common, 
there cannot be any question of survivals, for the reasons 
advanced above. All the nations are comparatively modern. 
It is impossible to assume that what might be a Latin sur- 
vival among the Rumanians could be so closely connected 
with what might be a Turanian survival among the Bulgars 
or a Pelasgian survival among the Albanians. There might 
be found among these tales traces of more ancient beliefs, 
myths and customs, just as it is possible to find similar traces 
among the folk-lore of the nations of the West. But what I 
contend is that these are not local survivals that, whatever 
their primitive character may be, they need not originally 
belong to the nations among whom they are found now. 
They were brought by the same movement that brought 
the tales and legends, customs and ceremonies. The new 
and the old were carried along by the same stream of tradi- 
tion and religious influence. An adjustment and readjust- 
ment of materials, the placing of layer upon layer, localisation 
and assimilation then took place. But these are rocks 
swept along by the stream and deposited far away from the 
place of origin, or, to take another simile, that of the insect 
and the amber. The amber has been carried from the 
North Sea many centuries ago, nay, thousands of years ago, 
along the trade routes from North to South, and has found 
its way also to ancient Egypt. Embedded in the amber we 
have here and there a North European insect which was 
caught at the time when the amber was still a liquid, and, 
imprisoned in it, became fossilised, and was carried a long 
distance. If found, then, among the beads in the tombs of 
the ancient Pharaohs, no one could say that that insect 
was of Egyptian origin, or that fly a remnant of the local 

38 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

fauna. It had come thither together with the amber that 
carried it, and may have remained there if the amber 
had decayed. 

In the same manner ancient customs, ancient beliefs and 
ancient tradition have been caught in the liquid tales, apologues 
and legends, like the fly in the amber, and carried along with 
them from East to West. In this manner they may perhaps 
be termed survivals, but survivals of a different kind than 
has been assumed hitherto. They have survived only as 
long as they were tolerated in the lore of the people. 

Hand in hand with dissemination go the assimilation and 
localisation of these diverse elements. It is impossible to do 
more within the compass of this introduction than merely 
touch the fringe of a far-reaching problem which arises 
from the examination of these peculiar beast and bird 
tales. One of the most instructive examples of this religious 
syncretism, of the manner in which it has influenced the 
people, and the form in which it has been preserved, localised, 
and assimilated, among them, is shown to advantage in the 
stories of the origin of the Glow-worm and in the stories of 
the Bee. Some of the cosmogonic legends of the Rumanians 
are also found among the Balkan people. They are a frag- 
mentary reflex of a great conception of the world. If I may 
use the mystical and symbolical language of the legends, 
they are also sparks from a great light that had fallen down 
from heaven. The creation of man, the fall of the angels, 
are here curiously blended together. They represent part of 
the teaching that went under many names but, in essence, 
was one. That is, of course, the belief in the dualism of 
the creative powers, the good God and the wicked one, styled 

From these tales and legends, which are derived from well- 
known apocryphal writings, we can see how deeply the latter 
have entered the life of nations which have not yet fallen 
under the unifying sway of strict dogmatism, and how unable 
the people are to grasp the higher spiritual interpretations of 
the dogmas and practices of the Church. 

Introduction. 39 

From a purely dogmatic point of view, all these tales are 
rank heresy ; but who among the simple folk knows the 
distinction between orthodox and heretical teaching ? The 
people are more easily disposed towards a simple philosophy 
which explains satisfactorily the phenomena of life. They 
listen with pleasure to tales of imagination. One of the 
fundamental theories of Gnosticism or, rather later, of dualism, 
is this peculiar conception of the creation. The world is 
divided between the power of light and the power of darkness. 
The latter is anxious to participate in the possession of light, 
and for that reason steals some, which it breaks up into 
sparks and covers over with thick matter so that it may 
not escape. These sparks are the human soul deeply em- 
bedded in human clay, anxious always to be reunited with 
the ancient glory. 

In this Gnostic teaching we have the very source of the 
legend of these angelic sparks now relegated to glow-worms, 
originally placed in other " earthly worms " the human 
race. We hear, moreover, the faint echo of the fall of the 
angels and of the angels of a lower rank inhabiting (and ruling) 
the planets and the stars. We even have the legend, found 
in the Book of Enoch, of the angels who fell in love with a 
woman and remain upon earth as evil spirits, whilst she is 
translated to heaven and becomes a star. The interest lies 
not only in the fact that these ancient religious conceptions 
have been so faithfully preserved among the people, but also 
in the manner of their preservation. They have been adapted 
to the understanding of the folk, and, from dogmatic teachings, 
they have become beautiful popular legends. But the inner 
meaning has been entirely lost. The old sparks have been 
embedded in very thick clay indeed, as can be seen in the 
treatment meted out to God, Christ, the Virgin, the Apostles 
and Saints. They are greeted with an apparent lack of 
reverence and respect that must disturb the equanimity of 
people of a Puritanic mind. The gods could not have been 
put on a footing of greater familiarity ; it almost borders on 
the burlesque. Primitive nations show the same apparent 

40 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

want of respect to their gods, idols or fetishes, and we are 
inclined to put them on a lower scale of faith and reverence 
than the peoples of Europe. 

A better knowledge of the life and religion of the peoples 
in the East and of the Eastern part of Europe would soon 
change such a view. In fact, I believe, that if we could 
descend to the lower depths of the masses of Western Europe, 
and especially of those in Catholic countries, and get a peep 
into their innermost soul, we should not find it very different 
from that of the Slav and the Rumanian. The Saints are 
not treated differently in Spain and in Italy on the one hand, 
or in Rumania and in Bulgaria, or even Russia, on the other. 
They have all the same essential conditions in common, viz. 
all have a Pantheon of Saints of various degrees and of both 
sexes. In Protestant countries the people have been im- 
poverished. All the saints have been driven away ; a cold 
abstract spirituality has taken their place, and yet depth 
of fervour and strength of belief cannot be denied to these 
Eastern peoples. There is, moreover, a sufficient fund of 
humour and innate rectitude to keep them at a certain level 
of morality and albeit free from the hypocrisy of the so-called 
higher civilisation. So that, if the Rumanians take liberties 
with God and the Church and the Saints, and pay homage 
to the Devil by mocking and laughing at the jokes which God 
performs for his confusion, it is all done more in the spirit 
of good-natured banter, not in that of polemical or fanatical 
intolerance. Why should the poor Devil not also occasionally 
have a good time ? He is always sure to be outwitted in the 
long run. 

I am fully aware of the objection that may be laised 
against attributing so much influence to the activity and 
propaganda of the heretical sects. It may be argued, that 
their influence was not in any way commensurate with the 
results ascribed to them, that they did not carry the masses 
with them to such an extent as to leave indelible traces on 
their religious life and popular imagery. Some may go so 
far as to look upon their activity as similar to that of some of 

Introduction. 4 1 

the mendicant friars during the Middle Ages. Yet the mendi- 
cant friars were able to exercise a tremendous influence upon 
the people and, helped by other political powers, they were 
able to create a movement which led up to the Crusades. 
It seized upon the masses of Europe with an irresistible force. 
In a minor, yet no less effective manner, the same agencies 
were able to arm the Kings of France against the Albigenses in 
Provence. Church history, however, shows very clearly 
that the power of the Manichaeans was so great that it has 
taken the Church many centuries to bring the fight to a 
satisfactory close. The Cathars (pure) have given the name 
Ketzer to the German heretics, and every language in Europe 
shows traces of this heretic nomenclature. The struggle was 
a terrible and a long one, and if it had not been for the secular 
arm which placed itself at the service of the Church for political 
reasons, who knows whether the Romish Church would have 
come out victorious in the struggle ? 

The question may be asked, How did it come about, that 
the teaching of an obscure sect could be propagated from the 
Black Sea to the Atlantic and could win the support of so 
many peoples ? The answer lies in a fact which has hitherto 
been entirely ignored. The connection between Arianism 
and Manichaeism in Europe has to my mind not yet been 
even hinted at ; yet there must have been a very close and 
intimate one. Arianism, in fact, prepared the ground for the 
new wave of heretical teaching which, a few centuries after 
the former's official extinction, followed in its wake. No one 
has, as yet, endeavoured to trace the effect which the Arian 
teaching has had in Europe when it became the national 
faith of the Goths. In them we have a nation which, from 
the third century to the end of the sixth, practically dominated 
central Europe. It established more than one kingdom be- 
tween the Black Sea and the Atlantic, in Illyricum, in Northern 
Italy, one of might and strength in the South of France in Pro- 
vence, with its headquarters in Toulouse. It had overflowed 
into Spain, and broke down only after the invasion of the 
Arabs. These Goths are described as rude barbarians, because 

42 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

they differed in their life, and probably in their original forms 
of faith, from the Greeks and the Romans. The modern idea 
is that their original home was somewhere in the North- West 
of Europe, that they came along the Vistula, and then migrated 
to the country between the Don and the Ural. 

This is not the place to discuss the question of their original 
home, yet the whole history of the migration of the nations 
shows that the movement came also from the same direction 
as that of the other nations which followed upon one another 
from east to west, and that these migrations were prompted 
by tremendous political changes among the nations of Central 
Asia. It is therefore probable that the Goths migrated from 
the western shore of the Caspian Sea, somewhere near Lake 
Ascanius hence the confusion then to the countries between 
the Ural and Don, and thence by slow degrees southwards 
and westwards. This would explain many obscure points 
in the migration of the Goths. Be it as it may, we find 
them in the second century settled in those very countries 
in which we now find the Ruthenians and the Rumanians, 
and stretching further into Pannonia. The Goths are said 
to have adopted Christianity towards the end of the third 
century, as it is alleged, by priests and lay Christians 
brought as captives from Cappadocia and other parts of Asia 
Minor. As early as the Council of Nicaea, 325, a Gothic bishop 
is mentioned among the signatories to the decrees. An out- 
standing figure of the Gothic Christians was Ulftlas, who, 
owing to pressure from the non-converted section of the 
Goths, crossed the Danube and settled at the foot of Mount 
Haemus (the Balkans) in the middle of the fourth century. 
He had become converted to the Arian doctrine, and took 
part in the Council under the Emperor Valens, which was 
held in Constantinople in 358. 

Theodosius, who became the Great after his recantation 
of Arianism, towards the end of the fourth century, promulgated 
decree after decree, one more drastic than the other, for the 
persecution and extirpation of this heresy ; in fact, he was the 
very first to establish an inquisition of faith. The example 

Introduction. 43 

set by Theodosius was followed afterwards by the Catholic 
Emperors and Kings of the West, even down to the Holy Office, 
as the Inquisition was afterwards called. But, in spite of 
this, Arianism spread among the Goths, and, whatever were 
their political vicissitudes, they kept staunch to this pecu- 
liar form of Christianity, the greatest and most powerful 
enemy of the orthodox and Catholic Church. They spread 
eastwards and westwards, partly as vassals of the Huns 
and partly acting quite independently under their own 
kings and rulers. They overran the Balkan peninsula, 
destroying every heathen temple, and not sparing Catholic 
churches. They then sacked Rome, entered Gaul, and 
occupied the South of France, with Toulouse as the capital. 
They spread into Burgundy and conquered Spain. It took 
many battles and many centuries to break the political power 
of the Goths. It was rather the subtle influences of the 
Catholic women than religious conviction that brought 
about the conversion to Catholicism of the Gothic rulers in 
Spain and Italy. The Catholic Church, in the year 507, armed 
the Frankish King Clovis who adopted Catholicism against 
the Gothic Arian King Alaric, and thus brought about the 
first " crusade " between Catholics and heretics in the country 
north of the Pyrenees. A crusade was to be renewed here- 
after for a second time against the Albigenses in the very 
same country and against the very same cities. Unfortun- 
ately very little is known of the beliefs and practices of 
the half-heathen, half-Christian Goths. The fact, however, 
remains that they held on to their faith for many centuries 
in spite of the official conversion of the leaders. In Bur- 
gundy, Arianism persisted down to the sixth century, and 
among the Lombards (merely another tribal name for Goths) 
in Northern Italy, it persisted to the eighth century. 

Meanwhile, other nations poured into the Balkans. Whether 
they entirely annihilated the Goths, or whether they assimi- 
lated with them, will remain a problem unsolved. Very few 
Gothic words can, however, be traced among the nations of 
the Balkans. The Slavs, probably coming from Pannonia, 

44 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

are first noticed in large numbers in the fifth and the sixth 
centuries. The Bulgars from the old haunts of the Goths 
near the Volga came in the seventh century. The last 
heathen king was Boris, who was converted to Christianity 
in the middle of the ninth century. No sooner has Christianity 
an official status among the Bulgars than we hear of the 
heresy of the Bogomils and Cathars spreading among them 
to such an extent that they almost overthrew the orthodox 
Church. The break between the eastern and western Churches 
between Constantinople and Rome at the end of the ninth 
century also contributed, in a way, to weaken the allegiance 
of the faithful to the orthodox Church, and the manner in 
which the Orthodox vilified the Catholics must have been 
quite sufficient to reconcile the people to heterodox doctrines. 
Manichaeans and Bogomils took advantage of the schism 
and the violence of the two parties to win the people over to 
their tenets. Bogomilism in a slightly varied form, as Cathars 
and Albigenses, etc., spread henceforth from east to west, 
following exactly the same course as that taken by the Goths 
in their migration from east to west. The ground had been 
prepared for them, the seed had been sown, and the work 
was made easy for them by the preceding Arians. 

There is one feature in this schismatic movement, the 
importance of which cannot be appraised too highly. The 
Word of God was taught in the vernacular, the Bible and, 
along with it, uncanonical writings, were translated into the 
vernacular. While the Orthodox and Catholic Churches 
kept strictly to Greek and Latin as the language of Scripture 
and Service, the Arians no doubt, on the contrary, allowed 
the people to pray and to learn in their own language. It 
was the outstanding merit of Ulfilas that he translated the 
Bible into Gothic. This practice of translating the word of 
God into the vernacular remained a distinctive characteristic 
of the schismatic Arians and other sectaries. They were 
thus able to reach the heart of the people much more easily 
than the Catholic and Greek clergy, and to exercise a lasting 
influence upon the masses, far deeper than that of the repre- 

Introduction. 45 

sentatives of a creed taught in a foreign tongue. This also 
continued to keep the Arian-Goths away from the Catholic 
Church for many centuries. The change, which came later 
on, was due to two causes the conversion of the kings and 
rulers, and, to a far larger degree than has hitherto been 
recognised, the loss of the Teutonic language. The Goths 
slowly forgot their own language and adopted that of the 
nations in whose midst they lived as a minority. 

This explains much more satisfactorily than has hitherto 
been attempted the mysterious disappearance of the Goths 
after the official conversion of Recared in Spain, and the 
overthrow of Alaric by Clovis in the beginning of the sixth 
century in the South of France. In Italy they kept to their 
Arianism under the name of Lombards, down to the eighth 
century. It must not, however, be assumed that with the 
public disappearance of Arianism and that of the Goths 
as a ruling nation, the Arian heresy and all that it brought 
to the people had also disappeared. That teaching could not 
easily be uprooted. It was merely driven underground. 
The Catholic Church was satisfied with having obtained an 
official public victory. Then followed a slow process of 
extirpation. The writings of the schismatics were hunted 
up and destroyed, and thus the wells of heresy were dried up. 
The people were weaned from their errors by the convincing 
power of sword and faggot. But so long as these sinners did 
not belong to the higher classes, the Church winked at their 
aberrations, especially when they kept quiet and were not 
aggressive in their action. 

Thus the fire of heresy smouldered on under the ashes of 
the autos-da-fe until it was fanned again into a mighty blaze 
through the Cathars and Albigenses. The ground was pre- 
pared for their reception by the Arianism of the Goths, and 
by the Manichaean propaganda, which had penetrated into 
Europe from the West as early as the fourth century. 

It is important in this connection to refer, however briefly, 
to the Priscillianites in Spain, who flourished from the middle 
of the fourth to the second half of the sixth century, close 

46 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

upon two hundred years. The founder was Priscillianus 
(d. 385) a man of noble birth and great achievement. He was 
a great scholar, and had become acquainted with Gnostic and 
Manichaean doctrines. He was accused of heresy, and was 
the first Christian who was executed by Christians for preaching 
a different form of creed. The accusations made against him 
and his followers were precisely the same which were raised 
centuries afterwards against the Cathars and Albigenses, and 
no doubt just as false. From them we learn, however, that 
he had apocryphal books and mystical oriental legends, 
which he used for his teaching, and which were believed by his 
followers. It took two, or close upon three centuries, before 
the public traces of Priscillianism disappeared from Spain 
and Gaul. The followers, probably, shared the fate of the 
Gothic Arians settled in these countries. Then the conquest 
of Spain by the Arabs or Moors prevented the Catholic Church 
from further sifting the chaff from the grain. No doubt a good 
number of so-called heretics, who could not enter the bosom 
of the Catholic Church, embraced Islam, just as a good 
number of prominent Cathars in Dalmatia and Bosnia pre- 
ferred to become Mohammedans after the conquest of the 
country by the Turks rather than become united with the 
Orthodox Church. When the Cathars started their propa- 
ganda, they followed, as it were, in the track of the Goths. 
They occupy exactly the same tracts of land as those held 
for so many centuries by the former, and without a doubt 
they found there remnants of the old heresy, popular legends 
and beliefs, even tales and mystical as well as mythical songs, 
all so many welcome pegs on which to hang their own teaching. 
It may in a way have been a kind of revival, in which what 
had been preserved by the descendants from the Goths of 
old was blended with the new matter brought afresh from 
the East. Unfortunately as already remarked too little 
is known of the beliefs and practices of the Goths in their 
pagan state and afterwards as Arian Christians. That they, 
in spite of being " rude barbarians," had also some theo- 
logical treatises is evident from Anathema No. 16 of the 

Introduction . 4 7 

Council of Toledo (589), when Recared forswore his Arianism 
and became a fervent Catholic. The anathema runs against 
" the abominable treatises which we composed to seduce the 
provincials into the Arian heresy." Many such compositions, 
especially in the vernacular, must be meant here ; they all 
fell under the ban. 

The Cathars followed the same practice and were zealous 
propagators and translators of the Bible and Apocrypha into 
the vernacular. They knew the Bible so well that in 
disputations with the Catholic clergy the latter were easily 
beaten. Almost every one of the " forbidden " books, i.e. 
forbidden by the Orthodox and Catholic Church, was pre- 
served in old Slavonian (and Rumanian) translations, and 
some are to be found this very day among the holy books of 
the Russian schismatics. Nay, even the oldest French trans- 
lation of the Bible was the work of Albigenses. So much did 
this affect the Catholic Church that she excommunicated it, 
and forbade the people to read the Bible at the Council of 
Toulouse in 1229 ; the Bible in the vernacular having before 
been ordered to be burned publicly by the decree of the 

No wonder, therefore, at the popularity of these sectaries 
and the immense influence they wielded upon the popular 
mind and imagination. And if it be true that Arius set 
forth his religious views in doggerel rhymes to be sung 
to popular tunes by the sailors and labourers, then he 
initiated a movement which has continued ever since in 
religious minstrelsy, and is practised amongst others, by the 
Russian blind beggar-minstrels and other popular ballad 
singers on festive occasions among the Rumanians and 
southern Slavs. Nothing, in fact, could better serve the 
purpose of propaganda than such songs. They would appeal 
at once to the primitive, unlettered nations, specially amongst 
those who had such mythological epics of their own. The 
rude barbarians would be deeply impressed, and they would 
very easily adopt such songs and the teaching they contained. 
We can then easily understand a Volsunga Saga or a similar 

48 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

saga originating under such influences, or moulded in accord- 
ance with such new models. Neither the Orthodox nor the 
Catholic Church knows of such popular religious songs of an 
epic character, filled with the mysteries of the Holy Writ, 
much less of any filled with mysteries from the apocryphal 
and legendary writings. They have no more than Church 
hymns sung in the Church, only on special occasions, together 
with a certain psalmody chanted by the officiating clergy. 
And when these Greek (or Syriac) hymns were translated into 
Slavonic or Rumanian, they practically lost their tune and 
their inspiration, and they were recited with a peculiar mono- 
tonous cantilation. Quite otherwise were the popular carols, 
and the popular epic ballads with a distinctive religious 
background and full of wonderful incidents from the life of 
the saints. Unlike the former, they are not congregational 
litanies, but purely popular songs and ballads, devoid of any 
official or liturgical character. This may also explain the 
origin of the so-called Ambrosian chant as an attempt on the 
part of St. Ambrose of Milan to counteract the other popular 
chants by introducing, as it were, congregational singing into 
the Church. But there it remained, whilst the other spread 
and has retained its original popular character. Thus, 
through Gothic Arianism, a certain continuity of the dualistic 
and peculiar schismatic form of religious teaching has been 

Moreover, an historic explanation has been found for the 
origin and spread of these doctrines, tales and fables. Put 
to the test, these beast tales yield a dogmatic system which 
approximates in many points to such heterodox teaching. 
The old Ebionite conception of Jesus, taken up by Anus and 
afterwards adopted by the Manichaeans, sees in him only a 
deified human being, and very little more can be found in these 
tales. Jesus is seldom mentioned, and even then is more like 
a deified all-powerful human being. God Himself is often 
treated as a simple human being, almost like the laldabaoth 
of the Gnostics or the inferior God of the Manichaean doc- 
trine. With this, agrees also the notion of the dualism in 

Introduction. 49 

the creation of the world, i.e. that the evil creatures, wolves, 
poisonous snakes, etc., are the work of the Evil One. This 
was also the view held by the Priscillianites. There seem to 
be, also, reminiscences of such myths as " the world tree," 
the wolf, etc., which are found in Teutonic mythology and 
which may also be of an Oriental origin. The Rumanian 
tales are almost a running commentary on Grimm's German 
Mythology (Germ. 4th ed. 1876, ch. xxiii. pp. 539-581), which 
ought to be read in conjunction with the present volume. 
The legend of the Cuckoo, the hoopoe referred to by Grimm, 
can be read here under No. 43. 

It is significant that there is not a trace of Mariolatry in 
these tales and fables. If anything, St. Mary appears in 
a character far from loveable. She is easily offended, she does 
not spare her curses, she takes umbrage easily at the slightest 
mishap. She is altogether very disagreeable, just as in the 
apocryphal literature, where there is not much room for 
her. Her intercession is invoked only in some Rumanian 
charms and spells in a peculiar stereotyped -form. But of 
real worship there is scarcely any trace. Quite different is 
the position which the Catholic Church assigned afterwards 
to St. Mary. She has become there second to none outside 
the Trinity. 

More prominently almost than any of these points, stands 
out the fact that, underlying these creation and other tales, 
is the belief in the transmigration of the human soul into an 
animal body the well-known belief in Metempsychosis, or 
change of human beings into animals, so important a feature 
of Manichaean teaching, in which all the heretical sects 
seem to have shared. 

It is impossible now to follow this question further. I am 
satisfied to have indicated the role which the Goths may 
have played in the preparation for the dissemination of 
special myths and legends, branded as heretical, which 
other sectaries had brought from the East and propagated in 
the West of Europe. 

As to possible ethnical and geographical continuity, it 

5O Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

may be remarked that the places where these tales are found 
were also the homesteads of the Goths, in which they 
dwelt for at least two or three hundred years. They were 
then after a short interval almost supplanted by the Slavs. 
It is a moot point how long the Rumanians have dwelt 
there, and when they were converted to Christianity. Not 
a single old Teutonic word has hitherto been found in the 
Rumanian language. Any direct contact or convivium of 
any length of time is thus excluded. The tales may have 
been remnants carried along from Illyricum across the Danube 
by the new missionaries of the dualistic doctrine. The pro- 
blem would be less intricate if we only knew anything definite 
about Gothic heathen and Christian mythology. 

With the Cathars and Bogomils we are on more solid ground. 
This new stream of similar traditions was brought by a similar 
religious movement and was propagated by identical means 
viz. writings and songs in the language of the people, legends 
and tales and a simple creed understood by all. 

It may be asked, if this theory is correct, if these tales 
and legends were brought first into Thrace and then spread 
from that country to the other nations, how does it come 
to pass that so few traces of them can be found in Greek 
folk-lore ? Paradoxical as it may sound, the absence of such 
creation and other legends and tales from the Greek folk- 
lore is, if anything, a further proof of the accuracy of the 
theory advanced. It must be remembered that there was 
no more ruthless persecution of ancient paganism, idolatry, 
ceremonies and legends than that carried out by the Greek 
Church against anything that reminded them of the Hellenic 
or pagan past. Nothing was spared, neither shrines nor 
books. The Greek's subtle mind devised the first thorough 
system of heresy-hunting and persecution. It ranged from 
polemical and harmless dialogues to the handing over of the 
so-called heretics to fire and sword. The secular power was 
there more than anywhere else the representative of the 
religious power, and justified its existence, as it were, only as 
the executor of the Church's mandate. 

Introduction. 5 1 

One has only to read about the innumerable decrees of 
councils and synods, to see the way in which Manichaeism, 
Arianism and Gnosticism in every shape and form were 
mercilessly uprooted, and to understand that this fight did 
not stop at Bogomilism. The polemics were carried out even 
down to the time of Eutemios Zygabenos and even the Em- 
perors on the throne of Byzance did not consider it below their 
dignity to combat heretical teaching, the followers of which 
were given no pardon. There was also another factor which 
militated against the success of the Gnostic teaching the 
literary past of the Greeks. To the circulation of apocryphal 
books and legendary tales, the Greeks were able to oppose a 
vast literary array. In Greece the Bogomils did not deal 
with simple-minded, illiterate folk at the beginning of whose 
literature they stood ; on the contrary, they had to fight 
against an ancient influential literature, and against minds 
trained in the subtlest dialectics. They could not, therefore, 
succeed so easily, if at all. 

Quite different were the conditions of the other nations 
with which they came in contact. None of these had yet 
more than the very beginnings of a literature. They were 
rude, simple-minded folk, and wherever the Greek Church 
or Greek Emperors did not wield any influence at all, as it 
happened in the Bulgaro-Vallachian kingdom established by 
Peter and Asan (1185 to 1257), the Bogomils had an easy 
task. For centuries, then, the Rumanians formed with the Bul- 
garians not only a religious, but also a political unity. The 
Bulgaro-Vallachian kingdom stretched from the Haemus to 
the Carpathians, and down to the end of the seventeenth 
century Slavonic was the official language of State and 
Church in Rumania. There could not have been a more 
close intimacy than between these two nations, despite the 
difference of the language which each of them spoke. They 
had their literature in common, and no doubt shared the same 
traditions. Bogomilism was just as rife in Vallachia as it 
was in Bulgaria. Even the written literature of Rumania 
shows how profound its influence has been : still more 

52 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

so does the oral literature of tales and legends, of 
fables and beliefs. Though the Bogomils did not bring 
Christianity to these peoples, for they were Christians, they 
brought at any rate a kind of religion to the mass of the folk. 
It was one of their own making and in their own image. 
It was clothed in beautiful tales, and answered the expecta- 
tions of the rank and file, satisfied their curiosity, and gave 
them a glimpse of the moral beauty underlying the work of 
creation. In a way, it tended to purify the heart and to 
elevate the soul by allegories, parables and apologues, and 
thus it found ready acceptance, and struck deep root 
in the heart of the people, unaffected by decrees of 
Councils and by the fanatical intolerance of the established 

Not so successful, therefore, if successful at all, was the 
fight of the Greek Church against the heretical sect's even 
in the Balkan Peninsula, where they were so numerous and 
so powerful. They persisted down to the time of the capture 
of Constantinople and the Turkish rule. A large number of 
the aristocracy in Bosnia and Dalmatia still adhered to the 
teaching of the Cathars, and when the Turks occupied the 
country in the sixteenth century, the majority of them 
embraced Islam, instead of entering either the Catholic or the 
Greek Church. A whole mass of apocryphal and spurious 
literature placed on the Index, has been preserved in Slavonic 
and Rumanian texts with outspoken dualistic views. Many 
of them have found their way into the Lucidaria, or " Ques- 
tions and Answers," a kind of catechism, very popular among 
the nations of the Balkans, the Rumanians and the Russians. 
Similar Lucidaria were known in the West, but there they 
have been thoroughly expurgated, whilst, in the above-men- 
tioned " questions," many an answer is found to which no 
orthodox Church would subsciibe, but which form now a 
popular living belief among these nations. The political 
lethargy which settled upon most of these nations after the 
Turkish conquest created a happy brooding-place for such 
tales, and thus it can easily be understood why they have 

Introduction. 5 3 

lived to this very day practically undisturbed and little 

To those who have followed the history of the religious 
development of the Russians, it will therefore not be sur- 
prising to find among their popular tales a number of variants 
closely allied to the Rumanian animal tales, and, what is of 
the utmost importance in this connection, not a few of the 
" creation " tales. No country perhaps has been so much 
torn by religious discussions and sects as Russia. The number 
of sects is legion. The most extraordinary notions, extreme 
views on dogma and practice, heterodox principles expressed 
in worship, belief and popular song or tale are all found in 
Russia : unadulterated Dualism, Bogomilism, Manichaean 
teaching are openly professed by a number of the sects 
persecuted and condemned by the Orthodox Church. Almost 
all the books condemned as heretical in the early Indices 
Expurgatoria put forth by Councils and Church Assemblies, 
have been preserved almost intact in the old Slavonic and 
Russian language, and the religious and epic songs of the 
" blind " minstrels of Russia are full of the legendary lore of 
those heterodox sects. This fact has been established beyond 
doubt by the researches of Russian scholars, and notably by 
Wesselofsky. Among the Russians, then, we find the nearest 
parallels to the Rumanian " creation " stories ; a clear evi- 
dence of common origin, both drawing upon the same source 
of information ; the religious in the form of apologues, legends 
and tales, so prominent a feature of heterodox propaganda. 

The weapons used by the Catholic Church in its persecution 
of heretical sects are, almost every one of them, borrowed 
from the Greek armoury. One learns to know this fact 
more and more from a closer enquiry into the inner history 
of Byzance, its laws, decrees, administration and practice. 
And, precisely the same influence destroyed later the heretical 
teaching in the West as it destroyed it among the Greeks. 
The power of the Church and the secular arm were both used 
ruthlessly for exterminating any idea or any belief that ran 
counter to the doctrines taught by the established Church. 

54 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

The Cathars had also a much more difficult task in converting 
the East of Europe, inasmuch as they were also confronted 
there by some amount of literary tradition. Illiterate as 
were the masses, there were still among them and among 
their clerics, men of ability, men of learning, men trained in 
the scholastic schools, able, if not to refute, at any rate to 
confuse, the strange doctrine. 

All these forces combined, produced in the East the same 
result as they have produced among the Greeks. We are 
thus on the track of one of the most important sources of 
Western European folk-lore, always remembering that the 
medium in which this propaganda flourished differed con- 
siderably in the West from that in the East. In the former 
such propaganda met with a more ancient layer of well- 
established literary tradition. The Catholic Church, as 
mentioned above, was first in possession. It was not a tabula 
rasa on which the new teaching could be written, but yet 
that which existed was profoundly modified and a new fund 
of highly poetic yet popular material was added to the small 
store of knowledge possessed by the common people. But 
in time the Church took up the challenge, and remorselessly 
hunted down the apostles of popular heterodox teaching, 
just as the Greeks had done, going even further. It punished 
with sword and fire the followers of unauthorised practices, 
and branded every deviation from the strait path as rank 
heresy. The books containing legends and tales were burnt, 
and their possessors were often treated in like fashion. 

Inquisition, Church and other influences helped, as already 
mentioned, to destroy them. In the tragedy of heresy- 
hunting and burning of witches, the charge of devil worship 
was the basic principle, the chief head of accusation. It was 
clearly devised against the followers of the dualistic teaching. 
To tell a tale like any of these Rumanian " creation " tales, 
would have been inviting the heaviest punishment to believe 
in it would have meant sure death. No wonder that they 
disappeared quickly, or were changed into harmless satires, 
as in the Reynard Cycle, or were even used for political car- 

Introduction. 55 

toons, in broadsides, like the Cock Robin Cycle in the time of 
Charles II., which, when transplanted to Russia, became a 
political lampoon on Peter and his Court. 

Heresy-hunting becomes a popular distraction only when 
the official clergy find it profitable to make it so, and when 
the people are made to trace their own ills and troubles, their 
losses in field and stable, to the evil machinations of these 
tools of the devil. So long as they are not suffering in body 
or purse, the folk are absolutely indifferent to dogmas, and 
they will eagerly accept anything that pleases them. It 
will therefore not come as a surprise, in view of what has 
been stated, if we find some weird conceptions among the 
Rumanian peasantry. 

Studied from the point of view of heresiology or rather of 
popular psychology, some of these tales will appear to us as 
so many living records of the great spiritual movement, 
which for centuries dominated Europe, and which has since 
died out. 

Too little attention has been given hitherto to the influence 
of those numerous sects, which stretched from Asia Minor to 
the south of France, and overflowed even into England. 
Their dualism, the strong belief in the Power of Evil, Satan 
and his host, the consequent duty of the faithful to banish 
him or to subdue him, thus developed into belief in sorcery 
and witchcraft, with the attending horrors of the Inquisition. 

Then came a period of wider education still less tolerant of 
old women's superstition and nursery tales. What was left 
still standing has been, and is being, finally destroyed by 
our modern schools and schoolmasters. From this dire fate, 
the folk-lore of the nearer East has as yet been preserved. The 
importance of the study of folk-lore has happily been recog- 
nised in those countries, early enough to stop the blight which 
had set in and which threatened to destroy it more ruthlessly 
than even in the West. The modern " man of science " is 
a more relentless iconoclast than the religious fanatic. He 
starts from the mind in his attempt to destroy folk-lore, 
using to this end cold reasoning, logical conclusions, spiritual 

56 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

prepossession and intolerance. The religious fanatic starts 
from the heart, with overwhelming passion, fiery zeal, un- 
reasoning hatred, from which there is a possible escape for 
mysticism and mythical lore, whilst from the former there 
is none. Happily, our science of folk-lore with its deep 
sympathy and profound appreciation of these manifestations 
of the popular psyche has come in the nick of time to 
rescue from total extinction what the schoolmaster and the 
heresy-hunter have not yet annihilated. 

I turn now to another aspect of these bird and beast tales. 
If, as I believe, they show us what is at the back of the mind 
of the people, they are of invaluable service -to the student 
of anthropology, above all to him who seeks enlightenment 
in the grave problems of education and civilization ; and 
they are not without importance for the solution of political 

Attempts are made well meant, no doubt to foist that 
state of culture which the West calls " modern civilization," 
or " civilization " pure and simple, upon the reluctant people 
of the Near and Far East. We are forgetful of the fact that 
these nations have had a civilization of their own, and that 
something more important is included in this forcible change 
than the change of a dress. 

As the outcome of a long-drawn battle between feudalism 
and modern society, as a result of political and economic 
evolutions, the civilization of the West, when introduced 
among nations that have not gone through the same experi- 
ence, acts like the Juggernaut car, which crushes under 
its wheels the worshippers of this new god and destroys at 
the same time the foundations of the old order of things. 
Only students of folk-lore, those who try to reach the hidden 
depths, nay, to penetrate the inner soul of the people, are 
in a position to judge of the results of these civilizing attempts. 
They can compare the past with the present, and draw a 
proper balance between gain and loss. Are the people 
happier, more contented, more moral, and even more religious 
after the change, than they were before it ? Surely not. 

Introduction. 57 

And if not, why not ? The answer is very simple : because 
in this violent change no tenderness is shown to those beliefs 
and practices which are dear to the people and which help 
to lighten the burden of life by innocent mirth and the whole- 
some play of fancy. Wire brooms may sweep well ; but they 
may do it too well, and they can sweep everything away, 
leaving the home bare and the gardens stripped of every leaf 
and flower. 

A few words concerning the order and grouping of these 
tales. They have been arranged in three main groups. 
The first comprises those tales which I have characterised 
as creation legends. In them the origin of birds, beasts and 
insects is explained as the result of some direct act of God, 
or the Saints, or the Devil. An attempt has been made to 
follow a certain chronological order. Those tales stand first 
in which God is acting at the beginning of the creation. Then, 
following the Biblical order, the legends connected with the 
persons of sacred history from Adam to the Apostles, including 
St. Mary and St. Anne. Mystical Chiistmas carols or rather 
epic ballads, in which similar subjects are treated, have been 
inserted between the legends. The second section comprises 
such legends as are more like fairy tales. The mythical 
personages are no longer those known through the Scriptures. 
On the contrary, there are in these tales reminiscences of 
ancient heathen gods and heroes, chief among them being 
Alexander the Great. 

In the third section the animal fables are grouped together. 
It is the literature of the apologues without any framework 
or moral setting. The parallels, as far as could be found, are 
given briefly at the end of each legend, tale or fable. I have 
striven to be concise in my references to the best-known collec- 
tions of tales, such as Grimm, Hahn, Cosquin, and Gonzen- 
bach, where the student of fairy tales can easily find the 
whole comparative literature. 

For the genuine and unadulterated popular origin of these 
tales I can vouch absolutely. Some I have heard in my early 
youth, but the majority have been culled from the works 

58 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 

of S. Fl. Marian (Ornitologia poporand Romdna, 2 vols., 
Cernauti 1883 ; and Insectele, Bucharest 1903), than whom 
a more painstaking trustworthy collector could not be 
imagined. Some have been taken from the Folk-lore 
reviews, ^ezatoarea, ed. by A. Gorovei (i.-xii., Falticeni 1892 
to 1912), and Ion Creanga, published by the Society of that 
name (i.-viii., Barlad 1908-1915). Anton Pann (Poveste si 
istoriaire, Bucharest 1836) has given us a few stories, as 
well as A. and A. Schott (Walachische Maehrchen, Stuttgart 
and Tubingen 1845). The Pilgrimage of the Soul is from 
S. Mangiuca, Cdlindarin, pe. 1882, Brasiovu 1881 and the 
Story of Man and his Years, No. 113, from M. Caster, 
Chrestomatie Romdna, vol. ii., Bucharest 1891. These tales 
have been collected from every country where Rumanians 
live, not only in the Kingdom of Rumania, but also from the 
Rumanians of Transylvania and Bukovina, as well as from 
the Kutzo-Vlachs of Macedonia. 

I have added a few charms and also a few more mystical 
religious songs and carols, which throw light on some of the 
beliefs underlying the tales and legends, taken mostly from the 
gieat collection of G. Dem. Teodorescu (Poesii Popular are 
Romane, Bucharest 1885). 

In some cases I have given also variants of the same tale. 

I have endeavoured to render the stories as faithfully as 
the spirit of the Rumanian and English languages allows, 
and I fear that I have on sundry occasions forced the latter 
in my desire to preserve as far as possible the quaintness 
and the flavour of the Rumanian original. 

There is one characteristic feature in the collection of animal 
tales and legends given here, upon which I should like to lay 
great stress, and that is the complete purity which pervades 
them all. There is no playing with moral principles. No 
double meaning is attached to any story : and this, to my mind, 
is the best proof of their popular origin. These tales are not 
sullied by a morbid imagination, nor contaminated by sexual 
problems. The people are pure at heart and in the stories 
their simplicity and purity appear most beautifully. 

Introduction. 59 

In these tales and legends we have syncretism in full 
swing. It is not a picture of the past which we have to 
piece laboriously together from half-forgotten records, from 
writing half obliterated by the action of time and by changes 
which have swept over those nations of the past, whose life 
and thought we are endeavouring to conjure up and to 
understand. In our midst, at our door, under our own eyes, 
this process of mixing and adjusting, of change and evolution, 
of differentiation, combination and assimilation is still going 
on. It is a wonderful picture for any one who is able to dis- 
cover the forces that are at work, who can trace every strand of 
the webbing, every thread in the woof and warp, to its imme- 
diate and to its remoter source. We see the shuttle of human 
imagination, of human belief, flying busily through the loom, 
charged at one time with one thread, at another with a 
different one. Many of the wayS of the human mind meet 
here, cross one another, and new roads are thus created by 
busy wayfarers. And thus paganism sustains a busy and 
robust life. The old Pantheon is still peopled with the old 
gods, or, shall we better say, the Pandaemonium in its highest 
and best sense is displaying itself with unexpected vigour. The 
heathen gods, the Christian saints, God and the devil legends, 
fairy tales, oriental imagery, mystical traditions and astro- 
logical lore are all inextricably blended together. The line 
of demarcation between man and animal has not been clearly 
drawn, or it has not yet been attempted These multifarious 
elements have not yet been combined into one homogeneous 
structure. The problem arises whether other nations have 
also passed through a similar mental and psychical process ; 
whether they have had a similar Pandaemonic mixture, out 
of which their more colourless folk-lore had been distilled 
in the crucible of " civilization." 

Primitive people can often hear the footfall of men by 
putting the ear to the ground. We may, by putting an ear 
to the ground, hear the footfalls of the Past, and listen to 
the echo before it dies away into eternity. 




IN the beginning only water and God and the devil existed. 
These two were all the time moving about upon the surface 
of the waters. After some time God, feeling rather tired of this 
flitting about without rest or peace, said to the devil, " Go 
down to the bottom of the sea and bring up in my name a 
handful of the seed of the earth." The devil did as he was told, 
but whilst he was plunging in the depths he said to himself, 
" Why shall I bring up the seed in his name ? I will take 
it in my own." And so he did. When he came up God asked 
him, " Hast thou brought the seed ? " The devil replied, 
" Yes, here it is." But when he opened his hand to show the 
seed to God, lo, it was quite empty. The water had wasted 
the seed away. 

Then God told him to plunge again and bring up the seed 
of the earth in his name. The devil, however, again took the 
seed from the bottom of the sea in his own name, and when 
he opened his hand to give the seed to God the waters had 
again washed his hand clean. For a third time God sent him 
down to the bottom of the sea to bring up seed. This time the 
devil bethought himself, and instead of taking the seed in 
his own name as he had determined, now took it in God's 
name and in his own. He would not do it in God's name alone. 
When he came up the waters had this time also washed every- 
thing away that he had taken in his hand. Only a few grains, 
however, remained under the nails of his fingers. God asked 

62 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [i 

him whether he had brought the seed up, and he replied " To 
be sure." But when he opened his hand it was again empty. 
Still, there were the few grains which had stuck under the 
nails. God greatly rejoiced at these few, which he carefully 
scraped out from under the nails, and made of them a small 
cake which he put upon the water, where it floated, and God 
sat upon it to rest. Being now very tired, God fell asleep on 
that little cake of earth. When the devil saw God fast asleep, 
what did the unclean one think ? " What a lucky thing that 
is for me," he said to himself, " I can now drown him." And 
so he tried to turn the cake over, so that God should fall into 
the water. But what happened ? In whatever direction 
God rolled, the cake of earth expanded and stretched under 
him. He first rolled him towards the east, and the earth grew 
under God. The devil then tried to upset the cake towards 
the west, and again the earth stretched under God. Now, 
said the devil, " Now there is also room for me to rest," and 
he sat down on the opposite side where the earth had grown 
bigger. There again he endeavoured with all his weight to 
press down the earth, so as to make the earth turn 
turtle, once towards the north, once towards the south ; 
and God rolled towards them and the earth grew in all 

Now by this continual rolling the earth grew so big that 
it became wider and larger than the waters. When God 
awoke and saw what the devil had done he did not know what 
to do with this huge earth, which had become far too big. 
The devil, seeing what he had done, and being afraid of God's 
wrath, ran away and hid himself in one of the clefts of the 
earth. God then decided to ask the devil what he was to do 
with this earth, which had become so big. 

Now, of all the beasts and creatures which God had made, 
none was more pleasing in his sight than the bee, which was 
then playing in Paradise. 

The bee was white, and not black as she is now, and I will 
tell you presently how it came about that she changed her 

i] Why is the Bee Black? 63 

God sent the bee to ask the devil what he was to do and 
what good advice he could give him. The bee, at once, went 
as she was commanded, and came to the place where the 
devil lived. 

" Good morning, uncle," said the bee. 

" Good morning, sister," said the devil. " What has 
brought thee to me ? " 

" Well, you see, God has sent me to ask what he was to 
do with this huge earth." 

But the devil grumpily and sneeringly replied, "If he is 
God he ought to know better than to ask a poor devil for 
advice. I am not going to tell him. Let him find it out 
for himself." 

The bee, who was a clever little thing it was not for 
nothing that God's choice had fallen upon her pretended to 
fly away. But she soon crept back quite stealthily and 
settled noiselessly on the upper beam of the door. She knew 
that the devil cannot keep any secrets, and he would surely 
speak out. So, indeed, it happened. No sooner did he 
believe himself alone, than he started muttering to himself, 
chuckling all the time. 

" A clever man that God really is. He asks me what to do. 
Why does he not think of mountains and valleys ? " You 
must know that the earth when first made was quite flat, like 
a pancake. 

" Let him take the earth in his arms and squeeze it a bit, 
and it will fit all right." 

The bee overheard what he said, for he spoke loud enough, 
and rejoicing that she had got the answer, spread out her 
wings and started flying away. The buzzing of her wings 
betrayed her, and the devil, hearing the noise, rushed out of 
his cave with his whip in his hand and said : " O you thief ! 
So that is the way you have cheated me. Mayst thou feed 
on what comes out of thy body." And he struck the bee 
with his whip. 

This changed her white colour into black. Moreover, he 
hit her so badly that he nearly cut her in two. That is why 

64 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [i 

the bee has such a narrow waist, that she looks as if she were 
cut in two and barely hanging together by a thread. 

Limping and sore, the bee came back to God and told him 
what she had overheard from the devil. God was greatly 
pleased and, squeezing the earth in his arms, he made 
mountains and valleys, and the earth grew smaller. 

Then turning to the bee he said, " Out of thy body hence- 
forth shall come only honey to sweeten the life of man and 
he shall bless thee for that gift ; also shalt thou bring forth 
wax for candles on the altar." 

And God went on to ask the bee what reward she would 
claim for the errand which she had so well fulfilled. The bee, 
impudent and greedy, replied : " Why should man share in 
my gift and have my honey ? Give me the power to kill 
with my sting." 

And God was angry at the impudence of the bee, and 
replied : "All the honey shall be thine alone, if thou art able 
to make a gallon of it during the summer : if not, man may 
share it with thee. And because thou hast asked for the 
power of killing with thy sting, meaning to kill man by it, 
thine own death shall be by thy sting." 

This is the reason why the bees work so industriously and 
indefatigably during the summer. Each hopes to make a 
gallon of honey, but they can never succeed. And this, too, 
is the reason why the bee dies when it stings anyone. 

There is another variant of the cosmogonic part. 

The place of the devil is taken by the mole 1 whom the 
Rumanians believe to be a very deep fellow. 

The story then runs as follows : 

When God had made the heavens there was as yet no earth. 
So God took a ball of string and measured the span of heaven. 
Then he called the mole and told him to keep the ball whilst 

1 The Rumanian word used here is "ariciu," literally hedgehog, but 
no doubt the mole who burrows under the ground is meant. It is for 
this reason that I have substituted mole for hedgehog. In the 
Bulgarian legend it is the hedgehog, where probably the two animals 
are also confused with one another. 

i] Why is the Bee Black? 65 

he was busy making the earth, according to the measure 
which he had taken. But whilst God went on measuring by 
the string which he had rolled off the ball, the mole very 
slyly let the ball roll on whilst God was tugging at the string. 
And so it came to pass that the earth made thus by God 
was larger than the span of heaven, and could not be got 
under it. 

The mole, seeing what he had done, went away and hid 
himself in his earth. Hither the bee was sent to get the secret 
from him how the earth could be made smaller. 

The story then runs on like the one just told, without the 
explanation of the dark colour and of the narrow waist. Nor 
is any reference made in that version to the sting and the 
gallon of honey. 

The dualistic conception of the creation of the world is 
here clearly set out. The people believe in it. In the for- 
mation of the earth the devil has his full, nay an equal share, 
though he always is fooled in the end and is cheated even by 
a little bee. 

To this creation story a few variants can be found among 
the Bulgarians and Letts, but they are neither so full nor so 
complete as the Rumanian version. 

They are given by Dahnhardt, Natursagen, i. pp. 127-128 
(Leipzig and Berlin 1907). The first part of the story of the 
devil being sent down to bring up seed from the bottom, and 
only that part, is found among the Gipsy tales from Transyl- 
vania, published by Wlislocki, Zigeuner-mdrchen aus Transyl- 
vania, p. i, No. i. 

Among the Russians, Ralston gives a short variant in which 
only God and the devil are mentioned, nothing of the bee, 
and even the first part is extremely short. (Russian Folk Tales, 
p. 329, London 1873.) 

The existence of hills is accounted for by legendary lore in 
this wise. When the Lord was about to fashion the face of 
the earth he ordered the devil to dive into the watery depths 
and bring thence a handful of the soil he found at the bottom. 
The devil obeyed, but when he filled his hand he filled his 

66 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [i 

mouth also. The Lord took the soil, sprinkled it around, and 
the earth appeared, all perfectly flat. The devil, whose mouth 
was quite full, looked on for some time in silence. At last 
he tried to speak, but choked, and fled in terror. After him 
followed the thunder and lightning, and so he rushed over the 
whole face of the earth, hills springing up where he coughed, 
and sky-cleaving mountains where he leaped. 

IB] How did the Bee outwit the Mole? 67 




WHEN the Lord made the heavens he took a ball and spanned 
the heavens, and after he had finished spanning the heavens 
he started making the earth. The mole, cunning little beast, 
came to him and said : " O Lord, let me help thee in making 
the earth " ; and the Lord, who is always good, said in the 
goodness of his heart : " Very well," and he gave the ball to 
the mole to keep it. 

The Lord started working, and was busy weaving and work- 
ing making the earth. But the sly mole let just a little bit 
of the thread go from time to time, and the Lord worked on 
without noticing it. When he had finished, how great was 
his astonishment when he found that the earth was greater 
than the heavens. What was he to do ? how could he fit 
them together ? He turned to the mole, but the mole was not 
there ; he knew what was coming and had buried himself 
deep down in the earth. So the Lord walked up and down 
the earth, but could not find him. What was he to do ? 
At last he sent the bee to discover the mole and to find out 
from him what was to be done. The bee flew away alone, and, 
buzzing about, at last came to the hole where the mole was 
sitting buried in the earth. 

The bee came to him and said, " Good morning, uncle." 

" What brings thee to me, my sister ? " 

" Well," she said, " the Lord God has sent me to ask thee 
what is to be done. The earth is so big and the heavens so 

The mole, a sly beast, chuckled and said to himself, " The 

68 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [in 

Lord ought to know better than I. I am not going to tell 
him, though I know what ought to be done." 

The bee would not take this answer. She pretended to fly 
away, and then went stealthily and settled herself in a flower 
which was near to the mole's burrow. She knew that the 
mole would talk to himself, and hoped to overhear what he 
would say. 

So in sooth it happened. The bee overheard him chuckling 
and laughing and saying to himself : " Oh what a clever 
fellow I am ! if I had to do it, I would take the earth in my 
arms and squeeze it tightly, and then mountains would be 
pressed out and valleys would be sunk, and then the earth 
would get small enough to fit under the heavens." 

No sooner had the bee heard what the mole had said, than 
she started flying away. The mole, who heard her buzzing, 
ran after her and said : " O sister, is that the way thou art 
dealing with me ? Very well then, now take my curse. 
Henceforth thou shalt feed on thyself." 

But the bee never listened, and flew straight to the Lord 
and told him what she had heard when the mole muttered to 
himself. And the Lord took the earth in his hands and 
squeezed it, and from the flat that it was, mountains rose up 
and valleys were cut, and it fitted the heavens which God had 
spanned. And God, hearing of the curse with which the mole 
has cursed the bee, turned it into a blessing. That is why 
the bee makes honey and feeds on itself, whilst the mole 
always lives underground and is frightened to see the sky. 

n] Why is the Bee Busy? 69 




THERE is still another story about the origin of the bee, totally 
different from those told hitherto. 

Once upon a time there lived a very poor widow. She had 
only two children, a son and a daughter. When they had 
grown up, seeing that their mother could no longer provide 
for them, they left her house and went each one his or her way 
to find work. The girl went to a place where they were building 
houses, and there she worked day and night carrying bricks 
and mortar to the builders. The son went to a weaver and 
learnt there to weave clothes. 

Not long after that, the mother grew very ill, and knowing 
that her end was approaching, she sent for her children to 
come to her. When the message reached the daughter, she 
was carrying a heavy load of bricks in her apron. 

She did not hesitate for a moment, and saying, " I must not 
leave my poor mother alone," she dropped the load of bricks 
and ran home as fast as she could, and there she found her 
mother on the point of death. 

When the message reached the son, he was sitting at his 
weaving. He said, " Let her die. I cannot give up my work. 
Here I am, and here I stay." 

And there he stayed quite alone, working away, surly and 
grumbling all the time. 

When the mother saw her daughter, who had left everything 
and had come to her, she raised herself on her bed and, kissing 
her on the forehead, blessed her, saying : " Daughter, thou 

70 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [n 

hast been sweet to me and a joy in my last hour. Mayst thou 
always be sweet to all." 

When she heard what her son had said, and why he had 
not come, she cursed him and said : "As thou hast said so 
shall it go with thee. Day and night shalt thou be weaving 
incessantly and never see the joy of it : what thou doest, 
others shall destroy. In a corner shalt thou sit, far away from 
everybody, and hated by everybody." 

And with these words she died, and her blessing and curse 
both came true. The girl was changed into the busy active 
bee, whose honey sweetens everything, and of whose wax 
candles are made to be lit before the ikons of the saints and in 
the churches, and put by the head of the dying and the dead. 
The brother was changed into the spider, who sits alone and 
sullen and spiteful in the corner and weaves his webs, never 
finishing : whoever sees a web brushes it away, and whoever 
can, kills the spider. 

To this story I have not been able to find a parallel. A 
different kind of curse seems to rest on the spider, according 
to the legend of the " Lady Mary and the Spider," No. 54. 

in] Why is the Bee Black? 71 




WHEN God created the bee she was white of colour, hence her 
name albina, the white one. One day, however, God sent the 
bee to the Evil One to ask him for his advice, whether God 
should make one sun or several. The bee went to the 
Evil One and told him God's message. Then she slyly hid 
herself in his bushy hair, for the bee knew that he would talk 
to himself aloud, and she would be able to find out his true 
thought. And so it happened : for no sooner did he think 
that the bee was not within earshot, than he started talking 
aloud to himself and said : 

" One sun is better than a number of suns, for if there were 
a number of suns the heat would be much greater than my fire 
and I should not be able to torture and to burn. Then, too, 
if there were several suns, they would shine all day and all 
night, and the people would not be able to fall into my power. 
One sun would be best." 

When the bee had heard his reasoning and the conclusion to 
which he had come, she started flying back to God. As she 
started, the Evil One heard her buzz and, filled with anger at 
the trick which the bee had played him, he struck her across 
the body with his whip. The white colour was then turned 
black and the body of the bee nearly cut in twain. The waist 
became as thin as a thread. In the beginning it was white, 
and hence the name. It is due to the merit of the bee 
that there is only one sun now in the heavens and not 

72 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [in 

In the Bulgarian parallel it is not a question as to how many 
suns were to be created but whether the sun is to get married. 
The story is as follows (Dahnhardt, Natursagen, Leipzig u. 
Berlin 1907, i. p. 127) : 

When God grew old he wanted to marry the sun. He invited 
all the creatures. Among them also the devil, but he saddled 
his ass and rode away angrily. Then God sent the bee to find 
out the thought of the devil. The bee settled on his head 
and heard him mumble to himself : 

" Oh yes, it is a long time since God had remembered me, 
who helped him in the making of the world, but he does 
not know what he is doing now. If he marries the sun he 
will destroy mankind and burn up the world." 

The bee heard it, and flying away went to God. The devil 
noticed her and, thinking that she had overheard what he 
was saying, wanted to kill her. He ran after her and shot at 
her. The bee hid herself in a willow tree. After trying many 
times, he at last hit her and cut her in two. With difficulty 
she reached God and told him what had happened. 

The Lord blessed her and said, " The lower part shall be 
thy best and the upper part may remain as it is ; " and he 
joined the two parts together. God thereupon stopped the 
wedding, and the sun has remained an unmarried maiden to 
this very day, whilst the bee is making honey even now. 

The story of the marriage of the sun does not concern us 
here. In a different form it occurs in Rumanian Fairy Tales, 
where we are told that sun and moon were a brother and 
sister. They wished to woo one another, but God forbade it, 
and therefore God put them in the heavens and changed them 
into sun and moon, which never meet. When one rises the 
other sets. (L. Saineanu, Basmele Romdne, Bucur 1895, p. 398.) 
Other mythical references to sun and moon, and the way in 
which the devil tries to steal them from Paradise, will be 
found in the Carol given below, No. 15. 

iv] Why does the Little Worm Glow? 73 



WHEN God had created the world, men multiplied. There were 
then towns and hamlets and gardens and fields. So one day 
a band of angels came to the Lord and said : " O Lord, let us 
see the world which we now see only from afar. Grant us in 
thy infinite mercy that we may go down and see it more 

And the Lord in his infinite love granted their request, 
although he who knows everything knew what would happen 
to them hereafter. And the angels came down and mixed 
with the men and women and rejoiced at everything they saw. 
After a time God Almighty came down to them and told them 
that the time for their return to heaven had come. The 
angels gathered together in a joyful band and went up to 
heaven. But there was one angel who did not share in their 
joy. He walked sadly and alone. 

God asked every one of the angels what they had seen. 
And one told him of the flowers and their sweet smell, and 
another one told of the fruit and a third of the singing birds. 
Everyone had a pleasant tale to tell. When the turn came 
of that angel who was walking sadly in that joyful com- 
pany, the Lord asked him whether he had anything to tell, 
and whether he would like to return to heaven as his com- 
panions did, to which he replied that he would prefer to remain 
on earth, for he would not like to go back to heaven. And 
the good God asked him why he was so sad and why he 
would prefer to remain in this world. The angel hesitated for a 
while, and then he said that he had looked too far into the 

74 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [iv 

eyes of a girl, eyes which were as the blue of heaven, and he 
could not bear to go away from her. And the Lord asked who 
she was, and the angel replied, " A shepherdess feeding her 
flock on a mountain." And the Lord asked him, " Hast thou 
spoken to her ? " and he said, " I could not forbear doing so." 
And the Lord asked him, " What didst thou tell her ? " and 
he replied, " I said I would forego my angelic station rather 
than leave her." 

The Lord, who had up till then looked very young, suddenly 
turned very old and careworn, and, after looking at him for a 
long time, walked on slowly and silently with the band of 
angels. When they reached the Gates of Heaven the Lord 
stopped short and, turning to the angels, said : 

" You can no longer enter the heavenly abode. You are 
bringing tidings of the ways of the world which must not be 
heard by the other angels. And as you liked the world, you 
shall continue to look at the soul's doings." Thereupon the 
Lord changed the angels and made them into stars, which he 
scattered all over the heavens, and from there they smile 
joyfully and kindly upon the earth. 

But the angel who wished to return did not turn into a 
pleasant, twinkling little star. He turned into a fiery star 
that, always blazing and unsteady, looked angrily at the other 
stars. At last the Lord, fearing that there would be strife 
between them, cast the red star down to the earth, and it came 
down on the meadow where the shepherdess was ; it came down 
as a shower over the whole field. But the sparks never died 
out. The glow-worms carry them still. 

v] Why does the Little Worm Glow? 75 



ANOTHER legend about the origin of the glow-worm is of a 
similar character. I will discuss later the possible origin, 
which will lead us to the same remarkable results. 

The time of separation between the good and the evil angels 
had come. The good ones gathered to the right, and the 
evil ones, under the leadership of the devil, gathered to the 
left. You can imagine what a confusion and uproar there was, 
for they could not easily disentangle themselves. 

Whilst that confusion went on, there was a little devil who, 
after all, did not like parting with the bliss of heaven. So 
what did he do ? He stole away from his own companions 
and hid himself among the good angels, hoping that, by one 
way or another, he would get into heaven. But he had not 
reckoned with St. Peter, who stands at the gate of heaven and 
examines and searches every one asking leave of entrance. 
Each angel had to present his pass, duly signed. St. Peter 
examined the signature, and when he found it correct he 
allowed the angel to enter heaven. So, one by one, they 
passed on, until the turn of the little devil came. In vain did 
he protest that he was a good angel. He had to produce his 
papers, and when St. Peter came to the end, there was no 
proper signature. So St. Peter got very angry, and without 
much ado, got hold of the little devil and cast him down to 
earth. He came down with such violence that he broke up 
in millions of luminous sparks, and these are the lights of the 

76 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [vi 



THE tale of the glow-worm tells us that in olden times the 
people were better and the earth cleaner than to-day. It was 
on this account that God's saints used to walk about upon the 
earth. The saints and the apostles had also their establish- 
ments just as we have them now, house, table, cattle, children 
and everything that appertains to the house of man. The 
most important of the saints was St. Peter. He used to walk 
about with God more than any of the others, but, like every 
Rumanian, he also had his house and all that belongs to it, 
just as beseems one of God's saints. The tale from our fore- 
fathers tells us that, among other things, he also had a stable 
full of beautiful horses ; black of skin like the raven's wing, 
and quick as the flame, they were eating up the clouds, so 
fleet were they. In those times, unfortunately, as in our times, 
besides saints, there were also wicked people, thieves and the 
like, for the devil has had and will always have his share in 
this world. But in those times there were only a very few 
thieves, and they were very much ashamed of their doings. 
They used to live in forests to which no one else went except 
evil spirits. To-day for our sins the thieves are so numerous 
that there is not a spot which is free of them. They rob you 
everywhere ; in the very midst of the town and in the open 
light of day. 

In those days, there lived a great thief, whose name was 
Cuckoo. I do not know how it came to pass, but he heard of 
St. Peter's horses and made up his mind to steal them. One 
day St. Peter had gone on one of his usual journeys to a 

vi] Why does the Little Worm Glow? 77 

distant part of the country. Cuckoo, who had learned of it, 
came in the night and stole the horses and drove them into the 
forest. On the morrow, by a mere chance, St. Peter came home 
from his journey and asked about the horses. They were 
nowhere to be found. Do what he might, he could not find 
them ; they were gone. But who had taken them, and 
whither had he gone with them ? St. Peter asked God to 
give him some powerful dogs to go with him to the forest. 
God gave him the wolves, and from that time they have 
remained St. Peter's dogs. 

He went with them into the forest and searched high and 
low, but all in vain. All through the day they hunted, but 
could find no trace of the thief or of the horses. Night fell, 
and it was one of those dark nights in which you can put your 
finger into your eye and yet not see it. It was blacker and 
darker than the blackness and darkness of hell. St. Peter 
did not know which way to turn, and he asked God to perform 
some miracle for him to light up his way. ,God heard his 
prayer, and before one could wipe one's eyes the whole forest 
was full of glow-worms. St. Peter greatly rejoiced, and by the 
light of the glow-worms he searched the forest all the night 
through, but returned home with empty hands. Then St. 
Peter cursed the thief Cuckoo, that he should be changed into 
a black, ill-omened bird, and wherever he should find himself 
he was to call out his name. Since then the cuckoo became a 
black and accursed bird, and when it sings (calls) at the back 
of the house or in the courtyard it betokens death. It speaks 
nothing else, but calls its own name, Cuckoo. The cuckoo is 
frightened of the glow-worms, and, as soon as he sees them in 
the forest he stops calling, for he thinks St. Peter is looking 
out for him to catch him for stealing his horses. At the same 
time the glow-worms were blessed by St. Peter and made the 
guides of the wanderers through the forest. They come out 
about St. Peter's day. Then the cuckoo keeps silence. 

In these glow-worm stories, much of the apocryphal literature 
concerning the fall of the angels has been preserved. It is not, 

78 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [vi 

however, the pride of Satan that causes his downfall, but it is 
the love of the earthly woman which causes the angel to fall. 
The story in this form is found in the Hebrew versions pre- 
served in the Chronicles of Jerahmeel (my ed. London 1899, 
ch. xxv. p. 52 ff.), and in other kindred books, from which it 
has passed through the Greek into the Slavonic apocryphal 
literature. The contest between the devil and angels is, how- 
ever, not unknown. It is referred to here rather humorously in 
the story of the little devil who wanted to steal slily into 
heaven in the rush and is detected by the wily Peter. It is 
also referred to in the Dragon-fly story, No. 14. Curiously 
enough, very little of it seems to have been preserved in 
Slavonic literature. In Albanian literature a faint trace is 
recorded by Hahn (ii. No. 107), where the connection with the 
Wolf story is entirely missing, and therefore inexplicable there. 
But the fragmentary Albanian tale is fully set out here in the 
Rumanian version about the creation of the wolf, Nos. 7, 8, 9. 

vn] Why is the Wolf Ferocious f 79 



ONCE upon a time God was walking with St. Peter. On the 
way they met a dog who came close to them and frolicked 
round them, and God stroked the animal. St. Peter looked 
at God questioningly, and God said, " I know what is in thy 
mind, but since thou art he who keeps the key of heaven it 
is meet that thou shouldst know everything, and I will there- 
fore tell thee the story of the dog and the wolf, for thou must 
know whom to let into heaven and whom to shut out. Thou 
seest, Peter, what that brother of mine " 

" You mean the devil ? " interposed St. Peter. 

" Yes," said God, " I mean him. You see what he has done 
to me with Adam and Eve, and how he made me drive them 
out of Paradise. What was I to do ? When the poor man was 
starving I had to help him, so I gave him the sheep to feed 
him and to clothe him. But dost thou think the devil will give 
them peace ? no, not he ! " 

" Yes," said Peter, " all very well, but what about the dog ? 
I know all that about Adam and Eve." 

" Do not be in such a hurry," replied God, " I will tell thee 
everything ; bide thy time." 

" Now, where was I ? It was when I made the sheep, and 
the devil then must again try and do something to hurt 
Adam, so he is now making the wolf, who will destroy the 
sheep and bring Adam and Eve to grief. For that reason I 
have made the dog, and he will drive the wolf away and pro- 
tect the flocks of sheep, and will be friendly to man, whose 
property he will guard with faithfulness." 

8o Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [vn 

St. Peter said, " I know that in thy goodness thou art 
going again to help the devil, as thou hast done aforetime." 

The devil had made many things aforetime, but could not 
give them life or movement, and it was always God who helped 
and completed the work. Thus the devil made a car, but 
built it inside the house, and did not know how to take it 
out and use it until God widened the door and took it out, 
and as the devil was pulling away at it he broke the hind 
wheels, so God took the first part of the car and put it in 
the heavens, and it forms the constellation known as the 
Great Bear (in Rumanian, the Great Car). 

Then the devil made the mill, but he could not start it, 
so God did. Then he made a house, but put no light into it, 
so God had to make the windows. Then the devil made a fire, 
but did not know how to kindle it. 

He was now working away at moulding the wolf from clay. 
He worked so hard that the perspiration ran down his face. 
Scratching his head, he pulled out three hairs, but would not 
throw anything away they were much too precious so he 
stuck them in the head of the wolf between the eyes. 

When he thought he had finished, he turned to God and 
said, " See what I have done." 

" Yes," replied God, " I see, but what is it ? " 

" Thou shalt know more about it soon," replied the devil ; 
and, turning to the wolf, which lay there lifeless, he said, " Up, 
wolf, and go for him." But the wolf never stirred. 

Then God turned to St. Peter and said, " Just wait and see 
how I will pay him out," and, waving his hand over the 
wolf, he said, " Up, wolf, and go for the devil." 

The devil can run fast, but never ran faster than on that 
day when the wolf jumped up and ran after him. In running 
he jumped into the lake. He dipped under the waters and 
saved himself from the fangs of the wolf. And ever since that 
time, the wolf has power over the devil : when he catches him, 
he eats him up. All the year round the devils are hiding in 
pools and bogs, but, from the night of St. Basil (ist January) 
until the Feast of Epiphany, the waters are holy, being sancti- 

vn] Why is the Wolf Ferocious? 81 

fied through the Baptism. The devil can no longer stay in the 
water, and he must get on to the land, where the wolf lies in 
wait for him, and woe unto the devils who get too near the 

When God and St. Peter saw the flight of the devil, they 
laughed until the tears ran down their cheeks. Then God 
turned to St. Peter and said to him, " I give these wolves 
now into thy care." Poor St. Peter trembled from head to foot 
when he heard the charge that was given to him, but God 
reassured him and said, " Never fear, Peter, they will not 
harm thee ; on the contrary, they will follow thee and listen 
to thy command, as if they were friendly dogs." And so it 
has remained. Once every year, on the day of the Feast of 
St. Peter, in the winter-time, all the wolves come together 
to an appointed place to meet St. Peter. Thither he comes 
with a huge book in his hand, in which are written the names 
of all the persons who had given themselves over to the devil, 
and he tells the wolves whom they are to eat. 

The three hairs which the devil had put on the wolf are of a 
green colour, and make the wolf look ferocious, for they are 
the devil's hairs, and it is from them that the devil's fire got 
into the wolves' eyes, which are lit up by it. 

82 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [vm 




WHEN God had finished the creation of the world, and had 
made all the good animals and beasts, the devil thought he 
would also make some creatures. He took some of the clay 
and made the wolf. When he had finished God came to see 
what he had done. When he saw the brute he asked the 
devil what it was. 

" Ho, thou wilt soon see what it is. Up, wolf, and go for 
him." But the wolf did not stir. There he lay where the 
devil had fashioned him. When the devil saw that the wolf 
did not move, that there was no life in him, he turned to God 
and said : 

" Just make him go." 

And God said, " Very well." 

But before he made him go, he chipped the wolf about, and 
moulded him and fashioned him a bit better than the devil 
had done. Out of these chippings came the snakes and the 
toads. When he had finished shaping him, God cried : 

" Up, wolf, and go for him." 

Up jumped the wolf and went for the devil, who got so 
frightened that he ran away as fast as his feet would carry him. 

When the devil saw that the wolf was running him close 
he pulled out three hairs from his body and threw them 
behind him on to the wolf. The wolf, who up to that time was 
hairless and smooth, was suddenly covered with thick bristles, 
which, in one way or another, were to prevent him from 
running so fast after the devil. It is for that reason that the 
\volf has such thick bristles, and his eyes glisten in the dark. 

vm] Why do the Eyes of the Wolf Glow ? 83 

They are the hair of the devil and the sparks which have got 
into him through the devil's hair. And since that time when 
he hears the wolves howling the devil takes to his heels, lest 
they catch him as God commanded them to do. 

Polish, Lettish and other Slavonic variations of the legend 
concerning the creation of the wolf by the devil are given by 
Dahnhardt (I.e. pp. 147 ff.), yet none so full as the Rumanian 
version. According to one, the devil had made the wolf so 
as to have a creature of his own. But he endeavoured in vain 
to call his creature to life, for he would persistently say to it, 
" Arise, for I have made thee." Only, however, when he 
whispered into his ear, " Arise, God has made thee," did the 
wolf spring to his feet. Then he attacked the devil, who ran 
away and escaped with difficulty. 

84 Rzimanian Bird and Beast Stories. [ix 



ACCORDING to a curious Rumanian version from Transylvania 
(in Archiv. f. Siebenburg Landeskunde, 23, pp. 4-8, abbreviated 
by Dahnhardt, pp. 152-3), the devil went to God and said to 
him, " O Lord, thou hast created man and so many other 
creatures, but thou hast not yet created the wolf." And God 
replied, " Very well," and, showing him a huge boulder near 
a forest, told him to go and say to the stone, " Devil, eat the 
stone." The devil went and said, " Stone, eat the wolf." The 
boulder did not move. The devil went to God and said, " The 
stone does not move." " What didst thou say ? " " Stone, 
eat the wolf." " But thou must say, ' Devil, eat the stone.' ' 
The devil went again to the stone and said, " Stone, eat the 
devil." Whereupon the stone moved and ate the devil, and 
in its place there stood a wolf with the face of the devil. Since 
then there are no more devils in the world, but wolves too 

This story, as here abbreviated, is undoubtedly corrupted. 
The real form must have been at the beginning, " Stone, eat 
the devil," but the devil changed it into, " Devil, eat the 
stone," until he spoke exactly as he was told, and the stone 
turned into a wolf. 

The wolf is dreaded as the most savage beast, and could 
therefore only be conceived by the popular imagination as 
the creation of the devil. 

In the northern mythology there occurs the wolf Fenrir, 
whose father is Loki, the God of Fire, who will play such a 

ix] Why does the Wolf run after the Devil? 85 

decisive role at Doomsday. Hahn (No. 105) contains the 
following version : 

After the creation of man, the devil boasted that he could 
create something better. God allowed him to do so. He took 
some clay and moulded it and made the wolf. Then God said 
to him, " Give him life, as I have done." The devil started 
blowing into the wolf until he got red and blue in the face, but 
all in vain. Then God took a cane and smote the wolf on his 
back, and that is why the back of the wolf looks broken in the 
middle, and he said, " Creature, eat thy maker." Up jumped 
the wolf and ate the devil. (Cf. Grimm, 148.) 

86 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [x 



IN the beginning the goats had wings, and used to fly about 
eating up the tops of the trees. They did it so thoroughly 
that they left no leaf or bud, and never allowed a tree to 
grow up. When God saw what mischief they were doing, and 
how they were destroying all the trees, he cursed them, and, 
taking away their wings, he said that henceforth they should 
only be able to climb up crooked trees. And so they do. 

When they came down upon earth, finding themselves 
without wings, they went and made \\ pact with the devil, that 
they should henceforth help one another. The devil willingly 
entered into an agreement with them. It so happened that 
the devil's fire went out, and he was not able to rekindle it 
himself, so he sent the two goats to God to steal the fire from 
him. God had lit his fire, he had put the tripod over the 
fire, and had hung on it the bowl to cook his food in. Then he 
sat down quietly, watching the wood crackle and burn up. 
When the goats came they started a conversation with God, 
speaking of this and speaking of that, so that God should 
not see that they had come for the purpose of stealing fire. 
When they saw they could not get on, they decided to make a 
rush upon the fire, and to snatch a brand from it. 

So they ran towards the tripod trying to snatch the fire. 
God, who knew what they were bent upon, took the ladle 
which was sticking in the food, and with the hot stuff on it he 
smote the goats on their knees. The goats started running, 
and they shrieked from the pain of the burning food on their 
Jmees, which burned the skin so that all the hair fell out, and 

x] Why the Goafs Knees are Bare. 87 

from that time the goats have no hair on their knees, and the 
devil's beasts they have remained to this very day. 

In other South-Slavonian versions (Dahnhardt, i. 142 f.) it is 
the Evil One who invents the fire, and God is anxious to obtain 
it from him in order to give it to mankind. The Evil One had 
deprived them of it. God sends St. Peter to the Evil One with 
an iron rod in his hands. This he was to poke in the fire 
until it got white hot ; then he was to touch some wood and 
the fire would leap up. Pursued by the Evil One, who per- 
ceived the ruse, St. Peter struck the flint before the rod had 
got cold, and thus got the spark inside the flint. Thus it is 
that sparks fly when the flint is struck by iron. 

As for the goats, the following variants and parallels are 
of interest : 

According to an Armenian legend of Transylvania (Dahn- 
hardt, 154 ; Wlislocki, 12), the goat is the very work of the 
Evil One. Jealous of God, who has made all the creatures, 
he boasted that he also would make a creature of his own. 
When he saw how God fashioned the lamb, one of the last of 
God's creatures, he set to work to make an animal in the 
likeness of the lamb. So he made a goat. But he wanted to 
make it more beautiful, so he added a beard and planted some 
pointed horns on its head. Then he asked God to give life to his 
creation. God did so, and thus made foi man two new animals, 
the good, useful and meek lamb, and the mischievous goat. 
God then took a vase, in which he had put the intelligence of 
the animals, and, finding in it only a few drops of the liquid at 
the bottom of the vase, he said to the devil that he must be 
careful in the use of these drops. So he dropped a few on the 
head of the lamb, but when he was going to pour some on that 
of the goat the devil shook the vase, and thus many more 
drops fell on the head of the goat than on that of the lamb. 
The devil laughed and said, " My creature is cleverer than 
thine." To which God replied, " That may be, but thy 
creature shall play the fool and live on scanty food." 

88 Riimanian Bird and Beast Stories. [x 

In a Polish version (Dahnhardt, i. 162), the goat is made 
by the devil almost in the same manner as he made the wolf 
in the tales Nos. 8, 9. And the goat comes to life only when, 
after saying " get up," he whispers, " by the power of God." 
When the goat rises, the devil in his fury gets hold of its tail 
and pulls it off ; and ever since the goats have had no tails. 

In the South-Slavonic tale, curiously enough, the sheep 
take the place of the goat and are made by the devil, which, 
in the light of the above version, is due to some confusion 
made by the story-teller between the ram and the goat. 
(Krauss, Sud-slav. Sagen, Leipzig 1883, No. 29, p. 109.) 

In a modern Greek legend, the devil made the goat, but 
he made the knees stiff, and the goats perished from hunger. 
One day Christ was walking upon earth, and he met the devil, 
who showed him the goats, and said to him : "I have also 
made something, but I cannot make it sit down ; its knees 
are so stiff ; so the goats die off." Whereupon Christ took his 
seal and placed it upon the goats' knees. Afterwards they 
could easily bend them. Hence the sign of the seal upon the 
goats' knees. (Politis, No. 842 ; Dahnhardt, pp. 153-4.) 

In these two tales we have peculiar variants to some of 
the incidents in the Rumanian version, only so far as the 
connection of the goat with the Evil One and the bareness of 
the goats' knees are concerned, though the explanation is 
totally different from nay, opposite to that given in the 
Rumanian version, where the bareness is the sign of God's 
punishment of the goats. 

A German tale (Grimm, 148) tells us : God made all the 
animals, even the wolves, which were his dogs. The devil 
made the goats, which destroyed the vines, the young trees, 
etc. The wolves then went and killed the goats, and God 
offered to pay the devil the price of his destroyed creatures, 
but only when all the oaks should lose their leaves. But the 
devil was told that one oak in Constantinople keeps its leaves 
all the year. He went in search of it for six months, and could 
not find it. When he returned, the other oaks had got their 
leaves again, and he got nothing. He poked out the eyes 

x] Why the Goafs Knees are Bare. 89 

of the goats, and put his own in instead, and therefore they 
have the devil's eyes, and so the devil sometimes assumes their 

These stories of the goat and the devil are probably one 
chapter of the larger and yet unwritten book on the goat- 
devil in popular beliefs and customs. It must suffice merely 
to mention the "scape-goat," the goat-demons (seirim of the 
Bible), the Greek fauns and satyrs. Satan, worshipped under 
the guise of a goat in the alleged orgies of the witches, is found 
in the record of the Inquisition in medieval accusations against 
the heretics. Is not the devil himself depicted in medieval 
imagery with the cloven hoof of the goat and with the horns 
of the goat ? The why and wherefore is another story. It is 
not here and now the place to enter upon it. The mischievous 
character of the goat, the amorous inclinations, the offensive 
smell, may to a certain extent have contributed later on to 
justify this equation of goat and devil, but there must be some 
other reason for making the goat, if not a type, at least the 
friend of Satan. 

go Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xi 



IT is said that the vine did not exist before the flood, and of 
course, therefore, there was no wine. The giants, whatever 
mischief they may have done, and however wicked may have 
been their ways, at any rate were never drunk. They only 
drank water, which is the eternal beverage for man and beast. 
When the flood came the giants and all the living creatures, 
except those whom Noah saved in the ark, were destroyed. 
When the flood had subsided, the animals went out, spread 
themselves over the earth, and multiplied very quickly. 

Thus from the few head of cattle, sheep and goats there grew 
up soon a large number, and Noah was able to live by his cattle 
and his goats. 

Of all these animals, Noah loved the goats best, especially 
when he saw them climbing about everywhere up the trees 
and up the rocks, going freely in all directions. One day 
Noah saw that one of the he-goats left the rest alone and 
went his own way, and when the evening came he came down 
dancing and jumping, quite jolly ; this he repeated many 
days, and every evening he came home jumping and dancing, 
and frolicking like a madman. Noah, anxious to find out 
what was the reason of this peculiar behaviour of the goat, 
followed him quietly one day, and he found out what it was. 
There, on one of the hillsides, he saw a tree with very huge 
grapes, each one as big as a bucket. The goat went straight 
to these and ate his fill. Getting drunk, he laid himself down 
to sleep. When he woke up he started the game again, and so 
until the evening, when he returned home quite jolly. 

xi] Why did Noah get Drunk ? 91 

Old Noah was greatly surprised at this sight, for he had 
never seen before any grapes ; and so, climbing up as best 
he could, he plucked a bunch in order to take it home and show 
his family. 

On his way home the heat grew unbearable, and he got 
very thirsty. He turned to the right, he turned to the left ; 
nowhere a drop of water to be seen. I do not know what he 
thought ; but, having the grapes in his hand, he put one in 
his mouth, and sucked at it. He found the juice very sweet 
and refreshing, so he took the other grapes and squeezed the 
juice into his mouth. Not satisfied with that, as his thirst 
was not yet quenched, he went back to the vine tree, and taking 
a whole cluster, he sucked it dry. When he returned, he felt 
somehow that his head had got rather heavier than usual, and 
his legs, on the contrary, were much lighter than before. 
Altogether he felt in a merry mood, and though old and 
advanced in years, he started singing a song. Getting near his 
house, the goat overtook him, frolicking and jumping as it 
had done every day. 

What should enter Noah's head but to follow the example 
of the goat, frolicking and jumping, and in that state of 
high merriment both reached the house. When Noah got 
near the house, he looked at himself, and he could not make 
out what had happened to him, for he had lost almost all his 
clothes. They had fallen off him on the way. He could not 
get into the house, but, dropping down in front of it, he fell 
fast asleep. There his sons found him, and thinking that he 
was dangerously ill, put him on his bed and began wailing over 
him, for they were sure he was at death's door. 

The next morning, to their astonishment, he woke hale 
and hearty, and there and then he told them all about the 
goat and the vine and the grape and the sweet juice. Then 
Noah gave orders that the vine should be taken from the hills 
and planted in his garden. Before he did so, he killed the goat 
and poured the blood of it on to the roots in remembrance of 
the fact that it was through the goat that he discovered the 

92 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xi 

Thus far the Rumanian story, which, however, requires 
completion. As far as it goes it agrees almost verbatim with 
a story found in a very ancient Hebrew collection of legends 
(Midrash Abkhir) ; the sequel there is as follows : When 
Noah started planting the vine, the devil came and asked to 
be allowed to take a part in it. Noah willingly agreed. After 
killing the goat, the devil brought a lion, whose blood was also 
used to water the roots of the vine, and finally brought a 
swine, and his blood was also poured over the roots of the vine. 

For this reason it comes to pass that, when a man drinks 
a little wine he gets merry and jumps and frolics like a young 
kid ; and if he drinks a little more, he becomes hot and roars 
like the lion ; and his last stage is reached when he wallows in 
the mire like the pig, for he has drunk the blood of all of them. 

Here, then, we have a tale which shows how a man can 
become a beast without changing his human form, not like 
all the other tales, in which he remains a bird or a beetle to the 
end of his days. 

A peculiar transformation of this legend is found in the 
following variant, in which the bones of the animals are 
substituted for their blood. The whole setting is different 
from the more primitive type preserved in the Rumanian. 

When Saint Dionysios was still young, he once made a 
journey through Greece, in order to go to Naxia (the isle of 
Naxos), but the way being very long, he got tired and sat 
down on a stone to rest. While he was sitting, and looking 
down in front of himself, he saw at his feet a little plant sprout- 
ing from the earth, which seemed to him so beautiful that he 
resolved at once to take it with him and to plant it. He 
took the plant out of the ground and carried it away ; but, 
as the sun was very hot just then, he feared that it might dry 
up before his arrival in Naxia. Then he found the small 
bone of a bird, and put the plant into it and went on. In 
his holy hand, however, the plant grew so quickly that it 
peeped forth from both sides of the bone. Then he again 
feared that it would dry up, and thought of a remedy. He 

xi] Why did Noah get Drunk ? 93 

found the bone of a lion, which was thicker than the bird's 
bone, and he put the bird's bone, together with the plant, 
into the bone of the lion. But the plant quickly grew, even 
out of the lion's bone. Then he found the bone of a donkey, 
which was still thicker, and he put the plant, together with 
the bird's and lion's bones, into the donkey's bone, and so he 
came to Naxia. When he was planting it, he saw that the 
roots had wound thickly round the bones of the bird, the lion 
and the donkey ; and, as he could not take it out without 
injuring the roots, he planted it in the ground as it was, and 
it quickly grew up and produced, to his delight, the finest 
grapes, from which he made the first wine, which he gave to 
men to drink. But what a wonder did he see now ! When 
men drank of it, they sang in the beginning like merry little 
birds ; drinking more of it, they became strong as lions ; and 
drinking still more, they became stupid like donkeys. (Hahn, 
Albn. Marchen, ii. 76 ; v. also Thumb, Bulletin of the John 
Rylands Library, Manchester, vol. ii. No. I, Oct. 1914, p. 38 
and note 50), 

I add here a Christmas carol about the shepherd and the 
sheep, for it seems that at the basis of it lies the idea of God 
giving a special blessing to the sheep. It is a second stage after 
the idea of creation of the sheep by God. 


Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 




ON the flowery mountain, 

O Lord, good Lord, 

Nica feeds his flock. 

He feeds them, 

He drives them, 

He touches the foremost, 

He gathers the hindmost, 

And leads them in to the pasture. 

But where has he fixed the 

pasture ? 

On the top of the mountains, 
Under the yellow plane tree. 
A summer breeze is blowing, 
Shaking the leaves, 
And scattering them over the 


The sheep grew excited, 
And they made a great noise. 
They bleated, and the bleating 

reached the heaven and the 


The Holy God heard them, 
And he came down to them, 
And thus he spake with his 

mouth : 
" Halloo, brave Nica, whose 

are these sheep, 
Which bleat so beautifully, 
So beautifully and devoutly ? " 
Nica the brave replied : 
" O dear merciful God, 

As thou hast come and askest 


I will answer truly 
To whom these sheep belong : 
They are thine, 
As well as mine. 
I feed them ; 
Thou guard est them. 
I milk them ; 
Thou multipliest them. 
I shear them ; 
Thou makest them grow." 
The good God replied 
And said to Nica the brave : 
" May they be given to thee 
From me as a gift 
From a good father 
To a clever son 
For thou art sweet of tongue. 
But thou shalt give me, 
On St. John's day, 
Two lambs ; 
On St. George's day 
One suckling lamb ; 
And on Ascension day 
A cake of cheese." 
Nica the brave 
May live in health, 
He and his brothers 
And his parents. 
May God keep you all. 

This refers no doubt to the creation- of the sheep by God 
as mentioned before and the manner in which the sheep were 
expected to help Adam after the fall. (v. Wolf Story No. 7.) 

xin] The Hart and the Making of the World. 95 



SLOWLY, slowly, O Lord, 

The little river Olt 

Has grown big, 

So big 

That the borders cannot be 

But what is coming 

Down the Olt ? 

Tall pines 

And dry fir trees. 

Among the pines, 

Among the fir trees, 

A three-year-old stag 

Is swimming. 

The stag swims, 

And lifts up its horns. 

On the top of his horns 

A cradle is hanging and swing- 

A green cradle made of silk, 

Woven in six strands. 

But who sits in the cradle ? 

The maiden, the young girl, 

With her tresses hanging down 
the back, 


Like the holy sun. 

She sits and sews, 

And embroiders 

A collar for her father, 

A kerchief for her brother. 

But she stops and does not 

Nor does her mouth keep 

For she is singing : 
" Slowly, slowly, 
Old stag, 

Slowly, slowly be thou swim- 

Do not hinder my work. 
And the waves are rising ; 
They might wash me off and 

carry me off thy horns. 
Slowly, slowly, 
Dear old stag, , 
For I have three brothers at 


Where they learn many things. 
All the three are noted hunters, 
And good falconers. 
They will discover thee, 
And run after me. 
W T ith their falcons they will 

pursue thee. 
With their dogs they will 

worry thee. 
With their lances they will 

prick thee. 
Slowly, slowly, 
Dear old stag 
For if my brothers find thee, 
They will make my wedding 


With thy poor flesh. 
With thy bones 
They will build 
My little house. 
With thy skin 
They will cover 

9 6 

Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. 



My little home. 

With thy blood 

They will paint 

My little courts. 

And with thy head 

They will celebrate 

The holy feast. 

They will place it 

Over the gate, 

At the entrance of the little 

Of thy hoofs 

The mythical stag carrying on his horns a girl who is like 
the sun is similar to the bull of Mithras and to the bull in 
the A vesta, out of which the world was created. The stag 
provides here all the elements for the building of a house 
and for the merriment of the nobles. Each part of its body is 
accounted for. 

They will make 

Crystal cups, 

Out of which 

Nobles drink. 

On rare occasions 

On Christmas day and 

When the whole world rejoices, 
I drink to the health of these 

For many years. 

xiv] Why is the Fly called the Devil's Horse ? 97 



IN Rumania, the dragon-fly is known as the devil's horse 
or perhaps the dragon's horse. It is also known as St. 
George's horse. The following legends explain this peculiar 

We are told that in olden times there was continual strife 
between God and the devil. God, however, who is peace- 
fully inclined, let the devil play his game as long as possible. 
He thought that perhaps after some time the devil might 
become better behaved. But what can you expect of the 
devil ? He is what he is, and neither good nor bad treatment 
will change him. And so it proved even to God. He waited 
a very long time to see him quiet down and become more 
satisfied. But no sooner had God granted him one thing, than 
the devil asked for another, and so he went on asking con- 
tinually. When at last God saw that nothing could be done 
with Satan, he armed his host of angels and gave each one a 
beautiful horse to ride on. One morning, at early dawn, they 
all mounted their horses and, led by St. George, who was 
riding at the head of the host, they started the fight with the 

After a time St. George who rode a horse, which was like 
unto none of the others, wondrously beautiful felt suddenly 
that his horse was backing instead of going ahead. So St. 
George found himself involved among his own host, and some 
other horses following his example, started moving backwards 
and hitting those who were riding behind them. He then 

98 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xiv 

suddenly heard the voice of God telling him to dismount, 
for his horse had been bewitched by the devil. " If that is the 
case," said St. George, " then be it the devil's own," and he 
let it go. And so it happened. Scarcely had it made three 
steps when it was changed into a flying insect, which we, upon 
this earth, call the devil's horse (libellula depressa). 

A similar legend must have been current in West Europe 
and in England, as otherwise the English name of Dragon- 
fly could not be explained. At the root of it there must 
be some legend of St. George and the Dragon, in addition to 
the fight between the hosts of heaven and the army of Satan. 
This part must have entirely dropped out, and the knowledge 
and recollection of the part which St. George played was 
connected either with the worm, i.e. dragon probably trans- 
formed into an insect, or the horse of St. George, believed to 
have been a winged horse. To us here, however, the first 
part of the legend is of the utmost interest, for it is nothing 
less than the Biblical legend of the rebellion of Satan which 
led to the combat and to the fall. Satan had lost Paradise, 
and ever since then he had been yearning for the light of 
Paradise, either by attempting to steal the heavenly fire, 
as in the Goat stories, or by stealing the sun and moon as in 
some of the Christmas carols. Thereby he entered into a 
contest with the heavenly power. Though these variants 
do not contain much of the legendary fauna, they form an 
important part in the mythological conception which lies at 
the root of many of these creation-tales and legends. 


The Devil Stealing the Sun. 




IN the glory of the heavens, 

On the outskirts of Paradise, 

Close to the throne of God 

The throne of Judgment 

Where the whole world gathers, 

Tables are decked, 

And the saints sit round the 

John St. John, 

Ilie St. Hie, 

Peter St. Peter, 

With all the other saints, 

Are feasting joyously. 

The Lord came then to the 

Sat down at the table, 

Blessed the bread, 

And began 

To eat. 

They were eating, 

Or not eating, 

For on a sudden 

They lifted their eyes, 

And whom should they see 
from afar ? 

The archangel Gabriel 

And the angel Michael, 

Who were coming, always com- 

Drawing nearer and nearer, and 
then they reached the table. 

They bent their knees before 
the Lord, 

Bent their knees and prayed. 

And said the following : 

" Dost thou know, O Lord, or 
dost thou not know, 

What has happened in Para- 
dise ? 

What we have seen and what 
has been done ? 

No sooner had St. Peter gone, 

And Ilie followed suit, 

And St. John had left us, 

When the heathen gods, realis- 
ing it, 

Stormed Paradise, 

Entered inside, 

Robbed it and 

Have taken away the crown 
of Paradise. 

They have taken the moon, 

With its light. 

They have taken the twilight, 

With its glimmer. 

They have taken the stars, 

With their flowers. 

They have taken the sun, 

With its treasures. 

The heathen gods have further 
taken away 

The throne of judgment, 

Before which the whole world 
must appear. 

They have carried it all away 
into hell. 


Riimanian Bird and Beast Stories. 


Paradise is darkened, 

Whilst hell is lit up. 

We have fought as much as we 
could fight, 

But they overpowered us. 

They refuse to give up the 

We have now come to tell 

To bring our prayer as a sacri- 

That you may render us help, 

And come back with us to 

When the Lord heard it, 

He made a sign to the saints, 

And turned his eyes upon the 

And went with them 

To bear them company. 

First St. Hie, 

Who is the most powerful 
saint ; 

And second to him St. Peter, 

To smite the heathen gods with 

They followed him. 

They started, 

John baptising, 

St. Hie striking with his light- 
ning flashes, 

St. Peter drenching with rains 
and downpours. 

When they arrived at hell 

St. Hie struck with his light- 
ning ; 

St. Peter cursed them ; 

St. John baptised them. 

The idols were seized with 


They fell on their knees, 
And submitted to St. John. 
The archangel Gabriel, 
Together with the angel 

Entered hell, 
Took everything 
In their arms, 
And brought them back to 


Holy moon with its light, 
The twilight 
With its rays, 
The stars 

With their flowers, 
The sun 

With its treasures, 
The throne of judgment, 
Before which all men must 

They brought them back to 

And Paradise again shone 


Hell was darkened. 
They turned to the Lord, 
And prayed : 
" May, O Lord, thy will 
And thy kingdom last for- 
To your health for many years 

to come." 

This carol is full of apocryphal reminiscences and mythical 
elements. The contest between Satan and God, and between 
the evil and good powers is here described under the form of 
Satan, stealing the sun from heaven and plunging the world 
into darkness, but the angels, with the prophet Hie (Elijah) 
at their head, are able to defeat the machinations of Satan, and 
to restore the sun to Paradise. Cf. among others the English 

xv] The Devil Stealing the Sun. 101 

poem, " The Harrowing of Hell," and the literature connected 
with the Gospel of Nicodemus. Wesselofsky has studied the 
transformation of the prophet Elijah into the Hie of the popular 
faith, who rides the heavens with a thunderbolt in his hands, 
and smites the devil wherever he finds him. It is a combina- 
tion of the prophet Elijah with a modified form of the Greek 
Helias. The archangels Gabriel and Michael are here in their 
proper place, whilst in the story of the dragon-fly they have 
been supplanted by St. George. We shall find the same saint 
disguised as a knight and almost forgotten as a saint in the 
legend of the Fly of Kolumbatsh, No. 21. 

1O2 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xvi 



IN those days when God used to walk through fields and 
lanes carrying his knapsack on his back and feeding his herds 
and flocks, his oxen and cows, his sheep and goats, it is told 
that, once upon a time, feeling very tired, he went to sleep 
with his head upon a hillock of earth. He slept for a long while, 
and woke up very late. Before lying down, he told the older 
and stronger oxen to take care to behave themselves well, and 
also to look after the younger ones, so that there should not 
be any fight or trouble among them. But no sooner had he 
closed his eyes, when such a shouting and bellowing was 
started that one might think that the hills were falling and 
the earth was breaking up. The Lord sprang upon his feet 
as if he had been touched by fire, for the holy sun had come to 
him, and waking him up had said : " Lord, these creatures 
of yours have bellowed all night long so loud and so vigorously 
that you might have thought that they intended driving me 
away from the face of the earth. Look and see what they have 
done to me. They have fought against me so long that they 
have well-nigh torn my clothes into shreds and tatters, and 
with great difficulty I saved myself behind that flower-bed." 

" What beetles are you speaking of ? " asked the Lord. 

" I mean your oxen which have behaved so badly. They 
are not worthy to be anything else but horned beetles." 

" Let it be so ! But I must first look into the matter, and 
if I find them guilty, I will punish them just as you wish." 

And as the Lord had said, so he did. For, finding them 
guilty, he drove them away into the forest. There they 

xvi] Why is it called the Bull- Fly? 103 

climbed up the oak-trees, and suddenly they all became horned 
beetles, bull-flies, with larger and smaller horns, viz. the cows 
became cow-flies with smaller horns and the oxen bull-flies 
with larger horns, through God's punishment. That is why 
they are called the Lord's bulls and cows (Lucanus cervus). 

According to another legend, the bull-flies were originally 
the angels who refused to help St. Elias in fastening the 
felloes to his fiery chariot. Therefore their mouths have 
been closed as with a vice, for ever, so that they be no longer 
able to speak, and that is why they are also called wheel- 

The horns of these bull-flies are used by women, who tie 
them into their hair against the evil eye. The sharp points 
of these horns have the same magical properties as the sharp 
points of the coral, or of the horns, fingers, etc., which figure 
so largely in the magical charms and amulets against the 
workings of the evil eye. 

IO4 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xvn 



THE following legend is told of this little beetle. 

I do not know how long ago it was that Ileana Cosinziana 
(Ileana the fay) walked about with her young, beautiful, and 
brave hero (Voinic inflorit), and, singing with a loud voice, 
they filled mountain and valleys with their music. It must 
have been long ago, for at that time the archangel Gabriel 
also walked the earth in the form of a very old man, leaning 
on iron crutches. He went about warning the people that 
God would send upon them a new flood of foreign tongues 
and wild nations, if they would not stop their quarrels and 
put an end to their curses. After having travelled through 
many countries and empires, St. Gabriel found himself one day 
at the top of a cliff, so high that it made your head turn when 
you looked down. There he met Ileana Cosinziana, who was 
weeping and singing a doleful tune. With her was Voinic 
inflorit, whom she had met in the land of the fairies, just as 
God makes men meet in their journeys. " How far art thou 
going ? " asked Voinic, seeing the old man. " Much farther 
than thou wilt go," replied the archangel Gabriel. The 
young man looked up, feeling wroth with the answer. And 
quite naturally so, when he heard a very old man boasting 
that he was going much farther than he. Was he not a young 
sturdy man, and more likely to walk ever so much further 
than a bent-down old fellow grey of hair ? " O old man, 
you must take me for a weakling, when you say that I cannot 
walk as far as you do." 

xvn] Why is the Saw-Fly Red? 105 

" Young man, your sweet, strong voice will not be heard 
any more a year hence." 

" And why ? " 

" Because such is the will of God." 

" Yes, that might be so if you were the brother of Christ," 
replied the young man, sneering. 

" I may not be the brother of Christ, but that of St. Peter 
I may well be. If you do not believe me, let us enter a 
wager that a year hence we will meet here again. But you 
will be weak and broken, much more so than you think me to 
be now." 

" Well, be it so, but woe betide thee if I win the wager." 

" So it shall be." 

And wishing one another good-bye, each went his own way, 
bent on winning the wager. 

" Who was that daring old man ? " asked the Ileana ; 
" it seems to me that he is not so old as his grey hair betokens. 
He is a valiant man. God knows who he may be, but one 
thing is certain, he is not an old man." 

" How did you know it ? " 

" Well, when he put out his hand, he gripped mine with 
so much strength that he very nigh burnt my soul out of me 
with the fire of his hand." 

When the young Voinic heard it, he got so angry that he 
was more like a wild beast than a human being, and 
being overpowered by his fury, got hold of her by the hair of 
her head and hurled her down the cliff so that she broke 
into a thousand pieces. He then began to run away so 
fast that the earth seemed to fly away under his feet. And 
thus he continued running through many lands and many 
countries, until the year had come round when he was to 
meet the old man again. On the last day of the year, Voinic 
remembered the wager, and looking into the water at the 
bottom of a well, he saw himself much weaker and older 
than the old man had looked a year ago. In his anger he 
threw himself into the well. But, in accordance with the 
will of God, the water would not keep him, and cast him out. 

io6 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xvn 

He had got very old indeed, for the thoughts and worries 
had cut deep furrows into his face ; his hair from black, turned 
white as the snow. This was because in his fury and in an 
unlucky hour he had killed his beloved Ileana by throwing 
her down the cliff. 

The archangel Gabriel, who knew all that had happened, 
changed into a young man beautiful as the sun, valiant as 
a king and brave as a lion. He was mounted on a charger 
black as the night and swift as the wind. Thus arrayed, he 
came to the cliff where they had arranged to meet. Voinic 
noticed that against his will he had also come to that spot. 
How great then was his fright when, instead of a decrepit old 
man, he found there so valiant a knight. 

" Good morning, Voinic." 

" All hail ! I am no longer a hero full of sap ; I am now an 
old weak man." 

" He, he, seest thou now that what I had told thee has 
come to pass? I have grown young and thou hast grown old. 
So it is, for who can alter the will of God ? He can do what 
he likes, and man must submit to his decrees. So it is, 
indeed, but how now about our wager ? Where is that beauti- 
ful maiden of thine, in whom thou didst believe more than in 
God ? " 

" She died soon after we met." 

" True, she is dead, for thou, O wretch, hast killed her." 

" I assuredly did not ; she died by the will of God." 

" Oh no, thou hast thrown her down the cliff. I know it 
well, for I have seen the rut on the cliff she fell down." 

" That is not true, for I have buried her with the assistance 
of the priest of the next village. If thou dost not believe, 
come with me, and I will show thee the grave." 

" This is an infamous lie. Thou hast murdered her. 
Thou come and I will show thee her real grave and her 

And, getting hold of him, he took him down and showed 
him a place which seemed covered with red blood. But it 
was no blood. It was a vast number of small red beetles. 

xvn] Wky is the Saw- Fly Red? 107 

" Out of the blood of Ileana, seest thou, have come these 
little flies." 

When Voinic heard this, he was seized with such a great 
fright that he became changed from the old bent man that 
he was into a small black insect, which unto this very day 
cries for his lost beloved Ileana. The people call it the little 
cricket, or rather the bull or cow of the Lord (Lygaeus equestris). 
The little red beetles which come out of the blood of Ileana 
they also call Easter beetle, for it was on Easter Day that 
she was thrown down the cliff. 

io8 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xvm 



ANOTHER legend of a totally different character is also told 
of this little beetle. 

When the Holy Mother gave birth to Jesus, she had not 
enough milk in her breasts to suckle the child. Next to her 
on the right lived a very rich farmer who had a large number of 
cows. So the mother Mary sent to him, and asked him to give 
her a little milk, as much as was necessary to feed her little 
baby. But rich farmers are, as a rule, very stingy. So he 
replied, " I am not going to give my good milk to a witch 
to bewitch my cows and take away their gift." 

The Holy Mother, on hearing his words, got very angry, 
especially when she heard that he had called her a witch. 
But she kept her counsel, and went to the neighbour on the 
left, who had only one cow. He was a kind-hearted man, 
and gave her at once a bowl full of milk. When she left, she 
blessed him and said : " On the morrow thou shalt not know 
what to do with the milk," i.e. he would have so much milk 
that he would not know how to handle it. And so it hap- 
pened. When, on the next morning, he entered the stables 
he found them full of beautiful fat kine, from which the milk 
was running, so rich were they. 

But the stingy neighbour the Holy Mother cursed, and 
said : " On the morrow thy stable shall be empty, and in lieu 
of cows, beetles shall be there." And so also it happened. 
When he entered the stables the next morning, he found 
them empty, and instead of the cows, which were no longer 

xvm] Why does the Saw- Fly live in Stables. 109 

there, the stables were full of little red flies with black spots on 
their backs, crawling up the walls and filling the manger. 
And that is why they are called the cows and oxen of the 

To obtain abundance of milk peasant women in the Buko- 
vina go on a Tuesday evening to a place where there are a 
number of these insects. The next morning, before sunrise, 
they go there again and, taking a number of them, bring them 
home, chop them up with their choppers and, mixing them 
with the food, give them to the cows to eat. The cows will 
then yield much milk. 

no Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xix 



IN olden times, when the men were not yet so wicked and 
bad, there was no hell, for the good God saw that it would 
remain empty, as there would be no one to go there. The 
people were happy and grateful, and satisfied with whatever 
God gave them. It did not enter their minds to complain of 
God's wisdom and love. After a time the people multiplied 
so much that they could no longer have enough of anything. 
So they began to quarrel with one another. Those who had 
nothing, without knowing that they were doing anything 
wrong, began to demand whatever they wanted from the 
wealthy ones. They did not know that it was forbidden to 
take another man's property. For up till then no one knew 
what sin was. The Allmerciful God, who sees and knows 
everything, noting that strife and quarrels increased more and 
more among men, sent his trusty servant, the archangel 
Michael, to awaken mankind to the sense of sin, and to train 
them to good deeds. The archangel went among the people, 
enlightened their minds, and told them all about sin and 
wrong-doing, and what they had to do in order to avoid sin. 
That was just the knowledge that the people were lacking ; 
but no sooner did they know what evil was, than, curiously 
enough, they took to wrong-doing. Jealousy, greed, strife, 
and murder were born among them. When God saw the 
obstinacy and perverseness of mankind, he let them go their 
own way to do whatever they liked, even if they acted against 
his wishes. In order to punish them, however, he decided not 

xix] Why is the Lady-Bird Dainty ? 1 1 1 

to allow them to get into Paradise. At the edge of the garden 
he made a deep well ; so deep that it was very dark, almost 
black. He then took a fiery morning star, and cast him into 
the depth of the well, thus filling it with burning coals. And 
then he turned every wicked man into that fire so that he 
might repent. He called that place Hell : and so it has 
remained to this day. In order that men should know that 
God knows how to reward them, he at times left the gate of 
Paradise open, so that everyone, if he liked, could enter into 
it and see how beautiful it was. He also opened the gates of 
Hell, so that they might also see the tortures and hear the 
cries of the wicked. 

Many people went and looked, and when they looked into 
Paradise, their hearts swelled with joy ; but when they went 
and looked into Hell, their hearts got as small as a flea on 
account of the great fright they got, when they saw how 
severely God punished the sinner. They all repented of their 
evil ways, all of them, great and small, except one single 
person, who on no account would repent. This one was a girl 
as beautiful as an angel, and clever beyond comparison. She 
was strong, with a fine body, round and sleek as no other, and 
she had a head so beautiful that you might believe it was a 
picture. Her long black hair, soft like silk, shone like the 
feathers of a raven. Her eyes were black and sparkling she 
could almost burn you up with her look her mouth had lips 
as red as the berries of the field her cheeks were white and 
smooth as snow lit up with two blood-red roses. I do not know 
by God I do not where there is anyone who would not have 
fallen in love with her. God sent the archangel Michael to take 
her out of this world and put her in Hell, there to repent of her 
sins of obstinacy and perversity. He went, but when he 
looked at her, he could not utter a single word. He felt as 
though he had a knot in his throat when he was to tell her that 
she must prepare for the journey. For he knew how terrible 
it is in Hell. So he returned to Heaven without taking the 
girl with him to throw her into the abysmal depths. When 
God saw him so sad, he asked him what was the cause of it. 

1 1 2 Rumanian Bird and Beast S lories. [xix 

" O Lord," said the archangel, " I have fulfilled all thy 
commands except one, which I could not fulfil ; I had pity 
on the beauty of that girl. She is so beautiful that you 
cannot help feeling full of pity, and to feel a sweet shiver 
passing through you when you behold her. If it be possible, 
O Lord, let her live on for a while, perchance she will repent." 

" O my son Michael, thou dost not know that thy pity 
will cause me much trouble and worry. Just look down 
and see. Since thou hast left her, she has increased the 
number of the wicked and sinful. For whoever looks at her is 
seized with lust. Everyone thinks only of her eyes and her 
face. When I sent thee, she was the only one left who was 
wicked, for she alone was possessed of pride, obstinacy and 
perverseness. Now the number has grown." 

" O, Lord, if it be only possible, do not uproot that example 
of womankind, for she is beautiful, and it is not likely that 
another like her will ever be born." 

" Very well, then, I will let her live on, perchance she will 
repent and get better ; but if she does not grow better at 
the end of one year, I will send thee again, and then thou wilt 
throw her down into the depths of Hell." 

" Well, let thy will be done." 

And with these words they separated, God going to mend 
the hinges of the world, and the archangel to teach and to 
enlighten the mortals. So, going through many countries, 
walking on foot or riding in a car, when a year had past he 
came at last again to the house of the beautiful maiden. 
There was a vast multitude assembled before her house. He 
pushed his way among the people to see at what they were 
looking. The beautiful maiden was enticing the people to 
follow only pleasure and pride. 

" It is not good," so she spoke, " to believe only in what 
God and his counsellors tell us. We must do what we think 
best, for no evil will happen to us." 

When the archangel Michael heard these words, he grew 
very furious, and, with a mighty effort, he got near her, so as 
to seize her and hurl her into the fire of Hell. 

xix] Why is the Lady- Bird Dainty? 113 

" Do not carry her to Hell," said the voice of God ; " for 
she might start fresh mischief and wickedness there also, 
and engender strife : she had better be changed into some 
insignificant insect." 

When the archangel heard the command, he got hold of 
her by the hair of her head, and he whirled her round so 
many times that she became as small as a speck ; and then, 
throwing her away, she turned into a small red insect with 
black points on her wings, which was called Bubureaza 
(Coccinella septempundata) . To this very day, when you put 
her on your finger, she will show you the way you are to go, 
but it is better for men to do the reverse and go in the opposite 
direction ; for she leads one only to evil. 

1 1 4 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xx 



IN olden times God and St. Peter used to walk about in the 
world, to see what was happening, and how the world was 
going on. And after they had seen what happened in one 
province, they used to go to another. 

Once upon a time, after leaving a certain village, they 
got into a deep and dark forest. Walking along for a while, 
they lost their way, and did not know how to get out of it. 
Tired and hungry, they walked on, lost in that thick and 
gloomy wood, when suddenly before them they saw a field, 
in which grass and flowers were growing and herds of cattle 
were feeding. The cowherd lay fast asleep under the shadow 
of a tree. He could take it easily, for the cattle were not 
suffering from flies, and were wandering quietly about the 
field. God and St. Peter rejoiced greatly when they saw a 
man lying there. They went up to him and woke him, and 
asked him to tell them the way which would take them out of 
the forest. The cowherd, being asked by God which was the 
quickest road, did not even lift up his head to give a polite 
answer. But lying outstretched on the grass, he merely moved 
his right leg and, half asleep and lazy as he was, and pointing 
in one direction, said, " If you wish to get out to the world of 
men, just go that way and you will get there." Then, turning 
over on the other side, he again fell asleep. 

God and St. Peter, resenting the rudeness of the cowherd, 
said, " Are these, then, thy manners ? Very well, thou wilt 
no longer be lazy from this day onwards. Thy cattle will no 
longer feed quietly ; the gad-fly, which I am sending, will 

xx] Why does the Gad- Fly sting the Cattle? 115 

sting them, and they will run like mad whither their feet and 
their eyes will carry them." And so it happened. The gad-fly 
came and the cows and oxen suddenly started running like 
mad in all directions, and so it has remained to this very day. 

The cowherd, when he saw the cattle running like mad 
things with their tails in the air, jumped up like one stung to 
madness, and started running after them to bring them back. 
But in vain, for the cattle, which had run away as quickly as 
you strike a spark from the flint, entered into a swamp. 

After they had thus punished the cowherd, God and St. 
Peter went on walking without knowing whither they were 
going. So again, after a long walk in that same forest, they 
came to another meadow, where a shepherd tended his 
flock of sheep. But the sheep were running all the time so 
fast that you could not see their legs. Hither and thither 
they went, and the shepherd after them, out of breath, and 
the sweat running down his face, hoping that he might get 
them together. But the sheep were as if they had been 
bewitched, so fast did they run. And whilst the shepherd 
could scarcely keep on his legs, and the sweat was standing 
on his forehead like beads, God and St. Peter approached 
him and asked him which was the way they were to go to 
come back to this world. Although he was dead tired and 
hot, the shepherd none the less stopped still and, wiping his 
face with the sleeve of his shirt, said : 

" Please, take that way, for if you follow that road, you 
will soon get to the end of the forest." 

They took the way he showed them, and soon they found 
themselves in this world. And God said to his companion : 

" From this day onward, the flock of this shepherd, who has 
given us good advice, so courteously, shall no longer suffer 
from the gad-fly (and the running madness), and they shall only 
run at times of rain and wind. They will henceforth feed 
quietly, and the shepherd also will be able to sit down and play 
his pipe." And from that day on the sheep feed quietly, and 
the shepherd can tend them in peace and comfort, for the 
sheep do not suffer from the gad-fly (Hypoderma bovis), whilst 

1 1 6 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xx 

the cowherds must weary their legs, as otherwise their cattle 
would disappear. 

There is a Macedonian variation : 

Once upon a time God changed into a very old man. Walk- 
ing one day in a terrific heat, he met a cowherd and asked him 
for a drop of water, for he said he would die of thirst. " Die," 
replied the cowboy, and would neither give him a drop of water 
nor tell him where to find it. 

God found afterwards a shepherd hotly pursuing his sheep, 
and the perspiration running down him. " Give me a drop 
of water, for I die," said God. 

" I give you willingly, but my sheep have run away and I do 
not know how to gather them " ; and going to a fountain at the 
foot of a hill he took some in his fur cap and gave him to drink. 
God gathered the sheep, and blessed them to be God's flock, 
who should never henceforth separate on the road or be 
scattered. Remembering the cowherd, he cursed him and 
said: " The gad-fly is always to scatter his herd just when the 
heat is greatest, so that he may run like mad." 

Therefore the sheep always walk together in flocks, and 
gather together in hot summer weather in the shade. And 
for that reason the oxen are driven mad by the fly in the hot 
season, and they run like mad as if they were ridden by devils. 
The cowherd has to run after them, and there are but few 
fountains in Thessaly from which to slacken his thirst. 

xx i] Why does Fly of Kolumbatsh Poison Cattle ? 1 1 7 




NUMEROUS ballads recount the same story of the origin of 
the Poison-fly of Kolumbatsh, with slight variations, of which 
the most complete is the following : 

High up in the green forest 
What does appear ? 
High up in the forest of Cerna, 
At the ford of Rushava, 
Have gone forth, verily gone 


From some village nigh, 
Very early in the morning, 
Through dew and mist, 
Three sisters, 
Beautiful maidens. 
The elder sister, 
Dressed sweetly, 
Fair like a pink flower, 
Surpassing a fairy, 
When you espy her breast, 
White like a lily. 
The younger sister, 
Darling Maria, 
Full of pride 
In her eyebrows, 
In her eyes and lashes, 
And when you look into her 

You are like one smitten by 

the evil eye. 
The youngest sister, 
Like unto a dove, 

Ana Ghirosana, 

Like the fairy Sanziana, 

Surpassed them all. 

She is like the evening star, 

And the star of morn, 

The flower of flowers. 

They played and frolicked, 

And gathered flowers. 

They made wreaths, 

And while they twisted them 

they sang. 
Through the forest the singing 

was heard. 
Thus they went on, 
Until, overcome, 
The youngest lay down, 
And went to sleep. 
The elder two, 
The sisters twain, 
When night arrived, 
To their home they turned. 
They left the youngest behind, 
Who was fast asleep, 
Until the dawn appeared, 
When she called for them. 
But none heard her, 
Except the little cuckoo, 
Beautiful and brave, 

1 1 8 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xxi 

Who flitted among the trees, 
And sang with a loud voice. 
" Dear Cuckoo mine. 
Listen to me, you brave one ! 
Lead me out into the open, 
To the road of carriages, 
That I find my sisters, 
For I will be unto thee a 

cousin ! " 
" My sweet one ! 
I do not know 
Whether I will lead thee into 

the open or not, 
For I have many cousins, 
As many as there are flowers 

on the mountain ! ' ' 
" Cuckoo, cuckoo, listen, O 

brave one ! 

Lead me into the open, 
To the road of cars. 
I will be a sister unto thee." 
The cuckoo replied : 
" No, my child, no, 
For I have sisters as many 
As flowers that bloom in 

" Cuckoo, cuckoo, listen, O 

brave one ! 

Lead me into the open, 
That I may find my sisters, 
For I will be a wife unto thee 
As long as I live." 
" O no, for I am not a young 


Able to wed. 
I am only a little bird, 
And I know not of a beloved 

Then suddenly appeared from 

a rock 

The most horrible fright, 
Gruesome and cruel 
Twi ting and crawling across 

the path 
A terrible dragon. 
Running after her, 

He coiled himself round her, 

Twisted his tail 

Round her waist ; he encircled 


She was seized with terror, 
And shrieked aloud. 
The forest resounded. 
High up the Cerna, 
Very high up the river, 
Many a brave has passed, 
And all were laid low. 
A valiant Ruman, 
loan lorgovan, 
Whose arms were like clubs, 
Was riding upon a horse, 
Swift as the eagle, 
Followed by two little dogs, 
Keen and quick. 
He was riding gaily, 
Walking up the Cerna 
Quite quickly, 
His horse prancing, 
Encouraging his dogs, 
And waving his lance. 
He suddenly heard a noise, 
But he did not understand, 
However much he strained, 
Whether it was the voice of a 


Or that of a woman. 
For the waves of the Cerna 

Sounding loud through the 


So he turned himself back, 
And said to the Cerna : 
" O my clean Cerna, 
Stop, I pray thee, stop, 
For I will throw 
Into thy bed, 
And I will give thee a silver 


And a golden distaff, 
With dragon's eyes, 
Which will spin and turn by 


xx i] Why does Fly of Kolumbatsh Poison Cattle f 1 1 9 

The Cerna heard him, 

And at once stood still. 

Then loan lorgovan, 

With arms like clubs, 

At once heard 

And knew the voice, 

That it was not that of a 


But that of a woman. 
Then he got angry, 
Spuired on his horse, 
And, striking it hard, 
He roared like a lion, 
Splitting the air. 
The dragon got sight of him, 
And, seized with fear, it ran 


But he followed it, 
And jumped across the Cerna, 
And approached it. 
The dragon waited for him, 
And asked him : 
" loan lorgovan, 
With arms like clubs. 
With what kind of a good 

Dost thou come this day to 

me ? 

Or hast thou the thought 
To destroy me ? 
I pray thee, grant me peace, 
And turn back to thy home. 
I swear on my head 
That, dead, I shall be worse. 
For, if thou killest me, 
My head will rot. 
Worms will breed ; 
Flies will swarm, 
Who will bite thy horse. 
It will burst of the poison, 
The oxen will run mad, 
The plough will come to a 

standstill ! " 
" Accursed snake ! 
Thou still bandiest words. 
I will teach the country, 

And the people will hearken to 


They will raise the smoke, 
And thy flies they will choke. 
My horse will not die, 
But thou shalt perish, 
For I have heard 
That thou hast killed 
A beautiful maid 
With thy robber's jaw." 
" loan lorgovan, 
When I heard thy approach, 
Thy horse's trot, 
Roaring like a dragon, 
I at once left the maid 
Safe and unhurt. 
I pray thee, 
Leave me alone, 
And turn back to thy home. 
I swear on my head, 
Worse shall I be dead." 
loan lorgovan, 
With arms like clubs, 
Brandished his sword, 
Hit the snake, 
And cut it up in pieces. 
The maid looked on 
Until he had finished it, 
Then she showed herself, 
And thus she spake : 
" loan Torgovan, 
With arms like clubs, 
Lead me out in the open, 
To the carriage road, 
That I may meet my sisters, 
For I shall be unto thee a wife 
As long as I be alive." 
When he beheld her, 
Wonder seized him 
Of her beauty and of her 


" Ho, my beautiful flower, 
Who art like a young fairy, 
Be then to me a wife 
As long as you be alive." 
He then embraced her 

1 20 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xxi 

And kissed her. There it rotted. 

He then looked on The worms bred 

May it burst And flies swarmed. 

There was the dragon's head And so it is to this very 

Running away, day ; 

Painting the Cerna red with When the fly comes out 

his blood. It bites the horses, 

And it ran across the Danube, It poisons the oxen, 

Until it hid itself in the dark And stops the plough. 


Thus far this, the most complete version. 

There are a number of other variants, but the central idea 
is the same, that the poison-fly (Musca Columbaca) comes from 
the head of the dragon, slain by the knight loan lorgovan. 

The people show the imprint of the hoofs and the traces of 
lorgovan's dogs on the high cliff overhanging the banks of 
the Danube. 

This legend, localised in Rumania on the borders of Servia, 
is of special interest for hagiography. It is nothing else but a 
variant of the legend of St. George and the Dragon. It has 
assumed a peculiar form, differing greatly from the other 
versions of that fight, which is known all over the East and 
West, and lives in many forms and versions. In the Rumanian 
hagiography there are at least two or three versions of the 
legend as found in the Vitae Sanctorum and the Synaxanum 
of the Greek and Slavonic Church. Thus it is found in one 
of the oldest Rumanian prints, the Homiliary of 1646, the very 
first book printed at Jasi, in Moldavia, in the Rumanian 
language. It occurs also in part in the Lives of the Saints by 
the Archbishop Dositheus, who used MS. collections for his 
book, printed also in Jasi, in 1682. An elaborate version is to 
be found in the great collection of the Lives of the Saints in 
twelve volumes, by Bishop Benjamin of Moldavia, and then 
reprinted in Bucharest in 1836. All these collections are full 
of apocryphal matter, and the Life of St. George makes no 
exception. There is one point more to which attention must 
be drawn in this connection, viz. the influence of the Genoese 
and Venetian traders who had established emporia along the 

xxi] Why does Fly of Kolumbatsh Poison Cattle f 1 2 1 

Danube and the Black Sea, among them one which to this very 
day has retained the name of St. George. Along the Danube, 
on the left bank, on what is now Rumania, stands that place, 
called Giurgiu in honour of the patron saint of the Genoese 
who found it. Thus, from many quarters, one or the other 
version became known to the folk, and was localised at that 
point where the Carpathian mountains seem to dip into the 
Danube, to emerge again on the other side and continue rising 
and forming the chain of the Balkans. From a philological 
point of view the name lorgu lorgovan denotes Servian 

122 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xxn 



BEFORE God came upon the earth there were a number of 
men who were very clever, and who followed the rule of 
the devil. They claimed that they could change themselves 
into dogs and cats, for the devil, who took much pleasure in 
his clever people, helped them. Those who saw them, believed 
them to be gods, and worshipped them and brought them gifts. 
The devil almost jumped out of his skin with delight, for he 
hoped that all the nations would do likewise, and soon God 
would be forgotten. But God was watching the doings of the 
devil quietly from above, until at last, seeing to what lengths 
he was going, he said : 

" By God ! it is no good sitting here with my hands in my 
lap. I must go down and put matters straight." 

So God took on the form of man, and went down among the 
people, going from country to country and from village to 
village. At last, one day, he made it known through all the 
land that all the clever men should come together at a certain 
place to perform their arts, and whoever would win in that 
competition, he would give him a sackful of gold. 

On the appointed day, all the clever men came together in a 
big hall which God had prepared. It was surrounded by 
numerous apple-trees on all sides. The clever men did what 
they could, each one more clever than the other. They 
changed themselves into cats and dogs. At last God said to 
them : 

"You have all done very well, but I would ask you to make 
me an apple like those on the trees here around." 

xxn] Why is there a Worm in the Apple? 123 

In vain did they try to make an apple, but they could not 
succeed. So God sent lightning among them, which so 
terrified them that they crawled into the apples to hide them- 
selves there. And God turned them into caterpillars that can 
only live in apples. This is the origin of the worm (Carpocapsa 
pomonella) which infests the orchards of apples and pears. 
In order to protect them from this pest the Rumanians of 
Bukovina keep a special Day of the worms, on the Tuesday 
in the first week of the month of May. On it, it is strictly 
forbidden to work, and it is good to give away a cake and 
other good things in alms for the benefit (of the souls) of these 
men turned into flies. It is also good to bring into the orchard 
a red Easter egg, which has been taken to Church. 

Whoever catches an orchard worm and spits on its head, he 
spits on the devil between the horns. 

Whoever throws any of these worms into the fire throws into 
it the devil's servant. 

If we should call the " clever " men by the name of 
" Perfecti," of which the former is an excellent translation, 
we might find in this legend a slightly changed report of an 
act of accusation raised by the Inquisition against the Albi- 
genses and Cathars whose teachers went by the name of 
" Perfecti." These men were accused of being the servants 
and tools of the devil, and of possessing the power of changing 
themselves into animals, the cat being the special animal of 
the devil. It was said, moreover, that they enticed the world 
to the worship of the devil, and that they had almost succeeded 
in turning whole nations away from the true worship of God, 
so that it required his own interposition in order to save the 
world from the machinations of these men. He turned 
them into worms, which at any rate continued to exist in 
apples and pears the Inquisition has turned them into dust 
and ashes. And yet their memory is preserved, in spite of 
persecution and lives on in the memory of the people. 

124 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xxm 



IT is related that when the Emperor For married his daughter 
he made a great banquet, as big as had never been done 
before, for he called all the kings and governors, and so many 
guests came together that one might have thought that they 
would eat up even Por's ears. 

But Por the emperor knew what he had to do, and he pre- 
pared food for all. He opened casks of wine, which had been 
kept closed for a thousand years, and he spread tables in a 
field as large as a country, and he brought musicians who were 
so skilled that one would have liked to listen to them for ever. 

Everything had he prepared, only one thing had he forgotten. 
He did not call the priests and the nuns. The priests he left 
out just because he wanted to insult them, and he did not 
think of having the marriage service performed in a Church. 

" What do I want them for ? " he said, " all this can 
be done without their blessing, and to have popas (priests) 
always about you in your house, by God, is not quite a lucky 
thing, for it is well known if you meet a popa in your way you 
are sure to have no luck, for you have met the devil." 

The priests, seeing that Por had mocked at them, and the 
mothers of the Church (the nuns) got very angry. They began 
ringing the bells and praying, and they fasted three days on 
end, hoping that God would hearken to their prayer and would 
punish the Emperor Por in such signal manner as God alone 
in his wisdom could do. 

And God, as it seems, hearkened to their prayer, for while 
the tables were laden with meat and drink, and all the guests 

xxin] Why are the Locusts Voraciotis? 125 

had sat themselves down to eat and drink, suddenly the 
heavens grew dark, a mighty wind arose, and out of the 
sky came down a thick black cloud of winged things with large 
mouths, voracious and hungry. 

They settled on the tables and devoured every bit of food 
that could be found, and drank every drop of wine. The 
guests turned sick at this horrible sight, and, falling ill, they all 
died there and then. From a wedding feast it became a huge 
burial, the fame of which spread throughout the lands. No one 
knew why this misfortune had befallen them, only For under- 
stood what had happened, and before his death he said : 

" Nothing can be done without the mercy and grace of God. 
And this has been my punishment." 

These were the locusts (Pachytylus migratorius) which God 
sends upon men when they forget the true God. 

The role assigned here to the official priests, the " popa " 
of the orthodox religion, is in perfect harmony with that 
sectarian teaching which could not find words strong 
and opprobrious enough against the " official " Church and 
its ministers. The belief is still alive in Rumania that 
to meet a " popa," as he is called, is an evil omen, and the 
people will often desist from some enterprise if a popa has met 
them. There are practices by which the evil consequences of 
such a meeting could be averted ; but they belong to those of 
primitive society. This story seems also to have been originally 
a satire against these popas. They were the original locusts 
who descended upon the tables of the rich and mighty, but 
now the point has been blunted and the lesson deliberately 
turned round, making the locusts the means of punishment for 
ignoring the priests. The man who told this tale must have 
had a mischievous twinkle in his eye, not lost on his hearers, 
but evidently lost upon him who wrote it down afterwards. 

The Emperor Por is none else than the Indian King Porus 
who plays so important a part in the legendary history of 
Alexander the Great. This is one of the most popular 
Rumanian chap-books probably the oldest in Rumanian 

126 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories, [xxm 

folk-lore. There are a number of traces of this legendary 
history in the Rumanian popular literature. We shall meet 
another reference to it in the history of the cricket, No. 65, 
and of the cuckoo, No. 91. 

This story evidently belongs to the cycle of legends in which 
an emperor tries to invite God and his host to dine with him, 
boasting that he would be able to feed them. He decks tables 
along the sea shore and waits for God to come to the banquet. 
But a wind rises and blows everything into the sea. A sage 
explains to the emperor that thus far only one of the servants of 
God the wind has partaken of his banquet, (v. Gaster, 
Exempla of the Rabbis, No. 12.) 

xxiv] Why does the Grasshopper run to and fro f 127 



ANOTHER large kind of locust or grasshopper is also known 
by the name of " little horse " or " mower." For the explana- 
tion of the last name the following legend is told : 

Once upon a time when Jesus and St. Joseph hid them- 
selves for fear of the heathen in some very high grass which 
reached to their waist, it is told that a giant came there to 
cut the grass, and he carried a huge scythe, and with each 
stroke he cut down a large swath. Christ and St. Joseph, 
seeing the work of that man and fearing lest they should be 
discovered by the heathen if all the grass were cut down, asked 
him not to cut any more. But when he heard that Christ 
begged him to stop, he just went on with his work more 
furiously, full of spite, for was not he also a heathen who 
wanted to catch him ? When Christ saw this he prayed to God 
to put as many obstacles in the giant's way as possible, for it 
was still some time before the sun would set, and he would 
otherwise quickly finish the cutting of the whole field. God 
heard him, and he sent a heat so fierce that it dried up even 
the tongue in the man's mouth. The mower, however, did not 
care. He only cast off all his clothes and went on with his 
work in his shirt. When God saw that the giant would not 
stop he changed the weather and made it so bad that you would 
not have allowed a dog to leave the house. But the mower 
went on with his work undisturbed. The only thing which 
he did was to pick up the clothes which he had cast off and to 

128 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xxiv 

put them on again, and he made swaths as wide as the high 

When Christ saw the progress which he made he trembled 
like a reed. He feared lest the heathen would catch him. 
Angrily, he knelt down, and cursing the giant, he said : 
" Cursed shalt thou be, thou disobedient and callous mower, 
all thy life henceforth thou shalt be always only mowing and 
never gain any benefit from it. As long as the world stands 
thou shalt always be running to and fro among the reapers, 
who will cut thy legs as a punishment for not having listened 
to me." No sooner was this curse uttered, when the giant 
was turned into a small green insect with long legs, which to 
this very day is seen bopping between the blades of grass on 
meadows and fields, running in front of the scythes of cutters 
of grass. This insect is called the mower (Locusta viridissima). 

xxv] Another Story of the Grasshopper. 129 


THERE is another legend of the origin of the grasshopper. 

When Christ was born in the stable, the animals which were 
there were starved to death by the owner. There was no one 
who would as much as put a handful of hay into the manger. 
The Holy Mother, full of pity for the poor animals, asked the 
master of the house to give them at least a forkful of hay. 
The master, however, shrugging his shoulders said that all 
that he had, was gone and he could not give her even as 
little as a handful. " If that be so, why did not you provide 
more hay last summer ? " asked the Holy Mother. 

" Why ? just because I was too lazy to cut more." 

" If that be so," replied the Holy Mother, angrily, " then 
thou shalt become a mower, and all thy life thou shalt not 
do anything else, but from early morning to late at night 
thou shalt cut grass and yet have no benefit therefrom." 

No sooner had she uttered these words than the master was 
turned into the grasshopper called the " mower," and such 
has he remained to this very day. 

130 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xxvi 



IN the time of the Holy Apostles, there was great trouble 
among the heathen giants, as they did not know whom to elect 
as ruler. The heathen then came in large numbers to the 
Christians, asking for their vote, and came even to St. Peter, 
who was then the headman of the Apostles. St. Peter, 
realising the importance of this election, took counsel with his 
brothers the Apostles. They decided to call together all the 
Christians in an Assembly to decide which part they were to 
take. A good number came together. But as at that time 
the Christians were scattered far and wide, and lived a good 
way distant one from another, and also were afraid of the 
heathen, the greater number stayed at home. 

For in such troublous times who would have liked to leave 
his wife and children alone at home ? Moreover, at that time 
Christians were not permitted to meet, for when the heathen 
caught them speaking to one another, they poured oil upon 
them and burned them like torches. Still, when St. Peter 
had got a few counsellors together, they discussed what was 
best to be done. The one said one thing, the other another, 
as people do even to-day when talking in council, but if you 
think you are getting on any further, you are waiting in vain, 
for nothing comes out of it. 

St. Peter, who was more learned than the rest, saw that no 
good was coming out of their deliberations, and as he was the 
headman, he got up from his seat and said, "If we are to 
give our people good and sound advice, we all know that as for 
battle, good and strong men are wanted, so. we must also have 

xxvi] Why does the Nun Beetle cover its Face f 131 

clever men. Unfortunately, however, there are no such men in 
our midst. We also know that if the heathen see us going from 
house to house, and find out our intentions, it might go very 
ill with us. We must therefore find out other means, so that 
our enemies should not even suspect our action. I, as the 
oldest among you, have come to the conclusion that we must 
get some very clever women. We might then possibly win 
our case. Let us make a list of all such women and instruct 
them carefully. We can then send them to the houses of the 
Christians to advise them what to do." 

" Excellent," replied the other learned men, and they called 
out all the clever women from the list which they had made, 
and by teaching them day and night, they fitted them for their 
work and sent them to the houses of the Christians. Before 
they left, however, they were told that they were neither to 
turn back and look at anything, nor were they to look straight 
into the eyes of strangers, for their eyes were bewitched by the 
devil, nor should they speak to strangers, who would pour 
poison into their souls. After receiving these instructions, they 
all covered their faces and left only holes for their eyes. Then 
they took food for the journey, taking care to fast regularly for 
two days and eating only on the third. One of them, called 
" Nun," going into a town where the people were dressed up 
more richly than in any other town, met a young man, tall as 
a reed, white as foam, with a crisp upturned moustache, a 
small well-proportioned mouth, and eyes glittering like those 
of a snake. He stood quite alone ! The young man, cunning 
as the young men of our days are, no sooner set eyes on the 
young woman, when he began to tell her of all that is in the 
heavens and upon earth, and made her forget her errand and 
the instructions which she had received. So she unveiled her 
face, and began to talk in such a manner that no man would 
have stopped her from going on. In the end she told him even 
of the intentions of the Christians and of the teaching of St. 
Peter. As soon as he had heard all she had to tell him, the 
young man disappeared, for he was none else than the son of 
Satan. St. Peter, who knew all that had happened, for the 

132 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xxvi 

angel of God had told him, started after the young woman in 
order that he might stop her from revealing to others the 
intentions of the Christians. He found her in a meadow 
playing with some children. 

*" Thy name is nun, thy name shall remain nun (Mantissa 
religiosa), but thou shalt not have any longer a human shape, 
as thou hast thrown away the veil, and has denied thy beautiful 

When the nun beheld St. Peter she got frightened, and tried 
to pull the veil over her face, which was uncovered, but she 
could not do it, for God had changed her into a little green 
beetle which to this very day joins its front legs, and it looks 
as if it intended to cover its face with them. 

This legend has been turned into a charm against a bad 
wife. Put the nun under her head at night, and say three 
nights consecutively the following charm : 

" Faithless Nun, St. Peter had Restless, 

taught thee ; Always in motion, with a heart 

St. Peter has sent thee to do full of sin. 

good to the Christians, to Thou, O faithless Nun, smitten 

give them good teaching ; by God, 

to the ignorant thou hast Condemned by men, 

given instruction. Make my wife to become good. 

But thy conduct was bad, From bad and faithless, make 

For thou hast spoken to the her good and faithful. 

enemies, From cheating and envious, 

And hast shown thy uncovered make her good and loving. 

face ; Otherwise, woe unto her. 

And God has punished thee. Woe unto thy kind, 

I now have also a wife, like For I will set upon it and 

unto a spark, with bad tongue utterly destroy it. 

and evil speech I will fall upon it and annihi- 

Evil in every way late it. 
Bad, envious, cheating, 

She will then repent of her evil ways. This charm is only 
to be used in the case when the wife is younger than the 

In the charm we have the " historical " or narrative element, 

[xxvi Why does the Nun Beetle cover its Face? 133 

in the legend we have the symbolical in the application 
which is assumed to run on parallel lines the woman must 
also be faithful, obedient, chaste, must not look into other 
people's eyes nor talk to strangers a grave danger for her 
soul. And finally the " threat " that unless the " nun " will 
do the bidding, she will be severely chastised, just like the 
demons in older conjurations, who are first cajoled and then 
threatened. It is thoroughly typical, and shows the depths of 
belief in the power of even the little insect which is, however, 
still seen as a " nun " in a human form well instructed and 
powerful, in spite of its actual " disguise." No real line of 
demarcation is drawn between the human being and the 
meanest creature. In popular belief and imagination they 
all live and move on the same plane. 

There is another tale told about this insect, which seems to 
be another attempt to explain its name Nun. 

134 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xxvn 



IT is said that the devil may he go into the wild desert and 
remain there had a very bad-tempered daughter. She was 
so bad that in the whole world there was none other like her 
to make a couple of them. When the devil saw that, devil 
though he was, he was yet no match for his daughter, he 
slyly got her into a convent and made a nun of her, in the 
hope that she might perchance repent and change for the 
better. But the daughter remained what she was ; ill- 
tempered and bad. She kept making mischief without end. 
God, who could not tolerate a daughter of the devil in a 
convent, and seeing also that the daughter of the unclean was 
doing all kinds of mischief, changed her into an insect. The 
other sisters, seeing what had happened, called it Nun, and this 
has remained its name to our very days. 

It is curious that this insect should bear the name " nun " 
in almost all European languages. I am not aware, however, 
of any legend except the Rumanian explaining the name. 

xxvin] Why is the Wasp the Gipsies Bee? 135 



IN the beginning the wasp belonged to the Rumanians, and 
the bee to the Gipsies. When the former saw how useless, 
nay, dangerous, the wasps were, and how useful the bees, they 
cheated the Gipsies into changing with them. 

Those of aforetime tell us that when God made the living 
creatures which move with the sun, he made the bee first. 
The Gipsy, impudent and greedy, as he has remained to this 
very day, stole the bee from the hand of God saying, " Give 
it to me, O Lord, that I may eat of its honey, I and my little 
ones. And of the wax I will make candles to light them up 
for thee in the Church." God did not say anything, but kept 
silent and looked angrily at the Gipsy, for he was annoyed at 
the Gipsy's impudence. He made up his mind to punish him. 
He therefore at once made the big wasp, and, after he had 
made it, he gave it to the Rumanians, saying, " Take this, 
for the bee has been ordained for the Gipsy, and he has taken 
his share." The Rumanian took the wasp, and thanked God. 
Sometime afterwards the Gipsy met the Rumanian, and he 
asked him whether his bee had brought him much honey. 
The Rumanian, smart as ever, replied, " My bee has filled 
many barrels, for this bee carries the honey in bagfuls, as it 
was big and strong." 

" Oh," cried the Gipsy, " I see that he has deceived me ; my 
bee has not filled a cup with honey, and my duckies have not 
even rubbed their lips with honey. Let us exchange our bees, 
mv little Rumanian." 

136 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories, [xxvin 

" But what do you give in addition ? " 

" What shall I give you ? By God, I have nothing. I 
will make an axe of my iron and give it to you." 

" Well, then, let it be so. Bring here your hive and I will 
bring you mine." 

" I will do so," and the Gipsy went with the Rumanian to 
the hut and gave him the hive. The Rumanian took it home, 
and when they reached the forest the Rumanian showed him 
a big tree, as thick as a barrel and high as the heavens, where 
the Rumanian had put before the wasps and where they had 
grown to a very large number. 

" Here, you Gipsy, are my bees in this hollow tree. It is 
full of honey enough to satisfy your whole nation of Gipsies 
and some to remain over." 

" Thank you. May God bless you," replied the Gipsy. 

The Rumanian went home to look after the bees. The 
Gipsy gathered his whole nation together. They brought 
copper pans and pots and ladders, and came to the tree to eat 
of the honey to their fill. Arrived there, they leaned the ladder 
just against the hole by which the wasps went out and came in. 
Full of courage, as the Gipsy is by nature, he took a pot for the 
honey and climbed up the ladder. No sooner had he got there 
when a wasp thrust its sting into him. Another stung him 
on the nose, and another, and again another, and the Gipsy 
could not see out of his eyes because of the pain, and he 
began howling there on the top of the tree. He forgot the 
honey and everything, and cried, " Keep the ladder, keep the 
pot, keep me also, for we are falling," and down he came with 
a thud. How long he lay there with broken bones I do not 
know, but I do know that he had had enough of wasps' honey 
to last him to the end of his days. Since then the bees belong 
to the Rumanians, and the wasps are the Gipsies' bees. 

XXVIIIA] Another Version of the Wasp Legend. 137 


ANOTHER legend which omits the first part of the story does 
not mention anything about the Gipsy stealing the bee from 
God, but simply tells of a Gipsy who found a hive in the forest, 
and taking it home, went about bragging of his wonderful 
hive and of the honey. A clever Rumanian, finding a wasp 
nest, told the Gipsy that his bees were making gold, and 
induced him to change with him. Since then the bees belong 
to the Rumanians. 

138 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. xxix 



WHEN God had finished making the trees and grass, the 
sun and moon, and all that lives and moves, he sat down on 
his seat and ordered all the creatures to come to him that 
he might bless them. Every one came and brought a gift 
according to its best, and God blessed each one according 
to its nature. The sheep brought wool and milk, and the 
Lord blessed it, and bade it clothe the house of the Rumanians 
with its wool and feed the babies with its milk. The bee 
brought sweet honey and wax with the perfume of all the 
flowers. God blessed it, so that with the honey man's food 
should be sweetened, and the wax should light the Church at 
the Holy Office. Thus each creature got the blessing according 
to its ways. Now came the turn of the hornet, by nature 
lazy and accustomed to live by theft. What could she 
bring ? and again, how could she come with empty hands 
before the throne of the Almighty ? So, finding a piece of 
cardboard, she picked it up and brought it to God. The 
Lord understood the trick which the hornet wanted to play 
on him, and how lazy she was. He, therefore, cursed her 
that all her work should be as brittle as bits of cardboard, 
and she should live only by theft. Her habitation should be 
the chimney, and her nest should be broken by everybody. 
So has it remained to this very day. The nests look as if 
they had been made of cardboard, they hang down from 
the smoky chimneys of houses, as if they were to be smoked ; 
she lives by theft and even upon dead bodies, and her nest 
is always broken up. 

xxx] Why is the Hornet so Spiteful? 139 



IT is told that one of the descendants of Cain had many 
children, one worse than the other. When sent on an errand 
to bring one thing, out of spite they would bring another ; 
they were of no good to anyone. Their mother, who was a 
wicked and stingy bird (eagle), did nothing else from morning 
to evening but curse and shout and peck at them. The 
youngest, who was the worst, finding his mother in a violent 
temper, started quarrelling with her so loudly that the noise 
could be heard at the other end of the country. They even 
went so far as to fight one another. The mother, who was 
a strong woman, got the best of her son at first, but the 
youngster, biting her in the throat, drank all her blood until 
she died. Before dying, however, the mother cursed him 
that none of his children should ever be prosperous, though 
they should be very numerous. They should live in the 
hollows of trees and feed on dead human bodies. They 
should become flies with poisonous stings, and their blood 
should change into poison. When he heard his mother's curse- 
the youth ran into the forest, and the quicker he ran the more 
it appeared to him that he became smaller and lighter, until 
one morning he found himself changed into a hornet with a 
yellow body. 

140 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories, [xxx/ 

XXX. A. 

THE hornet is used for the following charm : 

If people wish a dog to become savage, they take some 
hornets, and mixing them with the food, give it to the puppies 
to eat, and say the following words : " Just as the hornet 
is burning and unbearable, so shalt thou become hot and 
savage and intolerable, and thou shalt not tolerate any one 
else besides me and those of this household. ..." 

The hornet's nest in the stubble indicates the strength of 
the winter and the depth of the snow, according as it is built 
high or low. 

xxx i] Why has Woodpecker such a long Beak ? 141 




KNOW that the woodpecker was originally not a bird but an 
old woman with a very long nose, which she put into every- 
body's pots and pans, sniffing about, eavesdropping, inquisi- 
tive and curious about everything whether it belonged to her 
or not, adding a little in her tale-bearing and taking off a bit 
from another tale, and so making mischief among her neigh- 
bours. When God saw her doings, he took a huge sack and 
filled it with midges, beetles, ants, and all kinds of insects, 
and, tying it tightly, gave it to the old woman, and said to 
her : " Now take this sack and carry it home, but beware of 
opening it, for if your curiosity makes you put your nose into 
it you will find more than you care for, and you will have 
trouble without end." 

" Heaven forbid," replied the old hag, " that I should do 
such a thing ; I am not going against the will of God. I 
shall be careful." So she took the sack on her back and 
started trotting home, but whilst she was carrying it her 
fingers were already twitching, and she could scarcely restrain 
herself, so no sooner did she find herself a short distance 
away than she sat down in a meadow and opened the sack. 
That was just what the insects wanted, for no sooner did she 
open it than they started scrambling out and scampered about 
the field, each one running his own way as fast as its little legs 
would carry it. Some hid themselves in the earth, others 
scrambled under the grass, others, again, went up the trees, 
and all ran away as fast as they could. 

142 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xxxi 

When the old woman saw what had happened, she got 
mightily frightened, and tried to gather the insects to pack 
them up again, and put them back into the sack. But the 
insects did not wait for her. They knew what to do, and a 
good number escaped into the field. Some she was able to 
catch, and these she packed into the sack, and tied it up. 
Then came the Voice of God, who asked her what she had 
done, and if that was the way she kept her promise. 

" Where are the insects, beetles and midges, which I gave 
you to carry ? From this moment you shall change into a 
bird and go about picking up all these insects until you get 
my sack full again, and only then can you become a human 
being again." 

And so she changed into a woodpecker ; the long beak 
is the long nose of the old woman, and she goes about hunting 
for these midges, beetles and ants in the hope of filling up 
the sack, when she would again resume her human shape. 
But to this very day she has not completed her task, and has 
remained the woodpecker. 

xxxn] Why has the Pelican a big Pouch? 143 




THE story of the woodpecker finds its closest parallel in the 
story of the pelican. It is difficult to say which of the two 
is the original, and which has been borrowed from the other. 
Certain legends have been adapted to more than one subject, 
in the same manner as ballads and tales and legends are 
often transferred from one hero or another. It is that 
elasticity of adaptation, which to a certain extent gives them 
the popularity which they enjoy. It is the very essence of 
the tale not to be too much localised, but on the contrary 
to be able to pass from one country to another, and to be 
fitted to the most diverse circumstances and persons, so long 
as the general framework has been retained. Popular imagi- 
nation has no patience, and, in fact, no room, for rigid forms 
or for mathematical formulae. The material which it handles 
must be soft as wax to be moulded and kneaded, and thin 
like gossamer to be woven into many strands. Of course, 
the work of it can be seen in the variations in the theme and 
in its adaptation to the new purpose. Thus in the following 
story : 

God and St. Peter were once upon a time walking upon 
the earth. There came a great swarm of creeping things 
like rats, snakes, scorpions and other vermin of this kind, 
as well as beetles, insects, ants and so on. They crowded 
round them, and with great impudence worried them, nay, 
even tried to bite them. St. Peter, who felt annoyed by 
the constant worry of the vermin, said at last to God : 

144 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xxxn 

" What is the good of keeping all these vermin upon the 
earth ? see how impudent, how aggressive they are ! They 
molest even us, and try to bite us, what then must the poor 
human beings be suffering through them ? " 

" Very well," said God, " if it is thy wish, and thou thinkest 
to save mankind of the attacks and molestations of these 
animals, I will try to do as thou desirest." 

So he gathered them all together and put them in a huge 
sack, and tied it carefully by the mouth, and he said to St. 
Peter, " Let us go and throw it into the sea." 

On the way they fell in with a man, who was going in the 
same direction. And God said to him, " Whither art thou 
going ? " 

" I am going to the sea for fishing." 

" I will pay thee well," said God, " if you will take this 
sack and take it to the sea and empty it into it. But mind, 
you must not open it before you reach the shore ; there, turning 
the sack upside down, loosen it gently and let everything 
fall straight into the water. Be careful and carry out my 
orders exactly, otherwise instead of obtaining a reward you 
will get yourself into serious trouble." 

" For sure," replied the man, " I know how to carry out 
orders, you may rely on me, I will do exactly as I am bidden." 
Then, shouldering the sack, he went on his way to the sea. 
The sack was somewhat heavy and the way to the sea rather 
long. Tired by the weight of the sack, he sat down in the 
midst of his journey and rested. Then he asked himself : 

" What can be in that sack ? why should those old men 
want me to empty it into the sea ? I will just loosen it a little 
and see." And so he did. But no sooner had he loosened 
it a little when the animals, which were all squeezed by God 
into the sack, pressed forward, and, before the man could 
count two, out they were running, each one wherever his eyes 
would lead him and his legs would carry him. Before he 
had time to recover from his astonishment, he saw the two 
old men standing by his side, and, pointing to the sack, God 
said to him : 

xxx n] Why has the Pelican a big Pouch? 145 

" Is that the way thou hast kept thy promise ? As a punish- 
ment thou shalt no longer be a human being, but a bird with 
long legs to be able to run quickly after all these animals, 
and with a long beak to pick them up, and under thy throat 
I will fasten the empty sack to fill it with the animals caught." 

And thus he has remained to this very day, walking about 
on his long legs, looking round with his keen eyes, and trying 
to pick up all possible vermin which he espies crawling 
upon the earth. 

146 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories, [xxxm 



WHEN God had made all the creatures, he called every one 
of them and told them what their food should be. Among 
the birds was the titmouse. To her God turned and said., 
" Thy food shall be the seed of the pumpkin." 

The titmouse, knowing that the seed of the pumpkin was 
very sweet, did not wait to hear whether God said anything 
more, but, greedy and impatient, ran as fast as she could, 
relishing beforehand the delightful food which God had given 
her. So coming down to the earth, she alighted on a field 
in which maize was growing, and among it a large number 
of pumpkins. 

" Here, now, I have the food ready for me, and I am going 
to have a good time." But she had made a wrong calcula- 
tion. When she got up to the pumpkins, she found to her 
dismay that the skin of the pumpkin was as hard as bone. 
So she tried to pick a hole in it. She went round and round, 
but wherever she tapped it with her little beak, she found 
the shell too hard for her. 

Bitterly disappointed, she went away and tried to feed as 
best she could by catching flies and beetles. So she eked out 
a miserable livelihood only and solely because she was greedy, 
and had not waited to hear what God had to say to her when 
he gave her that food. 

The time came when God was walking upon the earth. 
The titmouse heard of it, and knowing the loving-kindness 
and mercy of God, and that he would have pity if he heard 
of her miserable life, she took courage and went to meet him, 

xxxm] Why does Titmouse get into Pumpkin? 147 

and told him how hard it was for her, that after having had a 
gift from God, she could not enjoy it. She asked God, there- 
fore, that he would at least make a soft part in the skin of 
the pumpkin that would become a hole, by which she could 
get inside the pumpkin and eat the pips which were given to 
her for food. God took pity on the little creature, who 
begged so piteously, and so, taking a pumpkin, God made a 
hole in it. The titmouse got into it, and did not leave the 
pumpkin until she had picked all the seeds. From that 
time onwards the titmouse, whenever she sees a field of 
pumpkins, will go round and round each pumpkin trying to 
find one with a hole, by which to get into it and eat the pips. 
The titmouse was too quick again this time, for it did not 
ask God to make two holes, to get in by one and out by the 
other, so now the pumpkin often becomes a snare and a 
prison. Boys have only to make a hole in the pumpkin for 
the titmouse to get into it and then they catch it without 
any trouble. 

148 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories, [xxxiv 


WHEN God created the world he made all the living creatures 
of one colour, or rather with none, for no one had any colour- 
ing on its wings, feathers, or skin. So, one day, God called 
all his creatures to paint them with different colours as he 
chose. All the birds and beasts and creeping things came, 
and God gave every one a different coat to wear. Only the 
nightingale did not come, as she had not heard of God's com- 
mand. At last some birds, seeing her, told her what had 
happened. So she hastened to come to God. But when the 
nightingale appeared before God, the paint-pot was quite 
empty, and no trace of any paint (colour) was left. It had all 
been spent on those who had come before. Thus nothing 
could be done, and the nightingale remained with her drab 
colour. God, however, wanted to compensate the nightingale 
for the lack of any colour, so he gave her a very beautiful 

xxxv] Why has the Nightingale Twelve Tunes? 149 



ONCE upon a time the nightingale met the turtle-dove. After 
greeting one another, the nightingale said, " Sister, let us 
keep awake during the night and learn some tunes to sing." 

" Quite agreeable," said the turtle-dove, " and in the 
morning we shall see what each one of us has learned." 

In the following night the nightingale kept awake and 
listened attentively to all the sounds that could be heard. 
She heard the shepherd playing on his pipe, and the wind 
whistling, and the dogs barking, and lambs calling, and 
many more sounds, and thus learned no less than twelve 
tunes. The turtle-dove, lazy as she is by nature, did not 
keep awake, but went to sleep as soon as the night grew 
dark. She slept almost the whole night through, and awoke 
only at the break of dawn. There was no sound to be heard. 
It was all quiet. Suddenly she heard a man driving his 
horses to the fields shouting " trr, trr." This sound she 
picked up, and no other. In the morning she went to find 
her sister the nightingale, and asked her whether she had 
heard anything, and whether she had learned any tunes. If 
so, would she mind singing to her ? 

The nightingale replied, " Oh, I have heard many songs, 
and have learned many tunes." And without waiting any 
longer, she began to warble her songs. The turtle-dove sat 
listening, lost in admiration at the beautiful singing of the 
nightingale. When the latter had finished her songs, she 
asked the turtle-dove : " And what have you learned, sister 
mine ? " 

150 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xxxv 

The turtle-dove, full of shame over her laziness, owned 
that she had not kept awake, but had gone to sleep, and that 
the only sound and song she had learned was " trr, trr," which 
she had picked up from the man who was driving his horses 
to the field. And so it has remained to this very day. The 
nightingale sings all the night through and stops towards the 
morning, when the turtle-dove awakens and starts its " trr, 

xxx vi] Why is Nightingale Songster of the King? 1 5 1 





THE king of the birds, feeling one day in a good humour, 
wanted to find out which of his subjects could sing best. So 
he sent an order to his birds to select from amongst themselves 
those whom they thought to be the best singers. All the birds 
came together, and, after having heard many of the birds 
who said they could sing, they selected three from amongst 
them and sent up, as the best singers for the king to choose 
from, the yellow thrush, the blackbird, and the nightingale. 
The thrush, with his beautiful golden feathers which glow 
in the light of the sun, was allowed to go first as the most 
beautiful of them ; nay, he put himself at the head and 
walked first. The blackbird, which has a yellow beak, and 
whose feathers are shining like silk, walked immediately 
behind, whilst the little nightingale, small of build, with the 
drab-coloured feathers, followed meekly in the rear. When 
they reached the palace, the king, seeing how beautiful the 
thrush looked with his golden feathers, received him affably 
and placed him at the head of the table. The thrush, swelling 
with pride, began its song. The king listened attentively, 
and being pleased with the song he praised the thrush very 
much. Then came the turn of the blackbird ; when the 
king saw it, he welcomed it and ordered a chair to be brought 
near the table. The blackbird took its place and started 
singing. It sang much more beautifully than the thrush. 
The king was very pleased, and he expressed his delight. 

152 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xxxvi 

The last to come in was the nightingale. When it entered 
the hall, it bowed down meekly to the earth before the king, 
touching the floor with its little beak. When the king saw 
that little ungainly bird, so small and meek and skinny and 
of no appearance, he wondered what that bird wanted at 
the court, and somewhat angrily he asked : 

" What do you want ? " without even offering her a seat, 
as he had done to the other guests. 

" May it please your majesty, do not be angry with your 
servant ; I have been selected by the other birds to sing 
here before your majesty." 

" Very well then ; sing, I will just see what you can do." 

The nightingale, which did not even dare to look at the 
king, just cleared her voice and started singing as she alone 
knows how to sing, not like the others. When the king heard 
her singing, he was quite taken aback with the beauty and 
sweetness of her voice ; he was full of admiration, for the 
nightingale had thrown the other birds into the shade (lit. 
had put them under the bushel). 

When the nightingale had finished her song, the king did 
not allow her to stop in the doorway where she had been 
standing any longer, but called her up to the head of the table, 
and gave her the seat of the thrush, and, when the meal was 
over and all the guests rose from the table, it was the nightin- 
gale who walked first, and the blackbird, which sang better 
than the thrush, walked immediately behind, whilst the 
thrush, in spite of his grand array, now came third, feeling 
abashed and ashamed by his failure. And from that time 
onward the nightingale has been recognised as the best singer 
amongst them all, and all the birds must bow their heads, 
before her. 

There are a few more tales about the origin of the nightin- 
gale, but they are somewhat confused. They do not seem 
to account either for the beauty of its voice or for the sim- 
plicity of its appearance. 

xxx vu] Why does the Thrush Hide in the Tree? 153 



IT was in the month of March, when Christ was walking on 
the earth with St. Peter. Going through a forest they saw 
a thrush strutting about on the top of a tree. 

" Good morning, Mr. Thrush," said St. Peter. 

" I have no time for you," replied the thrush. 

" And why not, prithee ? " 

" Oh, you see, I am just now making summer, and I am 
busy. To-day I am going to be married, and to-morrow a 
brother of mine has a wedding," he said, turning his back 
upon them proudly. 

St. Peter and Christ said nothing, but went on their way. 
In that afternoon there came a cold and heavy rain. It 
came down in torrents all the afternoon, and during the 
night there came a frost from God which made the stones 
crack, and it snowed heavily also. The next morning, after 
they had done what they had to do, Christ and St. Peter 
came again through the forest, and they found the thrush 
sitting now on one of the lowest branches of the tree, 
huddled together and trembling, with no more thoughts 
of marriage. 

" Good morning, Mr. Thrush," said St. Peter, when he 
saw him sitting there huddled together and trembling. 

" Thank you," he replied angrily. 

" But what are you doing now ? Why are you sitting 
so huddled up ? " 

" To-day I am dying, and to-morrow a brother of mine 
is dying," he answered, letting his beak down and ruffling his 

154 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories, [xxxvn 

feathers to protect himself a little more against the frost 
which had struck him to the heart. 

From that time on the thrush does not boast any more 
that he is making summer, and that he is going to marry ; 
but he cries anxiously : " Socks and sandals, for to-morrow 
it snows, good socks of cloth and sandals of leaves to go in 
them to my beloved." This he sings because of the fear 
of being caught again in snow and frost, and of not being able 
to walk about in safety. 

xxxvm] Why has Partridge a Mottled Colour f 155 


IN the beginning the partridge had red feathers. God had 
painted her so when he painted all the other creatures, but 
for one reason or another the partridge was not very pleased 
with this colour. After a time she thought she would go 
to God and ask him to change her colour. When she came 
to God, he asked her, " What ails thee ? " 

"Well," she said, " I do not like the dye of my feathers." 
And God asked her what was the reason for it. 

" Well," she said, " I do not like it." Upon which God, 
getting hold of her, threw her into a box filled with ashes. 
When the partridge recovered her senses for she was dazed 
by the fall she was mightily indignant at the disgrace, and, 
climbing out of the box, she went as fast as she could to the 
nearest brook, wishing to wash away the ashes in which she 
was smothered. She wished to avoid being seen in that 
state by the other birds. So she started dipping her beak 
into the water and trying to wash off the ashes on her back. 
But, instead of washing the ashes completely off, she managed 
to carry the ashes wi-th her wet beak under her wings also 
and along her sides. And that is why she has remained 
to this very day mottled and freckled, the grey of the ashes 
being mixed with the red the original colour of her feathers. 

156 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories, [xxxix 


WHEN God created the world, he made all the creatures to 
be of one colour, or rather none of them of any colour at all. 
You see, God was too busy to bother about these little things. 
When he had finished making everything that he intended 
to make, he called all the birds together and said, " Now, 
I am going to paint you with nice colours." 

When the birds heard that message, they came all overjoyed 
to God, who took his brush and dipped in various pots filled 
with paint and painted them one by one. When he had 
almost finished, who would come but the thistle-finch, with his 
feathers all ruffled and out of breath. When God saw the 
little bird, he said to him, " Well, little master, how do you 
look, where have you been, have you not heard my command, 
why did you not come in time ? Now all the paint is gone, 
I cannot do anything for you, and it serves you right, you 
should have come in time like the others did." And the 
little bird began to weep and said, " God, I am quite inno- 
cent, just look at me and see what a state I am in ; I was 
very hungry and tried to find something to eat, but could 
not find anything for a long time, until I espied at last a few 
grains of millet in a bush of thistles. So I got in and started 
picking. But, as soon as I moved, the thistles got hold of 
me and would not let me go, and the more I tried to get out, 
the more strongly did they hold me, and tore my feathers 
and dishevelled my hair, and it was only after a long tussle 
that I was able to get myself free and come here." 

When God saw that the little bird had told the truth, and 
that it looked torn about and ruffled, he took pity on it and 

xxxix] Why has Thistle-Finch Ruffled Feathers? 157 

said, " Wait a little and I will see what I can do," and taking 
his brush he endeavoured to pick up the drops of paint which 
were left at the bottom of the various pots. Taking them 
all on the tip of his brush, he sprinkled the little bird all over 
with the drops of the various colours which he had picked 
up from the bottom of the pots, and that is the reason why 
the thistle-finch has so many spots and so many colours. 
His name has remained to this very day "little master" 
(domnisor in Rumanian) and also thistle-finch, because the 
thistles ruffled his feathers and tore at him. 

158 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [XL 




THERE lived in a town a brutish man, a grocer, who had only 
one care, and that was how to cheat and rob in the quickest 
fashion the people who came to deal with him. But this 
was not all. for, bad as it is, one might let it pass, as there are 
so many others who do likewise, cheating their customers 
right and left. But this man was also a usurious money- 
lender, and he managed it so well that, instead of helping 
people, he took the last shirt off their backs and sent them 
out to die in misery. He sucked the blood of everyone who 
fell into his clutches. 

But everything comes to an end. But no man is likely 
to repent unless he has first come to grief. So it happened 
also to this wicked man. Instead of being satisfied with 
what he had been able to get by draining the very blood 
of his Christian fellow-men, he persisted in his evil doings, 
robbing and fleecing right and left, without mercy and without 
pity. When the cries of his victims came up to God, he 
decided to punish him, and for his wickedness he changed 
him into the bullfinch, which has still kept some of the features 
of the man, when he was a human being. For he had a head 
like a melon, and a wide mouth, and that is why the bullfinch 
has such a big head and such a broad beak. The black 
feathers on its head are the black cap of lambskin which he 
used to wear. The red breast is the blood of the victims 
whom he had sucked dry, and the big body is the big belly 
of the voracious fellow. 

XL] Why has the Bullfinch a Red Breast? 159 

Now when a bullfinch is caught, remembering its evil deeds, 
it will bite out its tongue and die rather than become a 
mockery to the people whom he had ill-treated in his former 

160 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [XLI 



WHEN God had created all the creatures, he gave everyone 
the food which he thought best for them. When the turn 
of the hoopoe came, God said to her, " Thy food shall be 
millet seed." The hoopoe was not satisfied. She did not 
think it was good enough for her. So God in his goodness 
gave her barley grains for food, but the hoopoe cannot easily 
be satisfied. So she went on asking for better food. And 
God said, " Let wheat be thy food." And still the hoopoe 
was not satisfied. So God got angry, and said, " Thou 
impudent and greedy thing, I have given thee the best food 
that is in this world, and in which even man rejoices and is 
satisfied, but as this is not good enough for thee, thou shalt 
find thy food henceforth in the droppings of other animals." 
The same happened when God arranged the dwelling-places 
of birds, where they should build their nests. He had at 
first given to the hoopoe sweet-smelling bushes and flowering 
trees to build her nest in. But she wanted something better, 
and she was punished in the same way as with the food. 
She now makes her nest in places which are anything but 
clean and sweet-smelling. 

XLII] Why is the Wagtail the Gipsies Bird? 161 


WHEN God had made the world and all the creatures and 
man, he gave to each one the food from which they should eat 
and be satisfied. All the creatures thanked God, and when- 
ever they eat their food they are satisfied, except only the 
wagtail and the Gipsy who are never satisfied. When God 
saw the greed of these two, he grew very angry and said to the 
wagtail, " You shall not be allowed to go near any village unless 
the Gipsies, after having eaten, say with their full heart 
that they are quite satisfied." And to the Gipsy he said, 
" When the wagtail will come into the villages, only then 
shall you be satisfied." But the Gipsies, even when they are 
invited to the meals freely given in honour of the dead, how- 
ever much they may eat and stuff and fill, will say as soon as 
they have got up from the table and gone a few steps, " I 
am starving ; I am dying of hunger." And therefore the 
wagtails never come near the village. And it is also called 
the Gipsies' bird, because it can only come near the village, 
when the Gipsy says he has eaten enough and is satisfied. 
But as such a thing never happens, this bird cannot approach 
the houses of men like other birds. Also it is called " half a 
bird," for all the other birds get into the village except the 

1 62 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [XLIII 



THERE are a good many stories told about the hoopoe, some 
of them in connection with the cuckoo. These two birds 
seem to be found very often together, and the people believe 
them to be a pair, the cuckoo being the male and the hoopoe 
the female bird. The following story is told of them : 

The cuckoo had married the hoopoe, and they lived happily 
together for a time. But after a time the hoopoe grew 
ambitious, and told the cuckoo that if he wanted to have 
peace in the house, he must go to God and ask that the hoopoe 
should become the head woman of the village. God, who 
listens patiently to the weakness of his creatures, received the 
cuckoo affably and said to him, " Go home in peace, the wish 
of your wife shall be fulfilled." So it came to pass. After a 
while the hoopoe grew more ambitious, and she sent the 
cuckoo again to God, and told him to go and ask God to 
make her the mayoress. And God again listened to the 
cuckoo's pleading and made his wife a mayoress. But a 
woman can never be satisfied. So, after a while, she sent the 
cuckoo again to God to ask him to make her the queen over 
all the birds. God again listened to his prayer, and he made 
her queen over all the birds. Moreover, as sign of her queenly 
station, God gave her the tuft of feathers on her head, which 
were to be like a crown. But also this did not satisfy the 
foolish hoopoe, although God had told the cuckoo, " Mind, 
this is the last time thou comest to me to trouble me for thy 
wife's sake ; there are many more things in the world for me 
to do, than to listen to her wishes." Still she insisted on the 

XLIII] Why is the Hoopoe such a Dirty Bird? 163 

cuckoo going again to God, and to ask him that he should 
allow her to sit next to him on his throne in heaven. When 
God heard these words, he said, " As thy wife has had the 
temerity and impudence to make such a demand and to send 
such a request to me, she shall now be the least considered 
of all the birds. She may whoop henceforth as much as she 
likes, no one is to take any notice of her. She is to hatch 
her eggs in dung, whilst thou, O cuckoo, shall be singing for 
as many months in the year as thou hast spent in coming to 
me with these messages, and everyone shall be pleased to hear 
thy song." 

And so it has remained as God said. The people like the 
cuckoo, whilst the hoopoe is detested by everybody. 

1 64 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [XLIV 



MANY a tale is told about the origin of the cuckoo. Curiously 
enough, they generally agree in seeing in the cuckoo a man 
punished for his wickedness and cruelty, or for his faithless- 
ness against his companion or brother whom he is now seeking 
in vain. 

There are, however, also other tales and legends in which 
the cuckoo is the victim of the cruelty of others ; one is the 
preceding one, and others now follow : in the first place, one 
which tells also of the greed of the wife The Story of the 
Cuckoo and Hoopoe. 

Once upon a time there lived in a village a man who was 
so poor that sometimes days passed and he could not get a 
crumb of bread. So one day he said to his wife, " What is 
the good of my stopping here any longer. We are both dying 
of hunger ; I will go away into the wide world and see what 
luck may bring." So he took up his axe and went along. 
Before he left, his wife said to him : "Do not go far away, 
and do not forsake me and the children, for we have no one 
else to look to for help." So he went away. Walking alone, 
he came to a forest. At the edge of the forest he saw a beauti- 
ful bush with shining leaves, and all the twigs of equal length. 
It was so beautiful that the man thought, " I will just cut it 
up." When he drew near, how great was his astonishment 
when he saw the bush bending its boughs towards him, and 
speaking with a human voice, it said, " Do not touch me, do 
not hurt me, for I will do you much good." 

XLIV] Why does Cuckoo lead a Restless Life ? 165 

" What good can you do me ? " enquired the man. 

" Go back to the village and they will appoint you head- 
man. Just go and try." 

Amazed as he was on hearing the bush speak, he said to 
himself, " I lose nothing if I go back ; I shall see whether 
the .bush is speaking the truth. If not, woe unto it," and 
so he returned. No sooner had he come near the village, 
when he saw the people coming out to meet him, and without 
asking him any questions, they, for reasons of their own, 
appointed him to be their headman. His poverty was now 
a thing of the past, and he lived in cheer and comfort. This 
went on for three years, and then, for the same reasons un- 
known to him, the people changed their minds, and without 
saying anything to him one day he was the headman, the 
next he was so no longer. They had put another man in his 
stead. So he returned to his want, and again began to feel the 
pinch of poverty. For a time he went on as best he could, 
but not being able to stand it any longer, he again took his 
axe, and going into the forest he went to the bush and said, 
" Now I am going to cut you down." The bush again began 
to speak, and said to the man, " Do not touch me ; I will 
do you much good. You have seen what I have done before. 
You go now to that and that town and they will appoint you 
to be judge." 

Believing the words of the bush, the man continued his 
journey, and came to the town of which the bush had spoken 
to him ; and there, as had been foretold, without asking him 
a single question, the people appointed him mayor over the 
place. The man now lived in affluence and comfort, for- 
getting his time of poverty and suffering he had gone through. 
Here, again, after three years, just as he was appointed with- 
out a question, so he was dismissed by the people without 
a question. 

The evil days came back, and he was looking about for 
a crust of bread, but could not find any for himself and his 
family. He bethought himself again of the bush, and, taking 
his axe upon his shoulder, he went away to find it. The bush 

1 66 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [XLIV 

said to him : " Don't touch me ; much good will I do you, 
still more than I have done hitherto. You go to such and 
such a kingdom, and there they will appoint you to be their 

He did as he was bid, and as he came near the town, all 
the people came out to meet him, and they appointed him 
to be their emperor. He took his wife and children with 
him, and there he lived in great state, great power and 
riches. The law of that land was that no man could be 
emperor for more than three years, so when the three years 
came round he lost his position and another emperor was 
appointed in his stead. He had meanwhile amassed great 
fortune and no longer feared poverty. But his wife was 
ambitious, and was not satisfied at living in affluence and 
wealth. Envious of the other emperor, she nagged the man 
and worried him and sneered at him for being so meek and 
being satisfied with his lowly state, and made him go to the 
bush to ask for something more. She wanted him to be 
even better treated than any emperor. The poor man, what 
was he to do ? he could not stand the trouble in his 
house, so again taking his axe upon his shoulder, he came 
for a fourth time to the bush. When the bush saw him, 
it said : 

" What has brought you hither ? You are no longer in 
want of anything." " Well," he said, " my wife has sent 
me to you. She says you must make me as great as God, 
greater than all emperors." 

The bush grew angry, and said to him : " O miserable 
wretch, always dissatisfied ! I have made thee headman and 
judge and emperor, and thou lackest nothing. Thou art 
not in want of anything. Now, because thou hast become 
impudent and insolent, for thy impious wishes thou shalt be 
punished. From the man thou hast been thou shalt hence- 
forth be a bird, restless, without peace, and without quiet, 
flitting from tree to tree, and from branch to branch, 
always dissatisfied, without a home, without a family, and 
thy name shall be Cuckoo. Tell thy wife, who, because 

XLIV] Why does Cuckoo lead a Restless Life ? 1 67 

she had been urging thee on and driving thee to do 
this impious thing, that she shall become the hoopoe ; 
puffing herself up she shall cry whoop, whoop." And so 
it has remained to this very day. (Cf. Story in Grimm, 
No. 19.) 

1 68 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories [XLV 



AFTER the creation of. all the birds, God called them together 
and told them they should elect a king to rule over 

The birds, like human beings, would chatter and chirrup, 
and talk and fight, and never come to any decision. 

When God saw that it was going on without an end, and that 
it was no good waiting for them to make their choice, he 
picked out the goldfinch and said, " This is to be your king." 
The birds submitted, as they were bound to do, and making 
their obeisance to the new king, each one departed to its 
own place. Although the gathering had lasted for some time, 
the cuckoo was still missing, and who was the last to come 
but the cuckoo. When all the birds had departed, he turned 
up and made his obeisance to the new king. The goldfinch 
looked at him and said, " Hallo, cuckoo, where have you 
been ? " 

" Oh, I lost my way in the forest, and it took me a long 
time to come here." 

" I will forgive you," said the goldfinch, " but on one 
condition ; you know the forest so well. Go and make me a 
nice palace out of the bast of the trees." 

The cuckoo, glad to have got off so cheaply, said, " Willingly 
will I do so," and went away. 

You know the cuckoo, how light-headed and unstable he 
is : he says one thing one day and forgets it the next, so, 
light-heartedly he flew from tree to tree and allowed the 

XLV] Why is the Ciickoo Silent in Winter? 169 

summer to pass without remembering the promise which he 
had made to the goldfinch. 

When autumn drew near he suddenly recollected that the 
goldfinch expected him to build him a palace out of the bast 
of the tree, for the goldfinch wanted to live in a shining palace. 
And that was just what the cuckoo never intended to do. 

Fearing the wrath of the king, he stopped singing and hid 
himself in the thickest part of the forest. The goldfinch 
waited month after month to see the palace, and seeing the 
cuckoo flitting from tree to tree and hearing him singing, 
thought he was busily at work. But when the autumn came, 
and no trace of any palace could be seen, he looked round to 
see where the cuckoo was. But catch him if you can, for he 
had disappeared. 

And that is why the goldfinch never had the palace which 
he desired. And that is also the reason why the cuckoo stops 
singing from the feast of St. John, lest he be discovered by 
the goldfinch and taken to task for his broken promise. 

170 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [XLVI 


LET us turn now to the crow, with which the raven is often 
confused in the popular mind. 

Of all the birds, this is considered the ugliest, especially its 
young fledglings. The legend tells that sometime after God 
had created all the living beings, he called everyone to see 
them and their offspring. He wanted to see how the young 
birds and animals looked, and then to give them suitable 
gifts, and food for their little ones. 

They came one by one, and God looked at them, patted 
some and stroked others, and was very pleased with every 
one of them, for each one had something of beauty in it. 
And so he blessed them and gave them food by which to 
live. The last to come was the crow, bringing her little 
brood with her, very proud of them. When God cast bis 
eyes upon the young crows, he spat in astonishment, and 
said : 

" Surely these are not my creatures. I could not have 
made such ugly things. Every one of my creatures has such 
beautiful young ones that they are a pleasure to look at, but 
thine are so ugly that it makes one sick to look at them. 
Whence hast thou got this one ? " " Where should I get 
them from ? " replied the crow ; " it is my very own young 
child," she added with pride. " You had better go back and 
bring me another one, this is much too ugly, I cannot look 
at it." Annoyed at the words of God, the crow went away, 
and flew all over the earth to search for another young one 
that would be more beautiful than the one she had brought 

XLVI] Crow and its Ugly Fledglings. 171 

to God. But no other young bird appeared so beautiful in 
her eyes as her own. So she returned back to God and said, 
" I have been all over the world, and I have searched high 
and low, but young birds more beautiful and more dainty 
than mine I have not been able to find." Then God smilingly 
replied, " Quite right, just so are all mothers ; no other 
child is so beautiful in their eyes as their own." Then he 
blessed the little crows and sent them away into the world 
with his gifts. 

172 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [XLVII 



THE Rumanians tell another tale about the ugliness of young 
crows. It is the story of the crow and the hawk. 

The crow was in very great distress, r or however she tried 
and whatever she did, she could not rear a family. No sooner 
were the young hatched, than the hawk would come and 
pick them up. In vain did she try to hide her nest in the 
hollows of a tree or in the thickets of a bush, as sure as death 
would the hawk find them and eat them. 

Not knowing what to do, she bethought herself and said, 
" How would it do if I try and get the hawk to be god- 
mother, for then, being a near relation, she is sure to spare 
my little ones ? " Said and done. She went out of her place 
to search for the hawk, and finding her, she said, " Good 
morning, sister." 

" Good morning," replied the hawk. 

" How pleased I should feel," said the crow, " if you would 
become godmother to my children." 

" With pleasure," replied the hawk, " why not ? " And 
so they made up a covenant of friendship and of good-fellow- 
ship between them. 

Before leaving the hawk, the crow said to her, " Now, 
sister, I have one request to make." 

" Granted," replied the hawk, " what is it ? " 

" I only beg of you to spare my children, do not eat them 
when you have found them." 

" All right," replied the hawk, " I shall certainly not touch 

XLVII] Why Enmity between Crow and Hawk ? 173 

them, but tell me how they look so that in case I meet 
them I may spare them." 

" 0," replied the crow, " mine are the most beautiful 
creatures in the world, they are more lovely than any other 
bird can boast of." 

" Very well, rest assured. Go in peace." And they parted. 

The crow, being quite satisfied with the hawk's promise, 
began flying about the next day trying to find something 
with which to feed her children. The hawk the next morning 
went about her own business and tried to find some nice little 
young ones to eat. Flying about, she saw the young ones of 
the thrush, the blackbird, and of other beautiful birds, and 
she said to herself, " Surely these are the children of the 
crow ; look how lovely and beautiful they are, I am not 
going to touch them." 

She went all day, without finding any little birds but 
these ; and she said to herself : 

" I must keep my word to my sister, I am not going to 
touch them." And she went to bed hungry. The next day 
the same thing happened, and still the hawk kept her word 
and would not touch them. 

On the third day she was so hungry that she could scarcely 
see out of her eyes. Roaming about, the hawk suddenly 
lighted upon the nest of the crow. Seeing the little, miser- 
able, ugly things in the nest, the hawk at first would not 
touch them, although she never dreamt that these ugly 
things were the children of the crow, so much praised by 
her for their beauty, and thought they must belong to some 
hideous bird. But what is one to do when one is hungry ? 
One eats what one gets and not finding anything better, she 
sat down and gobbled them up one by one, and then flew 

Not long after the hawk had left, the crow came in, feeling 
sure this time to find her little ones unhurt ; but how great 
was her dismay when she found the nest empty ! First she 
thought the little birds had tried their wings and were flying 
about in the neighbourhood, and she went in search of them. 

174 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [XLVII 

Not finding them, she began to be a little more anxious, and 
hunting a little more closely, found on the ground near some 
rushes some tufts of feathers with little bones and blood. 
She knew at once that the hawk had again been there, feeding 
on her children. 

Full of wrath and fury, she went to find the hawk. Meeting 
her, she said, " A nice sister and godmother you are ! After 
you had promised most faithfully not to touch my children, 
no sooner had I turned my back on them, than you come 
again and eat them." 

" I do not understand what you are saying," replied the 
hawk. " It is your own fault. You told me your children 
were the most beautiful in the world, and those which I have 
eaten were monsters of hideousness. If I had not felt the 
pinch of hunger so strong, I would not have touched them, 
not for anything, such ugly things they were ! They nearly 
made me sick." 

" Is that the way you keep your promise ? " replied the 
angry crow ; " after having eaten them, you even have the 
impudence to tell lies and insult me. Off with you ! and 
woe betide you if I ever catch you, I will teach you to behave 

From that day on, the hawk, if it gets near the crows, 
attacks them. And from that day on there is implacable 
hatred between the crows and the hawks. 

XLVIIA] Crow Charms. 175 


IT is said that the crow bathes its young in some waters 
between frontiers. This water becomes poisonous, and is 
used by witches for philtres and spells. If a man wants 
to obtain the water, he must go to nine witches, who assemble 
on a Tuesday at midnight at the fountain. Each one brings 
a stolen pot, or, in preference, the skull of a dog. In each 
they take three drops of that water, and they say their spell 
over it, waving over it a tuft of hair from a mad wolf. This 
incantation they must repeat for nine weeks on each Tuesday 
at midnight, and with the water thus obtained they make 
their philtres. 

The croaking of the crow is considered as evil an omen as 
that of the raven. A very peculiar custom prevails among 
the people, who, when the children lose their teeth, take 
them and throw them if possible on the roofs of the houses 
and say : " Here, crow, I give you a tooth of bone, bring me 
one more beautiful." Or, according to other versions, 
" bring me one of gold. I give you a tooth of iron, bring me 
one of steel." 

176 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [XLVIII 



WHEN God had created the world, there were no springs 
or wells. The only water from which to satisfy the thirst 
of all the creatures was rain-water. After a time the rain 
was not enough to satisfy them all ; the grass and trees were 
fading and withering, burnt up by the fiery heat of the sun, 
and the animals were perishing from thirst. 

So God called all the birds together, and told them that 
they should dig holes in the earth with their claws and beaks, 
in order that the water from underneath should come up 
and water the earth and slake the thirst of all the creatures. 
At the bidding of God all the birds came together and started 
working with their beaks and claws. They all worked to- 
gether. The hawk worked side by side with the young 
chickens, and the owl with the doves. Such a thing never 
happened before or since. 

The heron alone flew about as if it did not affect her. She 
was quite indifferent to see how hard the other birds worked. 
She cared not for the sweat which stood out like beads, and 
ran down the neck of the lark as it went scratching away at 
the earth with legs as thin as two straws, nor did she care for 
the titmouse which hacked away at the foot of a hillock. 
And God asked her : 

" Why dost thou not do anything ? " 

" Why should I soil my feet with mud," she replied, " when 
the rain-waters are not yet dried up ? " 

And God said : 

" Because thou hast not hearkened to my command, thou 

XLVIII] Why does the Heron Drink Rain- Water? 177 

shall slake thy thirst only from the rain, and then only 
by the water running down thy wings." From that time 
onwards one hears the heron crying in time of drought. She 
prays to God to send some rain to moisten her dry 

178 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories, [XLTX 



THE same story is told of the kite in the following version : 
When God made the world, he called all the birds together 
to help him to dig wells for the water and beds for the rivers. 
All the birds came except the kite, which, looking at its 
claws, said, " See how beautiful and dainty they are ! I 
am not going to soil them with the mud of the rivers and 
wells." Then all the other birds cursed her, that she might 
never be able to drink water out of wells and rivers, and 
should slake her thirst only with the dew and rain from 
heaven, nor should she be able to drink by lifting her beak 
and catching the falling rain, but she would only be able to 
drink the rain-water which was running down her wings. 
Therefore, in time of drought, the kite flies high up to God 
and prays for rain and dew, for if she drinks of the water 
of rivers and wells she dies. 

A remarkable parallel to this story has been given by 
Grimm in his D. Mylhologie, 4th ed. p. 561 ; and for a Russian 
parallel, v. Ralston, Russian Folk Tales, p. 331. 

An oriental version substitutes the raven for the kite as 
the bird whose piteous cries bring about the breaking of the 
drought. It is said that when Adam beheld his dead son Abel, 
he did not know what to do, for he was the first man to die. A 
raven dug a hole and put into it his companion who had died. 

Adam saw this and followed his example. God therefore 
granted to the raven that henceforth when there would be 
drought in the world, his cry would bring about the breaking 
up of the drought and a downpour of rain (Chapters of Eliezer, 
ch. xxi.). 

L] Why can Mole not come out on High Road? 1 79 




WHEN the world was made, there were no roads and no path- 
ways. It was very difficult to get about from one place to 

Seeing this, God ordered all the animals to come and work 
together and straighten out paths and make roads. All the 
animals came and worked as they were commanded. Only 
the mole stayed away, so God asked him why he had not 
come, when all the others had ? 

" I do not want any roads and ways, for they are of no use 
to me," he replied ; "I burrow under the earth and there I 
spend my life." 

" So shall it always be henceforth," said God, " and thou 
shalt not be able to make thy little hills on roads or highways, 
and it shall not be a sin to kill thee." 

And so it has remained to this day. No mole-hill has ever 
been seen on any public road. The mole cannot make them 
except in fields and meadows. 

Whoever destroys a mole-hill gets a peculiar wart on his 
hand. In order to get rid of it he must pass over it seven times 
the paw (the claws) of a mole. 

i8o Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LI 



WHEN God and St. Peter were walking on the earth, one day 
they made a very long journey, and grew very hungry. 
Coming to a little hut, they found the woman in, and they 
asked her for something to eat. " Well," she said, " I have 
very little flour in the house, but I am going to bake two 
loaves, and when you come back in half an hour they will be 
ready and you will be welcome to one." Taking the flour, she 
kneaded it in the trough and made two loaves, one for herself 
and one for the travellers. Meanwhile they went to church, 
but they said before going that they would come back at the 
end of the service. 

The woman covered over the dough, and to her great 
astonishment, when she lifted the cover, the dough of the loaf 
for the strangers had risen much higher than the other. Then 
she put both loaves in the oven. How great was her surprise, 
on taking out the loaves from the oven, when she found that 
the one for the travellers had been baked nicely and was a very 
big loaf, whilst the one for herself was half burned and almost 
shrivelled to a pancake. When she saw the miracle her greed 
overtook her, and she forgot the promise which she had made 
to the travellers. She said to herself: " Why should I give 
my best bread to strangers whom I do not know ? Let them go 
elsewhere to richer people than I am." 

So she took the pasteboard and put it on the floor, and 
crouching on it, covered herself over with the trough. She 
told her little girl to stand in front of the door, and if two 
old people should come and ask for her she was to say that her 

LI] Why has the Tortoise a round Back ? 1 8 1 

mother had gone away and that she did not know where she 
was. The travellers then, of course, would not come in, and 
she would be able to enjoy the loaf. 

After a while God and St. Peter came back from church, 
and asked the little girl where her mother was, to which the 
child replied as she had been told. God said, " Where she is 
there shall she remain " ; and went away. The child came 
in and tried to lift the trough off the back of her mother, who 
way lying hidden underneath, but try as hard as she could 
the trough would not come off. It had grown on to the back 
of her mother, and the pasteboard had grown underneath on 
to her. The woman was only able to put out her little head 
with the glistening, greedy eyes, and her tiny little hands 
and feet, and the handle of the pasteboard had turned into 
a waggling tail. 

And that is how the tortoise was made, when the old woman 
became the tortoise always carrying the trough and the paste- 
board with her. 

1 82 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LII 


WHEN God had made all the creatures, he gave every one the 
power of walking and saving themselves from danger. 

Among others, came the fish, and God asked him what he 
would like, and the fish replied : " If I am to have my choice 
I would ask you to give me seven wings ; I should fly much 
quicker than any other animal, and no one would be able to 
catch me : but should I be caught I am willing to die alive 
on the grill with my eyes open." And God shook his head at 
the foolish request, for he knew that man would be able to 
find out how to make the line and hook, and that all the wings 
of the fish would not help him. So he is caught with his 
mouth open, and that is why the fish takes his punishment 
without murmuring, and dies quietly on the grill with his 
eyes open. 

LIII] Why do the Plover Fly Singly? 183 



IN the beginning the plover used to fly in large coveys. But 
one day, when Our Lady was riding on a horse, they ran across 
the road and frightened the horse so much that it threw the 
rider. Angry at the mishap, St. Mary cursed the plover that 
they should no longer gather in coveys but should go singly. 
And so it has remained to this very day. The plover nest quite 
alone and never join others in their flight. 

184 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LIV 



ONE day a spider, meeting the Holy Mother, challenged her 
as to which of the two could spin the finer thread. The Holy 
Mother accepted the challenge, and started to spin a very fine 
thread indeed. But, however fine her thread was, the yarn 
spun by the spider was much finer, and then, to add to the 
discomfiture of the Holy Mother, the spider let himself down 
on one of its threads and remained dangling, and, turning to 
the Holy Mother, he said to her : " Can you do anything like 
it ? " And the Holy Mother replied, " No " ; and being angry 
she cursed the spider, and said, " Thy web shall be of no use 
to anyone, and because of thy spite, whoever kills thee shall 
be forgiven three of his sins." 

We meet the spider again in controversy with the Holy 
Mother on a more dramatic occasion. 

She was searching for her son, and going to St. John, she 
asked him what had happened to him, as she had not seen him 
for some time. " The cruel people have taken him and are 
torturing him." Going on her way she met the carpenters, 
who said to her that instead of making a light cross they had 
made a heavy cross. She cursed them, saying, " May you 
work all the year and see no profit." 

Then she met the smiths, who, instead of making short 
nails, had made long nails, and she cursed them likewise. She 
came to the gate of the palace of Pilate, and on her touching 
the gate, it opened, and going in, she saw all that happened. 

LIV] Why does the Spider hang on a Thread? 185 

On her way, weeping and crying, she met a flight of swallows, 
who asked her why she was crying and weeping, and she 
replied, " My only son has been taken away from me." And 
they replied, " Do not weep and do not cry, for three days 
hence thou shalt see him alive, thou and thy friends." 

And the Holy Mother blessed them, that they should 
always be welcome in the house of the people, that they 
should nest on the roofs, and that no one should disturb them, 
and that whosoever should kill a swallow should be guilty of 
three sins. 

Going further, she met the spider, and the spider asked 
her why she was weeping and crying, and she replied, " My 
only son has been taken away." And the spider replied, 
" You may cry till the day of doom ; what is gone is gone, 
and can never come back again." Next to the spider was 
standing the mouse, and the mouse chimed in : so the Holy 
Mother cursed him and went on her way, but finding that 
her way led her nowhere, she came back the same road. 

When she had gone, the mouse said to the spider : " The 
Holy Mother has not blessed us, so I think you had better make 
a rope and .stretch it from tree to tree, and I will dig a pit 
underneath, and when she comes back we will hang her by 
the rope and throw her into the pit." 

But the Holy Mother knew what they were plotting, and 
when she came back, she said : 

" Thou ugly and spiteful spider, worms shall settle on 
thee, and by thy own rope shalt thou hang. All the days 
of thy life an unclean animal shalt thou be. And thou, O 
mouse, who hast plotted against me, thy habitation shall be 
henceforth in the pits and hollows of the earth, and thou shalt 
be an unclean beast. Whatever thou touchest shall be defiled, 
and whoever kills thee or the spider shall be forgiven three 
sins." And so it has remained to this very day, the spider 
hanging on its own rope, and the mouse lying hidden under the 
earth, and both are killed by men and beasts. 

This same legend has become a carol which is also used 
as a charm. 

1 86 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LIV A 

LIV. A. 


AFTER the crucifixion, the Lady Mary went along crying and 
weeping in pain and grief for that they had crucified her son. 
Wherever she went all the creatures wept with her, and the 
flowers in the grass of the field bent low in sign of mourning. 
A flight of swallows met her in the beautiful meadow, and 
seeing her crying, comforted her, and said : "Do not weep, 
for thy son will come to life again three days hence, and ,will 
show himself to thee and to the Apostles." Then the Lady 
Mary became more comforted, and said to the swallows. : 
" Ye swallows from this day on shall be the cleanest birds 
on the face of the earth, and the house at which you build 
your nests will be a happy one, and whoever destroys your 
nest shall be cursed." The Lady Mary went on her way, 
and passing on her way she met a spider weaving his web, 
and a mouse burrowing in the ground. When they saw 
her weeping they mocked at her, and said : "In vain dost 
thou weep and cry. Know that thy son is dead ; he will never 
come to life again, although thou mayest believe it." But the 
Lady Mary replied : " My child is the son of God. He will do 
what he wills." And she went on her way. She went on until 
she came to another forest. Fearing that she might lose her 
way she returned the same way as she had gone. The spider 
and the mouse, seeing that she had not blessed them, took 
counsel together to hang her on a rope and to kill her the next 
time they met her again. And the mouse said to the spider : 
" Now thou weave a rope and get it ready, and upon that rope 

LIV A ] Why are the Spider and Mouse Accursed? 187 

we will hang her as soon as we set our eyes on her." A short 
time afterwards the Lady Mary returned, and came back to 
the same spot. Meanwhile the spider had woven a strong 
rope, and had tied one end to a branch of the tree, and the 
mouse had digged a deep pit under that tree. But the Lady 
knew what they had intended, and she said : " Thou, O spider, 
hast woven a rope for hanging me, thou shalt always dangle 
on a rope. Thou shalt be unclean and full of vermin, and 
whoever catches thee shall kill thee. And thou, mouse, thou 
shalt be so dirty from this day onwards, that wherever thou 
diest that place shah 1 become unclean, and whoever sees thee 
shall kill thee, and whoever will kill a mouse or a spider God 
shall forgive him three sins." And as she had said, so it has 
remained to this very day. From that time on the mouse 
and the spider have remained accursed. 

1 88 Rumanian Bird arid Beast Stories. [LV 




IN Oriental folk-lore the swallow seems to be considered 
everywhere as a sacred bird, of which many legends are related. 
We hear, that when the Temple was burning in Jerusalem 
the swallows were the birds which brought water in their beaks 
with which to quench the flame, whilst the spider brought 
fiery coal to fan the flame. Hence he who kills a swallow 
commits seven sins, whilst he who kills a spider is forgiven 
seven sins. In the Appendix, No. III., a peculiar legend is 
also told of the spider, the gnat and the swallow. As for the 
origin of the swallow, which would account for the forked tail 
and for the colour of the feathers, the Rumanians have the 
following tale. 

It is a story of a mother-in-law, who, like all mothers-in-law, 
treated her daughter-in-law in a most cruel manner. What- 
ever the young woman did was not right. Her mother-in-law 
persecuted her from morning till evening, and gave her neither 
peace nor rest. One day, seeing that she could not get rid of 
her by any other means, she killed her, and cut her up in pieces. 
Her son, who had been away, came in just in time to see the 
foul deed which his mother had done. Enraged, he made a pile 
of wood, and dragging his mother on to it, he lit the wood, so 
as to burn his mother on the fire. For reasons which we do not 
know, St. Mary came down from heaven and pulled the old 
woman away from the fire after her. Her clothes had already 

LV] Why has the Swallow a Forked Tail? 189 

began to burn. She got hold of her, changed her into a 
swallow, and pulled her through the chimney. As soon as 
she saw herself saved, the wicked woman wanted to fly away. 
But St. Mary said : " Stop, and do not fly away. Do not 
imagine that because I have saved you from being burned on 
the fire, I will let you go away like that : you just wait, for I 
must put a sign on you, that everybody may know what a good 
mother-in-law you have been, and that you have killed your 
daughter-in-law." And as she said these words, she caused her 
tail to become like a pair of scissors, or rather like two sharp 
knives joined in one point, like the knives with which she had 
cut up her daughter-in-law. But this was not the only sign. 
For when St. Mary pulled her through the chimney, a lot of 
soot fell on her, and wherever it fell it made the feathers black, 
and so they have remained to this very day. The red spot on 
the breast of the swallow is the red blood of her daughter-in- 
law, and the white spots are the remnants of the shirt which 
remained unburned when all the other clothes had caught 
fire, but it has not kept white either, for it was just a little 

There are besides these a number of tales about the swallow. 
They are told in Nos. 86, 87. 

190 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LVI 



WHEN Christ was being crucified, his mother went in search of 
him ; she did not know whither he had betaken himself. On 
her way she met a band of carpenters. Weeping, she asked 
them, " Have you seen my son ? " " We have seen him," 
they said. " Nay, we have made the cross, and instead of light 
timber, we have taken heavy timber." " So," she said, " you 
shall henceforth work from morning till night and never get 
any richer." 

Then she met a band of Gipsies, and she asked them, " Have 
you seen my son ? " " O yes," they replied, " we have seen 
him, and we were told to make thick and blunt nails, but we 
have made them thin and pointed so they should pass easily 
through and not give much pain." And Mary replied, " May 
your work be light and your profit great." 

Going on her way she met a frog, and the frog asked her, 
" Dear lady mine, what are you weeping and crying for ? " And 
she replied, " I am weeping and crying for my only son, whom 
they are killing now in Jerusalem." And the frog replied, 
" What am I to say ; I have had ten children and nine were 
crushed to death by the wicked wheel of the carts, only one 
is left to his mother, a sweet darling and pet, a beauty." 
When Mary heard the frog lauding her child, she said, " Let 
me see that beauty of yours, just come out, little froggie, 
beloved darling of mother." And there came out of the 
lake behind a little frog with its crooked legs and ungainly 
face, and with eyes staring out of his head. And when Mary 
saw that beauty she could not help laughing under her 

LVI] Why does the Frog Shrivel up at Death ? 191 

tears. And she said to the frog, " Because thou hast made 
me smile in my grief, may thy body never rot when thou 
diest, and the worm never have a share in it." And ever 
since, when the frog dies, the body shrinks into nothingness 
and disappears. 

192 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LVII 



THE blessed Mary, great and glorious as she is she must not 
take it amiss was one day too lazy to go out on behalf of 
her son to distribute his gifts among the children of the village. 
So when she left the house with the loaves of bread, some cake, 
and other gifts which she was to distribute, under her arm, 
she met the tortoise. 

" Good morning," said the one. " Welcome, daughter," 
said the other. St. Mary said, " Prithee, auntie, just give 
this bread as alms for souls to the boys of the village." 

" That is not much, my daughter, I will willingly do it," 
and taking the bread under her arms, there she went crawling 
along until she came to the boys. 

The tortoise had scarcely left her, when St. Mary bethought 
herself that it might have been better if she herself had given 
the alms away, and not sent them through a stranger. So 
without more ado she followed the way the tortoise had gone, 
and came to the school. 

What did she see there ? Auntie tortoise performed her 
deed as she had promised, and going from boy to boy gave 
everyone a bit. But when at last she came to the youngest, 
who was her own child, she took out the cake and gave it to 
him. " I should like to know," said St. Mary, " how it 
happened that the last piece to be given away was a cake ? " 

" Well, daughter, 01 rather mother, I had kept the cake for 
the most beautiful child, and I could not find anyone more 
beautiful than mine." St. Mary, who had heard many things, 
when she heard this, could not help laughing aloud. 

LVII] Why does Silkworm spin a Thin Thread? 193 

When she stopped laughing she was rather sorry, for why 
should she have laughed so loud ? She said, " Verily, there is 
nothing more beautiful in the eyes of a mother than her own 

Her beautiful face grew sad, and in order that her laughter 
should not bewitch the little tortoise as if struck by the 
evil eye for being praised as beautiful she spat out upon 
the ground, and out of the spittle there grew the silkworm. 
St. Mary blessed it and said, " Thou shalt live upon green 
leaves, and thou shalt draw out fine silk threads " (like the 
thread of the spittle). It is therefore forbidden to say any- 
thing evil of the silkworm, or to touch it whilst it is spinning 
the cocoon, for no sooner is an evil word spoken or the worm 
touched, than it stops drawing the silk. 

The variant from the Balkans is as follows : 

When Jesus went up to Golgotha, the Virgin Mother followed, 
crying. There she saw in the procession also a tortoise, and 
she could not help laughing. She then reproached herself, 
and said, " O evil mouth, thou art only good for worms." 
There and then she spat on the ground in disgust, and worms 
came out of the spittle. But having come from a holy mouth 
the worms which grew out of the spittle became the silkworms, 
which have remained so to this very day. 

A peculiar variant in which, however, the second part the 
origin of the silkworm is omitted, is found among the 
Kutzovlachs of Macedonia as " The Story of St. Mary and 
the Tortoise." 

Once upon a time the Virgin Mary sat sadly at the door of 
the school, waiting for her son, who was learning within, to 
come out so that she might give him a piece of cake which 
she had brought with her. Whilst she was sitting there she 
said to herself, " I will wait and see whether all the creatures 
recognise my son to be the most beautiful child in the 

A tortoise just then came along. "In order to put her to the 

194 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LVII 

test, St. Mary said to her, " Would you like to give this cake 
to the most beautiful child here in this school ? " 

" Willingly," replied the tortoise, and taking the cake she 
went into the school room. It so happened then that her own 
child was also among the pupils. She went straight up to it, 
and without a moment's hesitation gave it the cake destined 
for the most beautiful child in the school. When St. Mary 
saw what the tortoise had done, instead of being angry she 
laughed heartily, and said to her : 

" Thou hast acted as every mother would act, for to a 
mother no one could be more beautiful than her own child. 
And because thou hast driven away my sadness, the finest and 
softest grass shall henceforth be thy food, and when thou diest 
thy bones shall not rot away." 

And so it has remained to this very day, and the shell of the 
tortoise remains sound. 

LVIII] Why is it Right to Kill a Sparrow? 195 



Another legend brings us again to the same events. This 
time it is in connection with the sparrow. It is said that the 
sparrows were originally much bigger birds than they are now, 
but at the time of the crucifixion they flew round the cross and 
cried half mockingly, " Jiviu Jiviu," which means " Live, live." 
Christ, who was in pain, and annoyed at their behaviour, cursed 
them and said, " May you live only on the crumbs which you 
will pick up on the roadside, and henceforth, becoming smaller, 
you will be snared by little boys and tormented by them, and 
the passers-by shall hit at you with whips, and kill you." 
And so it has remained to this very day. 

They live on crumbs wherever they can pick them up. 
They have become very small birds. They are snared by 
children, who often play with them cruelly, and the passers-by 
strike at them with a whip, and kill them. 

A Russian Legend, Afanasief, p. 13, is a close parallel to this 
story, though it differs somewhat from it in detail ; v. Ralston, 
Russian Folk Tales, p. 331. 

196 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LIX 



THE people regard the sparrow as one of the greatest pests, 
for he eats up the seeds and the crops. The people believe 
that the sparrows reach an age of over nine hundred years, 
and they tell the following tale about it : 

In a clearing of a huge oak forest, there grew up a tiny 
little tree. All the other trees looked upon it with pleasure, 
it was so green and so tender. Suddenly a sparrow flying 
over the trees came down and settled on that little sapling, 
which bent under the weight of the bird. Angrily, the little 
tree said to the sparrow, "It is a great shame that thou 
shouldst have come and settled on me, I who am so weak and 
tender and scarcely able to stand up, why didst thou not go 
and settle on one of those huge trees of which the forest is 

The sparrow, feeling ashamed and angered at the words of 
the little sapling, replied : " Very well, I am going, but when 
thou shalt be on thy death-bed I will come back, and thou wilt 
have to render me account for these offensive words which 
thou hast spoken to me." And the sparrow went away. 

Now it is known that an oak lives for nine hundred years : 
for three hundred years it grows in strength and might, the 
next three hundred it rests quiet, and during the last three 
hundred it slowly decays and dies. First the heart, that is, 
the core, dies, then the wood is slowly eaten away, the branches 
fall off, and at the end of nine hundred years the tree is changed 
into dust. And so it happened with that little sapling. It 

LIX] Why should the Oak Tree not Boast? 197 

grew for three hundred years, it stopped still for the next three 
hundred years, and finally it decayed and died at the end of 
the last three hundred years. When the last day of the nine 
hundred years had come, and scarcely anything was left of the 
tree but dust, the sparrow came back, and rolling about in the 
dust it said : "Dost thou remember when thou wast a mere sap- 
ling, how thou didst insult me, thou didst believe thou wouldst 
grow on and live for ever ? Dost thou see that my word has 
come true, thou proud tree of the forest, now thy head is lying 
low and thou hast been changed into dust, thou hast been 
humbled, whilst I am still living on in strength, and I am now 
as I have then been." This longevity of the sparrow makes 
him the dread of the peasants and farmers, and among the 
means taken to save the crops from the inroads of this pest are 
magical practices and charms. 
I will only quote one or two. 


On the first day of Lent the man must collect all the crumbs 
and bones from his table after he has finished his meal, and, 
taking them out in the table-cover, he must strew them 
upon the field, and say, " ye birds of heaven, here I have 
brought you of the food from my table, eat this, and do not 
touch the food from off the field." Or, taking a handful of 
corn and standing with one foot on his field and with the other 
on the roadside, he must throw the corn on the road outside 
the field and to say, " O St. Mary, here I have brought food 
for the birds of heaven. Let them feed on this seed and not 
on the seed which I sow in my field." 

There is still another charm. 

At the time when the sparrows begin to pick at the corn 
the youngest of the household must go to the field. He must 
take off all his garments, then, tying a kerchief over his eyes, 
he must hold in his hand a candle, which has been burning at 
the head of a corpse, and carrying also a tuft of hair cut off 
from the head of the dead, he is to walk with the lighted candle 
in his hand over the four sides of the field and say, " As I do not 

198 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LIX 

see now, and as the dead man does not see, so shall the birds 
not see this field with the corn growing in it. And the mind 
of the birds should be taken off from this field, as the mind of 
the dead is off it." When he comes to the fourth corner of the 
field he must tie the hair of the dead round some of the ears of 
corn and say, " I do not tie up this crop, but I tie the mouth of 
the birds, that they may not be able to eat it, as the dead man 
is unable to eat it. And they shall not be able to see the corn, 
as the dead man does not see the world." 

LX] Why does the Mosquito live in the Well? 199 



ONCE upon a time St. Mary talked with the sun about the sins 
of this world. They also talked about the wicked deeds of the 
Emperor Pic among others, of whom an evil report had spread 
on account of his cruelty. The sun talked to her about all that 
he had seen, and St. Mary, weighing up all his sins, came to the 
decision that he should be thrown into the depths of the sea, 
so that even his memory should be lost to the end of days. 

But before she had time to pronounce her judgment, up 
came the Emperor Pic himself in mighty wrath. He caught 
hold of St. Mary by the hair of her head, for was he not 
the emperor, and was there anyone of whom he should stand 
in awe ? He feared no one, and cursing as fast as he could fill 
his mouth with blasphemous words, he started fighting the 
sun. When St. Mary wanted to remonstrate with him he 
gave her a blow on her mouth, so as to stop her from speaking. 
The sun, seeing this infamous conduct, got angry, and catching 
him by the throat, hurled the Emperor Pic into a well with 
the intention of drowning him before he could utter a single 
word. The only sound which he made before sinking was 
Zi Zi Zi. St. Mary, having pity upon him, wanted to save him 
from drowning, and tried to draw him out of the water. 
But she looked in vain for him. Instead of finding Pic in the 
well, she only found a little insect that was shivering with cold 
and was hiding under one of the beams of the well. God had 
no doubt punished Pic for his impudence. The mosquito 
(Culex pipiens) does not leave his hiding place until the sun 
disappears, for he is frightened of him, and this fear has 
remained with him. For this reason no mosquito will come out 
during the daytime : he will wait until it gets dark, then he 
will come out and, sitting on the edge of the well, sings Zi, Zi, Zi. 

2OO Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXI 



AFTER God had made all the creatures, he called them 
together, to tell them what they would have to do so that 
they might live. They all came, and God gave every one its 
gift and the manner of its food. All had come and gone, but 
the mosquito did not come until very late. When asked why 
he had done so, he started telling tales, until God got angry 
and, turning to him, said : 

" I have no time to waste with thee, hurry up and tell me 
quickly, what kind of food dost thou wish ? " 

The mosquito replied, " I wish to live by sucking." 

" So it shall be," replied God, " now go and suck the juice of 
trees and plants." 

What was he to do ? He went and sucked the trees 
and plants. After a fortnight had passed he got weak 
and shrivelled from this kind of food. His wife, seeing the 
state into which he had fallen by his foolish demand, said to 
him : 

" See what has become of you ! You are shrivelled up and 
weak, a few days more and you are sure to die. You had 
better go to God and beg him to give you another 

But he said, " I cannot go ; if you have the impudence you 
had better go." 

" Very well, then, I will go," replied the female mosquito, 
and up she went to God. 

When he saw her he asked her, " What has brought you 
to me ? " 

LXI] Why does the Mosquito feed on Blood? 201 

" The miserable food which my husband has got is killing 
us. We cannot live by it. We are getting shrivelled up." 

" If so," said God, " I will give you the right to suck also 
blood from man and beast, but as soon as you cannot get blood 
you must die. Your husband, however, he may live on the 
blood and juice of plants alike." And so it has remained, the 
female dies when she cannot find blood to suck. 

According to some local tradition, the mosquito has been 
made out of the smoke of the devil's pipe, and for that reason 
he hates the smoke. According to another they are also the 
servants of the devil and the enemies of the angels, who cannot 
come into a room where there are many mosquitos 

2O2 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXII 



IT is told that, once upon a time, the Lady Mary wanted to 
bring some cherries to her son. So she went to a cherry tree 
and began to shake it. But to her surprise, instead of coming 
down as she expected, the cherries seemed to rise higher and 
higher. It was a cherry tree dedicated to the devil, and it was 
not meet that such cherries should be brought to God. So she 
went away full of wrath, and cursed the cherries. And lo ! 
they were changed into small black mites that flew away. 
But the love of their sisters the cherries brings them back, 
and they come and kiss them, and when they kiss them they 
leave their eggs behind, which, growing into little white worms, 
eat the cherries. 

LXIII] Why has the Butterfly Rings on its Wings f 203 



ONCE upon a time the rumour spread through Palestine that 
there was a man who could perform greater miracles than 
God. St. Anne, hearing of it, determined to go and see him, 
and so she did. 

When she approached the house where he lived, she washed 
her feet, as it is customary in those parts of the world, and with 
meekness and devotion she went in and asked the man to 
change a withered trunk into a green tree. The man got very 
angry, and said he did not perform miracles, and after insulting 
her before the assembled multitudes, seized her hands and 
thrust her out of his house. 

When St. Anne saw what he had done she fell upon her knees 
and prayed to God to punish him. As she was lifting up her 
hands in prayer she suddenly noticed that the ring which she 
had from her dear mother had gone. She remembered that 
the man had got hold of her by the hand, and she understood 
that he then must have slipped the ring off her finger. So 
she prayed that God would punish this impostor, thief, and 

And God heard her prayer. Of a sudden the man dis- 
appeared from amongst the people, and a small ring appeared 
round one of the boughs of the tree outside the house. Whilst 
the people were gazing upon this ring into which the thief 
had been changed, it opened, and out of it came a hundred 
of small butterflies with the mark of the ring on their wings. 
This was the sign of the ring, which had been stolen from 
St. Anne. 

2O4 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXIII 

The miracle which St. Anne asks the man to perform, 
namely, to change a withered trunk into a green tree, belongs 
to the large cycle of similar miracles starting from the rod of 
Aaron, the story of Lot and Abraham, the Tannhauser 
legend, etc. (v. Caster, Literatura Populara Romano,, Bucharest 
1883, p. 286 ff.). 

This ring of small insect eggs round the twigs of trees is 
also known as the cuckoo's ring, and taken off from the tree is 
used for charms by girls, who say " as men are pleased to hear 
me." This ring is also called " Sleep," and it is therefore 
often put into the cradle of restless children in order to cause 
them to sleep. 

LXIV] Why does the Cricket Chirp f 205 



IT is said that at the time of the birth of Christ, there was a 
beautiful little bird with feathers, yellow as gold and with a 
beak shining like silver, and a thin, fine little body. Just as 
the bird was beautiful, so she was insolent and disobedient. 
She was a friend of St. Mary, who liked her singing. When 
she was sad, the bird would come and comfort her with her 
sweet songs. And the Holy Mother also helped the little bird 
when she was in trouble, and when the nest was broken, she 
helped to mend it. 

But when the Holy Mother got Jesus, her friendship with the 
bird came to an end. For the bird did not like children. It 
could not stand their crying. The bird believed that the 
crying child mocked at her singing, and therefore, whenever 
she saw Christ, she made faces at him and mockingly chirped, 
Gri Gri Gri. Christ, hearing it, got frightened and cried 
bitterly. When St. Mary saw the insolence of the bird, she 
drove her away from the house, and, cursing her, said : " From 
the beautiful bird which thou art, thou shalt become one of 
the most hideous insects, and, living only in clefts and holes, 
thou shalt sing only Gri Gri Gri, as a punishment for having 
mocked at God's child." 

Since then, that bird has entirely disappeared, and all of her 
kind which were living at that time were turned into crickets 
chirping in the hearths and mocking at the children of men, 
Gri Gri Gri. 

206 Riimanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXV 



THERE is another legend of the origin of the cricket which 
leads us to the cycle of the Alexander legends. 

It is told that in the time of Alexander there lived a young 
man who, when he was sixteen years old, was more beautiful 
than any one had been before him, or after him. The princesses 
were fighting for him, calling one another as many names as 
the moon and stars, and each one vowing that hers only he 
was to be, none other was worthy of him. Still more beauti- 
ful was his singing, for when you heard him your mind stopped 
still, so sweet was his voice. Even the mothers of the maidens 
fell in love with him. And grey-haired old kings with long, 
white beards and bushy eyebrows, would lift their brows to 
see him, who was as beautiful as a wonder and dear as a ball 
of gold. But whilst everyone liked him, Alexander could not 
suffer him. He must hate him, for though Alexander was 
the mightiest emperor of the world, yet none could please 
him, no not one even of those princesses. For this reason 
there grew up an enmity between them, which became so 
strong that even the sun, which used at that time to walk 
about on the earth, could not make peace between them. 
Alexander might perhaps have made peace, but he would 
do so only on the condition that the other would not make 
love to his own favourite. 

But the young knight would not hear of any conditions, 
and in order to spite him still more, he went more often than 
before to Alexander's favourite wife, and sang to her as much 

LXV] Why do the Ants Feed the Cricket? 207 

as he could. When the sun told how insolent he was, Alexander 
turned on him and drove him out of the house. The sun 
chased him and burned him, so that from the white that 
he was he turned as black as a coal, and from the big and tall 
man that he was he shrivelled up and became as small as a 
hazelnut, and hid himself away under the hearth of a poor 
woman's house, from which he squeaked " Griji, Griji ( = take 
care) that the sun does not catch me." When the sun heard 
it, he said, " Now thou shalt always live here where thou art, 
and hungry and thirsty shalt thou cry Griji, Griji without 
stopping." When the beautiful maidens heard what had 
happened, they became very angry, and then, turning into 
ants, they brought food to the poor cricket. To this very day 
they bring him food, so that he may not die of hunger. 

208 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXVI 



IN the beginning there was no enmity between the cat and 
dog, and they lived on friendly terms together and served 
their master (Adam) faithfully, each one doing its own work. 
But as you know, it is very much better to have a written 
agreement at the beginning than to have a row afterwards, 
so they decided to draw up an agreement defining the work 
which each had to do, and decided that the dog was to do the 
work outside the house, and the cat the work inside. For 
greater safety the dog agreed that the cat should take care of 
the agreement, and the cat put it in the loft. 

After a time, the devil, who could not allow peace to last 
for a long time, must needs set the dog up against the cat ; 
so one day the dog remarked to the cat that he was not fairly 
treated, he did not see why he should have all the trouble 
outside the house, to watch for thieves and protect the house 
and suffer from cold and rain, and only have scraps and bones 
for food, and sometimes nothing at all, whilst the cat had all 
the comfort, purring and enjoying herself, and living near the 
hearth in warmth and safety. The cat said, " An agreement 
is an agreement." The dog replied, " Let me see that 
agreement." The cat went quickly up the loft to fetch the 
agreement, but the agreement, which had been a little greasy, 
had been nibbled by the mice who were living in the loft, and 
they went on nibbling away until nothing was left of it but a 
heap of paper fluff, and as it was as soft as down the mice 
made their home of it. When the cat came up and saw what 
the mice had done, her fury knew no bounds, she pursued them 

LXVI] Why do Cats and Dogs Fight? 209 

madly, killing as many as she could seize, and running after 
the others with the intent of catching them. 

When she came down the dog asked her for the agreement, 
and as the cat had not brought it, the dog, taking hold of her, 
shook her until he got tired of shaking her. 

Since that time, whenever a dog meets a cat he asks her for 
the agreement, and as she cannot show it to him he goes for 
her, and the cat, knowing what the mice had done to her, runs 
after them when she sees them. 

In the South Slavonic folk-lore (Krauss, No. 18) there is a 
parallel to this story, but greatly changed from the original 
form. It is no longer a " creation " legend. It runs as follows : 

The dogs used to receive all the meat that fell off the table. 
This became a habit, and so he and the cat drew up a statement 
to that effect, and made it a permanent rule. They wrote it on 
the hide of an ass, and the king of the dogs gave it to the cat 
the first chancellor to take care of it. The cat hid it away 
in the rafters of the house. There the skin was found by the 
mice, who nibbled it until there was scarcely anything left. 
One day a dog got badly beaten because he picked up some 
meat that had fallen from the table. He went and com- 
plained to the king, who sent the cat to find the document. 
The cat could not find it, and saw that the mice had eaten it. 
Since then there is a continual feud between the cat, the 
mice and the dog. 

In this version, the entire origin of the tale has been lost. 
It is no longer referred to Adam, nor is there any question of 
a compact between a cat and dog which was broken by the 
latter. In the Slavonic tale there is no authority for this 

The Rumanian version approximates much more closely 
to the Oriental, and seems to have preserved much more faith- 
fully the ancient form. The oldest which can thus far be 
traced is that in the " Alphabet of Pseudo Sirach," printed 
here in the Appendix (No. III.). 

2io Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXVII 



WHEN Adam and Eve had lived for some time together, 
Adam suddenly noticed a change in his wife's demeanour. 
Watching her narrowly, he found that she had fallen in love 
with the devil. She had introduced him into the house, 
which she had built close to the seashore. Adam, as a wise 
man, kept his peace, but he thought day and night what was 
he to do to get rid of the devil and to save his wife ? At last 
he thought that the only way would be to take his wife away 
into some distant land across the sea, where the devil could not 
follow him. But how were they to cross that sea ? At last 
he discovered that the best way to cross the sea would be to 
make a boat, and then, when it was ready, he would take his 
wife quietly and they would both sail away. But the devil 
has nothing to do but to watch other people's doings, and to 
put a spoke into the wheel wherever he can. He was there- 
fore not to be outdone in as simple a manner as Adam thought. 
He saw that Adam was cutting wood, and making timber and 
laths, and joining them together, but whenever he asked Adam 
what he was doing he would not answer him. 

So at last he came to Eve and told her : " Look here, that 
husband of yours is preparing some trick, and it is meant 
against you and me. You better find out what is in Adam's 
mind. What is he doing, and what is the meaning of it ? " 

Eve, in order to please the devil, asked Adam what he was 
doing, but he knew it was no good giving a secret into the 
keeping of a woman. So he kept his counsel to himself. 
At last, when the devil saw the boat, he told Eve : 

LXVII] Why do Cats Eat Mice ? 211 

" I know what Adam means, he wants to take you away 
and leave me here alone. That you must not allow, but when 
everything is ready and he is coming to fetch you, you ask 
him to allow you to bring the house-snake with you. He will 
not refuse you, and I will take the form of the snake, and so 
you will carry me with you into the boat. Then we shall see 
who will be the cleverer, Adam or I." 

So when Adam came to fetch Eve, she asked him to be 
allowed to bring also the house-snake with her. Adam, good- 
hearted fellow as he was, did not refuse her. What did the 
devil do ? He took the form of the snake, and to make sure 
of being carried into the boat, he coiled himself round Eve's 
bosom, and so was carried by her into the boat, chuckling 
all the while at the stupidity of Adam. Adam had no sus- 
picion who the passenger was, he had brought with him. 

One day, after he had sailed a long time, Adam, tired from 
his work, laid himself down to rest, when he suddenly felt 
that the boat was sinking. Up he jumped, trimmed the sail, 
and looked round to see whether the boat had sprung a leak 
and was making water, for he could not understand why 
the boat should suddenly sink and let the water in. The 
devil, thinking that Adam was asleep and not able to watch 
his tricks, had made himself heavy like lead in the hope of 
sinking the ship and drowning Adam. But he had reckoned 
without his host, for Adam woke up in the nick of time and 
caught the Wicked One at his evil deeds. When the devil 
saw that Adam was awake, he changed himself quickly into a 
mouse. Adam did not trouble, but thought his time would 
come. The devil, who cannot keep quiet but must do mis- 
chief whenever he can, was not content to be left in peace, 
and be carried across the water, but he must needs start 
gnawing away at one of the planks of the ship, and so make a 
hole and drown Adam. His misfortune was that, just when the 
plank at which he was gnawing had got as thin as a sheet of 
paper, Adam surprised the Black One at his work. What 
did he do ? He took off his fur glove and threw it at the 

2 1 2 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXVII 

The fur glove changed into a cat which, seizing the mouse, 
killed it and ate it up. And thus the cat got the devil into it. 
And that is why the cat's hair bristles and makes sparks, and 
the eyes of the cat glisten in the dark. These are sparks of the 
devil in the cat. 

LXVIIA] Another Version. 213 



THEKE is another version of this tale which transfers the 
origin of the mouse to the ark of Noah. Noah would not 
allow the devil to get into the ark which he had built. In 
order, therefore, to get in, the devil transformed himself into a 
mouse, which, being surprised at the same work of gnawing 
away the boards of the ark, was eaten up by the cat the fur 
glove which Noah threw at her. 

A legend concerning the cat and mouse is found in the 
so-called " Alphabet of Pseudo Sirach," here in the Appendix, 
No. III. According to a Bohemian legend, the devil created 
the mouse that it might destroy " God's corn/' whereupon 
the Lord created the cat. (Ralston, p. 330 note.) 

The apocryphal interpretation of the temptation of Eve 
by the serpent which has been identified with Satan is found 
in many ancient biblical legends. This story of the tempta- 
tion has been transformed into a somewhat primitive love 
story between Eve and the devil her paramour who 
assumes the form of the house-snake and then wishes to drown 
poor unsophisticated Adam. 

214 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXVIII 





WHEN Noah had built the ark, he kept the door wide open for 
the animals to enter. After they had all gone in, his own 
family came, and last of all his wife. 

Noah said to her " Come in." She obstinately said " No." 
Noah again said " Come in." She again said " No." Noah, 
getting angry, said " Oh, you devil, come in." That was just 
what the devil was waiting for. He knew that Noah would 
not allow him to come in otherwise, and so he waited for an 
invitation, of which he promptly availed himself. Getting into 
the ark the devil changed himself into a mouse. 

When the devil has nothing to do he weighs his tail. But 
here he found plenty to do, for, he thought, now is an oppor- 
tunity of putting an end to the whole of God's creatures. So 
he started gnawing on one of the planks, trying to make a 
hole in it. When Noah surprised him at this devilish work 
he threw his fur glove at him. It turned into a cat, and, in 
the twinkling of an eye, the mouse was in the mouth of the cat. 

But Noah could not allow the peace of the ark to be broken, 
the animals had to live in peace with one another. So he 
seized the cat, with the mouse in her mouth, and flung her out 
of the ark into the water. 

The cat swam to the ark and, getting hold of the door step, 
climbed on to the sill and lay down there to bask in the sun. 

There she remained until the water had subsided : and 
ever since then, the cat likes to lie on the doorstep of the house 
and bask in the sun. 

LXIX] Why does the Fly settle on the Dead? 215 



IN olden times, huge giants existed in this world. They were 
so big that they could put one leg on the top of one mountain 
and the other on the next one. They reached as high as the 
heavens, and getting hold of the handles of the great gate 
would shake it as a man shakes a kettle. They even rebelled 
against God, for they knew no fear. At last, God, realising 
their nature, decided to destroy them, and he sent a flood 
which covered the highest mountains, so that you could not see 
of them as much as the black under the nail. So all the giants 
died, except one, who was the biggest of them all. He stood 
with one leg on the top of one mountain, and with the other 
on the next mountain, and with his hands he got hold of the 
handles of the gate of heaven. But God would not tolerate 
a single one of these giants, for he had decided to make men, 
very similar creatures to giants but smaller and more obedient. 
So he sent a fly to pick at his eyes, and worms to gnaw at the 
soles of his feet. Feeling the pain in his eyes, the giant let 
the gate of heaven go and wiped his eyes, with his hand, but 
he could not stand the gnawing of his feet, and he, falling down 
into the water, was drowned. From the gnawing of the soles 
the instep in man's foot has come, and these flies (Sarcophaga 
carnaria] and worms still eat up the human bodies and all the 

It is therefore a bad sign if such a fly settles on a sick man ; 
a sure sign of death. 

2i6 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXX 



WHEN God created the world, I do not know how it came 
about and why it was done, enough that it was done, God 
made a pact with the devil which they signed and sealed, and 
God kept the document in which it was stated that they had 
divided the world between them. It was settled that all the 
dead should go to the devil and all that was living should 
belong to God. After a while, the devil repented himself of 
this arrangement and tried to get hold of the contract. Taking 
advantage of God's indulgence, he stole into heaven, and, 
taking the document, he made off with it. Clever though he 
thinks himself to be, the devil is a fool and remains a fool. 
So, going down from heaven, he lost the document, and did not 
even notice his loss until after he had plunged deep down to the 
bottom of the sea. The document which had fallen out of his 
hands was lying on the sand of the seashore. 

When God noticed what the devil had done, he sent a frost 
so hard that it split the stones and covered up all the waters 
with a thick crust of ice, so that the devil could not get out. 
Then God sent St. Peter to fetch the agreement where it lay. 
St. Peter descended and was about to take it, when a magpie 
which watched his doings went to the sea, and whack ! whack ! 
made a hole in the ice with its beak. That was just what the 
devil was waiting for, and quick as lightning he came up from 
the bottom of the sea. But quick as he was, St. Peter was 
quicker, and picking up the pact he went up to heaven. 
The devil went after him, but could not catch him up. 

When St. Peter got near the gate of heaven, the devil, 

LXX] Why is the Foot of Man Arched? 217 

seeing that he had escaped him, threw his spear after him. 
He missed him ; but not entirely, for he hit St. Peter in the 
sole of his foot. St. Peter cried out of pain. God asked him 
what had happened, and he replied, " The devil has hit me in 
my foot with his venomous spear." 

" Cut that bit out and throw it away," said God. 

St. Peter did as he was told, and, cutting out the wounded 
part from the sole of his foot, threw it at the devil. Since then 
the human foot is short of that bit which St. Peter had cut out 
when the devil had hit him with his spear. 

It is not quite clear from the story as it stands whether the 
magpie acted as a confederate of the devil, and picked a hole 
in the ice deliberately so as to free him from the imprisonment, 
or whether the magpie quite innocently went and helped the 
devil against St. Peter. There, is no sequel here to its action. 
It is neither punished nor rewarded. In this respect the story 
is imperfect. 

There exists another popular legend intended to explain the 
arch in the sole of the human foot. According to the latter, it 
so happened that the Archangel Michael was the foremost 
angel in the fight between Satan and the heavenly hosts, which 
added to the discomfiture of Satan. When he finally was 
hurled down from heaven he tried to get hold of the arch- 
angel. But the angel was too quick for him. The devil missed 
him, but not entirely, for he seized the archangel by the sole 
of his foot and tore out a part of the flesh. Since then the sole 
of the human foot is curved in the middle. That portion is 
missing, which was torn out of the sole of the archangel. 

218 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXI 




WHEN God had brought the Flood, and Noah's ark was floating 
on the face of the waters, the wretched good-for-nothing devil 
wanted to destroy Noah with all those who were with him in 
the ark. So he fell a-thinking for a while, and invented an 
iron tool called now gimlet, with which he could bore holes 
in the wall of the ark. 

The murderous devil started on his work, and poor Noah and 
those with him were- in great danger of being drowned. They 
all worked hard to get the water out, but who can get the 
better of the devil ? He worked much more quickly, and 
making many holes in the boards, the waters came in fast. 
They all believed themselves lost. But God, who does not 
desire the death of the sinner, and did not wish to see the work 
of his hands destroyed, gave cunning to the snake, and it is 
possible that since that day the snakes have remained wise, 
for does not Holy Writ tell us to be wise as the serpent ? The 
snake came to Noah and said, " What wilt thou give me if I 
stop up the holes which the devil is making by which the water 
enters the ark ? " 

" What dost thou want ? " replied Noah in despair. 

" After the Flood thou art to give me a human being every 
day to be eaten by me and my seed." 

Noah, hard pressed by the imminent danger, promised to do 
so. No sooner did the devil bore a hole than the snake 
stopped it up with the tip of its tail, which it cut off, leaving 
it in the hole, and that is why ever since the snakes have no 

LXXI] Why has a Snake no Tail? 219 

tails. When the devil saw that his plan had failed, he ran 
away and left Noah's ark in peace and all those who were in 
it. As soon as the Flood had passed away, Noah brought a 
thanksgiving sacrifice to God for having been miraculously 
saved. In the midst of these rejoicings the snake took courage 
and came up to Noah, asking for the human being of which 
he had promised to give her one every day to be eaten by her 
and her seed. When Noah heard it, he got very angry, for 
he said to himself, " There are so few human beings now in 
the world, if I give her one every day, the world will soon 
come to an end." So he took hold of the beast which dared 
to speak to him in such a manner, and. threw it into the fire. 
God was greatly displeased with the evil smell which arose 
from the fire in consequence, and sent a wind which scattered 
the ashes all over the face of the earth. From these ashes 
the fleas were born. If one considers the number of fleas that 
are in the world, and the amount of human blood which they 
are sucking, then, taking them all together, they eat up without 
doubt as much as a human being every day. And thus the 
promise made by Noah is being fulfilled. 

A similar tale seems to be known among the Russians, as 
far as the first part of this legend is concerned. According to 
Ralston, Russian Folk Tales, p. 330, when the devil in the form 
of a mouse gnawed a hole in the Ark, the snake stopped it up 
with its head. In the Russian tale the two tales of the mouse 
and the snake are thus combined. 

An Oriental legend which seems to have retained some of 
the incidents in the Rumanian legend is referred to in Hanauer, 
Folk Lore of the Holy Land, p. 283. We are told that Iblis 
(the devil) promises the serpent the sweetest food in the world, 
that is, human blood, if it helps to deceive Eve. Adam pro- 
tests, as no one knew yet which is the sweetest blood. The 
mosquito is sent out to suck the blood of all the animals, 
and find out which is the sweetest. The swallow shadows 
the mosquito, and in the end plucks out its tongue so that it 
shall not be able to tell. The serpent, enraged, darts after 

220 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXI 

the swallow, but only gets hold of the middle feathers of the 
swallow's tail, which it plucks out, hence the forked tail of 
the swallow. The serpent still tries to hurt man, but cannot 
do so in virtue of any claim. 

The flea is also called the devil's horse, for Satan rode upon 
a flea when he started on his rebellious fight with God. 

LXXII] Charms Against Fleas. 221 



IN the first quarter of the moon she who wishes to make the 
charm must be told by a neighbour that the moon has just 
risen. She then takes a glazed dish or bowl, which she has 
bought at the fair of the Mummers (Moii) at the Eastertide, 
or one that has been given to her at that time. She fills it 
with " living " water taken from three wells in three new jugs 
brought by three virgins, who must not look back from the 
time they have drawn it. 

This bowl filled with water is put on the window facing 
the moon, and she waits until the moon strikes the window and 
the bowl. When she can see the moon well in the bowl and 
at the bottom of it, she begins to charm (conjure) the fleas, 
etc., with three stalks taken from a new broom, and says, 
" New moon in the house, bugs, vermin, fleas, get ye out of 
the house, leave this house, be scattered let no one meet the 
other before mountain meets mountain and hill top knocks 
against hill top then and then only may they meet, and 
not even then." She repeats the charm three times, then she 
pours the water into four vessels, places them in the inner 
four corners of the house, and in the morning she is sure to 
find some of the house vermin in the vessels. These she must 
take out, and put into an empty box, stolen from some- 
where. She must wait for a car that returns home after every- 
thing brought in it has been sold at the market, and must throw 
the box into that empty car, saying : " Yes, fleas, little fleas 
from the house have I taken you, into a stolen box have I put 
you, charmed, drowned, cursed, thrown into a box, charmed 

222 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXII 

at new moon now, may you become the devil's own, may you 
become numbed and stiff in the nine countries beyond 
the nine seas for there they are waiting for you at spread 
tables with torches lit up. Amen ! " 

It is almost unnecessary to discuss at any length the charms 
against fleas, etc., which were considered the special tools 
and associates of the Evil One. The philtres in the Western 
countries consist mostly of poisonous ingredients taken from 
toads, snakes, etc., and some of the oldest charms are against 
flies, fleas, midges, etc. This is now, perhaps, the only com- 
plete charm in which not only the formula has been preserved, 
but also, what is of the highest importance, a detailed descrip- 
tion of the ceremonial used on that occasion. 

Every detail of this magical operation might be made the 
starting point of a separate investigation. The symbolic 
character of some of them is too clear to be gainsaid. We 
have here the crescent of the moon as an operative factor : the 
bowl and the box must be stolen, probably to bring down a 
curse upon the thief and upon him who uses it. The living 
water, the three maidens, the three wells, the curse of the 
vermin, the empty car carrying it, as it were, away for ever, 
the inducement for those fleas to remain there in the mythical 
nine countries for a feast that is awaiting them. Each and all 
are found in other charms, but here we have the whole opera- 
tion minutely described. It is, moreover, typical of a large class 
of such enchantments or binding by charms. For our purpose 
it must be deemed quite sufficient. I have only introduced 
it as it is one affecting the insects and throwing light on 
many more charms and conjurations in which the Rumanian 
literature abounds. I may on another occasion discuss the 
whole range of the Rumanian charms. They cover the whole 
field of human ailments and physical troubles a wide range 

LXXIII] Charms Against Bugs. 223 


CURIOUSLY enough, there do not seem to be any special legends 
about the origin of the bugs, but there are a good many 
charms which are used for getting rid of these trouble- 
some vermin. The charms are of a symbolical nature. A 
suggestive action is performed which the conjurer believes 
will be followed by the conjured bugs. Thus : A woman in a 
complete state of nudity takes a mealie cake into one hand, 
or a crust of bread, or some other flour, and a. brush used for 
whitewashing in the other. She nibbles at the cake or food, 
and whitewashes the wall, and while she is doing it, she says : 
"As I am eating my food and cleaning my walls so may you eat 
up one another and leave my walls clean of you," after which 
the bugs will perish. 

It is advisable to do this when the moon wanes, and the 
whitewashing should start from the wall which faces the door 
and then go on to the right until the door is reached again. 

Another charm A boy in a state of complete nudity takes 
bread and salt into one hand, and in the other he holds his 
flute and also a number of bugs, called the wedding party. 
Thus equipped, he goes into the high road until he passes the 
boundary of his field. There he starts playing the flute, and 
then he throws the bugs away into the road, saying : " Here 
I have brought for you bread and salt, and I have been singing 
to you with my flute, now go and have a merry wedding, and 
remain where you are, never returning to my home." The 
bugs then never return. 

Another charm, like that of the fleas, is connected with the 
new moon. 

224 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXIII 

When the new moon appears, a man, coming outside his 
house and seeing it, exclaims, " A new king in the land, a new 
king in the land." To which one in the house standing by 
the window replies, " All the bugs must now go out of the 
house one by one, so that none remain behind." And after 
repeating these words three times he rides on a besom, poker, 
or the oven-peel (with which the bread is shovelled into 
the stove), and running through the house he begins sweep- 
ing the rooms, and says whilst so doing, " Get out of the 
house, ye bugs, for the new king is getting married, and he 
invites you to his banquet, for he has no one to eat, to drink, 
or to dance there. Get ye out and you will eat and drink and 
dance until you are satisfied." 

These words' must be repeated three times, viz. at the 
beginnings of three months. The bugs are then believed to 
leave the house in the form of a swarm, and to go elsewhere. 

LXXIV] Why does the Cuckoo call " Cuckoo" ? 225 



ONCE upon a time there was a poor man, who had a wife 
and two children, a boy and a girl. He was so poor that he 
possessed nothing in the world but the ashes on his hearth. 
His wife died, and after a time he married another woman, 
who was cantankerous and bad-natured, and from morning 
till evening, as long as the day lasted, she gave the poor man 
no peace, but snarled and shouted at him. The woman said 
to him, " Do away with these children. You cannot even keep 
me, how then can you keep all these mouths ? " for was she not 
a step-mother ? The poor man stood her nagging for a long 
time, but then, one night, she quarrelled so much that he 
promised her that he would take the children into the forest 
and leave them there. The two children were sitting in the 
corner but held their peace and heard all that was going on. 

The next day, the man, taking his axe upon his shoulder, 
called to the children and said to them, " Come with me into 
the forest, I am going to cut wood." The little children went 
with him, but before they left, the little girl filled her pocket 
with ashes from the hearth, and as she walked along she 
dropped little bits of coal the way they went. After a time 
they reached a very dense part of the forest, where they could 
not see their way any longer, and there the man said to the 
children, " Wait here for a while, I am only going to cut wood 
yonder, when I have done I will come back and fetch you 
home," and leaving the children there in the thicket he went 
away, heavy hearted, and returned home. The children waited 

226 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories, [LXXIV 

for a while, and seeing that their father did not return, the 
girl knew what he had done. So they slept through the night 
in the forest, and the next morning, taking her brother by the 
hand, she followed the trace of the ashes which she had left 
on the road, and thus came home to their own house. When 
the step-mother saw them, she did not know what to do 
with herself, she went almost out of her mind with fury. If 
she could, she would have swallowed them in a spoonful of 
water, so furious was she. The husband, who was a weakling, 
tried to pacify her, and to endeavour to get the children away 
by one means or another, but did not succeed. When the 
step-mother found that she could not do anything through 
her husband, she made up her mind that she herself would 
get rid of them. So one morning, when her husband had gone 
away, she took the little boy, and without saying anything to 
anybody, she killed him and gave him to his sister to cut him 
up, and prepare a meal for all of them. What was she to do ? 
If she was not to be killed like her brother, she had to do what 
her step-mother told her. 

And so she cut him up and cooked him ready for the meal. 
But she took the heart, and hid it away in a hollow of a tree. 
When the step-mother asked her where the heart was, she 
said that a dog had come and taken it away. In the evening, 
when the husband came home, she brought the broth with 
the meat for the husband to eat, and she sat down and ate 
of it and so did the husband, not knowing that he was eating 
the flesh of his child. The little girl refused to eat it. She 
would not touch it. After they had finished, she gathered 
up all the little bones and hid them in the hollow of the tree 
where she had put the heart. The next morning, out of that 
hollow of the tree there came a little bird with dark feathers, 
and sitting on the branch of a tree, began to sing, " Cuckoo ! 
My sister has cooked me, and my father has eaten me, but I am 
now a cuckoo and safe from my step-mother." When the step- 
mother, who happened to be near the tree, heard what that 
little bird was singing, in her fury and fright she took a 
heavy lump of salt which lay near at hand, and threw it at 

LXXIV] Why does the Cuckoo call "Cuckoo"? 227 

the cuckoo, but instead of hitting it, the lump fell down on 
her head and killed her on the spot. And the little boy has 
remained a cuckoo to this very day. 

This tale is more or less a variant of a well-known type 
of fairy tales. Nos. 43, 44 are tales of men with inordinate 
and foolish wishes, who by constantly changing bring about 
their own undoing. This last is a variant of the story of the 
bad step-mother and the two children. But here the fairy 
tales assume a different character. 

228 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXV 



THE wagtail did not have the tail from the beginning. This 
tail originally belonged to the wren, but it happened in this 
manner. The wagtail was one day invited to the wedding 
of the lark, and as she felt ashamed to go there without any 
tail, as she had none, she went to the wren and asked the wren 
to lend her her tail for a few days. The wren, which had as 
now a small body but in addition a long tail, did not wish to be 
churlish, and lent her the tail. When the wagtail saw herself 
with a long tail, she did not know what to do with herself 
for joy, she was dancing and prancing all the way to the wed- 
ding. The wedding lasted some days. When it was over, the 
wren came to the wagtail and asked for the tail, but the wag- 
tail, finding that the tail suited her so well, pretended not to 
hear and not to see, and took no notice of the wren. And thus 
it came about, from the time of the lark's wedding, that the 
wren has remained without a tail, and the wagtail with one. 
But, fearing lest the wren would come one day and steal it, the 
wagtail is wagging its tail continually to be sure that she has 
it, and that it has not been taken away. 

LXXVI] Why has the Hoopoe a Tuft? 229 



THE tuft of the hoopoe's head has given rise to a tale, similar 
to some extent to the story of the tail of the wagtail, and yet 
not quite identical. Like the wagtail, which originally had 
no tail, the hoopoe had originally no tuft on its head. But 
when the lark had her wedding, she invited all the birds. 
Among them also the hoopoe. She did not want to come with 
her simple feathers, but went to the cuckoo and borrowed 
them from him, for he had the tuft, promising to return it to 
him as soon as she had come back from the wedding. The 
cuckoo, who was a good natured and obliging fellow, trusted 
the hoopoe and lent her the tuft. 

She went to the wedding, and her beautiful ornament was 
greatly admired by all the birds. Most of all was the lark 
pleased with it. The hoopoe grew very elated, and thought 
she had better keep it. And so she did. She came home, and 
entirely forgot the cuckoo and her promise to return him his 
tuft. The cuckoo waited for a while for the hoopoe to return 
to him the tuft which he had lent her. But the hoopoe was 
nowhere to be found ; she never showed herself. Seeing 
this, the cuckoo went to her and asked her to return the tuft. 
She pretended not to know what the cuckoo was saying, and 
coolly replied, " I do not know what you are talking about." 
Enraged at her callous conduct, the cuckoo called all the other 
birds together to lay his case before them, and to ask them 
to pass judgment on the hoopoe. When the birds came 
together, they appointed the lark to be the judge, but the 
lark had taken a fancy to the hoopoe ever since the wedding 

230 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXVI 

day, so, in spite of the protestations of the cuckoo, he decided 
that the tuft must remain with the hoopoe, as it suited her 
so much better. And so it has remained to this day. But 
since then there is no friendship between the cuckoo and the 
lark, who delivered a wrong judgment. 

An Eastern popular tale, Hanauer, Folk-lore of the Holy 
Land, p. 254 ff., explains the origin of the tuft on the head of 
the hoopoe as a crown given by King Solomon to this bird for 
its wisdom in refusing to pay homage to women. 

LXXVII] Why does the Eagle live on Raw Meat f 231 



LET us pass to the story of the eagle. It is the largest bird 
of prey known in Rumania, and lives on young animals, 
lambs, goats, and so on. The story runs as follows. 

Once upon a time there was such a famine in the land that 
the people lived on grass and even on sawdust, and were dying 
of hunger in untold numbers. At that time there lived a widow 
who had managed to husband a little flour. When she found 
that nothing else was left to her she took that flour and mixing 
it with water kneaded it into dough. Then she lit the furnace, 
and got a shovel to put the dough on it and thence into the 
furnace to bake. This woman had two sons and one daughter. 
The two boys came in just at the moment when the loaves of 
dough were on the shovel. They were so hungry that they did 
not wait for the dough to te baked, and before their mother 
had time to put the shovel into the oven they got hold of the 
dough, raw and uncooked as it was, and ate it up to the 
smallest bit. They did not leave even a little piece for their 
mother and sister. When the mother saw the terrible greedi- 
ness of her children, and that they ate the raw stuff and did not 
leave even a small piece for her or their sister, she cursed 
them and said, " May you be cursed by God and be changed 
into two birds ; may you haunt the highest peaks of the moun- 
tains ; may you never be able to eat bread even when you 
see it, because you did not leave any for me this day." No 
sooner had the boys gone out of the house than they were 
changed into two huge eagles, who, spreading their wings, 

232 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXVII 

flew away to the ends of the earth, no one knowing whither 
they had gone. A short time afterwards their sister, who had 
not been at home when all this had happened, came in, and 
she asked the mother where her brothers were. Her mother 
did not tell her what had happened, and said that the brothers, 
finding it was impossible for them to live any longer here, had 
gone out into the wide world to live by their own earnings. 
When the girl heard this she wept, and said, " If that be so, 
then I will also go out into the wide world, and will seek my 
brothers until I find them," and would not listen to the 
words of her mother, who wanted to keep her back. She 
said good-bye and departed, and travelled on and on for a 
long time, until she came to the ends of the earth, where the 
sun and moon no longer shone and the days were dark. 

So she fell a-praying, and said, " I have gone in search of my 
brothers ; O God, help me," and as she turned round she saw 
a forest full of high trees which she had not noticed before, 
and she said to herself, " I will go into that forest ; I am sure 
nothing will happen to me," and so she did. She went into 
the forest not knowing where she was going. In the midst 
of it she saw a beautiful meadow full of singing birds, and there 
was a huge castle surrounded by thick walls and closed by a 
gate with six locks. At the entrance of the gate there were 
two huge monsters. She was very frightened. Still she 
watched until these monsters had fallen asleep, and then 
slipping past them she entered the gates. There she was met 
by a fox, who said to her, " What has brought thee hither 
into this the other world from the world outside ? I fear 
our master will eat you up. As soon as he comes home he 
will swallow you." Still she went on, and on entering the 
house she met the mistress of the house, who asked her the 
same question, and she told her what had happened to her 
from the beginning to the end, and that she had gone out 
into the wide world to seek for her lost brothers. When the 
mistress heard her tale she took pity on her, and taking her 
into the innermost chamber she hid her there, and then went to 
await the home-coming of the master. About midday, when 

LXXVII] Why does the Eagle live on J?aw Meat? 233 

the sun stands on the cross-ways of heaven, there was a great 
noise in the house ; the place shook, for the master had come, 
and he was none other than a huge lion. 

At table, the mistress said to him, " O my master, thou hast 
always been so good to me ; I ask you to be once more good and 
kind ; promise me." And he promised, and asked her her 
request. She told him what had happened to that girl, and 
said that she had come there from the other world in search 
of her brothers. The lion called the young girl, who was 
greatly frightened, and she told him again all that had happened 
to her. He then said, " I will call together all my subjects 
and ask them whether they have seen your brothers passing 
by this way, or whether meeting them they have eaten them." 

So he called from far and near all the animals who were in 
his dominion, and he asked them about the brothers. But 
they all said that these had never passed through the land, 
and they had neither seen them nor eaten them. So the lion 
told her to go on. She went on and came to another forest, 
very big and dark, and walking for a time in it she came to 
another meadow full of birds singing so beautifully that you 
could not hear enough of them, and there in the midst was a 
house deep down in the ground with a thatched roof. The girl 
went in the house, and there was an old woman sitting en the 
oven. 1 " May God help you," said the young girl, and the old 
woman replied, " Welcome, my daughter, what has brought you 
here into this part of the world never yet trodden by human 
foot ? " And the girl told her that she had left her mother's 
house and gone in search of her brothers. The woman said, 
" Your brothers are alive, but they are under a spell, for 
they have been charmed into huge birds, and they live yonder 
in the castle on that steep mountain. If you can reach that 
place you will be able to see your brothers." 

Full of joy at these tidings, the girl went to the mountain 

and found that it was a bare, steep, high cliff with little patches 

of grass here and there, just the place for eagles' nests. Taking 

courage, she started climbing up, and after endless toil reached 

1 The Rumanian oven. 

234 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXVII 

the top. There she saw a huge palace surrounded by iron 
walls, and going inside she saw a room ; the table was set 
and food was on the table. As she was very hungry, she went 
round the table and took a bit from every dish. Then she 
hid herself, watching to see what would happen. She had 
not to wait very long, for soon two huge eagles came from 
the depths of heaven. They entered and sat down at the 
table and began to eat their meal. Suddenly one of them 
said to the other, " Halloo, some one must have been here, for 
I see that my food has been nibbled." The other said, " It is 
impossible for any one to come here," and took no further 
notice of it. 

On the second day they noticed that once again some of their 
food had been eaten again, and so on the third day, when more 
of it had been eaten. So they started hunting through the 
house to find out who was hidden there, for surely some one 
must have come to eat the food. After a long search they 
found the girl huddled up in a small room. As soon as they 
saw her they recognised her as their sister, and taking her into 
the large hall they asked her what had happened and what 
had brought her to them. She told them all that had happened 
to her, and how she had been through the forest and climbed 
up the mountain, and that she was now there with them. The 
brothers then said to her, " We are under a spell ; mother has 
cursed us. We have now been changed into birds of prey ; 
but if you will stay here for six years and not speak a single 
word, that will save us ; the spell will be broken, and we shall 
again be human beings." The girl promised to do ah 1 they 
wished, as the old woman whom she had met before had told 
her that she was to do whatever her brothers would wish her 
to do. And there she remained. Her brothers spread their 
wings and flew away. Five years had past, the girl not seeing 
anything of them, and not speaking all the time. After that 
time she said to herself, " What is the good of my sitting here 
and keeping silent when none of them have come ; perchance 
they are dead, or who knows what has happened?" No 
sooner had she opened her mouth and spoken a word when 

LXXVII] Why does the Eagle live on Raw Meat? 235 

in came her two brothers, and said to her mournfully, " Thou 
hast not kept thy vow, thou hast broken thy promise, thou 
hast spoken ! If thou wouldst have waited one more year we 
would have become human beings, and the spell would have 
been broken. Now we are cursed forever. We must remain 
eagles and birds of prey." And so they have remained to 
this day, preying on birds and beasts, living on raw meat, 
never being able to touch bread, and even picking up children 
under six years of age, the years which their sister had to wait 
in order to break the spell. 

In this story we find again well-known motives from fairy 
tales, especially that of " Snow White and the Dwarfs," in 
which Snow White comes into the house and nibbles at the food 
which is on the table, so that her presence is thereby disclosed. 
But here the tale has been used for the purpose of explaining 
the origin of the eagle. Other details there are in that tale 
which are not clearly brought out in this, for at the bottom 
of it lies the tale of the grateful animals. That is the reason 
why the lion spares the girl and also the good fairy, whom she 
serves faithfully, here represented by the old woman in the 
house with the thatched roof, by whom she is rewarded by 
being shown the way to her lost brothers. 

All these elements have here been combined in the bird 
tale. A close parallel to this tale is to be found in Grimm, 
No. 25. 

136 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stones. [LXXVIII 



ONCE upon a time there was a man who was under a spell. 
He got married to a woman, and after a time he suddenly 
disappeared. He was carried away by the spell, no one knew 
whither. The poor woman waited for him one day and 
another day and a third day, and seeing that he did not return 
she went out into the world to search after hi'm. And so, 
passing through many a country, she came at last to the house 
where Holy Thursday lived, a good old woman, who was 
the mistress of a third of all the birds in the world. When she 
saw the traveller, she asked her what had brought her there, 
and the poor woman, weeping, told her how she had gone in 
search of her husband, who had suddenly disappeared, and 
whom she had not been able to find anywhere in the world. 

Holy Mother Thursday said to her, " Wait, I will call all my 
birds together, and I shall hear from them whether they know 
where your husband is." In the evening she called all the birds 
who were under her rule, and asked them whether they knew 
what had happened to the man. They all replied that they 
had not seen him, and they did not know whither he had gone. 
Sad at heart, the poor woman went away, and came to Holy 
Mother Saturday, who ruled over half the birds in the world. 
She asked the young woman how she had come to that part 
of the world, and what had brought her thither. 

The poor woman told her tale, and also that Holy Mother 
Thursday could not find where her husband was. So Mother 
Saturday called her birds, and asked them whether they had 
seen anything of the poor woman's husband. They all replied 

LXXVIII] Why has the Lark a T^tftf 237 

that they had not seen anything of him, and did not know what 
had become of him. Greatly disappointed, the poor woman 
went on her way, until she came to the house of the Holy 
Mother Sunday, who ruled over all the birds. After hearing 
from the woman what had brought her to her house, she called 
all the birds together, and put the same question to them. 
None of the birds knew where the husband was except the 
cock lark. He said he knew where the husband was, a very 
long way off. Then Mother Sunday asked the bird whether 
he could carry the woman to that place. 

"Willingly will I abide by your command, O mistress," 
said the bird ; and taking the woman on his back, he rose up 
high in the air, and started flying to the place whither the 
husband had been carried. And so flying, they came at last 
to a high mountain made all of glass. The bird could not go 
up that mountain, so they shod his little feet with iron, and 
slowly, slowly, they climbed up that mountain until they 
came to the top. The woman, however, was so much frightened 
by the flight that she clutched at the feathers on the top of 
the lark, and held tightly to them, fearing to lose her hold. 
Since that time the ruffled feathers have remained upstanding, 
and hence the tuft on the head of the male lark. 

It is peculiar that the tale here ends abruptly without 
telling us whether the woman met her husband, or whether 
she was able to break the spell. .It is probably tacitly assumed. 

238 Rumanian Bird and' Beast Stories, [LXXIX 



Another story of the lark tells of one who went in search 
of his sister, who had been stolen away from her home by Sila 
Samodiva. 1 He was directed by a curious dream, in which 
he saw an old man with a long white beard, who told him 
to go in search of her, for he was sure to find her. On his way 
he came to a very old man, who turned out to be the king 
of all the birds. In the evening all the birds came to him 
to be fed, but one bird was missing. It came in rather late, 
limping and tired, and when the king saw it he recognised 
it to be the lark. And he asked the bird why it was so tired 
and what had befallen it. The bird said, " Thou hast ordered 
me to live so far away that it takes me a very long time to 
come to the court, and it is with great difficulty that I have 
been able to come here to this place in obedience to thy 
command." Then the king asked the lark where he had his 
nest, and when he replied in the gardens of Sila Samodiva, 
the brother was full of joy, for that was the place where 
his sister had been taken. Then the king asked the bird 
whether he could lead the man to that place. " Willingly 
will I do so," replied the lark. " I will jump from tree to tree 
and from bush to bush, and flutter about gently, and if he 
follows me I am sure to lead him to the place of his desire." 
And so following the bird, he reached a golden palace in which 
the fairy Sila Samodiva was living. He entered the palace 
by holding on to the tuft of the lark, which has since remained 
dishevelled. A fairy put him to various trials, which he 

1 Sila Samodiva, one of the fairies of the Rumanian popular tales. 

LXXIX] Why is the Tuft of the Lark Dishevelled? 239 

successfully accomplished, and thus was able to rescue his 
sister and to return home in safety. 

Needless to point out, that in these two tales we have parallels 
to the famous legend of the hoopoe in the Solomonic cycle. 
In it Solomon orders all the birds to come and render homage ; 
only one bird does not appear at the proper time. It comes 
in very late, limp, tired and exhausted, and excuses itself by 
telling Solomon of its long flight from the court of the Queen 
of Sheba, to whom King Solomon then sends a message by 
means of the same bird. But we are not told in this story 
anything of the origin of the bird, except that it is described 
as one leading the travellers to the places in the other world 
which they wish to reach. Another very elaborate fairy 
tale gives us the origin of the lark. 

240 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXX 



A very long time ago, so long indeed that no one can 
remember when it happened, there lived a king and queen. 
They had everything which their heart desired, except that 
they had no children. They were good and charitable people, 
and distributed alms and prayed, but all in vain. At last, 
when they had given up every hope, they were suddenly 
blessed with a child. It was a little girl, and she was so sweet 
and so beautiful that they called her Little Light. The 
parents could not see enough of her, and so they kept her in 
their palace all the time, until one day her mother allowed her 
to go out into the garden. 

In the wall of the garden there was a small gate leading 
into a beautiful meadow. The young princess opened the 
gate and went into the meadow and looked around her, for 
she had never before been out of her rooms. She rejoiced 
at the flowers and birds and animals, but more trian anything 
was she pleased with the sight of the sinking sun, and with 
the golden rays which he sent through the heavens. She was 
so pleased with that sight that she went every day in the 
afternoon to watch for the glorious sun and his golden 
rays. Thus one day passed, and again another day, and she 
fell deeply in love with the sun, and being in love, she decided 
that she must go and find him. So great was her love that 
she did not look at any young man, and grew thinner, weaker 
and sadder every day, until she could not bear it any longer ; 
and going to her parents, she said that she could not stay any 
longer at home, and that she must go out into the world. The 

LXXX] Why do Larks Fly towards the Sun? 241 

parents tried in vain to keep her at home, but, seeing that 
all their efforts were of no avail, they let her go, and she went. 
She took money and food with her, and went along not know- 
ing the right way. 

So long as the money and the food lasted she felt quite 
happy, but a time came when both had come to an end, 
and she was in a very sore plight, not knowing what to do. 
Moreover, she was frightened to go alone, for she was in 
woman's clothes. Suddenly she found herself in the midst 
of a wide field full of dead bodies. A battle had been fought 
there, and the field was strewn with the dead. So she took 
one of the uniforms of the soldiers, dressed herself up in a 
man's garb, and, finding a horse, mounted on it and rode 
along with her face turned towards the sinking sun. On the 
way she found then an old woman dressed all in black, sitting 
close to a well, and weaving gossamer and cobweb. She 
addressed her as the Black One, which seemed to please the 
old woman, who told her to turn towards the rising sun until 
she would come to a glass mountain ; she would have to reach 
the top of the mountain, and then she was sure to find her 
way to the palace of the sun. She rode on and came to the 
glass mountain. When she had reached the top, after having 
had the horse shod again at the bottom of the hill, she found 
a palace, but it was not that of the sun. It was inhabited by 
three sisters, who received her in very friendly fashion, and 
treated her with great hospitality. Thinking that she was a 
man, they all fell in love with her ; but she told them she was a 
woman, and they left her to continue her quest. Before 
leaving they gave her a magic sword, which, if drawn half out 
of its sheath, killed half the number of an army, and if drawn 
entirely, killed the entire army of the enemy. By this means 
she was able to vanquish the enemies of a great king, who, 
discovering her -to be a girl, wanted to marry her ; but she 
escaped and continued her journey towards the rising sun. 

On the way she met with a very old man, whose white hair 
had grown down to his ankles, and who was so weak that he 
could scarcely open his mouth. Little Light washed him and 


242 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXX 

fed him and cut his hair. When he had eaten and felt himself 
refreshed, he told her which way to go ; then he gave her a 
piece of bread, and told her that on her way to the palace a 
wild dog would come out against her ; she must give him that 
bread and none other, and before entering the palace she must 
drink of the water of the fountain at the gate of the palace. 
A three-headed dog met her, she gave him the bread, and he 
suddenly disappeared after having eaten it. Then she went 
and drank of the water in the well, and was able to look at the 
golden palace in front of her, which was so radiant and so 
luminous that no human eye could look at it without being 
blinded. Then she went into the palace, and there, in the 
middle of the hall, who should be sitting at the table and 
eating but the glorious sun, beautiful and luminous as only 
the sun car be ? 

When Little Light saw him, she almost fainted with joy, 
but he also, turning to her and seeing her beautiful face, felt 
himself drawn to her, for he had never yet seen such a wonder- 
ful human being. There in the hall was also the mother of 
the sun. When she saw Little Light, she turned fiercely on 
her, and cursing her said, " thou wicked child of man, born 
of sin, thou hast come here to defile the immaculate purity 
of my son and to lead him on to sin and wickedness. Thou 
shalt no longer remain a human being, thou shalt become a 
bird flying as high as to get near the sun, and there, seeing the 
beloved who cannot be thine, thou shalt cry plaintively for 
him whom thou hast won and yet lost." At that moment 
Little Light was changed into the lark, which at the break 
of dawn, before the sun rises, flies up into the sky trying to get 
as near as possible to the sun, and there cries plaintively at 
the loss of her beloved. 

LXXXA] The Story of the Lark. 243 



A VARIANT of this story tells us that after the girl had left 
the king's palace and had gone on seeking for the sun, she came 
to a river, and did not know how to cross it. Whilst she was 
sitting there at the bank of the river, not knowing what to do, 
there came out of the river a girl dressed in white, who told 
her that she would reach the palace and yet not reach it ; and 
as she spoke these words, there came a bridge and spanned 
the river. The girl went across the bridge, and going on in her 
journey, she came to a field where an old woman was watching 
a flock of geese. Curious as old women are, this one asked the 
girl what had brought her hither, and whither she was going, 
and who she was. The girl answered politely, and the old 
woman, being touched by her beauty, gave her a twig in her 
right hand and placed a ring on her left hand, and told her to 
cross herself with the twig, and then she would see what would 
happen. She did so, and she suddenly felt herself lifted up 
high in the air and carried as fast as a thought to some distant 
land. When she found herself again on the ground, she saw 
the palace of the sun facing her, but the palace was surrounded 
by a river, over whose waters, clear as tears, there was no 
bridge. An old man carried the passengers across, but he had 
to be paid with a silver coin. Those who did not pay had to 
wander round that river for a year. Remembering the ring 
which the old woman had given her, she offered it to the old 
man instead of a coin ; he accepted it and carried her across. 
On the other side a two-headed dog came out and barked at 
her furiously. At his barking an old woman came out, who 

244 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXXA 

was none other than the mother of the sun. The poor girl 
did not know who it was ; she might have been careful with 
her answer if she had. The woman asked her who she was 
and what she had come for. The girl, who was truthfulness 
itself, said in her simplicity that she had come to see the sun 
whom she loved so much. When the old woman heard this, 
she cursed her, and thus she became the lark flying about high 
in the air, and trying in vain to reach her beloved. 

It is evident that we have here reminiscences of ancient 
myths, which have assumed a very peculiar shape in the mind 
of the people. It would be difficult to say whether these are 
survivals of Greek myths, of Charon, who ferries the dead 
across the river, and other legends connected with Apollo, or 
whether we have here later stories which have lingered on in 
the Balkans and have then been carried across the Danube. 
Whatever the connection, one cannot deny that we are dealing 
here with materials closely akin to those which form the 
substance of some parts of ancient Greek mythology, but in a 
modified form. Charon has survived to this very day in the 
legends and in the folk-lore of modern Greece, no less than in 
that of Macedonia and the other peoples of the Balkans. It 
is curious, however, that in this tale no blending with Christi- 
anity has taken place. We find various layers of religious 
belief which seem to have been superimposed upon one another, 
each one as it were leading an independent life of its own, 
seldom mixing to such an extent that the line of demarcation 
between what, in the absence of another term, one might call 
heathen mythology and Christian mythology or legendary 

LXXXI] The Wooing of the Sister of the Sun. 245 



WHITE flowers, O Ler, 1 

What cloud appears on the 

horizon ? 

It is not a cloud, a black cloud, 
But a young man 
On a yellow charger. 
The saddle glitters like gold ; 
The stirrups shine like silver ; 
The whip with a beautiful 

handle ; 

And bells tinkling on his reins. 
He is gone to hunt 
To hunt, to woo. 
He met a beautiful maid, 
The like of whom there is not 

in the world. 

It was the queen of the fairies 
lana, the sister of the Sun. 
He met her, 
He took hold of her, 
And in his cellar he hid her 
In the cellar of the peacocks. 
The Sun, as soon as he got wind 

of it, 
Sent immediately after her 

The morning dawn to search, 

The twilight stars to seek. 

But the young man, 

What did he say ? 

" For what are you searching, 

Dawn of the morning ? 

And what are you seeking, 

Stars of the evening ? 

Go into every nook, 

But beware of the cellar. 

If a peacock will escape, 

I will take one of the sun's 

steeds instead. 
And if a hen will escape, 
I will wed his sister; 
For I have found her, 
I have taken her, 
And into my house I brought 

her. ' ' 

This the young man 
May he keep in good health, 
With his brother, 
And his parents, 
And with all of us together. 

This belongs to the series of the sun myths, curiously con- 
nected here also with the peacock. I am not aware of any 
parallel to this legend. Here a young man tries to woo the 
sister of the sun. In the lark stories it is the young girl who 
wishes to marry the sun, represented as a young man. They 

1 Probably a reminiscence of Ler, the old Slavonic God of Love. 

246 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXXI 

all belong to the same cycle, into which apparently so far the 
Christian element is absent. The remarkable part of it is, 
that this and the other songs are Christmas carols, connected 
probably with the Festival of the Sun with which Christmas 
was originally connected. It is the time of the winter solstice 
and the birth of the new sun. This probably explains the 
part which the sun legend plays in so many Rumanian 
Christmas carols. 

LXXXII] The Wooing of a Fairy. 




HERE, O Lord ; there, O Lord, 

In these houses, in these pal- 
aces and yards, 

There have grown, O Lord, 

Grown two tall apple trees. 

Wonderful they are, 

Joined in their roots, 

United and entwined in their 

The tree reaches up to the sky, 

The bark is of silver, 

And the fruit of gold. 

But the fruit 

Could not be plucked, 

Through the threat of the 
Black Sea, 

For the Sea was boasting, 

And with its mouth saying : 

" Who is here in the world 

Who would dare to shoot at 
my apples ? " 

No one was found ; 

No one dares. 

But when he heard the boast 
of the Sea, 

Went home quickly to his 

Went up the stairs, 

Took the bow from the nail 

The bow with the arrows 

Placed them in his bosom, 

And riding on his black charger, 

He came to the Sea. 

Arrived at the Sea, 

He put his hand into his 

Drew forth 

The bow with the arrows, 
And pointed the arrow to the 


The tops of the apple-tree 
The wonderful apples 
Thus spake to him : 
" Stop. Do not shoot, 
For we will give thee 
The sister of the sun, 
The niece of the fairies, the 

beauty among the beauties, " 

was persuaded, 
And did not shoot the apples. 
He mounted his charger, 
Took his bow and arrow, 
And turned back. 
He had not gone a long way, 
When he looked back, 
And what he saw filled him 

with wonderment ; 
For there came, 
There ran a pale-faced damsel. 
She neither laughed 
Nor rejoiced, 
But wept bitterly, tearing her 

golden hair, 

Scratching her white face. 
But the knight said to her : 
" Stop, O Princess. 

248 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXXII 

Dispenser at the treasury, 

Mistress of my wealth." 

The girl, hearing his words, 

Ceased from crying, 

And joined him joyfully. 

And . . . the brave man, may 

he live in health with his 

With his parents, 
And with all of us together. 

Stop, O Queen. 

I do not take thee 

For a slave to me, 

But my mistress shalt thou be, 

A good mistress of the house, 

A good ruler 

Of the household, 

A niece 

To uncles, 

A sister-in-law to brothers, 

A daughter-in-law to parents, 

We have here again the intertwined trees of the Tristram 
and Isolde legend ; the special golden apples of Hesperides 
fame, and even since of the fairy tales. In the latter, the golden 
apple represents often the palace of the giant, with all the 
treasures that it contains, and the possession of the apple 
brings with it the possession of the princess. The Black 
Sea plays here a part, which reminds one of the raging sea 
in the pilgrimage of the sou]. But what is of importance 
here is that the princess is called " the sister of the sun." 

LXXXIII] Where did the Swan come from ? 249 



THIS is in its essence the well-known story of the swan- 
maidens, but with a very marked difference. It is here used 
more or less to describe the origin of the swan, whilst the tale 
of the swan-maiden presupposes the existence and knowledge 
of such birds. 

The version, which I have been able to find is, however, not 
complete ; still it is clear enough for our purpose. It runs 
as follows : 

Once upon a time a king went out hunting, and after he 
had been hunting in the forest for a long time without finding 
anything, he found himself suddenly in an open plain, in 
which there was a huge lake, and in the midst of the lake he 
saw there a bird swimming about, the like of which he had 
never seen before. It was a swan. 

Drawing his bow, he wanted to shoot it. To his surprise 
it spoke to him in a human voice, and said, " Do not kill me." 
So he tried his best to catch it, and succeeded. Pleased with 
the capture of the bird, he carried it home alive, and gave 
it to the cook to kill it to make a meal of it for him. The 
cook was a Gipsy. She whetted her knife and went to the bird 
to cut its throat, when, to her astonishment, the bird turned 
three somersaults, and there stood before her a most beautiful 
maiden, more beautiful than she had ever seen before. So she 
ran to the king and told him what had happened. 

The king, who first thought that the cook was trying to play 
some trickery with him, did not listen to her, but when she 

250 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXXIII 

persisted in her tale, the king, driven by curiosity, went into 
the kitchen, and there he saw a girl more beautiful than any 
that he had ever yet set his eyes upon. 

He asked her who she was, and she said she was the 
swan who was swimming on the lake, that she had wilfully 
gone away from her mother, who lived in the land of fairies, 
and that she had left two sisters behind. So the king took her 
into the palace and married her. The Gipsy, who was a pretty 
wench, had thought that the king would marry her, and 
when she saw what had happened, she was very angry. But 
she managed to conceal her anger, and tried to be kind to the 
new queen, biding her time all the while. 

The king and queen lived on for a while in complete happi- 
ness, and after a time a child was born unto her. 

It so happened that the king had to go on a long journey, 
leaving the wife and child in the care of the Gipsy. One day 
the Gipsy came to the queen, and said to her, "Why do you 
always sit in the palace ? come, let us walk a little in the garden, 
to hear the birds singing, and to see the beautiful flowers." 
The queen, who had no suspicion, took the advice of the Gipsy, 
and went with her for a walk into the garden. In the middle 
of the garden there was a deep well, and the Gipsy said artfully 
to the young queen, "Just bend over the well, and look into 
the water below, and see whether your face has remained so 
beautiful as it was on the first day when you turned into a 
maiden from being a swan." 

The queen bent over the well to look down into the depths, 
and that was what the Gipsy was waiting for, for no sooner 
did the queen bend over the well, than, getting hold of her 
by her legs, she threw her down head foremost into the well 
and drowned her. When the king came home and did not 
find the queen, he asked what had happened, and where she 
was. The Gipsy, who had meanwhile taken charge of the 
child, and looked after it very carefully, said to the king that 
the young queen, pining for her old home, had turned again 
into a swan and flown away. 

The king was deeply grieved when he heard this, but believ- 

LXXXIII] Where did the Swan come from? 251 

ing what the Gipsy had told him, he thought that nothing 
could be done, and resigned himself to the loss of his wife. 

The Gipsy woman looked after the child with great care, 
hoping thereby that she might win the king's love, and that he 
would marry her. A month, a year passed, and nothing was 
heard of the wife. And the king, seeing the apparent affection of 
the Gipsy for the child, decided at last to marry her, and fixed 
the day of the wedding. Out of the fountain into which the 
queen had been thrown, there grew a willow tree with three 
branches, one stem in the middle and two branching out right 
and left. Not far from the garden there lived a man who 
had a large flock of sheep. One day he sent his boy to lead 
the sheep to the field. On his way the boy passed the king's 
garden with the well in the middle of it. 

As the boy had left his flute at home, when he saw the 
willow he thought he would cut one of the branches and make 
a flute. 

Going into the garden, he cut the middle stem, and made a 
flute of it. When he put it to his lips, the flute by itself 
began to play as follows : " O boy, do not blow too hard, 
for my heart is aching for my little babe which I left behind 
in the cradle, and to suckle at the black breast of a Gipsy." 
When the boy heard what the flute was playing, not under- 
standing what it meant, he was greatly astonished, and 
ran home to tell his father what had happened with the 

The father, angry that he had left the sheep alone, scolded 
him, and took away the flute. Then he tried to see whether 
the boy had told the tnith. As soon as he put it to his mouth 
the flute started playing the same tune as when the boy had 
tried to play it. The father said nothing, and wondering 
at the meaning of the words he hid the flute away in a 

When the king's wedding-day drew near, all the musicians 
of the kingdom were invited to come and play at the banquet. 
Some of them passed the old man's house, and hearing from 
them that they were going to play at the king's banquet, he 

252 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXXIII 

remembered the marvellous flute, and he asked whether he 
could not go also, as he could play the flute so wonderfully 
well. His son the young boy had meanwhile gone into 
the garden in the hope of getting another flute, as the willow 
had three branches. So he cut one of the branches and made 
a flute of it. Now this flute did not play at all. 

When the old man came to the palace, there was much re- 
joicing and singing. At last his turn came to play. As soon 
as he put the flute to his lips, the flute sang : " O man, do not 
blow so hard, for my heart aches for my little babe left in the 
cradle to be suckled by a black Gipsy." 

The Gipsy, who was the king's bride and sat at the head of 
she table, at once understood the saying of the flute, although 
the did not know what the flute had to do with the queen whom 
she had killed. 

The king, who marvelled greatly at the flute and at the 
tune which it was singing, took a gold piece and gave it to 
the man for the flute, and when he started blowing it, the flute 
began to sing : " O my dear husband, do not blow so hard, for 
my heart aches for our little babe whom I left in the cradle 
to be suckled by the black Gipsy. Quickly, quickly, do away 
with this cruel Gipsy, as otherwise thou wilt lose thy wife." 

The guests who were present marvelled at the song, and 
no one understood its meaning. The Gipsy, however, who 
understood full well what it meant, turning to the king, 
said, " Illustrious king, do not blow this flute and make thyself 
ridiculous before thy guests, throw it into the fire." But the 
king, who felt offended by the words of the Gipsy, made her take 
up the flute and blow. With great difficulty she submitted 
to the order of the king, and she was quite justified in refusing 
to play it, for no sooner had she put the flute to her lips when 
it sang : " You enemy of mine, do not blow hard, for my 
heart aches for my little babe left in the cradle to be suckled 
by thee, thou evil-minded Gipsy. Thou hast thrown me into 
the well, and there put an end to my life, but God had pity 
on me, and he has preserved me to be again the true wife of 
this illustrious king." 

LXXXIII] Where did the Swan come from? 253 

Furious at these words, the Gipsy threw the flute away 
with so much force that she thought it would break into 
thousands of splinters. But it was not to be as she thought, 
for by this very throw the flute was changed into a beautiful 
woman, more beautiful, indeed, than any had ever seen before. 
She was the very queen whom the Gipsy had thrown into 
the well. 

When the king saw her, he embraced her and kissed her, and 
asked her where she had been such a long time. She told 
him that she had slept at the bottom of the well into which 
she had been thrown by the Gipsy, who had hoped to become 
the queen, and this would have come to pass had it not been 
for the boy cutting a flute out of the stem of the willow- 
tree. " And now, punish the Gipsy as she deserves, otherwise 
thy wife must leave thee." 

When the king heard these words, he called the boy and 
asked him whether he had cut himself a flute from the stem 
of the willow tree which had grown out of the well in the 

" It is so, O illustrious king ; " said the boy, " and may I be 
forgiven for the audacity of going into the king's garden. 
I went and cut for myself a flute from the stem of the willow 
tree, and when I began to blow it, it played, ' Do not blow so 
hard, O boy, for my heart is aching within me,' etc." Then he 
told him he had gone back to his father, who instead of prais- 
ing him for the marvellous flute, gave him a good shaking. 
He had then gone a second time into the garden, and had cut 
off one of the branches to make a flute ; but this did not play 
like the first one. The king gave the boy a very rich gift, 
and he ordered the Gipsy to be killed. 

Some time afterwards, the queen came to the king and asked 
leave to go to her mother to tell her all that had happened 
to her, and to say good-bye for ever now, as she henceforth 
would live among human beings. The king reluctantly gave 
way. She then made three somersaults, and again became a 
swan, as she had been when the king found her for the first 
time on the waters of the lake. 

254 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXXIII 

Spreading her wings she flew far away until she reached the 
house of her mother, who was quite alone. Her two sisters 
were not there. They had left her some time ago and no one 
knew whither they had gone. The young queen did not go 
into the house, she was probably afraid lest her mother 
would not let her go back again, so she settled on the roof, 
and there she sang: " Remain in health, good mother mine, as 
the joy is no longer granted thee to have me with thee in thine 
house, for thou wilt only see me again when I lose my king- 
dom, dear mother mine, not before, and not till then." 
And without waiting for the answer of her mother she returned 
back again to her husband. Sitting on the window sill, she 
sung again : " Rise up, husband, open the doors, wake up 
the servants and let them be a witness of my faithfulness to 
thee, for since I have married thee I have left my mother, 
and my sisters have gone away from me, and from a swan I 
have become a true wife to live in happiness with thee. 
Henceforth I shall no longer be a swan, but thou must take 
care of me that I do not go hence from thee. I do not know 
whether my fate will be a better one by being a queen in 
this world. O sweet water, how I long to bathe in thee ! And 
my white feathers, they will belong to my sisters. Since I am 
to leave them for ever, and my mother with them, O Lord, 
what have I done ? Shall I be able to live upon the earth, and 
shall I keep the kingdom ? Thou, O Lord, O merciful, 
hearken unto me and grant that this kingdom may not be in 
vain." And turning again head over heels, she became a 
woman as before, and entering the palace she lived there with 
her husband the king and if they have not died since they 
are still alive. 

Here we have the origin of the swans, for since that time 
the swans have come to this world. 

It is a remarkable tale, in which the element of the swan- 
maiden story has been mixed up with the type of the false 
wife. It claims, however, special attention, for we have here 
what I believe to be " the song of the dying swan." It is 

LXXXIII] Where did the Swan come from? 255 

practically the song of the swan before her death as a swan, 
and her rebirth as a fairy maiden, which is contained in the 
concluding portion. 

I am not aware of any other parallel to this peculiar song, 
although the fable that the swan sings a very beautiful song 
before his death is well known from antiquity. 

Here follows another version of the swan legend in the form 
of a ballad. 

256 R^t,man^an Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXXIV 




HIGH up on the top of the 


On the brow of the rocks, 
At the gates of the fairies, 
On the land of Neculea, 
Appeared a white swan 
Sent by God, 
Selected by God. 
She has been flying under the 


And settled on the rock. 
She turned off from her flight, 
And fell near the brave, 
For he is to we'd 
The little white swan. 
The king's son, as soon as he 

saw her, 

Was wounded at his heart, 
And spake as follows : 
" O thou white fairy, 

thou beautiful swan, 

1 will bathe thee in a bath of 
white milk, 

So that thou shouldst not be 

able to depart." 
The swan replied, and said : 
" Young son of kings, 
I will not be bathed, 
For I am not a white swan, 
But the fairy from heaven, 
From the gate of Paradise." 
The prince, when he heard her, 

His love burned in him fiercely 
And what did he say with his 

mouth ? 

" O thou white little swan, 
O thou beautiful fairy, 
Stay here and be my wife." 
The swan answered and re- 

And thus spake with her mouth : 
" I will wed thee, 
And remain as wife to thee, 
If thou wilt go, 
If thou wilt bring me 
The bird of heaven 
And the crown of Paradise. 
The bird which sings in heaven 

with sweet and beautiful 

To w r hich God Almighty and 

the angels listen constantly, 
Singing among the trees in 

And some laden with ripe 

fruit ; 

And the crown of Paradise, 
Of the Paradise of God, 
Woven of jasmine, 
With the fruits of virginity." 
When the prince heard her 

He went to his stable-yard of 



The Swan Maiden. 


Brought forth his whole stud 
a great company 

And he started on his journey 

On the road 

Where the sun rises. 

Nine horses he made lame, 

Other nine horses he broke ere 
he arrived at the mansion of 
the Lord, 

At the gate of Paradise. 

Who came there to meet him ? 

St. Basile came to meet him, 

Came to try him, and to ask 

What might be his wish ? 

What might be in his mind ? 

The prince replied and said : 

" The Holy God has selected 
for me, 

The Holy God has sent to 

A wonderful swan to wed me, 

But she will not marry me 

Until she wears 

The crown of Paradise, 

The crown of our Lord, 

Woven with jasmine, 

With fruits of virgin maidens. 

She will not marry me, 

Unless at our wedding sings 

The bird of heaven and the 
Lord's bird, 

Which discourses here in Para- 

With such sweet and charming 

In between the blooming trees 

Some decked with flowers, 

Others laden with fruit 

And the Lord 

And the angels listen con- 

Thus spake the Prince, 

Praying very deeply, 

And shed tears all the while. 

St. Basile had mercy on him. 

He gave him the bird 

And the crown. 

He then returned to 

The crest of the mountains, 

The valley of Neculea. 

There he set the bird free, 

And placed the crown upon 

the altar, 

And he spake thus : 
" Come forth, my beautiful 

Come forth, my wonderful 


Behold the crown, 
And listen to the bird ; 
For the crown is that of Para- 

From the mansions of the Lord ; 
And the bird is the bird of 

From among the trees of 

When the swan came forth, it 

turned into a maiden fair ; 
The crown leapt on to her 


The bird began to sing, 
With sweet and beautiful song, 
The song of heaven. 
They went to church, 
And the priest married them. 
Who was his sponsor ? 
Who but St. John, 
Who stood sponsor to Jesus. 
He blessed them, 
And gave them, 
To each one gifts, 
To her a small cross, 
As well as a small Ikon ; 
To him a staff of silver, 
To rule over the whole world, 
To have power upon earth. 
And this young bride 
With golden tresses 
That shone like the sun's 


258 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXXIV 

Together with her groom, With happy cheer and with 
Young and brave, health, 

May they live Together with their brothers 

For many years And with their parents. 

Here we have a remarkable " carol," full of mystical 
lore, in which the swan-like maiden in the tale is really a fairy 
in disguise. The bird of heaven, and the crown of paradise, 
and all the rest stand here for the tests which often are found 
in fairy tales. The hero must first win these mythical beings 
before he can obtain the love of the maiden, or probably 
before she can turn from a swan into a human being, and 
remain as such. We have here thus a version of the large 
cycle of the Swan Maiden (v. Cosquin, ii. 16 ; Saineanu, 
p. 264 ff.). Such miraculous birds occur very often in 
Rumanian (v. Saineanu, p. 410 ff.). 

LXXXV] Why does the Duck feed on Refuse? 259 



THIS is more or less a fairy tale, but of a very complicated 
character. Various elements are combined in it. It begins 
as do many tales, with the fact that a couple had a child after 
many years : that child is a beautiful girl, who, left as an 
orphan, dresses up in a man's clothes, works at the house of a 
rich man, where she after a time resumes her character as a 
girl : the chieftain of robbers falls in love with her, but when 
he asks his companions to go and steal her away from her 
master, everyone refuses. He then goes himself, disguised as 
a servant : he stays for some time in the same house : when 
he asks her to marry him, she refuses. His attempts at stealing 
her are frustrated by a little dog which she had received from 
her parents. One night he succeeds in catching the dog, and, 
assisted by some of his comrades whom he had summoned for 
the purpose, he is able to carry her away to his house. There 
she refuses again to marry him, and when he finds that neither 
good words, nor threats, nor beating make her change her 
mind, he gets so furious that he decides to sell her to a wild 
and cruel innkeeper who lives some distance away. 

Now this innkeeper used to rob the travellers : then he used 
to kill them, cut them in pieces, and, after having cooked them, 
he gave their flesh to his customers to eat. When he received 
the girl he took her first into a very large room, in which 
there was only a table and chairs round it. That was the room 
where he used to feed all the travellers who came to him. 
Then he took her into another apartment which was full of 
gold and silver and vestments of silk, and round the walls 

260 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXXV 

were hanging weapons of all kinds, all robbed from the people 
who had lodged in that place, and whom he had murdered. 
Then he took her into a third room. There was a pillar, and 
on it were hanging two knives and an axe, with which he 
used to kill and cut up his victims ; and along the walls there 
were hooks, and on each hook a human head. He showed 
all these things to the girl, who was greatly frightened, and 
who expected now to be killed by this cruel man. But he 
somehow seemed to have taken some pity on her, or perhaps 
he wanted to keep her for some time longer ; whatever the 
reason, he took her and pushed her into another room, quite 
behind all these rooms, and locked the door upon her ; and 
he told her to wait until he came back, and she was to do 
all that she was told. She had taken the little dog with her, 
and that seemed to comfort her. Soon afterwards he brought 
in a boy whom he had captured in the forest gathering berries, 
and taking him into an inner apartment he cut his head off, 
and cut him in pieces, and calling the girl in, he told her to 
take the meat and cook it and get it ready for the customers 
whom he was expecting. When the people came, he fed 
them in his usual way with human flesh. The people did 
not know what manner of food it was they were getting, but 
they seemed to like it ; then he did with these guests what 
he had done with all the others, and so it went on day after 
day, the poor girl was kept there locked up and helping to 
prepare the food of the chopped-up men. 

One day a very old woman was brought in, whom the man 
had bought, but she was so ugly and so wizened that one 
could scarcely recognise a human countenance. Not knowing 
who she was, the wild man thrust her into the chamber 
where the young girl was : very likely he wanted to kill her 
later on, as he had killed all the others, but possibly he wanted 
first to feed her up, as she was only skin and bones. When 
the young girl saw that bag of bones, she was very frightened ; 
but the old woman spoke in friendly fashion to her, and asked 
her who she was and how she came to be in that house, telling 
her at the same time that she was a great witch, she could do 

LXXXV] Why does the Duck feed on Refuse? 261 

anything, change everything, and that she had cursed her son 
for his cruelty, when he was still a young boy, and that she 
had come now to punish him. She had disguised herself in 
this ugly form, for she knew that if her son recognised her he 
would not wait long, but would kill her at once without mercy. 
The girl then told her her pitiful tale, and begged of her to 
save her. She told her what a terrible life she was leading, how 
she had been fed on human flesh, and that he was probably 
only waiting for an opportunity to kill her also and to give 
her flesh to others to be eaten. The old woman took pity 
on her, and told her she need not fear ; though her son had put 
her in the innermost recess and there was no outlet, yet she 
would be able to escape. She must kill the little dog, and 
taking out a small bit from the heart was to swallow it. While 
she was doing it, the old woman took out some ointment from 
her bosom and began to rub her with it all over her body, 
when she suddenly became changed into a duck. There she 
sat quietly in a corner, and when the wild man came and 
opened the door she flew away and escaped into the open. 
The man looked round, and not finding the girl he went all 
over the place searching for her. At that moment the mother 
followed him out of that room, and uttered a terrible curse, 
on which the whole house fell down over him and killed him. 
When the duck had flown some distance away, she turned back 
to see what had happened, for the old woman had foretold 
her that she was going to destroy it. When she turned round 
she saw the heap of ruins, but as the old woman had not told 
her how she could again become a human being, the spell 
remained unbroken, and she has remained a duck to this 
very day. 

It is for this reason that ducks are so fat, and they seek 
their food among the dead bodies and dirty places. 

It will be seen that we have here a remarkable parallel of the 
Bluebeard story, but in a much more primitive form, for this 
Bluebeard does not kill only his wives, but he kills indis- 
criminately all those upon whom he can lay his hands, and 

262 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXXV 

then he uses the flesh of his victims for food. There are dim 
recollections of cannibalism in this tale, which in a way 
also reminds us of Polyphemus, who keeps Ulysses and his 
companions for the purpose of killing them and eating them, 
and the same story is found in another form in the adventures 
of Sindbad the Sailor. 

LXXXVI] Why has the Stork no Tail 26, 



THIS tale, though part of a longer fairy tale, is still complete 
in itself. 

The hero of the tale, Floria, having shown some kindness to 
a stork, who afterwards turns out to be the king of the storks, 
receives from him a feather, which when taken up at any time 
of danger would bring the stork to him and help him. And 
thus it came to pass that the hero, finding himself at one time 
in danger, remembered the gift of the stork. He took out 
the feather from the place where he had hidden it, and waved 
it. At once the stork appeared and asked Floria what he 
could do for him. He told him the king had ordered him to 
bring the water of life and the water of death. 1 

The stork replied that if it could possibly be got he would 
certainly do it for him. Returning to his palace, the stork, 
who was the king of the storks, called all the storks together, 
and asked them whether they had seen or heard or been 
near the mountains that knock against one another, at the 
bottom of which are the fountains of the water of life and 

All the young and strong looked at one another, and not 
even the oldest one ventured to reply. He asked them again, 
and then they said they had never heard or seen anything of 

1 The water of death means a water which, poured over a body which 
has been cut in pieces, causes all these pieces to join together, and the 
wounds to heal. The water of life restores to life the bodies thus 

264 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXXVI 

the waters of life and death. At last there came from the 
rear a stork, lame on one foot, blind in one eye, and with a 
shrivelled-up body, and with half of his feathers plucked out. 
And he said, " May it please your majesty, I have been there 
where the mountains knock one against the other, and the 
proofs of it are my blinded eye and my crooked leg." When 
the king saw him in the state in which he was, he did not even 
take any notice of him. 

Turning to the other storks, he said : " Is there any one 
among you who, for my sake, will run the risk and go to these 
mountains and bring the water? " Not one of the young and 
strong, and not even any of the older ones who were still strong 
replied. They all kept silence. But the lame stork said to the 
king, " For your sake, O Master King, I will again put my life 
in danger and go." The king again did not look at him, and 
turning to the others repeated his question ; but when he saw 
that they all kept silence, he at last turned to the stork and said 
to him : 

" Dost thou really believe, crippled and broken as thou art, 
that thou wilt be able to carry out my command ? " 

" I will certainly try," he said. 

" Wilt thou put me to shame ? " the king again said. 

" I hope not ; but thou must bind on my wings some meat 
for my food, and tie the two bottles for the water to my legs." 

The other storks, on hearing his words, laughed at what they 
thought his conceit, but he took no notice of it. The king 
was very pleased, and did as the stork had asked. He tied 
on his wings a quantity of fresh meat, which would last him 
for his journey, and the two bottles were fastened to his legs. 
He said to him, " A pleasant journey." The stork, thus 
prepared for his journey, rose up into the heavens, and away 
he went straight to the place where the mountains were knock- 
ing against one another and prevented any one approaching 
the fountains of life and death. It was when the sun had risen 
as high as a lance that he espied in the distance those huge 
mountains which, when they knocked against one another, 
shook the earth and made a noise that struck fear and 

LXXXVI] Why has the Stork no Tail? 265 

terror into the hearts of those who were a long distance 

When the mountains had moved back a little before knock- 
ing against one another, the stork wanted to plunge into the 
depths and get the water. But there came suddenly to him 
a swallow from the heart of the mountain, and said to him, 
" Do not go a step further, for thou art surely lost." 

" Who art thou who stops me in my way ? " asked the 
stork angrily. 

" I am the guardian spirit of these mountains, appointed to 
save every living creature that has the misfortune to come 
near them." 

" What am I to do then to be safe ? " 

" Hast thou come to fetch water of life and death ? " 


" If that be so, then thou must wait till noon, when the 
mountains rest for half an hour. As soon as thou seest that a 
short time has passed and they do not move, then rise up as 
high as possible into the air, and drop down straight to the 
bottom of the mountain. There, standing on the ledge of the 
stone between the two waters, dip thy bottles into the foun- 
tains and wait until they are filled. Then rise as thou hast got 
down, but beware lest thou touchest the walls of the mountain 
or even a pebble, or thou art lost." 

The stork did as the swallow had told him ; he waited till 
noontide, and when he saw that the mountains had gone to 
sleep, he rose up into the air, and, plunging down into the 
depth, he settled on the ledge of the stone and filled his bottles. 
Feeling that they had been filled, he rose with them as he had 
got down, but when he had reached almost the top of the 
mountains, he touched a pebble. No sooner had he done so, 
when the two mountains closed furiously upon him ; but they 
did not catch any part of him, except the tail, which remained 
locked up fast between the two peaks of the mountains. 

With a strong movement he tore himself away, happy that 
he had saved his life and the two bottles with the waters of 
life and death, not caring for the loss of his tail. 

266 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXXVI 

And he returned the way he had come, and reached the 
palace of the king of the storks in time for the delivery of the 
bottles. When he reached the palace, all the storks were 
assembled before the king, waiting to see what would happen 
to the lame and blind one who had tried to put them to shame. 
When they saw him coming back, they noticed that he had 
lost his tail, and they began jeering at him and laughing, 
for he looked all the more ungainly, from having already been 
so ugly before. 

But the king was overjoyed with the exploit of his faithful 
messenger ; and he turned angrily on the storks and said, 
" Why are you jeering and mocking ? Just look round and 
see where are your tails. And you have not lost them in so 
honourable a manner as this my faithful messenger." On 
hearing this they turned round, and lo ! one and all of them 
had lost their tails. 

And this is the reason why they have remained without a 
tail to this very day. 

Compare the story of the lark, No. 78, who alone of all the 
birds obeys the king's command ; for the story of the stork, 
the only bird that can reach the fountains of life and death, 
v. Cosquin (i. No. 3, p. 48). 

LXXXVII] Why has the Swallozu a Forked Tail? 267 




ONCE upon a time there was a widow who had one only 
child. She had a flock of sheep and a magic dog. The widow 
died, and the girl was left quite alone. So she took the flock 
of sheep and went to feed them in the mountain, accom- 
panied only by her faithful little dog. After some time, there 
came also to the same pastures a young shepherd leading his 
flock. Before leaving, the girl had put on man's clothes, and 
so when the other shepherd, who was the son of a she-demon, 
came, they got very friendly, and the girl often went with her 
flock to spend the night in the house of the demon. She did 
not know who the other shepherd was, nor who was his mother. 
After a time, the young man began to feel suspicious about 
his comrade, and he said to his mother, " Methinks my friend 
is a girl, despite his man's clothes ; his gait and his speech 
are just like that of a maiden." The mother would not listen ; 
but after a time, when the son went on saying that he believed 
his mate to be a maiden, she said to him, " Very well, then, 
we will put him to the test, and we can easily find out what 
he is. I will take a special flower and put it under his 
pillow, and if it is faded in the morning he is for sure a 
maiden." The dog, who knew what the old woman was up 
to, called the girl aside and told her : " Listen to me, my 
mistress. Follow my advice, it will go well with thee. The 
old dragon is going to put a flower under thy pillow as soon 
as thou hast gone to bed ; now keep awake, take it out from 

268 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXXVII 

under the pillow and put it on the pillow. Early in the 
morning, before any one else is awake, put it back under the 
pillow, and nothing will happen to thee." 

The girl did as the dog had told her. She took the flower 
from under her pillow, and kept it on her pillow all through 
the night, and put it back again early in the morning. The 
old woman afterwards took the flower out ; she found it was 
even fresher than it had been the night before. So she 
told her son that he must be mistaken. His companion 
could not be a maiden. He persisted in his belief despite of 
it, and so the woman said to him, " Go and ask your com- 
panion to bathe, and if he is eager to do so, be sure it is not 
a girl ; but if he makes any difficulties, you will know that 
you are right." 

The dog, who knew of the plotting of the old woman, told 
the girl to put on a pleasant face, and not to hesitate to go 
to the river with her companion, " for," he said, " no sooner 
will you be near the water than I will get among the flock, 
and so you will have to jump up and run after the sheep, and 
there will be no moie question of bathing." As the dog said, 
so he did, and again the young man did not know what to 
make of his companion. The mother then told him to go 
with his companion to the forest, and to find a big tree, and 
to ask his companion what it would be good for. If he replied 
for distaff and spindle, then it is a girl ; but if he answered 
it was good to make carts out of, then it was a boy." So he 
took her into the forest, and, finding a big tree, he asked her 
what could be best made out of the wood. The girl replied 
" carts." When the girl saw that the boy troubled her too 
much, she went to the sea-shore, and, smiting the waves with 
her shepherd's staff, she rent the waters in twain, and passed 
dryshod with her flock and dog to the other shore of the sea. 
The other shepherd the demon came to the sea-shore just 
when she had already passed over to the other side. She 
removed her fur cap, and her long golden hair fell down to her 
knees. Then she moved her wand, and the waters again closed 
up. When he saw that she had escaped him, he was very 

i.xxxvn] Why has the Swallow a Forked Tail? 269 

angry, and he went to his mother and told her all that had hap- 
pened. She said to him, " Do not mind ; I will help you to 
get her into your hands." So the old woman went to the sea 
and built there a huge ship. This she filled with all kinds of 
merchandise, and told the young man to sail in it across the 
sea, and try and find his beloved ; and she told him how to 
get hold of her when he had found her. So sailing along in 
the boat he got across, and anchored near a great town. The 
people came out to look at the wares which he had brought. 
The last to come led by curiosity was the girl. As soon 
as he saw that she had entered the boat, he set sail, and off 
he went. When the girl saw what had happened, she recog- 
nised him, and, finding herself in his power, she offered no 
resistance. But when they were in the middle of the sea, she 
took off the ring which she had on her finger, and, casting it 
into the sea, she said to him, " From this day onward I shall 
remain dumb. I shall not speak to thee until this ring is 
brought back to me " ; and she kept her word faithfully. 
For many a year she lived with him, but never spoke a word. 
One day her mother-in-law thought that it would be better 
to get rid of her. As she herself dared not kill her, she sent 
the girl with a message to her elder sister to bring her the 
sword and the threads, knowing full well that her sister would 
kill her. When her husband heard the errand on which she 
was sent, he came out quietly, and, meeting her outside the 
house, he whispered : 

" When you go to my mother's sister, she is sure to offer 
you some food ; take the first bite, and keep it under your 
tongue. Then you may eat ; otherwise you will be lost." 
The girl never replied, but listened attentively to what he 
had said. So she came to the old crone, who was ever so 
much worse than her own mother-in-law, and she certainly 
was bad enough. As soon as she entered the house, the young 
woman greeted her. Great was the surprise of the old woman, 
who said, " Now who is to believe my sister ; she made 
that girl out to be dumb, and now she speaks so sweetly. 
Come in, my child." 

270 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXXVII 

Then she went out, killed a cock, grilled it, and gave it 
to her to eat. 

The young woman, remembering her husband's advice, 
took the first bite and put it under her tongue ; then she sat 
down and made a hearty meal of the cock. When she had 
finished, the old woman said, " I do not have the sword or 
the threads ; they are with my younger sister. She lives not 
very far from here ; you just go to her." 

Taking leave, she went a little way further, and she came 
to the second sister, who was worse than the other. She 
saluted her when she came in, and this sister also said : 

" How is one to believe your mother-in-law ? She made 
you out to be dumb, and now you speak so sweetly and so 
nicely. What have you come for ? " 

She said, " I have come for the sword and the threads." 

" Sit down and eat, my child," she said, and, going out, she 
took a young lamb and killed it and prepared it for her. 
Remembering the advice given to her, she put the first bite 
under her tongue, and then she went on eating until she had 
satisfied her hunger. 

When she had finished eating, the old woman said, " I do 
not have that sword ; it is with my younger sister. You must 
go further ; she lives quite close by, and she will give it to 

So she went to the third sister, and greeting this third 
one, who was the worst of all and the ugliest of all, said 
to her, " Sit down and eat." Then she took out the hand of 
a dead man and gave it to her to eat. But this the wife could 
not do. 

Meanwhile the old woman had gone up into the loft of 
the house, saying she was going to fetch the spade, but in 
reality to watch the young woman to see what she was 

When she was left alone, she took the hand and threw 
it under the hearth. Then came a voice from the loft 
crying. " Hand, hand, where art thou ? " and from under 
the hearth the hand replied, " Here I am under the hearth." 

LXXXVII] Why has the Swallow a Forked Tail? 271 

So she turned on the young woman and said, " You eat this 
or something worse will happen to you ; I am going to eat 
you." She was very frightened ; so she took it and put it 
in her bosom under her girdle. And again the old woman 
cried, " Hand, hand, where art thou ? " and the hand replied, 
" I am under her heart." The old witch thought that she 
had eaten it, and coming down, she brought the sword and 
gave it to her together with the threads. Before she left, 
the old witch asked her to give her back the hand ; so she 
put her hand in her bosom, and drew out the dead hand and 
gave it back to her. And so she had to let her go in peace, 
as she had retained nothing. 

Then, coming to the other sister, this one said to her, " Give 
me back my lamb." The young woman heaved, and out 
came the little lamb quite alive and started frolicking through 
the house. It was because she had kept the first bite under 
her tongue. She therefore had to let her go unharmed. 
Then she came to the eldest one. And she said to her, " Give 
me back my cock," and then the young woman spat, and out 
came the cock, running and crowing through the house. And 
so she came back to her own house with the sword and the 

Shortly before she had come, some fishermen had caught 
a large number of fish, among them a huge fish which her 
husband had bought. When he opened that fish, he found 
the ring which his wife had cast into the sea. So, full of joy, 
he ran out to meet her and to give her the ring. He embraced 
her with one hand, and with the other, which was full of the 
blood of the fish, he stroked her chin gently, saying to her, 
" O my dear little girl, here is thy ring." No sooner had he 
spoken these words, when the woman was changed into a bird 
with a red breast, the mark of the blood stains on her chin ; 
then, breaking a pane of the window (lit. an eye of the window) , 
she flew away. Her husband tried to catch hold of her, but 
he only got hold of the middle feathers of the tail, which 
remained in his hand. The bird flew away. The young 
woman had become a swallow. For that reason the tail looks 

272 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXXVII 

like two prongs of a fork, for the middle part was plucked out 
by the husband in his attempt to catch her. 

In this legend we have a combination of many tales. 
The central incident of the magical ring recovered from the 
depth of the sea inside the fish, upon which the whole future 
depended, is somewhat obscure in this tale. It is part of the 
Polykrates tale, but still more so of the Solomonic legend, 
where the recovery of the ring means the recovery of power 
by King Solomon. It is a curious romance, in which Solomon 
is married as a poor man, i.e. in disguise, to a princess, for his 
ring by which he was able to rule all the spirits and demons 
had been cast into the sea by a demon and swallowed by 
a fish. From that fish Solomon recovered it later on, and 
with it his kingdom and power. The incident of the sword 
and the threads is an obscure episode. No doubt it is a 
magical sword, by which the power of the ogre is to be broken, 
and the threads are magical threads, by which he is to be 
tied and made powerless. 

LXXXVIII] Why does Swallow live in Hot Places f 273 



IN another tale the swallow was originally a servant of Holy 
Sunday. Holy Sunday, going to church, told her servant, 
whom she had left at home, that she was to prepare the dinner 
for her, and that she should take care that it should neither 
be too hot nor too cold, but just as she liked it best. The 
servant remaining at home did as she was told ; she cooked 
the dinner, but forgot to take the food off the hob in time 
to get it cool enough for Holy Sunday when she came home 
from church. 

When Holy Sunday came home and began to eat the 
food burned her mouth, as it was too hot, having been left on 
the fire so much too long. So she got very angry, and cursed 
the servant, saying, " As thou hast not done my will and hast 
burned me with the food, so mayest thou now be hence- 
forth a bird burned and frizzled up by the great heat of the 
places and the countries where thou shalt dwell." 

No sooner had Holy Sunday spoken these words, when 
the servant girl was changed into a swallow, and therefore 
it makes its nest in the lofts of houses where it is hottest, and 
travels the countries where the sun is burning like fire, frizzling 
up the inhabitants with its heat. 

Holy Sunday is here merely a Christianised form of some 
of the older divinities, who did not scruple at the slightest 
provocation to vent their feelings and to punish their sub- 
ordinates without pity and without mercy. 

It is not here the place to discuss the personification of 

274 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXXVIII 

the days of the week in the form of divinities. They occur 
very often in Rumanian legends and tales, and are in most 
cases described as choleric old women, spiteful and revenge- 
ful. On rare occasions they are helpful. They resemble 
much more the three parcae, Moirai or Fates of the Roman 
and Greek mythology and the Norns of the Teutonic myth- 
ology, than Christian saints. That these divinities are 
identified with special days of the week belongs to that 
process of heretical teaching to which I have referred already, 
and in which certain days of the week are endowed with a 
peculiar character of sanctity ; and the apotheosis has 
reached such a degree that they are looked upon as real 
saints. And the swallow still is looked upon as a more or 
less sacred bird. According to popular belief, swallows 
will not build nests in bewitched or cursed houses ; to kill a 
swallow is considered a heinous sin, almost tantamount to 
killing one's wife and children. As the people believe that 
the swallow was originally a girl, they refrain from eating it. 
They consider it wrong to eat a swallow. They are also 
called " God's hens," and are a sign of luck to the people 
where they build their nests. 

LXXXIX] Why is the Dove a Homing Bird? 275 



IT is very curious that, so far, very few tales and legends 
have been collected referring to the dove, a bird which 
plays so prominent a part in Ancient Greek and heathen 
worship. I have not been able hitherto to discover more 
than passing references to the dove in legendary tales, nor is 
there anything in Rumanian folk-lore that would explain the 
origin of the dove. There is only one legend, which is in a way 
a distinct variant of the Cinderella cycle. 

I will give it here briefly. 

The beginning agrees on the whole with the usual type. 
There is the bad step-mother, who has an ugly daughter, 
and persecutes the beautiful daughter of her second husband. 
Among other trials, besides keeping her unkempt and dirty 
and sending her out to feed the cattle, she gives her one day 
a bag full of hemp, and tells her that in the evening she is 
to bring it home carded, spun, woven into cloth and bleached. 
The poor girl did not know what to do. Her father had given 
her a calf. This calf was " a wise one." So the calf came 
to the girl and said, " Do not fear ; look after the other cows : 
by the evening it will be all ready." So it was. 

When she brought the white cloth home, her step-mother 
did not know what to say. The next day she gave her two 
bags full of hemp, and again the little calf worked at it and 
got it ready by the evening. When the woman saw what had 
happened, she said, " This is uncanny ; no human being can 
do such work in one day. I must find out what is happening." 

The next morning she gave her three bags full of hemp 

276 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [LXXXIX 

and followed her stealthily to the field to see what she was 
doing. There, hidden in a bush, she overheard the con- 
versation between the little calf and the girl. Straightway 
she went home, put herself to bed, and said that she was very 
ill and was sure to die. 

Her husband, coming home and finding her in what he 
thought was a very sorry plight, believed that she was really 
very ill. She called him to her bedside, and said, " I know 
I am dying ; there is only one way, however, by which I can 
be saved, and that is to kill the little calf and to give me some 
of its meat roasted." The poor man did not know what 
to do, and he said to his wife, " Why, that is all that my 
little girl has, and if that calf is killed she will remain with 

" Do as you like," she replied, " if you prefer a calf to my 
life." The little calf, which was " wise," knew what was 
going to happen, and told the girl that the step-mother was 
sure to have it killed, but she must not grieve. The only 
thing the calf wanted her to do was to gather up all the bones 
after the meal, and to hide them in a hollow of a tree not 
far from the field. Everything happened as the calf had 
foretold, and on the next day the woman ate as one who 
had been starving for a week, as ravenously as if the wolves 
were fighting at her mouth. The old man also ate of the calf, 
but the girl refused to touch the meat. After the meal was 
over she took all the bones and put them in the hollow of a 
tree as she was told. 

Soon afterwards, the step-mother again put her to a trial. 
Going with her husband and her own daughter to church, 
she left her at home in her dirty clothes, and giving her a bag 
full of linseed and poppy-seed mixed, she told her that she 
must sweep the room, get the meal ready, wash the plates, 
clean the pots and separate the linseed from the poppy seed. 

Now the bones of the calf had turned into three white 
doves. These came to her and did all the work, and told 
her at the same time to go to the hollow tree ; there 
she would find a carriage and pair and beautiful clothes 

LXXXIX] Why is the Dove a Homing Bird? 277 

waiting for her. She did so, went to church in state, left 
before the others, and was at home to meet her people coming 
back from church and found the house swept and clean, 
and the linseed separated from the poppy seed. They spoke 
of the beautiful girl who had come to church, and chided their 
poor daughter for staying at home. 

The second week the same thing happened. This time 
there were two sacks of poppy seed and linseed which she 
had to separate. And again the doves helped. And so on 
the third Sunday. The son of the squire, who had seen her 
on the former two Sundays, tried to stop her on her way 
out of church, and trod on her slipper, which was knocked 
off her foot. She did not wait to recover it, but returned 
home as fast as she could. The young man went round 
with the slipper to find the person whom it would fit. When 
he came near the house, the step-mother, fearing lest he see 
her step-daughter, hid her under a big trough behind the 
door. When the young man, after having tried the slipper 
on her daughter, whom it did not fit, asked whether there 
was another girl in the house, and she replied, " None," but 
a cock who was standing by began to sing : " O that old 
crone is telling lies ; there is another girl hidden under the 
trough behind the door." 

The young man, hearing the words of the cock, which the 
old woman tried in vain to drive away, sent his servant into 
the house to find out whether it was so. He lifted the trough 
and found there the other girl, clothed in dirty rags and 
huddled up. The woman, seeing that the girl had been 
discovered, said to the man, " Do not take any notice of 
her ; she is a dirty slut and an idiot." But the cock again 
sang out, " O that old crone is telling lies ; it is the daughter 
of the old man, and she is very wise." The young man, who 
was waiting outside, became impatient, and calling for the 
servant, he told him to bring the girl out. He tried the 
slipper, which fitted like a glove, and there and then he 
married her. 

And this is the origin of the dove. 

278 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories [xc 



THE Rumanian story about the raven is more or less the 
well-known story of the raven in Noah's ark as told in the 
Bible. But it has not reached the people in that simple 
ungarnished form. It has been embellished with legends. 
Those found among the Rumanian peasants agree in the 
main with those told by oriental writers and found in " his- 
toriated " Bible's that great treasure-house of legendary 
Biblical lore and the depository of many of the legends of 
the past. 

It is important to see how stories, the literary origin of 
which cannot be doubted, have penetrated among the people 
and have become actual popular legends. We can almost 
trace the way which they have come. And this lends a 
special value to such popular Biblical legends. 

The story runs as follows : 

The raven was originally a bird with white feathers. When 
Noah sent out the raven to find out how things were in the 
world, the raven espied the carcase of a horse floating on 
the waters which had begun to subside. Forgetting his 
errand, the raven settled on the carcase and started eating, 
and he continued eating for three days and three nights. He 
could not get satisfied ; only at the dawn of the fourth morning 
did he remember the errand on which he had been sent, and 
started on his return. When Noah saw him at some distance, 
he cried, " Why hast thou tarried so long, and what is thy 
message, and how does the world without look ? " 

The raven, unabashed, replied, " I do not know anything 

xc] Why does the Raven feea on Carrion? 279 

about the world and how things are going ; I only know that 
I was very hungry, and finding the dead body of a horse, 
I sat down and ate, and now that I have had my fill, I have 
come back." 

When Noah heard this answer from the raven, he grew 
very angry, and said, " Mayest thou turn as black as my 
heart is within me," for his heart had turned black from 
anger and fury. And from that minute the raven's feathers 
turned as black as coal. And Noah went on saying, " As 
thou hast fed on carrion, so shalt thou feed henceforth only 
on the dead bodies of animals and beasts." 

And in order that the ravens should not multiply too 
quickly, it was ordained that they should lay their eggs in 
December and not hatch them until February, for only 
then, when the frost is so strong that even the stones burst, 
does the shell of the raven's eggs split, and the young are 
able to come out and be fed by their parents, for they are 
unable to hatch them unless they are aided also by a hard 
frost, which causes the shells to break. Otherwise, if they 
had laid their eggs in the summer and hatched them in the 
summer, like other birds, they would grow so numerous 
that people would not have been able to defend themselves 
from the raven. 

Moreover, the raven, when sent by Noah, saw only the 
peaks of the mountains, and those have remained to this very 
day the real haunt of the bird. They only nest in very 
high crags and peaks of mountains, and never in villages. 

Thus far the legend, which occurs in many variants. 
The raven, whose peculiar appearance is well known, has 
become the bird of oracle par excellence. There are a large 
number of treatises on the augury of the raven, notably in 
the Arabic literature, some of which are traced back to 
Indian originals. As for the part which the raven has played 
in Northern mythology, it is sufficient to mention the ravens 
of Odin, not to speak of the Biblical legend according to 
which the raven fed the prophet Elijah. (Another inter- 

2 So Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xc 

pretation of the word in the Bible changes the raven into 
Arabians, who fed the prophet in his hiding-place.) There 
are some Rumanian popular beliefs connected with the raven 
which I will mention here. 

If two or three ravens fly over a village and croak, it is a 
sure sign that there will be death in the village. 

If two ravens, one coming from the north and one coming 
from the south, meet over the roof of a house, it is a sure 
sign of the death of one of the inmates of the house. 

It is an old saying that if ravens are seen flying in a great 
number in one direction, it is a sure sign of plague or some 
death among beasts and men. 

If ravens croak over a flock of sheep, the shepherds keep 
a double watch, for they believe the ravens foretell an inroad 
by wolves or other wild beasts. 

If a raven, meeting a herd of cattle, croaks, the Rumanian 
responds, " May it be on thy head, thy feathers and thy 
bones," for he believes that one of his animals will die and 
become food for the raven. 

And, if one raven is seen flying over the head of a man 
and continues to do so for a while, it is a sign of the death 
of that man. 

It is generally assumed that the ravens fly in pairs, and the 
appearance of one alone is therefore ominous. 

These few examples will suffice. They stamp the raven 
as the bird of ill-omen. 

xci] Why is the Ant Cut in the Middle? 281 



ONCE upon a time there was a widow who had only one child, 
a girl, and all her possessions (goods and chattels) consisted 
of a flock of sheep. 

When the girl grew up, the mother sent her with the flock, 
and told her at the same time to put on a man's clothes and 
not to speak to anyone in the manner of women. 

The girl did as she was told, and fed the flock for a long 
time. One day, however, she was in the forest, where a young 
boy also fed his flock. But he was not the son of man ; he 
was the son cf the serpent (dragon). How was she to know 
it ? And even if she had known it, what good would it be to 
her, seeing that she did not know what a dragon or a she- 
dragon was ? 

Regarding him as a shepherd like herself, she began 
talking to him, and the whole day they went together with 
their flocks. When the young dragon came home in the 
evening, he told his mother, " I think that he with whom 
I spent the day is not a man in spite of the clothes but a 
woman, but he does not seem to have a woman's voice. 
Would it not be better if I brought him here, and you might 
then tell me whether it is a man or a woman, for if she be a 
woman, I should like to have her as my wife. I have not yet 
seen in the whole world one more beautiful." " Go," said 
the mother, " bring him. If he be a man, he will return 
safely from us, but if she be a woman, then thine shall she 

282 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xci 

On the next day, meeting the daughter of the widow, 
they fed their flocks together, and in the evening, when they 
were to separate, he asked the girl to spend the night at his 
house. The girl, not thinking aught evil, and being somewhat 
far away from her own house, accepted his invitation and 
went with him. What did the she-dragon do when she saw 
her coming ? She went out to meet her and engaged her in 
conversation. Then she turned to her son and spoke to him, 
but in a foreign tongue. She told him to put a flower under 
the pillow of his companion, and if in the morning the flower 
will be faded, for sure then she is a girl ; otherwise the flower 
would remain fresh. So he did. The girl, seeing that they 
talked in a foreign tongue, understood that they were talking 
about her, and determined to watch and see. No sooner 
had she gone to bed than she began to snore, as if she had 
fallen fast asleep, but she did not sleep. Her hosts, thinking 
her fast asleep, got up, went on tip-toe into the garden, and, 
taking a carnation in full flower, put it under her pillow and 
fell asleep. 

The girl, feeling that something had been put under her 
pillow, understood that something was wrong. So she got up 
and took out of her bag a charmed mirror by which to undo the 
sorcery of her hosts. No sooner had she taken out her mirror, 
than the dragon-mother woke up, and, running quickly to the 
bed, found the flower faded, to her own great joy and that of 
her son. What was the girl to do now ? She could not deny 
that she was a girl. So she began to speak with a woman's 
voice. The young dragon then insisted on her marrying him, 
but she said, if he insisted on taking her she would neither 
speak to him nor kiss him. The young dragon, more in a joke, 
took her in his arms and squeezed her so tight that her face got 
swollen and her eyes almost started out of her head. She then 
changed herself into an insect and ran to the door to get out 
from under the threshold. But the old dragon took a knife 
and slashed her across the body when she had crept half-way 
out of the house, so that she nearly cut her in twain. Her 
luck was that just a little flesh remained by which the other 

xci] Why is the Ant Cut in the Middle ? 283 

part of the body was kept hanging on, and thus she has 
remained to this very day, for she became the ant. 

The first part of this story agrees in the main with the first 
part of the swallow story, No. 87. It is another example of 
the transfer of a story from one object to another, like the 
story of the woodpecker and the pelican. (Cf. also the slash- 
ing of the bee in the stories, No. I ff.) 

Popular belief is that the ant is the grandchild (niece 
nepoata) of God, and the handmaid of the Virgin, although I 
have not yet been able to find the legend upon which this 
belief rests. The ant must not be molested, for the Virgin 
sighs as often as an ant is killed. 

The red ant comes from the tears shed by St. Mary over the 
grave of Christ. 

The ant is used as a remedy against toothache by boiling 
it together with the earth of its nest and rinsing the mouth 
with the water (which thus contains the well-known arnica of 
the pharmacopoeia). 

284 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xcii 



IN the time of Alexander the Great, King of Macedon, there 
lived a very wealthy man who had two sons, each one 
more beautiful than the other, and both more beautiful than 
any other living being. When they grew up to be twelve years 
old, the fame of their beauty had reached the Court of King 
Alexander. He was told that no young men so beautiful as 
they were could be found over nine seas and nine countries. 
Alexander went himself to see them, and no sooner had he 
seen them than he appointed them captains in his army, 
for he was a high and mighty king, and he liked to have in 
his army valiant knights like himself. 

At that time there lived the dog-headed people, who were 
human from the waist down and dogs from their waist upward. 
Their kingdom stretched far away to the north of Alexandei 's 
realms. Every year the king of the dog-men and his people 
made incursions into the countries, and, capturing many 
women, carried them away. The men they fattened, and, after 
killing them, used to eat them, but the beautiful women they 
brought to their king to become his wives. They treated the 
men just as we treat our animals, which we fatten to kill 
and eat. 

When Alexander saw that these wild dog men would not give 
him peace, he decided to make war upon them, and to free the 
world of such wild creatures. But to fight with these dog-men 
was not an easy task, and he therefore selected the best men 
among his host, all seasoned warriors, and he put the best 
captains over them. Among these were also the two brothers, 

xcn] Why does the Ciickoo call "Cuckoo"? 285 

one of whom was called Cuckoo and the other Mugur. 
Wherever they went they did wonders. The heads of the 
dog-men fell before the strokes of their swords like the grass 
cut by the scythe. The battle lasted for three days and three 
nights. On the fourth, the two brothers captured the king of 
the dog-men and brought him to Alexander. There they killed 
him. Then they set fire to the land of the dog-men, and the fire 
burnt for over a month. It was so wide a country that no one 
has ever known the end of it, and so these dog-men were 
routed utterly and none were left; only their name has 
remained behind. When Alexander saw the valiant deeds of 
these two brothers, he appointed them leaders of his army. 
They had to be always near him, and wherever they went 
and drew their swords, the blood of the heathen ran like 

Alexander had many wars with kings and emperors, and he 
conquered them all. No one dared to stand up against him, 
for God had given him strength, and he marched on to the 
ends of the earth ; he was to become king over the whole world 
and then die. 

He went to the south with his army, passing through many 
desolate countries, filled with wild animals and monsters, 
dragons and serpents : wherever he went he burned them with 
fire so as to cleanse the world. For months Alexander went on 
with his march, accompanied by the two brothers and his 
army, for he had set his heart upon going to the very ends 
of the earth. One day on their march they met a com- 
pany of women riding on white horses, one more beautiful 
than other, and there was one who by her beauty outshone 
them all. She was dressed, moreover, so radiantly that she 
shone like the sun. Alexander drew near, and he asked them 
how it came about that they were riding such beautiful horses, 
and where were the men ? 

To this the women replied : " Ours is the country where 
the women rule, the women take the place of the men and the 
men that of the women." Alexander rested there for a while 
with his two companions and his army, and they were well 

286 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xcn 

entertained by the women, who were more beautiful than any 
known among men of this part of the world. 

Among these there was one who was like the moon among 
the stars. Cuckoo fell in love with her, and they became 
inseparable. Cuckoo thought he could not live without her. 
Mugur, who was of a more retiring nature, restrained his love 
and kept aloof from the women. 

When the two weeks had elapsed which Alexander had 
appointed for him to stay there, he broke up his camp and 
journeyed onward until the army reached the gates of Paradise. 
These were guarded by angels with flaming swords, who 
would allow access only to those who were pure and sinless. 
When the soldiers beheld the beauty of Paradise they wondered 
greatly at it, and some of them were desirous of entering it, 
and went to the angel to ask his permission. Amongst these 
were Mugur and his brother Cuckoo. Mugur went in front, 
Cuckoo followed with his beautiful wife at his side. When 
Mugur drew near, the gate of Paradise was flung open and he 
entered without hindrance. Cuckoo wanted to follow him, 
but the door was shut in his face, and for his audacity he and 
his fair companion were turned into birds, for no man is allowed 
to enter Paradise with a companion. 

Since then Cuckoo is continually calling aloud his name in 
the hope that his brother may look for him and thus find him. 

This story is remarkable for its origin. We have here the 
popular reflex of the famous Romance of Alexander, which 
had reached Rumania, as all the other countries of Europe, in 
a literary form. The book has been read for at least three 
hundred years, and it is extremely interesting to see how 
deeply it has influenced the popular imagination. What we 
have here is not one incident only from the " Romance," 
but practically an abridged recital of the famous " Journey 
to Paradise," and " Alexander's Letter to Aristotle." We 
have here his wars with the Kynokephaloi, or the people who 
were believed to be human beings with dog's heads. The 
Eastern Church, and no less the Rumanian, even venerates a 

xcn] Why does the Cuckoo call " Cuckoo" 'f 287 

saint with a dog's head, Christophorus. In the Rumanian 
monastery of Neamtz there appeared a " Life " of that saint, 
in which the woodcut picture of the saint represented him as 
having a dog's head. We have, further, Alexander's war with 
the Amazons, and even the fact that he reached the gates of 
Paradise. But what gives to this tale importance is that 
the " Romance of Alexander " has become the tale accounting 
for the origin of a bird. No doubt there must be some more 
detailed account of this immediate fact, explaining a little 
more clearly the sudden transformation of the cuckoo and his 
mate into particular birds. Here it is described as a punish- 
ment for Cuckoo's audacity in attempting to bring his female 
companion into Paradise. 

The only point of resemblance between this and the Albanian 
tale of Hahn (No. 105), is that Cuckoo was originally a man 
by that name, and he was the brother of Gion. 

288 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xcm 




A FUNNY story about the hoopoe and the cuckoo is told by the 
Rumanians at the expense of the Armenians. It is said that 
in olden times the forefather of the Armenians had to flee for 
his life. So, taking all his belongings with him, and mounting 
on a horse, he rode away as fast as he could. He feared lest 
his enemies would overtake him. Riding on, he came to a 
forest and, not being able to find the way, he got into a bog. 
In vain did he try to get his horse up again. The more he 
tried the further it sank ; so, taking all his belongings, 
he dismounted, and wading through the mud, he sat down at 
the edge of the bog and thought all the time what was he to do 
to get his horse out. He could not carry all his belongings, 
and, if he tarried much longer where he was, his enemies were 
sure to overtake him. Where he sat, there was a cuckoo, 
resting on the tree, and singing all the time, but the more he 
sang the deeper the horse seemed to sink into the mire. He 
took some food out of his bags, and, showing it to the horse, 
he tried to tempt it, but the horse paid no attention to 
him. Whilst he was now in great despair, there came a 
hoopoe and sat on another tree and began to cry " Hoop, 
Hoop." No sooner did the horse hear the bird shouting " hoop, 
hoop," than up it jumped as if stung by wasps. Overjoyed, 
the Armenian got hold of it, and putting his food into his 
sack he mounted again and went on his way. And out of 
gratitude the Armenians call the hoopoe to this very day by 

xcm] Why does Armenian Love Dirty Hoopoe? 289 

the name of cuckoo, for he saved their ancestor by his cry 
" up, up." The cuckoo had made it lie down by singing " coo, 
coo," but the hoopoe made it jump up by singing " up, up." 
There are some beliefs attached to the cry of the hoopoe 
forming part of that great section of prognostications by the 
cry of the birds. It is not, however, considered as an ominous 
bird. It merely foretells the fruitfulness or the barrenness of 
the coming year. 

290 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xciv 



ONCE upon a time there was a partridge, and that partridge 
was sorely troubled, for no one in this world is safe from trouble 
and worry. Her trouble was that for some time back she was 
not able to rear her young, because of AUNTIE FOX, who 
made a royal feast of the young brood. No sooner did the fox 
find out that the partridge had hatched her young, than she 
tied some brambles to her tail, and, dragging it along the 
ground, pretended to plough the land, close to the place where 
the partridge had her nest. Turning to the partridge, the fox 
would say : 

" How dare you trespass on my land. Off you go, lest I eat 
you up." The partridge, frightened, would run away, and the 
fox would eat the young. This had gone on for three years. 
On the fourth year it so happened that, while the partridge was 
weeping, just as a man will do out of worry and grief, she met 
a hound. 

" What is the matter with thee, friend ; why dost thou 
weep so, what ails thee, why art thou so inconsolable ? " 

" Eh ! " said the poor bird, " I am full of trouble." 

Then the hound said sympathetically, " What has happened 
unto thee ? " 

" What has happened unto me ? O ! dear friend, so many 
years have I tried to rear my young, and no sooner do I see 
God's blessing when auntie fox, with the brambles and thorns 
trailing behind her tail, comes and claims the land, and says, 
' Hast thou again hatched young on my land ? Get thee off 
lest I eat thee.' And I am so frightened that I run away, and 
the fox then takes the family and leaves me childless." The 

xciv] Story of the Partridge, Fox, and Hound. 291 

bird stopped here and looked despairingly at the hound. She 
wondered what he could do for her. But no one knows whence 
help may come, and just when it is least expected it comes. 
And so it happened to the bird. The dog who had been sitting 
all the time, listening as it were with half-closed ears, suddenly 
shook himself and said, " Is that the trouble which ails thee ? " 

" Yes, that is my trouble." 

" Well, if that be so, let me come with thee, and may be that 
I shall be of some help." 

And so they both went to the nest of the partridge. There 
the dog crouched behind the bushes and waited for the fox to 
come. He had not to wait very long until the fox came with 
the brambles tied to his tail, and, pulling it along, made 
pretence of ploughing the land. " Now then you partridge, 
are you trespassing again " 

But the fox was not allowed to finish the sentence, for out 
of the bushes sprang the dog. The fox took to her legs, 
running as fast as they would carry her. Now, whether the 
hound ran or did not run I do not know, but I certainly can 
say that the fox ran for all she was worth and raised a cloud 
of dust behind her. And so she ran and ran until she reached 
her lair, and she buried herself deep in the ground, very thank- 
ful to have saved her skin from the jaws of death. The hound, 
wearied, tired, and vexed that the fox had escaped, settled 
down at the mouth of the lair waiting for the chance that the 
fox would come out again, that he might set his eyes upon her, 
but it was all in vain, for the fox, once safe, never dreamt of 
coming out again. But then the fox, having nothing else to 
do, started talking to herself. 

" Clever fox, clever fox, I know that thou takest care of thy 
skin. Well, thou didst well to save thyself, and to get safely 
away from that hound. Now let me ask my eyes, ' What did 
you do when the hound was after me ? ' 

" Well, we, turning right and left, looked out to see which 
way we could save thee and hide thee." 

" Dear eyes," said the fox, and full of satisfaction, she 
stroked them with her paws. 

292 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xciv 

" Now I will ask my forelegs." 

" And ye, my forelegs, what did you do when the hound 
was chasing me ? " 

" What did we do ? We ran as fast as we could to carry 
thee safe to the lair and to save thee." 

" Very good, then, my darlings," and she kissed them and 
stroked them lovingly. 

Then she asked the hind legs. 

" What did you do when the hound was chasing me ? " 

" What did we do ? We raised the dust and threw it into 
his eyes to save thee." 

" My darlings," again the fox said, and licked them and 
caressed them, " so must you always do." 

The fox, having nothing else to do, said, " I must now ask 
thee, tail, ' What didst thou do, O my tail ? ' 

" I, what was I to do? I waddled to the right and left and 
yet he never caught me. If it were not for the legs, I am 
afraid I should not see the sun any more, and neither wouldst 
thou, O fox." 

" As thou sayest, then, thou art the only one who did not 
help me, thou art mine enemy, for if it were not for the blessed 
legs, none of us would have seen the sun any more. All right, 
out thou goest, thou fool. Thou must no longer be with me or 
with my darling eyes." And, turning round, he crawled back- 
wards and pushed it out of the lair. The hound, who was 
sitting outside, was just waiting for this, and no sooner did he 
see the bush of the tail coming out than he pounced on it and, 
getting hold of it, he pulled with all his might and dragged 
out tail and fox together. And that was the end of the fox. 
The fox may have been very clever, but the old proverb is 
true. " Each animal dies through his own tongue." And since 
that time the partridge hatches her young unmolested, and 
the land of the fox has remained unploughed. 

This Rumanian tale belongs to a large cycle of similar tales, 
of which the Rumanian seems to have preserved only the first 
part, unless the second part has r.fterwards been tacked on to 

xciv] Story of the Partridge, Fox, and Hound. 293 

it. In the extended tale the dog asks for the payment of the 
food, drink, and merriment which the bird had promised. 

An almost identical story is found among the Slavonic Tales, 
Krauss, No. 9. In this no mention is made of the fox claiming 
to be the landowner. It is only out of pity for the partridge 
that the dog attacks the fox, which runs away, and then the 
story continues exactly like the Rumanian. The first part of 
No. 6 is another parallel to the Rumanian tale, but it is greatly 
reduced and is only the first part of a much longer tale of 
" The Starling, the Fox, and the Dog." 

The starling promises the dog food, drink, and merriment, if 
he would avenge it against the fox, who, in spite of sworn 
friendship, had taken advantage of the absent starling to eat 
the young birds. The tale contains also the episode of the 
fox's undoing. But then the Slavonic story goes on to detail 
the manner in which the starling outwitted a boy who carried 
food to his people on the field, a man who carried a wine cask, 
and a hewer of wood, all to provide for the promised food, 
drink, and merriment of, the dog. 

This last part, as a tale by itself, quite independent of the 
story of the dog and fox, is found in Haltrich, No. 81. Here 
the bird offers food, drink and merriment to the fox who is to 
spare her young. 

In a more reduced form still, the first part having entirely 
disappeared, the story appears in Grimm, iii. p. 100, who 
refers to a similar episode in the French version of Reinecke 
and to an Esthonian tale. Cf. also the Russian Tale in 
Afanasief, No. 32. 

294 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xcv 


A PARTRIDGE once built her nest in the furrows of a newly 
ploughed cornfield, and hatched her young when the stalks 
of the corn had grown tall and the corn began to ripen. There 
was food in plenty and safety enough for them to play and to 
frolic about without fear of any danger. But the good things 
in this world never stay long with us, and this the partridge 
was soon to find out. The time came when the corn was cut 
and hunters appeared followed by their dogs, whose barking 
they could hear drawing nearer and nearer. The partridge now 
began to be frightened for her young. She tried to cover them 
with her wings, but they could not help hearing the reports of 
the guns and the barking of the dogs. One day, not being 
able to stand the strain any longer, she remembered a place 
of safety which she had known, in the cleft of a mountain 
beyond the seas. Tucking her eldest under her wing, she 
started one morning on her flight, intent on carrying it to the 
mountain beyond the sea. When she reached the border of the 
sea there stood a huge tree. Tired from her long flight, she 
settled on one of the branches of the tree overhanging the 
water. And she said to her young, " Little darling, see how 
great is the love of a mother and what trouble I am taking. 
Nay, I am putting my life in danger in order to save you." 

" Never mind, mother," replied the little one, " Wait till 
we grow up and then we will take care of you when you grow 
old and weak." 

When the partridge heard these words she tilted her wing and 
let the young bird fall into the water of the sea, where it was 
drowned. Distressed, weary, and lost in thought, she returned 

xcv] Story of the Partridge and her Young 295 

to her nest and took the middle one of her three young, and, 
putting it on the wing, she started again on her flight to the 
mountain beyond the sea. On the way she again alighted 
on the tree with the branches overhanging the sea. And she 
spoke to this one in the same manner as she had spoken to 
the first. And he replied, " Do not worry, mother, when you 
get old we shall take care of you and show you our love." 

The partridge, grieving at the words of this one, again 
dipped her wing and the young bird slid down into the bottom 
of the sea, where it was drowned. Almost broken hearted, not 
knowing any more what to do with herself, and heavy with 
sorrow and anxiety, her only hope being the youngest one, she 
returned to her nest, and, taking the youngest the mother's 
pet she tucked it under her wing and flew again to the 
mountain beyond the sea. 

Tired from her continual flight hither and thither, she 
again alighted on the tree with the branches overhanging the 
sea, and with her heart trembling within her for fear and love, 
she said to the youngest, " See, my beloved little pet, how 
much trouble mother is taking to save her dear little ones, 
how willingly I am suffering pain and fatigue ; see how 
exhausted I am and wearied, but nothing is too much for a 
mother if only she knows that her young will be safe." 

" Do not worry, mother dear, for we when we grow up 
will also take care of our young children with the same love 
and devotion." 

At these words, the mother pressed the little one nearer to 
her heart, and, full of joy, carried him across the sea to a 
place of safety, for of all her children this alone had spoken the 
truth. And is it not so in the world ? 

This is the story of the partridge and her young. 

296 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xcvi 



A MAN was once ploughing his field. In the midst of it a lark 
had made her nest and was hatching her young. When the 
cock lark saw what the man was doing, and that he was 
coming nearer and nearer with the plough, he feared that the 
nest would be destroyed. So he turned to the man and said, 
" Prithee, spare my nest ; go round it with your plough and 
do not touch it, for I might also do you some good." 

The man, surprised at hearing the lark speak to him, said, 
" What good can you do to me ? " 

" Oh," replied the lark, " you never know what I can do. 
Just bide your time, there might be a chance." 

" Well," said the man, " I do not mind going with my 
plough round that piece of ground, it will not make much 
difference, but you see I have a very -bad-tempered wife, and 
should she come out and see what I have done, and that I 
have left a part of the field without ploughing it, I shall come 
in for a good hiding." 

" What," said the lark, " you a man, and your wife, a 
woman, beating you, how can that be ? " 

"Oh," replied the man, "you do not know her; from 
morning till evening she does nothing but strike and beat me, 
I have not a minute's rest and peace." 

" I can help you," replied the lark, " if only you will do what 
I tell you." 

" If you will help me I shall be for ever grateful to you." 

" Well then, this is what you have to do. You get yourself 
a stout stick, and should she come and start chiding you, 

xcvi] Story of Lark and Taming of Women. 297 

you just lay out and go for her without mercy. You will 
see it will be all right." 

Whilst they were thus speaking, the woman came out, 
with one jaw on earth and the other in heaven, spitting fire 
and fury ; and when she saw that the man had left a part of 
the field not ploughed she started to go for him with her fists 
and to give him a good beating. But before she had time to 
get to him, remembering the advice which the lark had given 
him, he got hold of the stick, and there was a great change. 
The woman did not know what it was that happened to her ; 
the blows fell upon her fast and thick over her head, face, 
shoulders, hands. At last she got frightened, and ran away 
vowing vengeance. After she had gone, the lark said to the 
man : 

" Don't be a fool, I know she awaits you at home with a 
long stick, but you get yourself a short, stout stick, and just 
slip into the house before she has time to use her long rod, 
and then you go for her, hitting as fast as you can and as hard 
as you can, for, being in the house, the woman will not be 
able to use the long rod to any advantage." 

The man did as the lark had taught him, and the woman 
came in for a drubbing she never expected. The tables were 
now turned, and instead of beating the husband the woman 
got it now, and twice over. 

That was the first case of the men beating their women, 
instead of the men being beaten by the women, for the neigh- 
bours, seeing how things had changed with this man, soon 
followed his example, and there was yelling and shouting and 
cursing as never before, the women getting the worst. 

When the women saw that the men got the upper hand, 
they all gathered together in the market-place and held a 
conference under the leadership of the head woman of the 
town. After a long consultation and discussion, they all 
decided to leave their husbands alone and to get across the 
Danube to the other side. 

So they did ; they gathered themselves together and, led 
by the head woman, left the town to go across the Danube. 

298 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xcvi 

When the men saw what the women were doing, and that 
they were in earnest, they turned on the first man who had 
set the example and threatened to kill him, for he had brought 
all that trouble upon them. And the man got frightened and 
ran out into the field, and going to the lark told all that was 
going on and that he was in danger of his life. 

The lark laughed and said, " Oh, you are worse than a set 
of old women. Do not be afraid, nothing will happen to you ; 
you just wait and see, I am going to bring the women home 

So saying, the lark rose up in the air, and flying over the 
heads of the women who were standing by the banks of the 
Danube waiting to cross, it sang out, " Tsirli, tsirli, on the 
other side of the Danube there are no men." 

One of the women, hearing the bird's song, said to her 
neighbour, " Did you hear what that bird was singing ? " 

" Oh, yes, we can all hear it saying that across the Danube 
there are no men, and if that be true I think we had better 
return to our own husbands, never mind whether they beat 
us or not." 

And they all returned home quite meekly to their houses, 
and ever since then the men beat their wives, but the women 
never beat their husbands. And you should know that if a 
woman does beat her husband, he is not a man, but a donkey. 

xcvii] The Story of the Turtle Dove. 299 



OF the turtle-dove the Rumanian popular poetry relates that 
when she loses her mate she never associates with any bird, 
but sits solitary on the branches of trees, not on the green 
or the high bough, but on the low, and on the withered 
branches of the tree. She no longer goes to clear water, 
but she first stirs the mud and then drinks the troubled water, 
and when she sees the hunter she goes to meet him cheerfully, 
hoping that he will kill her. The tears of the turtle-dove are 
the most powerful antidote against every spell and sorcery. 

An incident in one of the Rumanian Fairy Tales reminds us of 
the story of the Shirt of Nessus given to Hercules. 

It is of a step-mother who tries to kill her daughter-in-law by 
inducing her to buy such a poisoned shirt. As soon as she has 
put one on she becomes very ill, and her illness grows with 
every day that passes. 

Her father, who has been absent, comes home and sees 
what is the cause of her illness, so he washes her in tears of 
the turtle-dove. The spell is broken, the fire is driven out, 
and the young woman recovers her health. 

joo Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xcvm 



THE wren is called by the Rumanians the little king. The 
reason for it is that the birds once came together to elect a 
ruler. They were all there, big and small, and after much 
wrangling and discussion they agreed that he who flew highest 
of all should be king. It was the eagle who suggested it, for 
he knew that no bird could fly so high as he could, and he told 
them that the highest place they could reach would be the 
region of the wild winds. They arranged that he who would 
reach so high, should give them a sign and then they should 
descend. They all started for the race. There was much 
fluttering of wings and shrieking and boasting, for every 
bird believed that he would be the winner. But they had not 
measured their strength, for after a while the weakest stopped 
in their flight f.nd began to descend slowly. The stronger 
ones flew a little higher but they too got tired and came 
down to the ground, until at last almost every bird that had 
entered the race had given it up. Only one bird was con- 
tinuing the flight. It was the agle, who was soaring higher 
and higher. At a certain moment, the eagle signalled to 
them that he had reached the wild wind, that is the wind 
which blows very high up in the sky and is bitterly cold, much 
colder than ice and frost. But the eagle was not to win the 
race. The little wren, a midget among the birds, had crept 
stealthily under one of the outer feathers of his wings ; the 
eagle did not feel it, and so it was borne aloft to the very 
high heavens. Now when the eagle stopped in his flight, 
and began to descend, the little bird, not at all tired, came 

xcvm] Why does the Wren hide Himself? 301 

out from under the wing, and he, flying higher, far above the 
eagle, shouted : 

" He ! he ! you thought you would be the king, that no 
one could fly as high as you do ! You see I have flown much 
higher, no one can deny it, you can all see me, and though I 
am very small and light, I am your king." The birds, hearing 
the little wren and seeing that it had been flying far above 
the eagle, wondered greatly, but they could not help them- 
selves, they had to stand by their agreement, and so the 
wren was proclaimed king. 

But the birds soon learnt the trick by which the wren had 
outwitted them, and furious at the way in which they had 
been played, they wanted to tear him to pieces. The little 
wren, knowing what was in store for him from the enraged 
birds, ran away quickly, and hid himself inside the hollow of 
a tree, slipping in by so narrow an opening that no other bird 
could follow him. When the birds found out the hiding-place 
of the wren, and that they could not get at it, they decided 
to starve him out, and put some to watch over the opening 
to prevent the wren escaping. The wren thought it better to 
starve than to come out and be torn in pieces. " I will wait 
my chance," he said to himself, and the chance came when 
they appointed the owl to watch over the tree. The owl is a 
lazy bird, and sitting down quietly soon fell asleep. That 
was just what the wren was waiting for, and before the owl 
could have turned round, it was out and away in the bushes 
and under the roots of the trees. When the owl awoke it 
found that the prisoner had gone : catch him if you can ! 
The birds, full of wrath, turned on the owl for letting the 
wren escape and the owl had to run for its life. It is for that 
reason that the owl never shows itself in day-time. It is 
frightened of the birds, for they bear it a grudge for not 
keeping careful watch over the wren, and as the wren knows 
what the birds have in store for him, he hides himself under 
the bushes and trees and has become a very furtive bird. 

Cf. Grimm, No. 171. 

3O2 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [xcix 



ONCE upon a time the birds came together to decide which 
was to rule over them all, and in what order authority should 
be distributed among them, who was to be the superior and who 
was to be inferior among them. After a long discussion it 
was agreed that the eagle should be the highest of all. The 
second in command should be the falcon, the third in command 
the black vulture, under him the white vulture, under him 
the vulture with the striped tail, under him the lamb's vulture 
and under him the kite, under him the hen-harrier, under him 
the blue heron, and under him the sparrow-hawk. All the 
birds consented and accepted this arrangement without much 
demur or contradiction. Only the sparrow-hawk, who though 
the smallest and the weakest, yet knew himself to be quicker 
and cleverer than many of them, objected to the arrangement, 
and said to them : 

" Do you expect that I should submit to you ? or be 
frightened of you, as if you were the strongest and mightiest 
creatures in the world ? You are greatly mistaken. There 
are other beings stronger and mightier and greater than you. 
Of these I am frightened, but not of you. I do not care 
for you." 

" But what creatures are stronger and more powerful than 
we ? " asked the other birds greatly surprised. 

" What!" said he, " you do not know who is greater and 
stronger than you are ? You all think yourselves to be the 
cleverest of created beings, and you expect me, the smallest 

xcix] Why is there no King over the Birds f 303 

of you, to tell you that? Very well, then, since you do not 
know even as much as this, hear it from me. Stronger than 
all of you are the archers and the sportsmen." 

" Why,'"' replied the birds, " how can that be ? " 

" Well," he said, " if they meet you they can make an end 
of you, and that, before you know where you are ; you, who are 
so clever, that you wanted to put me at the tip of your tail! " 

" What can we do to save ourselves ? " 

The sparrow-hawk replied, " You must never gather together 
and fly in large numbers, for thus we are sure to fall a prey to 
them. Our only safety lies in our dispersion." 

As soon as the birds heard that, they dispersed quickly, 
and since that time hawks are never found together in large 
numbers, except when they see carrion. In such wise did the 
little sparrow-hawk free himself from the domination of the 
other birds of his clan. 

304 Riunanian Bird and Beast Stories. [c 


THIS is the well-known story of King Log and King Stork. 

Once upon a time the frogs assembled and decided to ask God 
to appoint a king who would guide them and rule over them, 
for they were like a people scattered all over the waters and 
seas with no one to look after them. God gratified their 
request, and taking a log of wood cast it into the water and 
said to the frogs, " This is to be your king." When the log 
fell into the water it made such a splash and such a noise, 
that the poor frogs did not know where to hide themselves in 
their fright. After a while the noise subsided, and the log 
lay still in the place where it had fallen. Gaining a little 
courage, the frogs came out of their hiding places and crept 
slowly on to the log of wood, which they found lying quite 
still and motionless. They waited for a time to see it move, 
but in vain. So they went again to God and said to him : 

" What is the good of*a king who can neither guide us, nor 
rule over us, and cannot even move about to look after us? " 

And God said, " You shall have one who will move about, 
and he will guide you and rule you after the manner of kings." 
And he called the stork and appointed him king over the 
frogs. He moves about amongst them very fast indeed, and 
guides them and rules them in the proper manner of kings, 
for he gobbles them up as soon as he sets eyes on them in the 
proper manner of kings, who always go about and eat up their 
subjects as fast as they can. 

Here, of course, a moral from modern life has been added 
to the old tale, but this does not detract from its popularity. 

ci] Story of the Stork and Little Tomtit. 305 


ONCE upon a time there was a stork who could not rear any 
young. His wife's eggs had become addled, or something else 
had happened to them, and the long and short of it was that 
there were no young birds. Very distressed, he was walking 
about in the forest when he noticed a little tomtit on the 
ground. Seeing he was so small, he thought it was a young 
bird, a chick that had fallen out from a stork's nest somewhere. 
So he picked him up gently and carried him to his own nest, 
and there he kept him and fed him most tenderly. He would 
fly about for miles to get worms to feed the little bird. The 
days passed, and the stork could not help wondering why that 
little bird of his did not grow : it remained so small. One day 
there came a down-pour of cold rain mixed with hailstones. 
In order to protect his little young, he put the tomtit under 
his wing, and going into the forest placed himself under the 
branches of a thick-leaved tree to shelter himself from the 
rain and hail. In the trunk of that tree there was a little 
hollow. As soon as tomtit espied it he glided into it, and from 
there he kept up a conversation with the stork. Among other 
things, the stork said, " What terrible weather that is, I 
cannot remember anything like it all my life." 

" What," piped little tomtit, " you call this bad weather. 
You should have seen what bad weather means, when the red 
snow fell." 

" Hush, you little thing," said the stork, " how do you 
come to speak of red snow, you have never seen such a thing ? " 

" Oh," replied tomtit, " I remember it quite well, although 
it was so many years ago." 

" You remember it, you little cunning beast, who made 
yourself out to be quite a little chicken ! " and the sharp 
beak of the stork pierced the hollow of the tree and spiked the 
insolent little tomtit, who had made a fool of the stork. 

306 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [en 


THE flea once upon a time meeting a gnat, said to her : 

" I say, sister, why is your back so bent, and why is your 
head so low ? What heavy care is worrying you ? " 

" Oh, my sister," replied the gnat, "it is the heavy work 
which I have to do that bends my back and pulls my head so 
low. I have to drive the oxen to the plough, and make them 
do their work. I must sit between the horns and prick them 
to urge them on. Their hide is so thick that I have to bend 
my body and put my head very low to drive the sting through 
it. But, then, tell me, why v-,your back so much bent, sister 
flea ? You have no heavy work like me." 

" You do not know what you are talking about. I have to 
keep mankind to their duties. These men have such heavy 
clothing that it takes all my strength to lift it up so that I 
can move about, to get at him." 

cm] Story of the Gnat, Lion, and Man. 307 




THE fable of the gnat and the lion is told in order to explain 
the proverb, " The gnat, small as it is, proved stronger than 
the lion." Once upon a time a lion sat himself down to rest 
under a tree. Suddenly a gnat appeared and settled upon 
his nose. The lion, feeling the tickle, struck out with his paw, 
but missed her. The gnat then settled in his ear, and again 
the lion tried to strike her, but failed. So he said to the gnat : 

" Who are you ? and why do you come here and worry 
me ? Who are you that although so small can worry so 
much and give so much trouble, and yet are one whom it is 
impossible to catch ? " 

" I am the gnat, and I drink the blood of anyone I choose, 
and no one can hurt me." 

" You may drink blood from whomever else you choose, 
but my blood you shall not drink, for I am the stronger." 

" If you believe that I cannot drink your blood, very well 
then, let us wait and see who is the stronger," said the gnat. 

" I am quite satisfied," said the lion, and they made the bet. 
Without saying a single word, the gnat jumped on to the nose 
of the lion, and digging its point into the flesh of the lion sucked 
the blood until it was full, but the lion could not do anything 
to her. When she had finished, she asked the lion : 

" What do you say now? have I not beaten you? Now it 
is your turn to show me your strength." 

" I am so strong that if a man should happen to pass here I 
could eat him up." 

He had scarcely finished speaking when a boy happened to 
pass. The lion, as soon as he saw him, wanted to catch him 

308 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [cm 

and eat him. " Stop," said the gnat, " this is not yet a man, 
wait until he grows to be a man." The lion felt ashamed and 
let the boy pass. 

Soon afterwards a very old man happened to pass. Again 
the lion, saying, " Now, a man is passing, " wanted to get hold 
of him. And again the gnat stopped him, saying, " This is no 
longer a man, he has been so some long time ago. It is a pity 
to break your teeth on him." And the lion left him also 

Now there came riding along a hussar. 

" This is a man," said the gnat, " go for him and show 
your strength." 

The lion went for him, but when the hussar saw him he drew 
his sword and smote him two or three times over his head. 
The lion, seeing that this was not a joke, turned tail and ran 
away ; there was his road to safety. The gnat, following 
him, settled on his ear and asked him how he felt. The lion, 
half-stunned, replied : 

" That foolish man drew a rib from his side and hacked 
lustily away and had I not run away only bits of me would 
have been left." 

Hence the proverb, " However small, the gnat proved more 
powerful than the lion." 

This is a parallel to the story of the " Gnat and the Lion." 
Among the South Slavonic Tales, (Krauss, No. 12) we find 
another parallel to it, though differing in some details. A 
lion was continually boasting of its strength. One day a 
tiger, tired of his boasting, said to him : 

" You wait until you meet a man and see what strength is." 
One day, as they were walking, a young boy passed along, 
and the lion asked whether that was a man. 

" No," replied the tiger, " that is a man that is to be." 
Shortly afterwards an old woman passed, and the lion asked 
whether that was a man. " No," replied the tiger, " that is 
one who has made men." 
At last a hussar passed. The tiger said, " This is a man." 

cm] Story of the Gnat, Lion, and Man. 309 

The hussar drew near, shot at the lion, and, quite dazed, it 
ran away. 

The hussar overtook him, and drawing his sword wounded 
him in many places. The lion escaped and said afterwards, 
" When he blew at me it was bad enough, but how much worse 
was it, when he pricked me." 

Another version from the inhabitants of Transylvania is 
found in Haltrich D. Volksmarchen a. d. Sachsenlande i. 
Siebbrgn, Wien 1877 (No. 86). Here it is the wolf who 
boasts, and the fox tells him that there is something much 
more powerful than he is and that is man. The wolf asks 
the fox to show him man. An old man passes, the fox says, 
" This was a man." 

A boy passes and the fox says, " This is not yet a man." 

A hunter comes, and from behind the bush the fox whispers, 
"That is man." The hunter shoots at the wolf, then draws 
his knife and slashes him. The wolf runs away and owns 
himself beaten by the man, who makes thunder and lightning, 
throws stones in his face, and then draws a shining rib and cuts 
away at him. 

Cf. also Grimm, 72. 

io Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [civ 


A MAN was driving his buffalo to market. On the way they 
passed a marsh. The buffalo, in accordance with its habit, 
went into it and started wallowing. The man tried to get 
him out of it and threatened him with his stick, but the 
buffalo took no notice. 

There came a gnat buzzing by the man and saying to him : 

" What wilt thou say if I drive him out of the swamp ? " 

" You," replied the man contemptuously, " what can a 
little midget like you do, when the buffalo does not care even 
for me ? " 

" Just so," said the gnat, " I will show you that I can do 
what you cannot." 

" Try, then, if you can." So the gnat went and placed itself 
under the fold of the buffalo's belly, and stung him just between 
the creases of the skin where the flesh was softest. 

Up jumped the buffalo, and in a wink he had got out of the 
mire, and was brought to the market by the man who owned 
shamefacedly that of the two the gnat was the stronger. 

" Hi ! hi ! " hissed the gnat, " didst thou see that I could 
do with my little tongue, what thou with thy mighty cudgel 
couldst not do ? " 

cv] Story of Town Mouse and Field Mouse. 311 




A MOUSE living in the town one day met a mouse which lived 
in the field. 

" Whence do you come ? " asked the latter when she saw 
the town-mouse. 

" I come from yonder town," replied the first mouse. 

" How is life going there with you ? " 

" Very well, indeed. I am living in the lap of luxury. 
Whatever I want of sweets or any other good things is to be 
found in abundance in my master's house. But how are 
you living ? " 

" I have nothing to complain of. You just come and see 
my stores. I have grain and nuts, and all the fruits of the 
tree and field in my storehouse." 

The town-mouse did not quite believe the story of her 
new friend, and, driven by curiosity, went with her to the 
latter's house. How great was her surprise when she found 
that the field-mouse had spoken the truth ; her garner was 
full of nuts and grain and other stores, and her mouth 
watered when she saw all the riches which were stored up 

Then she turned to the field-mouse and said, " Oh, yes, 
you have here a nice snug place and something to live upon, 
but you should come to my house and see what I have there. 
Your stock is as nothing compared with the riches which 
are mine." 

The field mouse, who was rather simple by nature and 

312 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [cv 

trusted her new friend, went with her into the town to see 
what better things the other could have. She had never 
been into the town and did not know what her friend could 
mean when she boasted of her greater riches. So they 
went together, and the town-mouse took her friend to her 
master's house. He was a grocer, and there were boxes 
and sacks full of every good thing the heart of a mouse could 
desire. When she saw all these riches, the field mouse said 
she could never have believed it, had she not seen it with 
her own eyes. 

Whilst they were talking together, who should come in 
but the cat. As soon as the town-mouse saw the cat, she 
slipped quietly behind a box and hid herself. Her friend, 
who had never yet seen a cat, turned to her and asked her 
who that gentleman was who had come in so quietly ? 

" Do you not know who he is ? Why, he is our priest (popa), 
and he has come to see me. You must go and pay your 
respects to him and kiss his hand. See what a beautiful, 
glossy coat he has on, and how his eyes sparkle, and how 
demurely he keeps his hands in the sleeves of his coat." Not 
suspecting anything, the field-mouse did as she was told 
and went up to the cat. He gave her at once his blessing, 
and the mouse had no need of another after that : the cat 
gave her extreme unction there and then. That was just 
what the town-mouse had intended. When she saw how 
well stored the home of the field-mouse was, she made up 
her mind to trap her and to kill her, so that she might take 
possession of all that the field-mouse had gathered up. She 
had learned the ways of the townspeople and had acted up 
to them. 

This story reminds one of the story of La Fontaine, yet 
the conclusion here is quite different. The popular tale 
undoubtedly underwent a definite change in the hands of 
La Fontaine, who used the fable for driving home a totally 
different moral lesson, just in the style of all the fables so 
used since Aesop downwards. The popular tale as told here 

cv] Story of Town Mouse and Field Mouse. 3 1 3 

is perhaps more crude, but still much more true to nature 
a picture of life. 

Hahn (No. 90) tells an Albanian tale where the fox goes 
on a pilgrimage and becomes a monk, just as the cat in the 
Rumanian story is a priest. 

314 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [cvi 


ONE day, the hare, thinking of his miserable life, decided to 
put an end to it. " What is my life worth to me ? " he said 
to himself, sighing heavily. " The dogs tear me, the wolves 
eat me, the eagles claw me, the man hunts me. I have no 
peace, no rest, everybody is against me and wishes to take 
my life. I had better go and drown myself, and then there 
will be an end to my miseries." So speaking, he got up and 
went to the neighbouring lake to drown himself in the water. 
As he drew near he saw a number of frogs sitting by the 
water. When they saw the hare coming up, they got 
frightened and jumped into the water, some of them getting 
drowned in it. When the hare saw that he had frightened 
the frogs to such an extent that he caused a number of them 
to jump into the water and to get drowned, he stopped short 
and said, " If there are creatures whom I can frighten, then 
surely even I am not the weakest of all, as I had hitherto 
thought." Comforted by this thought, he returned to his 

cvn] Why does the Buffalo ivalk slowly? 315 





IN olden times, so we are told by those who know best, there 
was constant strife between the hares and the buffaloes. 
Each of them contended for the honour of being the most 

Both did run very fast and neither would give in to the 
other. So it went on year after year, and there seemed to 
be no end to the strife. Tired of this constant fight, one 
day the hare said to the buffalo, " Let us try a race together 
and settle this quarrel once for all." The buffalo was well 
contented with the proposal, and they agreed to race one 
another. When the day came the hare, putting his ears 
back, started the race. He ran so fast that you might have 
said he was flying upon the ground. 

But the buffalo was a match for him. He went thundering 
away, his hoofs splashing the mud and raising seas of mire. 
The earth shook at his furious tread. He soon overtook the 
breathless hare which was running panting as fast as its little 
legs could carry it. 

Then a thought struck the hare, and he cried to the buffalo, 
" Ho, friend ! Take heed how thou art thundering along. 
The earth is shaking, and if thou art not careful, the earth 
will give way under thee. See how it is rocking under thy 

When the buffalo heard the hare's story, he stopped still 
for a while bewildered, and the'n, being frightened, lest the 
earth should give way under him and he sink beneath, he 

316 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [cvn 

checked his pace and began to walk slowly and tread 

That was just what the hare had wanted, and pulling a 
long nose at the buffalo, he ran swiftly by, leaving the buffalo 
a long way behind. Thus he won the race, and there was no 
longer any strife between the hares and the buffaloes. But 
ever since the buffalo walks slowly and treads lightly upon 
the ground. 

cvm] The Story of the Pointer and the Setter. 3 1 7 


IT is told that the pointer and the setter kept a public-house 
together. All the animals would come and eat and drink 
and pay their account, except the wolf and the hare who 
would come and eat and drink very heavily, and regularly 
forget to pay. At last, the pointer and setter could stand it 
no longer, and they went and lodged their complaint before 
God. And God said, " As they have treated you so badly, 
you are free to go for them whenever you see them. You 
must try and catch them and make them pay." 

And that is the reason why these dogs will go for the wolf 
as soon as they scent his track, and also that is the reason 
why, when they catch a hare, he will squeak, " Miat, miat " 
which sounds like mar (Tuesday in Rumanian) as if he were 
saying " Wait till next Tuesday when I am going to pay." 
And they are still waiting for that Tuesday to come. 


1 8 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [cix 



IN a mill a rat once lived and prospered. It took after the 
miller, and from day to day its paunch grew bigger. It 
became as round as cucumber and as fat as a candle. 

One day, looking at his round, sleek figure, the rat said to 
itself, " Behold I am so beautiful and strong. Why should I 
not go and pay a visit to God ? He is sure to receive me." 

No sooner said than done. Leaving the mill, he started 
on his journey to God. After travelling a few days and not 
coming nearer to God, he stopped and said, " Methinks that 
either God lives much farther away than I believed, or I have 
lost my way. I will go to the sun and ask where God is." 
Coming to the sun, the rat asked, " Where is God ? " " Off 
with thee," shouted the sun, " I have no time for idle talkers." 

The rat went to the clouds and asked them, " Where is 
God ? " The clouds stared at him and said, " We cannot 
stop to bandy words with the like of you." Away the rat 
went and came to the wind. " Where is God ? " asked the 
rat. " There," replied the wind, whistling, and getting hold 
of the rat hurled him down into an ant-heap, and there he 
found his level. 

This story is a curious parallel to another series of rat or 
mouse tales. In these a rat wishes to marry the daughter 
of the mightiest thing, and asked for the daughter of the sun. 
But he is not great enough. The sun is covered by the clouds. 
The clouds are carried by the wind, the wind is stopped by 
the mountain, the mountain is sapped by the rat, thus he 

cix] Story of the Rat and her Journey to God. 3 1 9 

comes back to his own and finds his proper level. So in the 
Rumanian Tale (Sevastos, Basme, Moldov. p. 236). (Cf. 
Benfey, Pantschatantra, i. 375 ff.) 

In an ancient Biblical legend Abraham discusses with 
Nimrod, Who might be God ? The sun cannot be wor- 
shipped as God, for the sun sets and is followed by darkness, 
the moon is eclipsed by the sun, the fire is quenched by 
water, the clouds of rain are carried by the wind, the wind 
is stopped by the mountains, and so on. (Cf. Gaster, 
Chronicles of Jerahmeel, London 1899, chap, xxxiv. p. 72 ff .) 

The biblical setting of the legend is about two thousand 
years old. In the Rumanian tale the comparison has dis- 
appeared, but the principal elements have been preserved 
whilst invested with a different role. 

320 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [ex 



ONE day the owl met a fox, and the latter bragged about 
his intelligence and cleverness, and said that he was very 
cunning and slim. The owl asked him, " Brother mine, how 
many minds (wits) have you ? " " Seven," he said, boast - 
ingly. " No wonder you are so clever, I have only one," 
said the owl. 

A short time afterwards the owl again met the fox, but 
this time he was running for his life. The hunters were 
after him, and the hounds were trying to catch him. 

Running as fast as his legs could carry him, he at last 
managed to slip into a hole. The owl followed him, and 
seeing him there, exhausted, asked him, " How many minds 
(wits) have you? " And he replied, " Six, I have lost one by 
the chase." 

Meanwhile the hunters and dogs came nearer and nearer, 
so they could hear the baying of the dogs. The fox did not 
know what to do. The owl asked him, " How many minds 
(wits) have you now, old fellow ? " 

" Oh, I have lost all my minds (wits). I have none left." 

" Where is your cunning of which you bragged ? " 

"It is not kind of you, now, to go for a poor fellow when 
the dogs are at his heels and there is no escape for him." 

" Well," said the owl, " I have but one mind (wit), and I 
will see whether I cannot save you with my one wit. It is 
my turn. I am going to lie down here at the entrance as 
though dead. When the hunters come, they will see me 
and get hold of me and talk about me. Meanwhile they 

ex] The Seven- Witted Fox and One- Witted Owl. 3 2 1 

will forget you, and in the midst of the trouble you just dash 
out and run for your life." 

It happened just as the owl had said. 

No sooner did the hunters come up and find the owl 
than they said, "What is this ugly bird doing here? and a 
dead owl to boot " ; and whilst they were busy with the 
owl trying to get hold of it to throw it away, off went the 
fox through them and escaped. 

Soon afterwards the owl met him again and she said, " How 
have your seven minds (wits) helped you when in time of 
danger ? It is like that with people who have too much, 
they often have nothing when they want it most, but you 
see I had only one mind (wit), but a strong one and not a 
dissolute one like yours, and that saved both you and me." 

322 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [cxi 



I DO not know how he managed it, but a fox one day got 
into a poultry-yard and there he ate his fill. Some time 
afterwards, going along to the poultry-yard, the hedgehog 
met him. " Where are you going, brother ? " 

" I am going to eat my fill." 

" Surely you cannot get it just as you like." 

" Oh," he said, " you just come with me and I will show 
you. I know my way, and there is plenty for me and for 
you, and some to leave behind for another time." 

The hedgehog, who was a wise old fellow, said to the fox : 

" Now, be careful ; are you sure that the owners of the 
poultry yard will let you in again so easily ? " 

" Don't you trouble," said the fox. " I know my business, 
you just come with me." And the hedgehog went with 

But the people of the poultry-yard were not such fools as 
the fox had taken them for, and just where the fox had got 
in last time they had dug a deep pit, and into that the 
fox and the hedgehog tumbled. When they found them- 
selves at the bottom of the pit, the hedgehog turned to the 
fox and said, " Well, you clever fellow, is that the proper 
way to get into the poultry-yard ? Did I not warn you ? " 

"What is the good of talking? " replied the fox, "We 
are here now, and we must see how to get out of it." 

" But you are so clever, and I am only a poor old fool." 

" Never mind, you were always a wise one. Can you 
help me ? " 

cxi] Story of the Fox and his Bagful of Wits. 323 

" No," he said, " I cannot help you. This sudden fall 
has upset me, and I feel queer and sick." 

" What," cried the fox, " you are not going to be sick 
here ; that is more than I can stand ; out you go ! " 

So he got hold of the hedgehog by the snout, and the hedge- 
hog coiled himself up with his little paws into a little ball 
round the fox's mouth, the fox lifted up his head with a jerk 
and threw the little fellow out of the pit. 

As soon as he saw himself safely out of the pit, the little 
hedgehog, bending over the mouth of the pit, said, chuckling 
to the fox : 

" Where is your wisdom, you fool ? You boast that 
you have a bagful of wits, whilst it is I who get myself out of 
the pit though I have only a little wit." 

" Oh," said the fox, whining, " do have pity on me ! you 
are such a clever old fellow, help me out of it too." 

" Well," said the hedgehog, " I will help you. Now, you 
pretend to be dead, and when the people come and find you 
stiff and stark, and a nasty smell about you, they will say, 
' The fox has died and his carcase is rotting ; it is going to 
make all the poultry yard offensive.' They will take you 
and throw you out. And then see whither your way lies." 

The fox did as the hedgehog had advised him, and when 
the people came and found him in that state, they hauled 
him out and threw him out of the yard on to the road. 

Quicker than you could clap your hands, the fox was on 
his legs, and he ran as if the ground was burning under him. 

Since then the fox and the hedgehog are good friends. 

South Slavonic Tales, Krauss, No. 13. 

A fox meeting a hedgehog asked him, " How many wits 
have you ? " And he replied, " Only three. But how many 
have you ? " "I," boasted the fox, " have seventy-seven." 

As they were talking and walking along, not noticing whither 
they were going, they fell into a deep hole which the peasants 
had dug. The fox asked the hedgehog to save him. The 
hedgehog said, " I have only three wits, perhaps you will 

324 Rumanian Bird and Beast S fortes. [cxi 

save me first, then I will see about you afterwards " ; and 
he asked the fox to pitch him out of the hole. The fox did 
so, and then asked the hedgehog whether he could help him. 
The hedgehog said, " I cannot help you with three if you 
cannot help yourself with seventy-seven." And so the fox 
was caught in the morning by the peasants and killed. 

In the Rumanian version, the hedgehog saves the fox by 
one wit and puts him to shame, which rounds off the story 
much better ; in the Slavonic tale there is scarcely any point. 

But this probably goes back to a more ancient legend 
referred to in a Greek epigram, v. Benfey, Pantschatantra. 
i. 316. 

Compare the parallel story in Grimm (No. 75) of a fox 
with the hundred wits, and also Hahn (91). 

cxifj Story of Peasant, Snake, and King Solomon. 325 



ONCE upon a time, when King Solomon the wise ruled over 
the people, some shepherds gathered under a tree and lit a 
fire, not for any special reason, but just to pass their time, 
as they often do. When they left, they did not take care to 
put the fire out ; it was left burning under the ashes. Spread- 
ing slowly, it caught the great tree, which soon afterwards 
became a mass of living flames. A snake had crept on to 
that tree before and found itself now in danger of perishing 
in the flames. Creeping upwards to the very top of the tree, 
the snake cried as loud as it could, for she felt her skin scorched 
by the fire. At that moment a man passed by, and hearing 
the shrieking of the snake, who begged him to save her from 
the flames, he took pity on her, and cutting a long stick, he 
reached with it up to the top of the tree for the snake to glide 
down on it. But he did not know the mind of the cunning 
beast, which had aforetime deceived his forefather Adam, for, 
instead of gliding down to the ground, no sooner did the 
snake reach the neck of the good man than she coiled herself 
round and round his neck. In vain did he remind her that 
he had saved her life, she would not hear of anything, for 
she said, " My skin is dearer to me than to you, and I remain 
where I am, you cannot shake me off." Finding that he 
could not get rid of the snake, the man went from judge to 
judge, from king to king, to decide between them, but no 
one could help him. 

At last, hearing of the wisdom of King Solomon, he came 
to him and laid his case before him. But King Solomon 

326 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [cxn 

said, " I am not going to judge between you unless you both 
first promise to abide by my word." Both did so. Turning 
to the snake, King Solomon then said, " You must uncoil 
yourself and get down on the earth, for I cannot judge fairly 
between one who is standing en the ground and one who is 

Cunning though the snake may be, she did not understand 
the wisdom of King Solomon, and therefore uncoiling herself 
she glided down and rested on the ground. Turning to the 
man, King Solomon said, " Do you not know that you must 
never trust a snake ? " The man at once understood what the 
king meant, and taking up a stone he bruised the snake's 
head. And thus justice was done. 

Needless to point out, that we have here a variant of the 
widespread tale of the man and the snake. At one time the 
judge is King Solomon, who looms largely in the minds of 
the people as the very type of human wisdom, at another time 
the judge is a child playing at justice, who induces the snake 
to loosen her hold on the man and is then killed by the man, 
who finds himself suddenly freed. 

In other parallels animals are appointed as judges and this 
leads to the undoing of the snake, (v. Benfey, Pantschatantra, 
i. p. 113 ff.) ; Hahn (87), and the literature given by him. 
Afanasief (No. 15). 

cxin] The Story of the Dog and the Snake. 327 



ONCE upon a time, I do not know how it came about, the dog 
had a frightful headache, such a headache as he had never 
had before. It nearly drove him mad, and he ran furiously 
hither and thither, not knowing what to do to get rid of it. 
As he was running wildly over a field, he met a snake that 
was lying there coiled up in the sun. 

" What is the matter that you are running about like a 
madman, brother ? " asked the snake. 

" Sister, I cannot stop to speak to you. I am clean mad 
with a splitting headache, and I do not know how to be rid 
of it." 

" I know a remedy " said the snake, "it is excellent for 
the headache of a dog, but it is of no good to me who am also 
suffering greatly from a headache." 

" Never mind you, what am I to do ? " 

"You go yonder and eat some of the grass, and you will 
be cured of the headache." 

The dog did as the snake had advised him. He went and 
ate the grass, and soon felt relieved of his pain. 

Now, do you think the dog was grateful ? No such luck 
for the snake. On the contrary, a dog is a dog, and a dog he 
remains. And why should he be better than many people 
are ? He did as they do, and returned evil for good. Going 
to the snake, he said, "Now that my headache is gone, I feel 
much easier ; I remember an excellent remedy for the headache 
of snakes." 

" And what might it be? " asked the snake eagerly. 

328 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories, fcxin 

w L 

" It is quite simple. When you feel your head aching, go 
and stretch full length across the high-road and lie still for a 
while, and the pain is sure to leave you." 

" Thank you," said the simpleton of a snake, and she did 
as the dog had advised her. She stretched herself full length 
across the high-road and lay still, waiting for the headache 
to go. 

The snake had been lying there for some time, when it so 
happened that a man came along with a stout cudgel in his 
hands. To see the snake and to bruise her head was the work 
of an instant. And the snake had no longer any headache. 
The cure proved complete. And ever since that time, when a 
snake has a headache it goes and stretches across the high- 
road. If its head is crushed, then no other remedy is wanted, 
but if the snake escapes unhurt, it loses its headache. 

cxiv] Story of the Horse, the Lion, and Wolf. 329 




THERE once lived a Sultan who had a charger. It had served 
him most faithfully for a good number of years, carrying 
him in many battles and on numerous other occasions. 

At last the horse grew old and was no longer fit to serve him 
as before. The Sultan, remembering its faithful services, 
decided to free it from every manner of work, and in token 
of recognition of its faithfulness he set it free to roam about 
and to feed wherever it liked. 

In order that it should not be molested, he ordered that a 
special coating should be made for it of red cloth adorned 
with many coloured stripes and patches. He also had it shod 
with steel shoes, which last for a very long time. 

So, covered with the king's cloth, the horse went about 
from field to field eating whatever and whenever it pleased. 
Being now at ease, the horse got fat again and strong, and when 
it walked on the road, it struck with its feet against the stones 
and pebbles, and made the sparks fly from them. 

In a forest near by there lived a lion. One day, coming 
out to the edge of the wood, he saw the horse in the distance, 
and as he had never yet seen such a peculiar animal, he got 
frightened and started running back into the thickest part 
of the forest. 

There he met a wolf, who, seeing the lion run, asked him 
why he was running. 

" If your life is dear to you," he replied, " do not stop 
here talking, for that terrible beast which I have seen yonder 
in the field is sure to overtake us, and then good-bye to us." 

330 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [cxiv 

" What beast ? " asked the wolf. " I know no beast that 
could frighten a lion." 

" Well, then, thank God that you have never come across 

" How does it look ? " 

" It is a huge beast with a head so big as I have never seen 
a head before, and a mouth so large that it could devour 
us in one bite. As to its skin, I have never yet seen any 
like it, all red with stripes and patches of every colour. It 
stands on huge feet, and whenever it walks it scatters fire right 
and left." 

" That may all be as you describe it," said the wolf, "but 
still it might also be otherwise. I should like to see it myself, 
and I might perhaps know what it is." 

" Very well then, let us go higher up the hill, where we can 
look down on the field." 

" I would rather see it from here, if possible, near at hand." 

" As you please. I will squat down on my hind-legs and 
lift you up with my fore-legs, so that you can see some 
distance from here." 

The lion did as he said, and taking the wolf in his fore-paws 
he lifted him up. But whilst doing so he pressed the wolf 
so hard that he nearly lost his breath, and his eyes began 
starting out of his head. When the lion saw it, he said, "You 
cur, you talk bravely and laugh at me who have been close to 
that terrible beast, and you, who are so far away and scarcely 
able to get a glimpse of it, you are already losing your breath, 
and your eyes are starting out of your head." 

With these words he threw the wolf down, and away he ran 
as fast as his legs would carry him. 

This story reminds us of the framework of the famous 
Indian Panchatantra, which had so successful a run through 
the literature of East and West, becoming one of the most 
popular books of the Middle Ages, better known as the story of 
Kalila and Dimna, or even falsely, Syntipas. 

In Krauss (No. 2) the animal which frightens the lion, or 

cxiv] Story of the Horse, the Lion, and Wolf. 331 

rather imposes on his credulity, is an ass. The ass makes the 
lion believe that he, the ass, was the real king of beasts. The 
wolf, to whom the lion says that he was not the real king but 
that another animal claimed the right to rule, listens incredu- 
lously. The lion ties their two tails together and takes the 
wolf to the summit of a hill, from which they can see the ass. 
The lion, misunderstanding the exclamation of the wolf and 
thinking that he said " there are six," runs away as fast as he 
can, dragging the wolf behind him and killing him in his mad 
flight. It is obviously the same tale but slightly varied 
in the details. In the Rumanian the lion never gets so near 
the other animal as to be undeceived by his own sight. He 
merely sees from a distance an animal the like of which 
he had never seen before, and he works himself up into a great 
fright. This seems to be the more primitive form. In the 
South Slavonic, the lion is simply deceived by an animal with 
which he ought to be familiar enough. 

A curious and corrupted version is found in Grimm (No. 132), 
where only the tying of the tails has been retained. In this 
version the horse is tied to the lion, and he drags the lion 
to his master's house. 

Similar is the story of the dib-dib (the name used by the 
woman for the dropping rain), whom the leopard, who listens 
at the door, takes to be a great monster. A man jumps on 
the back of the frightened leopard, thinking it was an ass. 
The leopard carries him to the dib-dib, and he runs away. 
He meets a fox, who laughs at his fear, and they tie their 
tails together. The man, who had sought safety in the 
branches of the trees, says that the fox had brought the 
leopard to be killed. The leopard, who had distrusted the fox, 
runs away with him, and as their tails are knotted together, 
both get killed. (Hanauer, p. 278.) (Cf. also Afanasief, 
No. 19.) 

Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [cxv 



ONCE upon a time there lived a very poor man who had a 
wife and family, and there was also a tomcat prowling about 
the house. One day a neighbour took pity on them and gave 
the man a handful of flour of maize. Overjoyed he went 
home, and mixing it with water made a nice dish. Pouring 
it out on to the plates, he and his wife and the children sat 
round eating as much as they could. 

Tom, smelling the dish, began to mew, and the father, 
taking pity on Tom, said to the children : 

" Poor Tom is starving too, give him some of the mameliga " 
(maize pudding). But they said, " He must have it in a 
better style. We will gird him with a sword round his loins, 
and he will draw it and cut for himself as big a slice as he 
likes." And so they did. But when Tom saw himself girded 
with a sword, which clanked as he moved about, he said, " I 
am much too good for this family," and off he went into the 

On his way he met a vixen, and she asked him : 

" Where are you going, Sir Knight ? " 

He said, " I am going to get married." 

" Will you marry me ? " 

Tom replied, " Yes, you are just as good as any other 

So they went together to the vixen's lair, and a happy life 
began for our friend. For the vixen went catching birds, 
rabbits, and other animals, and bringing them home to feed 
her husband. 

One day the vixen met the wolf. " Hallo, sister," he cried, 
" have you got a meal ready ? " 

cxv] The Marriage of Tom and the Vixen. 333 

" I have and I have not. I am married now, and I have a 
soldier for a husband." 

" I should like to see him," said the wolf; " show him to 

" Come, I will show him to you," said the vixen, and going 
to her lair called Tom, who came out and met the wolf. Tom 
came out with his sword clanking behind him, and when he 
saw that huge beast with his huge head, his hair stood on 
end and he began to spit and to snarl for very fear. The wolf, 
thinking that Tom was getting angry and ready to draw his 
sword and cut him up, turned tail and ran away. 

Running very fast he met the bear, who asked him : 

" What is the matter with you that you run so fast ? Who is 
running after you ? " The wolf told him all that had happened, 
and how the vixen had got a mighty soldier for a husband, who 
killed anybody who came near him. 

The bear began to get curious and ran to the vixen's lair, 
and the same thing happened to him, for Tom came out 
with his hair standing on end, and growled, and snarled, and 
spat, shaking all the time with fear. The bear ran away as 
fast as he could and came to the wolf, and they discussed 
between themselves how best to get rid of that terrible Tom, 
as their lives were no longer safe. So they called the hare 
and the lion into counsel. These decided to invite the vixen 
and her Tom to a banquet at which they would all fall upon 
him and end his career. So they spread a table-cloth under a 
huge tree, but none had the courage to go and call the guests. 
The bear said, " Send the wolf," but he replied he was too 
weak and they would catch him. The bear said he was rather 
stout and heavy and they would catch him. So the trouble 
fell upon the hare. He, poor fellow, could not help himself, 
so he went with the message to invite them. But he did not 
venture too near. From a distance he called out to them 
that they were invited to a banquet, and off he went after he 
had delivered the message. 

When the vixen heard the message she told Tom, and 
together they went to the banquet. On the way Tom saw a 

334 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [cxv 

crow on the top of a tree, and, as is the way with cats, before 
one could turn round Tom had climbed to the top of the tree 
and had caught the crow. He then killed it, and threw it 
down on the ground. 

The hosts, who were sitting at the table, saw what had 
happened, and said to one another, " Just see what that 
knight is doing. Even the people on the very top of the 
tree are not safe from him. He catches them and kills them. 
How then can we fight him on the earth ? " 

So the lion crawled under the table, the bear climbed up 
the tree, and the wolf and the hare hid themselves in a 

When the vixen and Tom came to the place, no one was there, 
and they wondered where their hosts could be. Whilst they 
were looking round, Tom saw the tip of the lion's tail, and, 
thinking it to be a rat, he attacked it. When the lion felt 
someone tugging at his tail he did not wait any longer, but 
ran away as fast as his legs could carry him. 

When Tom saw that huge lion he got frightened and ran 
up the tree. Now the bear saw Tom running up the tree, 
and he got frightened and tumbled head over heels down the 
tree on to the table with Tom after him, who, being frightened, 
ran into the bush. There the wolf and the hare were crouch- 
ing, hidden away. No sooner did they see Tom than off they 
dashed in a fright. Tom ran back to the vixen, who was 
sitting at the table thinking with great satisfaction how they 
had all run away out of fear of Tom. 

She embraced him, and they sat down alone to the banquet 
and enjoyed themselves, no one disturbing them. 

In Krauss, No. 3, there is a story parallel yet not identical 
with it. In the South Slavonic, a cat, together with a dog, a 
duck and a gander, defeats the wolf, fox, bear and wild pig 
arrayed against them in battle. Tom contributes most to 
the victory by sudden attacks on the ear of the hidden pig, 
and frightening the bear in the tree by climbing up in fear, etc. 
In other respects the stories disagree. 

cxv] The Marriage of Tom and the Vixen. 335 

The setting is entirely different. The wolf challenged to 
combat the dog, who had betrayed him on two occasions, 
and each one brought his contingent to the appointed place 
of battle. The dog brought his friends of the courtyard, and 
the wolf his of the forest, and the battle ended in the dis- 
comfiture of the latter as mentioned above. 

Another version is found in Haltrich (No. 82), in which a 
cat feeds on the carcase of a horse. It is seen successively 
by the fox, the wolf, the bear and the wild pig, who get fright- 
ened by the sight of a small, wild beast, which had killed an 
animal many times their size and was eating it. 

The cat runs after them by mere chance, and manages to 
bite the pig's ear and frighten the others to such an extent 
that they are still running, all except the wolf, who has fallen 
on a pointed stick and got impaled. 

Among the Cossack Tales (W. Bain, London 1894, p. 130 ff .) 
there is a story similar, not quite identical. 

336 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [cxvi 


WHEN God had created the world, he called all his creatures 
together to grant them their span of life, and to tell them how 
long they would live and what manner of life they would 

The first to appear before God was man. And God said 
to him, " Thou, man, shalt be king of the world, walking erect 
upon thy feet and looking up to heaven. I give thee a noble 
countenance ; the power of thought and judgment shall be 
thine, and the capacity of disclosing thy innermost thoughts 
by means of speech. All that lives and moves and goes about 
the earth shall be under thy rule, the winged birds and the 
creeping things shall obey thee, thine shall be all the fruits 
of the tree and land, and thy life shall be thirty years." 

Then man turned away dissatisfied and grumbling. " What 
is the good of living in pleasure and in might, if all the years 
of my life are to be thirty only ? " So did man speak and 
grumble, especially when he heard of the years granted to 
other animals. 

The turn came to the ass. He stepped forward to hear 
what God had decreed for him. The Creator said, " Thou 
shalt work hard ; thou shalt carry heavy burdens and be con- 
stantly beaten. Thou shalt always be scolded and have very 
little rest, thy food shall be a poor one of thistles and thorns, 
and thy life shall be fifty years." When the ass heard what 
God had decreed for him he fell upon his knees and cried, 
" All merciful Creator, am I indeed to lead such a miserable 
life, and am I to have such poor food as thistles and thorns. 
Am I to work so hard and carry such heavy burdens and then 

cxvi] The Story of Man and his Years. 337 

live on for fifty years in such misery ? Have pity on me 
and take off twenty years." Then man, greedy of long life, 
stepped forward and begged for himself these twenty years 
which the ass had rejected. And the Lord granted them to 

Then came the dog. To him the Creator said, " Thou shalt 
guard the house and the property of thy master ; thou shalt 
cling to them as if thou wast afraid of losing them ; thou shalt 
bark even at the shadow of the moon, and for all thy trouble 
thou shalt gnaw bones and eat raw meat, and thy life shall 
be forty years." 

" All merciful Creator," cried the dog, " if my life is to be of 
worry and trouble, and if I am to live on bones and raw 
stuff, take off, I pray thee, twenty years." 

Again man, greedy of life, stepped forward and begged the 
Creator to give him the twenty years rejected by the dog. 
And the Creator again granted his request. 

Now, it was the turn of the monkey. The Creator said, 
" Thou shalt only have the likeness of man, but not be man ; 
thou shalt be stupid and childish. Thy back shall be bent ; 
thou shalt be an object of mockery to the children and a 
laughing-stock of fools, and thy life shall be sixty years." 

When the monkey heard what was decreed for him, he fell 
upon his knees and said, " All merciful God, in thy wisdom 
thou hast decided that I should be a man and not a man, 
that my back shall be bent, that I shall be a laughing-stock 
for young and fools and I shall be stupid. Take, in mercy, 
thirty years off my life." And God, the all merciful, granted 
his request. 

And again, man, whose greed can never be satisfied, stepped 
forward and asked also for these thirty years which the monkey 
had rejected. And again God gave them to him. 

Then God dismissed all the animals and all his creatures, 
and each one went to his appointed station and to the life 
that has been granted to him. 

And as man has asked, so has it come to pass. 

Man lives as a king and ruler over all creatures for the 


338 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [cxvi 

thirty years which the Lord had given to him, in joy and in 
happiness, without care and without trouble. 

Then come the years from thirty to fifty, which are the 
years of the ass ; they are full of hard work, heavy burdens, 
and little food, for man is anxious to gather and to lay up 
something for the years to come. It could not be otherwise, 
for were not these the years which he had taken over from the 
ass ? Then come the years from fifty to seventy, when man 
sits at home and guards with great trembling and fear the 
little that he possesses, fearful of every shadow, eating little, 
always keeping others away lest they rob him of that which 
he has gathered, and barking at every one whom he suspects 
of wanting to take away what belongs to him. And no wonder 
that he behaves like that, for these are the dog's years, which 
man had asked for himself. And if- a man lives beyond 
seventy, then his back gets bent, his face changes, his mind 
gets clouded, he becomes childish, a laughing-stock for children, 
an amusement for the fool, and these are the years which man 
had taken over from the monkey. 

Thus far the story which I found in some old Rumanian MSS., 
and which may, therefore, not be quite of a popular origin. 
I have retold it here because we have in it the animal in 
the man. It may be a caricature, but it does not show 
up man to advantage in comparison with the animal world. 
And yet, he is endeavouring to conquer the animal, to shake 
off the fateful inheritance of greed, and to return to that rule 
and kingdom which are his own by the grace of God to his 
thirtieth year, and which he endeavours to carry even beyond 
that limited span of time. 




WHEN a man dies two angels appear, the good one and the 
evil one. The good one walking on his right, and the evil 
on his left, each one holds a book in his hand in which man's 
deeds are written. When the soul appears before the divine 
judge, there comes first the cat accusing the man, and the 
cat says, " He gave me no peace all my life through ; he 
put me to catch mice and I often remained hungry. Then 
man drives me out of the house, and during daytime he never 
lets me in." 

" What are you talking of? you should be ashamed of your- 
self," is the rejoinder of the dog, " you live in a warm house, 
you have food in plenty, you have nothing to complain of. 
What am I to say, who am kept out in the cold and rain, and 
have to watch day and night, and if ever I get a bone thrown 
at me I think myself happy." The judge replies: "That is 
your work; to that you have been appointed: off with you." 
The evil angel writes it all down and puts the weight of guilt 
on the one scale, and the good angel writes it in his book and 
he puts a counter-weight in the other scale. 

Then come the birds. First the wild duck. He says, " O 
unfailing judge, see how this man has ill-treated us, he comes 
to our resting-place and shoots us down mercilessly." " It 
serves you right," is the reply of the judge, " if you live as a 
wild bird, you must be treated like a wild bird. You ought to 
be domesticated and no hurt will befall you." 

Then the sparrow comes, and he says, " O mighty Lord, 
this man here snared us and killed us." And the judge replies, 

340 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories, [cxvn 

" You have stolen his corn and destroyed his crop." And 
other birds, like the finch and the thrush and the heron, come, 
and all bring accusations against the man, and the evil angel 
enters them in his book. 

Then come the good witnesses. First the swallow, and she 
says, " O Lord, this man has been kind to us. We built our 
nest in his house and under his roof, and he never as much as 
molested us, and even when my young spoil the food, which he 
is preparing under their nest, he uever hurts them." Then the 
stork comes, he says, " I build my nest on. the very roof of his 
house, and on his storehouses, and he never interferes with us, 
and we hatch our young and feel no hurt. All merciful father, 
have mercy on him, as he was full of pity for us." 

Then the cuckoo comes, and he said, " I who have been thy 
servant pray thee to forgive his sins, for even to me he does 
no hurt, and though I often announce death to him, he none 
the less listens with pleasure to my call. Have mercy on 
him and forgive his sins." And so the other birds come and 
ask the forgiveness of sin. And the good angel writes it all 
down in his book and puts it as counter-weights in his balance, 
and often the pleading of the birds opens the gates of heaven 
to the human soul. 

cxvm] Pilgrimage of the Soul after Death. 341 


O ROSEBUSH, O rosebush, 

Thou art evil tempered ! 

Why hast thou tarried 

And not budded 

Since yester-morning 

Until this morning ? 

It was bitter enough to watch, 

How they became separated, 

The soul from the body. 

Going away from the beautiful 

From the world with the sun 


From the blowing wind, 
From the flowing waters. 

rosebush, why hast thou 
hastened not to bud ? 

1 have budded quickly, 
For my time also has come, 
To go away like thee, 

To travel to the setting of the 


Where the sun is hiding, 
Where the flowers dwell 
With all their sisters, 
And where the flower of the 


Sits at the gate of Paradise 
To judge the flowers, 
Where they have left their 

In the evening the rain did 

In the night the sky cleared 


In the dawn the dew has 

And the scent has gone astray. 

The soul divided from the 

Full of grief and sorrow, 

Journeys far away. 

It reaches the sea. 

The sea is raging furiously. 

It comes howling and foam- 

Frightening the whole world. 

The wave rose up high, 

To swallow the world. 

It brings in its sweep black- 
berry trees, elder-trees, 

Pines torn from the roots. 

On the border of the sea, 

Where the pine tree of the 
fairies stands, 

The way across the waters, 

The soul stood praying to the 


Be a brother unto me. 
Stretch, oh stretch 
Thy boughs, 

That I may lay hold of them, 
And thus pass across 
That wide sea 

Which divides me from the 

1 may not stretch my boughs 
For thee to lay hold of them, 
And to pass across by them, 

342 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories, [cxvin 

For on my crest a red hawk has 

hatched its young, 
With a cursed heart 
And a proud eye. 
Ere thou art aware, 
The young will see thee. 
They will whistle, 
And frighten thee, 
And thou art sure to drop into 

the sea beneath, 
And be engulfed there. 
Let it be so ! 

The sea was raging furiously. 
It came howling and storming, 
Frightening the whole world. 
The wave rose, 
To swallow the world, 
And brought in its sweep, 
Blackberry trees, 
Elder trees, 

Pines torn from their roots. 
On the shore of the seas, 
Where the pine tree of the 

fairies stands, 

The passage across the water, 
The soul stood praying to the 

pine : 

pine tree, 

Be a brother unto me. 

Stretch, I pray thee, 

Thy trunk, 

That I may pass across the 

Which separate one world from 

the other. 

1 may not stretch my trunk 
For thee to pass, 

For in it the barking otter has 

laid her young, 
Which lie in wait for men. 
Before thou art ware, 
The young ones will find thee. 
They will bark at thee, 
And frighten thee, 
And thou art sure to drop into 

the sea beneath, 

And be engulfed by it. 

Let it be so ! 

The sea was raging furiously. 

It came howling and foaming, 

Frightening the whole world. 

The waves rose high up to 

swallow the world. 
It brought in its sweep, 
Blackberry trees, 
Elder trees, 

Pine trees torn from the roots. 
On the shore of the sea, 
Where the pine tree of the 

fairies stands, 

The passage across the waters, 
The soul stood praying. 

pine tree, 

Be a brother unto me. 
Stretch thy roots, 
That I may lay hold of them, 
And pass across the seas 
To the other part, 
From which the sea separates 

1 may not stretch my roots 
For thee to lay hold of them, 
To pass across, 

For in it the yellow dragon 
has hatched its young, 

And they are starving. 

Ere thou art aware, 

They will discover thee, 

And they will hiss. 

Thou wilt be frightened, 

And art sure to drop into the 

Which will engulf thee. 

Let it be so. 

And now, pine tree, 

Pine tree, 

Long enough have I prayed of 

But I have a brother, 

A fine shepherd. 

He has a small axe, 

And he has two cousins, 

cxvm] Pilgrimage of the Soul after Death. 343 

Two strong boys. 

They will come and cut thee 


And throw thee down. 
The carpenters will come, 
And cut thee to measure, 
And they will make out of 


A bridge over the sea, 
To give peace to all, 
For the souls to have a pas- 

The tried souls, 
That journey on the way to 


The pine tree considered, 
It stretched out its boughs, 
And the soul passed across the 

nameless sea, 
To go where its desire carried 


To the other world. 
Pass on, O soul ; 
Pass on unharmed, 
Until thou hast gained in 


The seven heavy toll-houses. 
Then go on straight, O dear 


Until thou readiest a place 
Where the road divides. 
Stop there and consider 
Which road to take, 
Until thou seest 
A tall acacia tree, 
Bent and with broad leaves. 
Take good care 
Not to turn to the left, 
For it is the narrow way 
Narrow and a blind alley, 
Watered with tears. 
And there are also fields badly 

And covered with briars and 

There dwells the old fay, 

Who takes thy passport out of 

thy hand. 

But turn to the right. 
Thy own desire leads thee, 
For there thou shalt find 
Delightful fields, 
With choice flowers, 
Fields well tilled, sown with 


Thou wilt pick flowers, 
And the longing for this world 

will vanish. 

Take further good care, 
For thou shalt find 
In two beds, 
Only one flower in each, 
Flower close upon the ground 
Not touched by the wind ; 
Flower in the shade 
Never seen by the sun. 
Pick them, 
For these are the flowers of 

Journey on, 
Until thou reachest that apple 


Which belongs to St. Peter. 
It is a high and mighty tree, 
And somewhat bent 
On its side. 

The top reaches the heavens. 
The sides go down to the seas. 
The top is full of bloom, 
And the boughs are full of 

And down at the roots trickles 

a gentle fountain. 
There sits St. Mary. 
May her mercy be with us ! 
Whoever passes by 
She takes pity on them, 
And gives them all to drink, 
And guides them into the right 


The soul drinks of the water, 
And forgets this world. 

344 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories, [cxvin 

Go on thy journey 

Until thou reachest the noble 

willow tree 
Covered with bloom. 
But it is not a noble willow 

covered with bloom. 
It is St. Mary 
In a beautiful garment, 
A garment of silk. 
She sits at a table, 
Adorned with flowers. 
There she sits and writes 
She the holy Mary 
The dead and the living. 
And she writes down the fate 

of each of them. 
Pray to her 

To take the page of the living. 
Perchance she will have com- 
passion on thee, 
And will write thee among the 

But she will not have pity on 

And will not write thee among 

the living, 

For her sheet is full up, 
And she has lost her pen. 
Pray her, however, very much 
That she take thee with her 

into the Paradise, 

If thou hast not prayed, 
When the call has reached 


In thine own village. 
Go then further 
Upon beaten tracks, until thou 


To the very gate of Paradise, 
Where there stands the flower 

of the sun. 
There stop. 
There take shelter, 
And wait patiently 
The hour of quickening, 
For it is sure to come, 
And thou wilt return, 
When the stags will draw the 

And the hinds will scatter the 

O earth, 

From this day on 
Be thou my father. 
Do not hurry 
To eat me up, 
For I am giving thee now, 
Without ever taking them 


My shoulders in thy arms, 
And my face under thy green 


The conception which is here revealed is totally unlike 
popular apocryphal Christian tales like the Visions of St. 
Peter, Paul, and the Lady Mary, all well known in Rumanian 
literature. Nor are there traces of the other set of ideas, 
originating probably in Egypt, according to which the soul 
has to pass through many toll-houses where angels and devils 
are waiting for it, and through which it can only pass with 
extreme difficulty, if and when the good deeds outweigh the 
evil deeds. The poem of the " Pilgrimage of the Soul " has 
almost an heathen aspect. Noteworthy are the huge trees, 
at the shore of the boundless sea, which must bend across it 

cxvm] Pilgrimage of the Soul after Death. 345 

so as to form a bridge for the soul to pass, and the three 
animals living in it which threaten the soul with destruction. 
It reminds one strongly of the Northern Ygdrasil, and almost 
the same beasts which inhabit it. This is not the place to 
discuss at any length this tree upon which the world rests, 
which no doubt goes back to, or is somehow connected with, 
the tree of life in Paradise and the legends which have clustered 
round that tree. This conception of the " Pilgrimage of the 
Soul," with its allegorical and mystical meaning, is certainly 
not a product of the Orthodox Church. It reminds one 
forcibly of the fantastical and poetical conceptions of the 
heterodox sects. 

346 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [cxix 



LORD, O Lord, 

In this house, 

In this yard, 

This place, 

Two tall apple trees have 

Two trees tall and wonderful, 

Their tops intertwined. 

High above, 

In their very tops, 

Two candles are burning, 

And from these two candles 

Three drops are falling, 

And from these three drops 

Three rivers have grown 

One of wine, 

One of balsam, 

And one of pure water. 

Who bathes in the river of 
wine ? 

God himself, the good God, 

Bathes himself, 


Cleanses himself in pure limpid 

Changes his clothes, 

And anoints himself with bal- 

Further down the river John 

St. John 

And old Christmas 1 bathe and 

And in limpid water cleanse 

Change their raiment, 
Anoint themselves with balsam. 
And further down, along the 


Other saints bathe and wash, 
And rinse themselves in pure 

limpid water, 
And put on white clothes. 
Still much further down, 
This good man bathes, 
Rinses himself, 
In clean water, 
And puts on clean garments. 
The good God said : 
" To whom, O man, doest thou 

liken thyself ? " 
To me ? 
To the saints ? 
To St. John ? 
Or to old Christmas ? " 
" No, O Lord. 
I do not liken myself 
Neither to Thee, 
Nor to the Saints, 
Nor to St. John, 
Nor to old Christmas, 
But to the good deeds which I 

have performed. 
I married as a young man, 

1 Christmas is here taken as a person. 

cxix] The Reward of the Good Man. 347 

I have built a house 

On the highroad, 

I have kept a decked table 

On the high road. 

Whosoever passed 

Sat down at my table. 

All ate and drank at my table, 

And all thanked me. 

I have further built 

Bridges in dangerous paths. 

Whosoever passed 

Thanked me. 

I have further digged wells 

In dry lands. 

Whosoever drank of the water 
Blessed me." 

The good God then replied : 
" May thou therefore be blessed. 
Thou hast done good deeds 
In that world. 

Blessing shalt thou find in this. 
Enter Paradise without trial. 
Sit at table not invited, 
And drink the cup unasked." 
We wish health to this house, 
To these beautiful courts/ 
To all of us a happy life 
For many years. 



I AM adding here a number of incantations or charms, which 
are used by the Rumanians to ward off evil from animals 
and to save from hurt and disease such victims of witchcraft. 
In the mind of the people, the old conception is still strong 
that every sickness is caused by some malignant spirit, and 
that the most potent remedy is the magical word of incanta- 
tion or conjuration. And what holds good for the cure of the 
Evil Eye holds good similarly in the case of a snake bite or 
any other apparently incurable disease. 

The Rumanians resort to magical performances of a peculi- 
arly symbolical and sympathetic nature. Those practices 
are accompanied by " incantations " or rather " disenchant- 
ments," i.e. chants used for the purpose of destroying the 
spell. This is not the place to discuss at any length the 
history and origin of these charms and the mechanism of 
their composition. I have dealt with them largely in my 
history of Rumanian Folk-Lore (Lit. pop. Romariti, 1883, 
p. 406 ff). I have shown there the similarity between some 
of these " incantations " or " conjurations " with some Byzan- 
tine and mediaeval Latin charms, and not a few ancient 
oriental incantations of Babylon and Palestine. In connec- 
tion with the foregoing Tales and Legends, it is of no small 
importance now to find that similar conjurations are used 
for the protection of animals. The same procedure is followed 
as in the case of human beings, and practically the same words 
and images are used to free the cattle from sickness. In 
one or two instances (Nos. 2, 3) the cow is being bewitched 

APP. i] Rumanian Incantations. 349 

and loses her milk, or the calf does not suck. The " virtue " 
(Rum. mana), the "abundance" or "blessing," is being taken 
by some witch, or is waning on account of the Evil Eye. Even 
in these cases the formula is almost identical with that used 
in a stereotyped form in human " incantations." Each of 
these given here could be made the starting-point of dis- 
cursive explanations. But this must be reserved for a special 
study of the Rumanian charms and incantations. For our 
purpose here the translation accompanied only by a few 
explanatory foot-notes, is quite sufficient. It proves that to 
the Rumanian peasant, there is no essential difference between 
man and beast. They are both treated alike, and even the 
Lady Mary knows no difference between them. She helps 
the beast in the same manner as she descends the " silver 
ladder " to help the man. And the evil spirits, who attack 
man and beast with the same virulence, are driven out by 
precisely the same method : charms and incantations. 


" GOOD one " (Dobritza) went come and sweep away the 

with the broom to sweep sickness of the hens, 

the poultry yards, the hens, The ducks, and the geese of 

and the geese runs, with the Mr. N. N. Sweep away the 

geese, sickness with thy broom, 

The turkey yard, with the And I with my mouth will say 

turkeys, the charm (disenchantment). 

The gardens and the orchards, With my hand I will seize it, 

The hills with the vineyards, And beyond the Black Sea I 

The mountains with the will throw it, 

forests. That it may perish, truly 

Then, Good One ! do not go to perish, there, 

sweep the gardens and the As the foam of the sea, 

orchards, the hills and vine- As the dew before the sun, 

yards, And the birds of Mr. N. N. 

The mountains with the shall become pure, sweet, 

forests, clean and shining, 

The run with the poultry, but As made by God. 

This charm is said whilst stirring the " virgin water " 
with a broom. 

35O Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [APP. i 


THE Monday cow has gone on 
her way, on her pathway, 

On to untrodden grass, 

With the virtue (Mana) not 
taken away, 

And with the dew not yet 
shaken off, 

To the field with butter, 

To the well with cream. 

She was met by nine evil-eyed 

Nine witches, 

And nine takers-away of bless- 
ing (abundance mana). 

The cow lowed and roared ; 

She turned back. 

The Holy Mother heard her. 

She came to her with dew 
under her feet and with 
" abundance " on her back. 

She took hold of her by the 
right horn. 

And led her to green reeds, 

And sprinkled her with (the 
branches) of the willow tree 
and basil. 

The cream thickened, 

The eyes sparkled, 

The hair became smooth, 

And the milk started running. 

It spurted like a vein, 

It issued forth like a well, and 
ran like a river. 


I ROSE up early in the morning. 

I took the sickle (scythe) 

In my hand. 

I went up to the hill of love. 

I went down into the valley of 


I cut nine handfuls of flowers, 
I cut (gathered) love from nine 

jolly widows, 
From nine beautiful girls, 
From nine kings and nine rulers. 
With the same zest as kings 

hasten to their kingdom, 
Rulers to their rule, 
Ministers to their ministration, 
Knights to their knighthood, 

And merchants to their business, 

So shall the " Thursday 1 one " 

Hasten to the calf, 

And the calf to her. 

As the tongue is fast in the 

So shall " Thursday one " stick 

to her calf, 

And the calf on to her. 
I burnt it (the spell) with fire, 
I singed it with the flame, 
I enveloped it with love, 
With affection I kindled it. 
As the honey is sweet, 
So shall the calf long for 

" Thursday one." 

1 The cows are often called by the names of the days on which they 
were born. Of these Monday and Thursday seem to be the lucky ones. 



Rumanian Incantations. 



N. N. ROSE up, 

Got up very early, 

And met the accursed on the 

And he poisoned him as one 

bitten by the poisoned fly. 
The Lady Mother heard it from 


She took the staff in her hand, 
And came down upon a silver 


Do not cry, and do not low, 

O " Thursday one." 
Come with me to that old 

woman, that she may say 

the charm (disenchantment) 

for thee, 

With water from the well, 
With three stalks of elder- tree, 
With twigs of hazelnut tree, 
With a knife that has been 

found and with silver coins. 

These charms were told in the year 1913 by a woman who 
was believed to be in her logth year. 


FLY away, evil eye, from the 

White one. 

Do not wonder at her. 
Do not stare at her admiringly 
Of the milk that is milked, 
Of the calf that is sucking 
Her sweet body, 
That it is sweet to me as honey 

and yellow as wax ; but 

wonder at, 

And stare admiringly 
At that green bush, 
That it is as green 


And white as the lily. 
Fly away, yawn, 
Fly away, shout, 
Of the great evil eye. 

as the 


THE mistress has gone on her 
way with Joyana (Thursday 

To feed her on the green field. 
Well she did feed her, 
Well did she satisfy her, 
Well did she slake her thirst. 

She turned her back. 
In the middle of the way 
She met an old woman 
Dressed in a shirt of nettles, 
With sandals of a black sow on 

her feet. 
She broke Joyana's horns, 

352 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [APP. I 

Her eyes she caused to shed 


Her hair she ruffled (bristled), 
The tail she cut off, 
The breasts she squeezed (flat- 

The udders she emptied. 
The cow lowed and the cow 


No one saw her ; 
No one heard her ; 
But the Holy Mother saw 


Only she heard. 
She said to her : 
" Thursday one, do not low, 

do not moan." 
" How am I not to low ? 
How am I not to moan ? 
As I went with my mistress to 

feed in pastures green, 
She fed me well. 
She slaked my thirst well. 
Back she did turn me. 
When in the middle of the 


An old woman met me, 
Dressed in a shirt of nettles, 

With sandals of a black sow on 

her feet. 

She lopped my horns, 
She caused my eyes to run 


My hair she made to bristle, 
My tail she has cut off, 
She has flattened my breasts. 
She has emptied my udders." 
" (Joyana) ' Thursday one,' do 

not low, do not moan. 
Go to N. N. 
He will disenchant thee with 

the nettle in flour, 
From the little horns 
To the little tail, 
From the little tail to the little 

The horns will become sharp 


The hair will be smooth, 
The breasts will be strong, 
The udder will be full again. 
Go to thy mistress, 
And she will milk thee from 

the pail into the can, 
From the can into the pail." 

This disenchantment is made with nettles in flour. 


TAKE three stalks of mad wort. Go to the beast that has 
worms, touching the wound with the madwort, say : 

May there be as many maggots 
in the wound as there are 
(popi) priests in Paradise. 

As many and not even as 

Say it three times, and the worms will fall off. 
The implication is obvious. 

APP. i] Rumanian Incantations. 353 


ON a day of Lent, before sunrise, take the beast, which has 
worms outside the village to a place where reeds are growing. 
Get nine bushes of reeds, each with three reeds (stalks) in 
one root. Stop still at each bush, cut the middle reed, 
shake it three times over the wound, and say : 

" Ye three reeds are three I come to-morrow at the same 

brothers, time, 

And ye all three are to join To cut you off from the root, 

together, To take away your peace, 

And drive away the worms And dust and ashes shall you 

from Joyana ; become." 
For, if not, 

Then spit aside. Repeat this with each of the reed-bushes. 
At mid-day, when the sun stands in " the balance " (noon- 
tide), repeat the whole incantation, and yet a third time 
shortly before sunset. The cut reeds must be tied together 
by their roots, and you will see the worms dropping off when 
you finish the charm. 

This cure can also be effected when the beast is not 
present. In this case, go alone, and remember the animal 
whilst making the operation. It will be found quite effective. 


ABOVE it is thundering, The flesh has been bitten, 

Lightning, Bitten by a snake. 

Speckling, clinging to the skin, God, send the cure. 

Skin to bone, Holy Mother, overshadow him. 
Bone to flesh. 

This charm is made with " virgin water," using a hazel- 
nut twig, especially if a snake has been killed with it. The 
bite is washed with the water, and a mouthful is taken three 


354 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [APP. I 


WEASEL, beautiful girl, And so on until one boil has 

There are nine boils. grown, 

Nine boils have gone down ; And one has gone down. 

Eight boils have grown, And the cow N. N. shall now 

Eight boils have gone down ; remain clean and sweet 

Seven boils have grown, (strong), as she was made by 

Seven boils have gone down ; God. 

This charm is said three times over a pail with " virgin 
water" ; a cross is made over with the skin of a weasel, or 
with the twig of hazel-nut, or with a found knife. 

The cow is washed with the water, and the rest is poured 
into running water. 

The charm must be repeated three times daily, and for 
three consecutive days, if the bite is a bad one and the swelling 
does not go down. 




AND Anadan said : " Forgive me, my father, and let me be 
the meanest of swineherds, only let me live." But Arkirie 
said : "No, my son, thou hast acted towards me in the same 
manner as the wolf acted when he went to the teacher to be 
taught ; for whilst the teacher said A B C D , the wolf said : 
' For the lambs ' and ' for the sheep ' and ' for the goats ' 
and ' for the kids ' ; in the same manner hast thou acted 
towards me, my son." 


And he began to beat him. And Anadan said : " Have 
mercy on me, and I will be a shepherd." And Arkirie said : 
" Thou hast acted towards me as the wolf who followed the 
sheep and met the shepherd, who said to him : ' Thank thee. ' 
And he asked him : ' Whither art thou going so fast ? ' And 
the wolf said : ' I follow the track of the sheep, for an old* 
woman told me that the dust of the sheep was wholesome 
for the eyes.' In the same manner hast thou acted against 


And he began again to beat him, but Anadan said : " Have 
pity on me, and I will groom thy horses." But Arkirie 
said : " No, my son, thou hast acted towards me like a man 
who, leading an ass on the road, tied it with a loose rope. 
The ass broke the rope and ran away. On his way he met 

356 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [APP. n 

the wolf, and the wolf said unto him : ' Happy journey 
unto thee, ass ! ' And the ass replied : ' Unhappy it will 
be, for the man tied me up with a rotten rope, so that I broke 
it and ran away, and he did not tie me with a good rope.' ' 
And Arkirie continued to beat him until he died (M. Gaster, 
Jrnl. Royal Asiatic Society, 1900, p. 309). 

A larger number of animal fables are found in the other 
versions of Ahikar, thus in the Armenian (Story of Ahikar, 
edited by Rendel Harris Conybeare, etc., second edition, 
Cambridge, 1913, p. 51), and in the Slavonic (ibid. pp. 21 
and 22). 



THIS seems to be the oldest collection of animal tales which 
agree most closely with some of the Rumanian. They are 
of a purely oriental origin, and are therefore invaluable 
in helping to determine that of the latter. They are taken 
from the Venice edition, 1544, reprinted page by page by 
Steinschneider, Berlin 1858 (f. 24aff.). 



Q. Why were the flies created which live only one day ? 

Reply. For the sake of the fly which in the future will 
torture Titus the wicked, and also for the sake of the fledg- 
lings of the raven. When they are hatched they are white 
and the parents fly away and leave them. Then they cry 
to God, as it is written, " The young of the raven which 
cry unto Him and He brings to them these flies and they are 
fed thereby." After three days they become dark ; then 
the parents return to them. Thus the Lord, blessed be 
He, prepares the cure before the illness (f. 24a). 



Q. Why did God create wasps and spiders which are of 
no use ? 

358 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [APP. in 

R. Once upon a time David was sitting in his garden and 
he saw a wasp eating a spider, and there came a fool with a 
stick in his hand, and he drove them away. Then David said, 
" O Lord of the Universe, what benefit is there in these crea- 
tures ? The wasp eats up the honey and is destructive ; the 
spider weaves the whole year and there is nothing with which 
to clothe oneself ; the fool only hurts people, and he does not 
know thy unity and thy greatness, the world has no benefit 
from him." The Lord replied and said, " David, thou dost 
scoff at these creatures now, but a time is sure to come when 
they will be of use to thee, and then thou wilt recognise the 
reason of their creation." 

It happened thereafter, when he hid in the cave, being 
pursued by Saul, a spider came and made his web across the 
mouth of the cavern. Saul coming up, saw the web and said, 
" Certainly no man has entered this cave, as otherwise that 
web would have been torn to pieces." So he went away 
without searching the cave. When David came out, and 
beheld the spider, he kissed it and blessed it and said, " Lord 
of the Universe, who can accomplish works like any of thy 
works ? For all thy deeds are beautiful." 

When he came to Achish, David simulated the fool before 
him and his men. The daughter of Achish also was foolish 
and mad. When they brought David before him, he said 
to his men, " Are ye mocking at me, considering that my 
daughter is a fool, or am I in want of lunatics ? " So they 
left him and he fled. When he found himself in safety he 
thanked God for all that he had made, for it was all beautiful. 

When David (had entered the cave) he found Saul sleeping 
his noon-day sleep. Abner slept across the opening with his 
legs bent. David tried, slipped through the legs, and went in 
and took the jug of water. When he returned Abner suddenly 
stretched out and kept David as in a hedge, as if two heavy 
pillars had come down upon him. Then David prayed for 
God's mercy and said, " My God, my God, why hast thou 
forsaken me ? " In that hour a miracle was performed for 
him, for a wasp came and stung Abner in his leg. He lifted 

APP. in] Animal Stories. 359 

it up and David was able to escape. Then David praised and 
thanked God. 

It is not fit for man to mock or scoff at God's works (f. 24 a-b). 


Q. Why has the ox no hair on his nose ? 

R. When the Israelites were going round Jericho with 
Joshua in order to destroy, it, they brought him successively 
a horse, an ass, and a mule to ride upon, but they all died, for 
Joshua was a very heavy man. Then they brought an ox 
and he carried him on his back. When he saw this Joshua 
kissed the ox on his nose, and for this reason the ox has no 
hair on that spot (f. 25a). 



Q. Why does the cat eat mice more than any other creeping 
thing ? 

R. In the beginning the cat and the mouse were friends. 
At one time the mouse went and accused the cat falsely 
before God, and said, " Lord of the Universe, the cat and I are 
companions and we have now nothing to eat." God replied, 
" Thou hast brought a false accusation against thy friend 
in order to be able to eat him. Now the reverse is to happen, 
the cat will eat thee and thou shalt serve her as food." The 
mouse replied, " Lord of the Universe, what have I done ? " 
And God said, " O thou unclean creature ! Hast thou not 
heard what happened to the sun and moon which originally 
were of equal size, but because the moon brought a false 
accusation against (slandered) the sun, I have reduced its size 
and made it smaller than the sun ? So also hast thou slandered 
thy companion in order to eat him, and he therefore will eat 

360 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [APP. in 

thee." " If that be so," the mouse replied, " then the cat 
will surely utterly destroy me." And God replied, " I will 
leave thee a remnant as I have done to the moon." 

Then the mouse went, and springing on the head of the cat 
began to bite it. The cat then threw the mouse on the ground 
and killed it. 

From that time on, the fear of the cat fell upon the mice, 
and for this reason does the cat eat the mouse (f . 25b) . 

(The Hebrew word used for cat is 7inn which originally 
means weasel !) 



Q. Why does the ass mix his water with that of other 
asses and smell the dung ? 

R. When God had created all the beings, the ass said to 
the horse and mule, " Every creature has some time of rest, 
but we are destined to work on continuously without any rest. 
Let us pray to God to give us also some time of respite, and if 
our prayer be not heard let us decide no longer to procreate 
so that we may die out." So they prayed, but their prayer 
was not heard. But God said, " When your water becomes 
rivers to drive mills thereby, and when your dung has the 
smell of perfume, then you will obtain your respite." And 
this is the answer to the question (f. 25b). 


Q. Why is there enmity between the cat and the dog ? 

R. When the cat (weasel) was created it became the com- 
panion of the dog. Both hunted together and ate together 
of the prey. It so happened at one time that two or three 
days had passed and they had not got anything to eat. Then 
the dog said to the cat, " Why are we sitting here a hungered ? 

APP. in] Animal Stories. 361 

Go to Adam and sit in his house and be fed there, and we will 
go after the creeping things and reptiles and will feed upon 
them, and we shall both be kept alive." The cat then replied 
to the dog, " Let it be so, but we must take an oath that we 
will not go both together to one master." He replied, " Thou 
hast spoken well." There and then they both took an oath, 
and the cat went to the house of Adam, where she found mice, 
which she caught and ate : the rest ran away from her. When 
Adam saw what had happened, he said, " A great salvation 
(" cure ") has God sent me." 

Then he took the cat into his house and fed it and gave 
it to drink. 

The dog went to the wolf and said unto him, " Let me come 
and spend the night with thee." He replied, " Very well." 
Both went to a cave to sleep there. In the night the dog 
heard the footsteps of the various animals, so he woke the 
wolf and told him, " I heard the steps of thieves." The wolf 
replied, " Go out to them and drive them away." 

The beasts turned upon him to kill him. The dog fled away 
and went to the ape, but the ape drove him away. Then 
he went to the sheep. The sheep received him and allowed 
him to sleep there. He heard the noise of feet and he said 
to the sheep, " I hear the footsteps of robbers." The sheep 
replied, " Go out." The dog went out, and began to bark. 
The wolves said, " Surely sheep are there." So they went 
thither and ate the sheep. 

The dog fled away and went from place to place trying to 
find some shelter, but could not find any. At last he came to 
Adam, who took him in and allowed him to sleep there. In 
the middle of the night the dog said to Adam, " I hear the 
noise of footsteps." Adam rose at once, took his spear, and 
going out with the dog drove the wild beasts away and returned 
home with the dog. Then Adam said to the dog, " Come 
into my house, dwell with me, eat of my food and drink of 
my water." And the dog went with him. When the cat 
heard the voice of the dog she came out to him and said, 
" Why dost thou come thither to my place ? " And he 

362 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [APP. in 

replied, " Adam has brought me hither." Adam said to the 
cat, " Why dost thou quarrel with him ? I have brought him 
in, for I found him clever and full of courage. Thou needst 
not grieve, thou shalt be kept also as before." The cat 
replied, " My Lord, he is a thief, is it right to dwell in one 
place with a thief ? " And the cat went on to say to the dog, 
" Why hast thou broken (transgressed) thy oath ? " He 
replied, " I will not enter thy dwelling place, I will not 
eat of anything that belongs to thee, I will not cause thee 
the least harm." But the cat did not listen and began to 

When the dog saw this, he went away from the house of 
Adam, and going to that of Seth, dwelt there. And the dog 
tried all the time to make peace with the cat, but it was all 
in vain. In that state they have remained to this very day, 
in constant enmity, for the children follow the example of 
their forebears : as the proverb has it : sheep follow sheep 
(f. 25b, 26a). 



Q. Why is it that the dog recognises his master and the 
cat does not ? 

R. Whoever eats of anything at which mice have nibbled 
forgets what he has been taught. It is only natural that he 
who eats the mouse itself should forget his master (f. 26b). 



Q. Why is there a seam in the mouth of the mouse ? 
R. At the time of the Flood, all kinds of creeping things 
and reptiles had come into the Ark, male and female. Once 

APP. in] Animal Stories. 363 

upon a time the mouse and its mate were sitting by the cat, 
when the cat suddenly said, " I remember that in former 
times my forefathers used to eat yours, and what they did 
then I might as well do now." With these words the cat 
sprang at the mouse wishing to eat it. The mouse fled and 
sought for a hole to hide itself, but could not find any. A 
miracle happened, and a hole appeared which the mouse 
entered and hid itself. The cat came to the hole and tried to 
follow the mouse, but could not, as the hole was very narrow. 
So she put her paw into it with the intention of dragging it 
out. The mouse opened its mouth. So the cat cut its lower 
chin open with its nail about half the length of a span. When 
the cat had gone away the mouse crept out of the hole and 
running to Noah said to him, " thou righteous man, do me 
an act of charity and sew up the chin, which my enemy the 
cat has torn open." Noah replied, " Go to the pig and bring 
me one of the bristles of its tail." He went and brought it 
to Noah, who sewed up the chin. To this very day the seam 
can be seen (f. 26b). 


Q. Why does the raven hop in its walk ? 

R. Once upon a time the raven saw how beautiful was 
the stepping (walk) of the dove, more beautiful than that of 
all the other birds. He liked the walk of the doves very much, 
and he said to himself, " I will also put my feet in the same 
step." And he nearly broke his bones in the attempt to imitate 
the dove. The other birds laughed and mocked at him. The 
raven felt ashamed and he said, " Let me return to my former 
walk." So he tried to walk as before, but he could not, for 
he had forgotten it. Thus he remained with a halting step, 
like one who is jumping, neither walking as before, nor being 
able to walk as the dove (f. 26b). 

364 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [APP. in 



Q. Why does the raven mate differently from any other 

R. There are various explanations. One is that he has been 
punished for his lewdness in the Ark, and for the same reason 
also the dog has been punished. 

Others say, because he is wicked, a thief, and froward. 
There is one answer which combines and explains it more 
satisfactorily. When Noah wanted to send the raven to see 
whether the waters were falling, the raven fled and hid himself 
under the eagle's wing. Noah searched after him and found 
him there under the wing of the eagle. He said to him, "Go, 
thou wicked one, and see whether the waters are falling." 
The raven replied, " Hast thou not found any other bird but 
me." Noah replied, " I can only send one of the two birds 
whose first letter is either Ain or Yod." The raven replied, 
" Why not the eagle and dove " ? (Nun, Yod). Noah said, 
" Because there will be a town in existence called Ai (*y) 
whose inhabitants will kill Yair, who will forbid the raven 
(^liy) and permit the dove (n3V) (to eat)." Then the raven 
replied impudently to Noah, " The reason why thou hast 
chosen to send me out is that thou wishest to kill me in order 
to marry my mate, as I belong to those birds of which thou 
hast introduced into the Ark only one pair." 

When Noah heard these words, he cursed the raven that 
he should mate differently from any other bird, and all the 
birds in the Ark replied Amen. Then the raven replied, 
" Why hast thou cursed me ? I have a legal complaint against 
thee." Noah replied, " Because thou art lewd and foolish 
and dost suspect innocent people. If I do not approach my 
own wife, who is like unto me, whilst we are in the Ark, how 
can I approach thy wife, who is so different from a human 
being, and moreover is forbidden unto me as a married 
female ? " 

API>. in] Animal Stories. 365 

The raven said, " Why dost thou call me lewd (fornicator) ? " 
Noah replied, " Thine own words prove thine immorality, 
I have not made thee an evil name." And thus it has remained 
according to Noah's curse (f. 26b-27a). 



Q. Why are there no counterpart to the fox and weasel 

(Pli?!!""!) in the sea ? The story of the fox's heart and the 

R. Because they were cunning. When God had created 
the angel of death, he saw the creatures, and he said to God, 
" Lord of the Universe, grant me permission to kill them." 
God replied, " Thou shalt have power over all the creatures 
of the earth except the descendants of the bird Milham, who 
are not to taste the taste of death." He said, " O Lord, 
separate them from the rest if they are so pious, so that they do 
not learn the evil ways of the others and come to sin." God 
at once granted him his request. He built for them a great 
town and he placed them therein, and he sealed up the gate 
of that town, and he said, " It has been decreed (by God) that 
neither my sword, nor that of anyone else should have power 
over you unto the end of all generations." The angel of death 
returned then to God, who said to him, " Throw the pair of 
each created being into the sea and ovei the rest thou shalt 
have power." The angel did as he was told, and he threw 
into the sea a pair of each created beings. When the fox saw 
what he was doing, he began crying and weeping. The angel 
asked him, " Why art thou weeping ? " The fox replied, 
" I cry for my friend whom thou hast thrown into the sea." 
The angel asked him, " Where is thy friend ? " The fox then 
went and stood close to the edge of the water and the angel 
saw his shadow in the water, and he believed that he had 

366 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [APP. in 

indeed thrown a pair of his friends into the sea, and he said 
to the fox, " Get thee hence." The fox ran quickly away 
and was thus saved. 

On his way he met the weasel, and he told her all that had 
happened and what he had done. The weasel did likewise 
and escaped also from being thrown into the sea. 

After the lapse of one year since these things had happened, 
did Leviathan gather together before him all the creatures 
of the sea, and it was found that neither fox nor weasel was 
among them. So he sent for them, but he was told what the 
fox had done to escape from being thrown into the sea. More- 
over, they told Leviathan that the fox was very cunning. 
When Leviathan heard of his great intelligence, he became 
jealous of him. He sent large fishes to go and fetch him, by 
deceiving him and hiring him away, and then to bring the fox 
to him. They went and found him walking leisurely along the 
seashore. When the fox saw the fishes approach and play 
about close to him, he entered into conversation with them. 
When they saw him, they asked him, " Who art thou ? " He 
answered, " I am the fox." They said to him, " Dost thou not 
know that great honour is awaiting thee and it is for this pur- 
pose that we have come hither. He said, " What is it ? " They 
replied, " Leviathan is sick unto death, and has left the com- 
mand that no one else is to rule after him as king but the fox, 
for he is the most cunning of all the beasts. Thereafter, you 
now come with us, for we have been sent to offer thee this 
honour." He said to them, " How can I go into the sea and 
not be drowned ? " They replied, " Ride on the back of one 
of us and we will carry thee safely over the waters of the sea, 
so that not even a drop of water shall touch the tip of thy 
nose until thou readiest the kingly palace. Then we will 
lower thee down into it and there thou wilt rule over all of us, 
and thou wilt rejoice all the days of thy life, and thou wilt 
no longer have to search for food, and be exposed to be hunted 
by mighty beasts and to be eaten by them." 

When the fox heard these words, he believed them, and 
mounting on the ba'ck of a mighty fish started with them on a 

APP. in] Animal Stories. 367 

journey on the sea. When the waves began to play round 
him he began to be anxious. His wit had forsaken him. Then 
he recovered himself and said, " Woe unto me, what have I 
done ? The fishes have tricked me worse than I have evei 
tricked all the other beasts. Now that I have fallen into their 
hands how can I escape ? " 

He then said to them, " I have come with you and I am 
now at your mercy. You may tell me what is it that you 
really want of me." They replied, " We will tell thee the truth. 
Leviathan had heard of thy reputation, that thou art very 
cunning, so he said to himself, I will cut his belly open and will 
eat his heart, and thus shall I become also very wise." 

The fox said to them, " Why did you not tell me the truth, 
for I would then have brought my heart with me. I would 
have given it to the king Leviathan and he would have shown 
me honour. You are now going to your own destruction." 
They said to him, " Hast thou not thy heart with thee ? " 
He replied, " No, for such is our habit that we leave our heart 
behind and we walk about without it ; whenever we want it 
we fetch it, and if there is no necessity for it we leave it where 
it is." So they said to him, " What shall we do now ? " 

He replied, " My place and my dwelling is close to the sea- 
shore, if you are willing to do it, bring me back to the place 
whence you have taken me. I will go and fetch my heart and 
return with you to Leviathan, who is sure to honour me greatly. 
If you, however, will bring me to him without my heart, he will 
be very angry with you and eat you up. For I will tell him 
that you had not told me anything before you took me away, 
and that when I heard from you the reason of your errand, 
I told you to carry me back and that you refused to do so." 
The fishes then said at once, " Thou speakest well," and 
they returned to the place at the seashore whence they 
had taken him. He went down from the back of the fishes, 
and jumping and frolicking about he rolled over and over 
in the sand. The fishes said to him, " Haste thee, do not tarry, 
for we must depart quickly." He replied, " Ye fools, get 
yourselves away. If I had not had my heart I could not have 

368 Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories. [APP. in 

gone with you into the sea. Is there any creature in existence 
moving about and not having a heart within ? " They replied, 
" Thou hast mocked at us." He replied, " If I got the best 
of the angel of death, how much more likely am I to get it 
of you ? " They returned full of shame to the Leviathan and 
told him all that had happened. He replied, " He is truly 
cunning, and ye have proved to be fools. About such as you 
it is said, ' The stupidity of the fools is the cause of their 
death,' " and so he ate them up. 

Thus it has remained that although there are creatures in 
the sea corresponding to those on land, there are none like unto 
the fox and the weasel. 



Aaron, The rod of, 204 

Abbott, G. F., 21 

Abel, The burial of, 178 

Abner and David, 358 

Abraham, 319 

Achish and David, 358 

Adam, Language of, 13 ; and Eve, 
79 ; and the burial of Abel, 178 ; 
and Eve and the devil, 210 ; and 
the cat and dog, 361 

^Esop, 29 ; " Life " of, 30 ; trans- 
mission of ^Esopian fables, 31 

Afanasiev's Russian Tales, 22, 195, 
293. 326, 331 

Ahikar, The story of, 29-31 ; Ru- 
manian version of, 355 

Alans, 15 

Alaric, King, 43, 45 

Albanians, 15, 1 8 

Albigenses, The, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 

Alexander the Great, 57, 125 ; and 
the knight (cricket), 207 ; and 
the two brothers, 284 ; destroys 
the dog-men, 285 ; his con- 
quests, 285 ; Romance of, 286 ; 
" Letter to Aristotle," 286 

Allegorical use of animal tales, 


" Alphabet of Ben Sira, or Pseudo 
Sirach," 209, 213, 357 

Amazons, 285 

Amber, Fly in, simile for trans- 
mission of folk-tales, 37 

Ambrose, St., of Milan, and the 
Ambrosian chant, 48 

Anadan, 355 

Andersen, Hans C., 35 

Angelic sparks, i.e. glow-worms. 
See Glow-worms. 

Angels, The fall of the, 38, 39; 
among men, 73 ; become stars, 
74 ; the angel in love, 74, 78 ; 
St. Peter casts out the little 

devil, 75 ; angels who refused 
to help St. Elias (bull-flies), 103 

Angromainya, 27 

Animals, Man and, relations be- 
tween, 2 ; as disguised human 
beings, 2, 23 ; animals human- 
ised, 2, 28 ; substitution of 
local animals in stories, 6, 12 ; 
not humanised in Rumanian 
fables, 28 ; incantations against 
animal illnesses, 348 

Animism, 2 

Anne, St., and the magician, 203 

Ant, The, Origin of, and why it is 
cut in the middle, 283 ; the 
grandchild of God, 283 ; pro- 
tected by the Virgin, 283 ; the 
red ant the Virgin's tears, 283 ; 
remedy against toothache, 283 

Ants, The, and the cricket, 207 

Ape, The, and the dog, 361. See 

Apocryphal Gospels, Acts, etc., 25 

Apollo, 244 

Apostles, The, 39; on earth, 76; 
and St. Peter, 130 

Apples, Worms in, 122 

Arabians feed Elijah, 280 

Arabic literature, Animal tales in, 
31 ; the raven in, 279 

Arianism and Manichaeism, 41 ; 
and the Goths, 41-43 ; and the 
Bible, etc., in the vernacular, 

44 ; and the Catholic Church, 

45 ; Gothic, 48 ; and the Greek 
Church, 51 

Arius and religious minstrelsy, 47 
Arkir, Stories from, 355 
Armenian, The, and the hoopoe, 


Armenians, 15 
Arnica, 283 
Asia Minor, 10, 30 
Asiatic folk-lore, 2 




Ass, The, lion frightened by, 331 ; 

length and manner of life, 336 ; 

why he mixes his water, 360 
Autos-da-fe, 45 
Avesta, The, 26 ; the bull in the, 

Avianus, 32 

Babrius, 32 

Balkans, Races of the, 15 ; animal 
tales and the, 36, 38 ; the Goths 
in the, 42 ; the Slavs, 43 ; the 
Bulgars, 44 ; heretical sects in 
the, 52 

Barlaam legend, 6, 16, 25 

Basil, The Hexameron of, 28 

Basile, St., 257 

Bear, The, and the torn cat, 333 

Bear, The Great (constellation), 

Bee, The, 25, 38 ; " the Bee and 
Creation," 27 ; outwits the 
Devil, 63, 71, 72 ; becomes 
black, 63, 71 ; becomes narrow 
waisted, 64, 71 ; gives honey 
and wax, 64 ; given its sting, 
64 ; the mole and, 65 ; outwits 
the mole, 67 ; feeds on itself, 
68 ; the brick-carrier daughter, 
70 ; made first, 135 ; stolen by 
the Gipsy, 135 ; belongs to the 
Rumanians, 136, 137 ; God's 
blessing on, 138 

Beetle, Nun, 132^134 

Beetles, Horned, 102 ; red beetles, 
107, 108 

" Belief " in fairy tales, 3 

Beliefs, Ancient, in folk-tales, 37, 


Ben Sira, Hebrew alphabet of, 
Animal stories from, 357 

Benfey, Pantschatantra, 324, 326. 
See Panchatantra 

Benjamin, Bishop, of Moldavia, 
1 20 

Berachya, 32 

Bible, The, in the vernacular, 
Arians, 44 ; the Cathars, 47 ; 
forbidden by the Catholic 
Church, 47 

Biblical legends, 57, 278, 319 

Bird of heaven, The, 256 

Birds, The king of the, 151 ; sing- 
ing of the, 151 ; the colouring 
of the, 148, 156 ; the king of 
the (wren), 300 ; (eagle), 302 ; 
and the sparrow-hawk, 303 ; 

accuse man, 339 ; plead for 

man, 340 

Black One, The, 241 
Black Sea, The, 247, 248 
Blackbird, The, 151 
" Bluebeard," 34 ; Bluebeard 

story parallel, 261 
Bogomilism, 25, 26, 31, 36, 44 ; in 

Rumania, 52 ; in Russia, 53 
Bogomils, 50, 51 
Boris, King, 44 
Bosnia, 46, 52 

Broadside, Political animal, 33 
Brick-carrier daughter, The (bee), 


Bubureaza, 113 
Buddha, 25 

Buddhist teaching of metempsy- 
chosis, 23 
Buffalo, The, and the gnat, 310 ; 

race with the hare, 315 ; walks 

slowly and treads lightly, 316 
Bugs, Charms against, 223 
Bukovina, 58 ; Bukovina peasants 

and beetles to produce milk, 109 
Bulgaria, Survivals in, 10 ; the 

saints in, 40 ; Bogomilism and, 

51 ; creation stories, 65 
Bulgaro-Vallachian kingdom, 51 
Bulgars, 15 ; Tartarian language 

of the, 1 8 ; in the Balkans, 44 ; 

Christianity among, 44 ; unity 

with Rumanians, 51 
Bull, The, in the Avesta, 96 
Bullfinch, The origin of the, 158 
Bull-fly, The, 102 
Bulls or cows of the Lord, 103, 107, 


Burgundy, Arianism in, 43 
Bush, The wonderful, and the 

cuckoo, 164 
Butterflies with the sign of St. 

Anne's ring, 203 
Byzance, 31, 51, 53 
Byzantine myths, 12 

Cain, Children of, 139 

Calf, The " wise," 275 ; charm for 

a suckling calf, 350 
Cannibal innkeeper, The, 259 
Car, The Great (Great Bear), 80 
Cards, Playing, The gipsies and, 24 
Carnation, The, as test of sex, 

Carpenters, The, and the Cross, 

184, 190 
Carpocapsa pomonella, 123 


Cat, The, the animal of the devil, 
123 ; enmity with the dog and 
mouse, 208, 209, 360 ; eats the 
devil as mouse, 212, 214 ; basks 
in the sun on the doorstep, 214 ; 
as priest (popa), 312 ; the torn 
cat and the vixen, 332 ; fights 
the wolf, etc., 334 ; and the 
carcase of the horse, 335 ; and 
man, 339 ; why it eats mice, 
359 ; why he does not recognize 
his master, 362 ; and the mouse 
in the ark, 363 

Cathars, The, 26, 31, 41, 45, 46, 50, 
52, 54, 123 

Catholic Church and Arianism, 45 ; 
and the Bible, 47 ; and Mario- 
latry, 49 ; and persecution of 
heretics, 53 

Catholic countries, The saints in, 

Ceremonies and customs, 36 

Cerna, 117 

Charles II., 55 

Charms, 58 ; bull-flies' horns 
against evil eye, 103 ; saw-fly, 
to obtain abundant milk, 109 ; 
hornets to make a dog savage, 
140 ; crow water for philtres, 
175; children's teeth and crows, 
I 75 I against the mole wart, 
179 ; the Lady Mary, mouse, 
and spider, 1 86 ; against the 
sparrow, 197 ; insect egg ring, 
204 ; against fleas, etc., 221 ; 
generally, 222 ; against bugs, 
223 ; against the illness of 
animals, 348-354 

Charon, 21, 244 

Cherries, Lady Mary and the, 202 

Children in the wood, 225 

Christ, 39 ; and the goat's knees, 
88 ; and the thrush, 153 ; 
curses the sparrows, 195 ; and 
the yellow bird, 205. See also 

Christian, The first, executed for 
heresy by Christians, 46 

Christian tales, Apocryphal, 344 

Christianity and the unity of folk- 
lore, ii ; and ancient myths, 
12 ; the Goths and, 42 ; in 
Rumania, 52 

Christians and the heathen, 130 

Christmas, Old (person), 346 

Christmas carols, Mystical, 57 ; 
the shepherd and the sheep 

(God and the lamb), 94 ; the 
hart and the making of the 
world, 95 ; the devil stealing 
the sun, 99 ; the wooing of the 
sister of the sun, 245 ; the sun 
legend in, 246 ; the wooing of 
a fairy, 247 ; the swan maiden, 
256 ; the Lord's justice, 346 

Christophorus, 287 

Church, Animal satires and the, 32 

Churches, Eastern and Western, 
The division between, 44 

" Cinderella," 34 ; Cinderella 
story variant, 275 

Civilization, The, of the near East, 

Clergy, Satire of, in animal tales, 

Cloot, Pierre, 33 

Clouds, The, and the rat, 318 

Clovis, King, 43, 45 

Coccinella septempundata, 113 

Cock Robin cycle, 55 

Colouring, The, of animals, 148, 

Comparisons in folk-lore, Hap- 
hazard, 12 

Constantinople, 52 ; evergreen 
oak in, 88 

Continuity in folk-tales, 10, 15, 16 

Conybeare, Prof., 30 

Cosmogonic legends, 26, 38 

Cosquin's Tales, 57, 258, 266 

Cossack Tales (Bain), 335 

Cow, Charm for a, against the evil 
eve 35 against snakebite, 
351 ; called by the names of 
days, 350 n. 

Cow-fly, The, 102 

Cowherd, The rude, and the gad- 
fly, 114, 116 

Cox, Miss, Cinderella, 34 

Creation, Conception of, 39 

Creation of man, 38 

" Creation " tales, i, 4, 22, 34, 35, 
57 ; their date, 27 ; in Russia, 


Cricket, The, origin, 205, 206, 207 

Cricket, The little, 107 

Crow, The, the ugliness of fledg- 
lings, 170, 172 ; the hawk as 
godmother, 172 ; hatred of the 
hawk, 174 ; crow charms, 175 ; 
torn cat and the, 334 

Crown of paradise, The, 256 

Crucifixion, The, 184, 190, 195 

Crusades, The, 41 



Cuckoo, The legend of the, 49 ; 
steals St. Peter's horses, 77 ; 
and glow-worms, 77 ; Ballad of 
the knight and the dragon, 117 ; 
and the hoopoe, 162, 164 ; its 
origin, 164 ; and the wonderful 
bush, 164 ; headman, judge, 
and emperor, 165 ; and a palace 
for the goldfinch, 168 ; silent in 
winter, 169 ; why it says " cuc- 
koo," 226, 286 ; lends its tuft 
to the hoopoe, 229 ; captain of 
Alexander's army, 285 ; his 
Amazon wife, 286 ; and the 
Armenian, 288 ; pleads for man, 


" Cuckoo's ring," 204 
Culex pipiens, 199 
" Culture," 2 
Cumans, 15, 1 8 
Cunning of the weaker animals, 

Czechs, 22 

Dacian survivals, 10 

Dacians, 15 

Dahnhardt (Oskar) Natursagen 
named, 26, 27, 65, 72, 83, 84, 87, 

Dalmatia, 46, 52 

Danube, The, 120 

Days as divinities, 274 

Death, The angel of, 365 

Demon husband, The, 267, 282 

Devil, The, belief in, 38 ; Ru- 
manians and the, 40 ; and the 
seed of the earth, 61 ; and the 
bee, 63, 71 ; and the sun, 71 ; 
the fall of, 78 ; makes the wolf, 

79, 82 ; and the car, the mill, 
and fire, 80 ; power of the wolf 
over, 80 ; the hairs of the wolf, 

80, 81, 82, 83 ; fires the eyes of 
the wolf, 81, 82 ; becomes a 
wolf, 84 ; ate by the wolf, 85 ; 
goats and his fire, 86 ; creates 
the goat, 88 ; depicted with 
goat's horns and hoof, 89 ; helps 
Noah to plant the vine, 92 ; 
strife with God, 97, 100 ; St. 
George leads against, 97 ; loses 
Paradise, 98 ; stealing the sun, 
99 ; and the clever men, 122 ; 
and Eve, 210, 213, 219 ; as 
snake, 211 ; as mouse, 211, 213, 
214 ; contract with God for the 
dead, 216 ; and the St. Peter's 

foot, 217 ; and the Archangel 
Michael's foot, 217 

Devil worship. See Dualism 

Devil's daughter as nun, 134 

Devil's horse, The (dragon-fly), 97 

Dib-dib, The, 331 

Dionysios, St., 92 

Dog, The, and the wolf, 79 ; en- 
mity with the cat, 208, 209 ; 
three-headed, 242 ; two-headed, 
243 ; the magic dog and the 
demon, 267 ; with a headache 
and the snake, 327 ; challenges 
the wolf, 335 ; length and man- 
ner of life, 337 ; and man, 339 ; 
why it fights the cat, 360 

Dog-headed people, 284 ; saint, 

Dogma, 38 

Dogs and cats, Men changed into, 

Dogs, St. Peter's. See Wolf, The 

Doomsday, 85 

Dositheus, Archbishop, 120 

Dove, The, in lengendary tales, 

275 ; the three white doves, 

276 ; its origin, 277 ; the raven 
imitates its walk, 363. See also 
Turtle dove 

Dragon, The, of Cerna, 118 
Dragon-fly, The (devil's horse), 97 
Drunkenness, Animal character- 
istics, 92, 93 

Dualism, 25, 36, 38, 39, 49 ; 
Iranian, 26 ; in Russia, 53 ; and 
devil worship, 54, 55 
Duck, The, The girl who becomes 
a duck, 261 ; why ducks are fat 
and feed on refuse, 261 ; the 
wild duck accuses man, 339 

Eagle, The, 139 ; greedy brothers 
changed to eagles, 231 ; the 
spell under which it is a bird of 
prey, 234 ; and the wren, 300 ; 
as king of the birds, 302 

Earth, God and the making of the, 
62, 65, 67 ; the ends of the, 232 

Easter beetle, 107 

Easter eggs and orchard worms, 

Eastern and Western civilization, 

Eastern Church and persecution, 
of Hellenism and paganism, 50 ; 
and heretical sects, 52 ; and 
saint with a dog's head, 286 



Ebionite conception of Jesus, 48 
Education and the destruction of 

folk-lore, 55 
Egypt, 30 
Egyptian ideas of the passage of 

the soul, 344 
Egyptian influences, 23 
Elephantine, The Papyri of, 29 
Eliezer, Chapters of, 178 
Elijah. See Hie 
Emperor, The, and God, 126 
Enchantments. See Charms 
Enoch, Book of, 39 
Europe, Animal stories of, 2 
European folk-lore, Animal tales 

the earlier stages of, 3, 8 
European languages, 13 
European nations a spiritual unit, 

2 ; their antiquity and char- 
acter, ii 

Eutemias Zygabenos, 51 
Eve and the devil, 210, 213, 219 
Evil, Origin of, no 
Evil eye, Charms against the, 103, 

348, 349, 350, 351 
Evil One, Evil creations of, 49 
Evil Spirit, The, 22, 25, 26. See 

also Devil 

Fables, Animal, i, 4, 22, 28, 29, 


Fairy, The wooing of a, 247 

Fairy tales, i ; belief in, 3 ; world- 
wide range of, 4 ; migration and 
transmission, 4 ; connection of 
animal tales, 33 ; reason and 
meaning, 34 ; their primitive- 
ness, 35 ; similarity of, 35 

Fates, 274 

Fathers, The Christian, and the 
Physiologus, 28 

Fauns, 89 

Fenrir, 84 

Finch, Thistle, and ruffled feathers, 

Fire, The Devil and, 80, 86, 87 

Fish, The, and his seven wings, 
182 ; and the ring, 271 

Flea, The, and the gnat, 306 

Fleas, Origin of, 219 ; the devil's 
horse, 220 ; charms against, 221 

Flies on the dead, 215 ; which live 
only one day, 357 

Flint, The, and sparks, 87 

Flood, The, 90 

Floria and the king of the storks, 

Flower under pillow to test sex, 
267, 282 

Flute, The magic, 251 

Folk-lore, Problems, I ; hap- 
hazard comparisons, 12 ; ana- 
logy with comparative philology, 
14, 1 6 ; its investigation, 14 ; 
survivals, 9, 12, 15, 16, 36 ; con- 
centric investigation, 19 ; writ- 
ten and oral, 20 ; a product of 
peaceful times, 24 ; Western 
European, 54 ; of the nearer 
East, 55 ; and the " man of 
science," 55 ; and education, 
55 ; and the heresy hunter, 56 

Foot, Origin of instep, 215 ; why 
it is arched, 217 

Foreign elements in languages, 17 
et seq. 

Fox, The, the " clever " outwitted, 
22 ; fox fables in Jewish litera- 
ture, 28 ; the partridge and the 
hound, 290 ; becomes monk, 
313 ; seven-witted, 320 ; and 
the hedgehog, 322, 323 ; and 
the leopard, 331 ; the vixen and 
the torn cat, 332 ; not among 
the creatures of the sea, 365 ; 
beguiles the fishes about his 
heart, 367 

France, The Goths in, 41 

French Reynard cycle, 33 

Frere, Mary, 28 

Friars, The mendicant, 41 

Frog, The, and the Lady Mary, 
190 ; King Log and King Stork, 
304 ; and the hare, 314 

Gabriel, The Archangel, 99, 101, 

104 ; wager with Voinic, 105 
Gad-fly, The, and the cattle, 114, 

Gaster, M., Chrestomatie RomSna, 

58 ; Exempla of the Rabbis, 126 ; 

Literatura Populara Romdnd, 

204, 348 ; Chronicles of Jerak- 

meel, 319 
Genoese and Venetian traders and 

St. George, 120 
George, St., and the dragon legend, 

16, 98, 101 ; fights the devil, 97 ; 

his horse, 97 ; and the dragon, 

variant, 120 
George, St., Life of, 120 
Ghirosana, Ana, 117 
Giants, The, 90 ; destruction of 

the, 215 



Gimlet, The, 218 

Giou, 287 

Gipsies, 15, 17 ; and transmission 
of folk-tales, 24 ; as villain and 
fool, 24 ; and the bee and wasp 
J 35. !37 ; greed of, 161 ; and 
the nails for the Crucifixion, 190 

Gipsies' bird, The (wagtail), 161 

Gipsy, The, and the swan queen, 

Giurgiu, 121 

Glass mountain, 237, 241 

Glove, The fur, becomes a cat, 212, 
213, 214 

Glow-worms, 25, 38 ; angelic 
sparks, 39, 74, 75 ; light St. 
Peter's way, 77 ; and the 
cuckoo, 77 

Gnat, The, and the flea, 306 ; and 
the lion, 307 ; and the buffalo, 

" Gnat and the Lion, The," 22 

Gnostic legends, 25, 48 

Gnosticism, 39, 51 

Goat, with wings, 86 ; tries to 
steal God's fire, 86 ; why its 
knees are bare, 86, 88 ; devil's 
beast, 87, 88 ; God gives it life, 
87, 88 ; its intelligence, 87 ; 
without tail, 88 ; with the 
devil's eyes, 89 : the goat-devil 
in popular belief, etc., 89 ; Noah 
and the, 90 ; leads Noah to dis- 
cover the vine, 90 

Goat's knees, The, 27 

God, 26, 38, 39, 48 ; and the sun, 
71 ; makes the dog, 79 ; and 
the devil, 79-81 ; gives life to 
the wolf, 80, 82, 83, 85 ; and the 
devil's fire, 86, 87 ; and the 
lamb (carol), 94 ; strife with the 
devil, 97, 100 ; his herds and 
flocks (the bull-fly), 102 ; and 
the rude cowherd, 114, 116; 
and the polite shepherd, 115, 
116 ; and the false teachers, 
122 ; and the young animals 
and birds, 170 ; and young 
crows, 1 70 ; and the old woman 
who became a tortoise, 180 ; 
and the mosquito's food, 200 ; 
allots the span and manner of 
life, 336; rewards the good man, 
346 ; and the angel of death, 

Goddesses of fate, 21 

" God's hens " (swallows), 274 

Gods, The heathen, rob Paradise, 


Goldfinch, The, elected king of 
birds, 1 68 ; and the cuckoo, 169 

Gonzenbach's Tales, 57 

Goths, 15 ; Arianism, 41, 43 ; 
their kingdom, 41 ; their origi- 
nal home and migration, 42 ; 
adopt Christianity, 42 ; their 
conquests, 43 ; conversion of 
rulers to Catholicism, 43 ; be- 
liefs and practices, 43 ; and the 
Teutonic language, 45 ; and the 
dissemination of heretical myths, 


Grape vine, The. See Vine 
Grasshopper, The mower, 127 ; 

origin of, 129 
Greece, Bogomilism in, 51 
Greek Church. See Eastern 


Greek folk-lore, 50 
Greek, Modern, folk-lore, 20, 21 
Greek mythology, 244 
Greek myths, 12 
Greeks, 15 
Grimm's Tales, 49, 57, 88, 167, 

178, 235, 293, 309, 324, 331 

Haemus, Mount, 42 

Hahn, J. G. von, Albn. Mdrchen, 

21, 57, 78, 85, 93, 313, 324, 326 
Haltrich's Transylvanian Tales 

(Volksmarcheri), 22, 293, 309, 


Hanauer, Folk Lore of the Holy 
Land, 210, 230, 331 

Hare, The, and the frogs, 314 ; 
race with the buffalo, 315 ; and 
the pointer and setter, 317; and 
the torn cat, 333 

Harris, J. Rendel, 30 ; Story of 
Ahikar, 356 

Hart, The, and the making of the 
world (carol), 95 

Hawk, The, and the young crows, 
172 ; hatred of the crow, 174 

Heaven and hell, in 

Hebrew and the origin of lan- 
guages, 13 

Hedgehog, 64 ; and the fox, 322, 


Helias, 101 
Hell, Creation of, 1 1 1 
" Hell, The Harrowing of," 101 
Heresy and the Reynard cycle, 33 ; 

of the tales, 39 



Heresy-hunting in Greek Church, 
50 ; as a popular distraction, 55 

Heretical myths, The Goths and, 

Hero tales, 57 

Heron, The, and the digging of 
wells, 176 

Hesperides, The golden apples of, 

Hills, The creation of, 65 

Homiliary, The, 120 

Hoopoe, The legend of the, 49 ; 
and its greed, 160, 164 ; and 
the cuckoo, 162, 164 ; its am- 
bition, 162, 166 ; borrows the 
cuckoo's tuft, 229 ; Solomon's 
gift of the tuft, 230 ; and the 
Armenian's horse, 288 ; beliefs 
attached to its cry, 289 

Hornet, The, curse on, 138, 139 ; 
charm to make dogs savage, 
140 ; nest as sign of winter 
season, 140 

Horse of St. George, 98 

Horse, The, of the Sultan, 329 

Horses, St. Peter's, 76 

Hound, The, and the fox, 290 

Hungarian language, 18 

Hungarians, 15 

Huns, 15 

Husband, The, under a spell, 237 

Hymns, Greek (or Syriac), 48 

Hypoderma bovis, 115 

laldabaoth, 48 

lana, sister of the Sun, 245 

Iblis, 219 

Ileana Cosinziana and Voinic, 104 

Ilie, St. (Elijah), 99, 101, 103, 279 

Illyricum, 41, 50 

Incantations. See Charms 

Indian fables, 29 

Indian literature, Animal tales in, 


Indices Expurgatoria, 52, 53 
Indo-European languages, 14 
Innkeeper, The brutish, becomes 

a bullfinch, 158 ; the cannibal, 

Inquisition, The, 42, 89, 123 ; and 

destruction of legends and tales, 

54 ; and sorcery, 55 
Instep of foot, Origin of, 215 
Ion Creanga, 58 
lorgovan, loan, the knight, 118, 

Iran, 26 

Italy, Survivals in, 10 ; and 
saints, 40 ; the Goths in, 41 

Jerahmeel, Chronicles of, 78 
Jesus, Ebionite idea of, 48 ; birth 

of, 108 ; and the giant mower, 


Jewish literature, Fox fables in, 28 
John, St., 99, 184, 257, 346 
Josaphat, 25 
Joseph, St., 127 
Joshua and the ox, 359 
" Judgment of the Animals," 31 
Judgment, The, of the soul of man, 

Judgment, The throne of, stolen, 


Kalila and Dimna, 6, 330 

Ketzer, 41 

Kieff, 25 

King god, Annual, The slaying of, 

King Log and King Stork, 304 

King of all the birds, 238 

Kite, The, and the digging for 
water, 178 

Knight, The, and the dragon (bal- 
lad), 117 

Kolumbatsch, The poison-fly of, 

Krauss, Friedrich S., South Sla- 
vonic Tales, 22, 88, 209, 293, 
308, 323, 330, 334 

Kutzo-Vlachs of Macedonia, 58, 

Kynokephaloi, 286 

Lady-bird, The, 113 

La Fontaine's Fables, 312 

Lamb, The wolf and the, 27 ; and 
the goat, 87 

Language, National, 13 

Lark, The, wedding, 228, 229 ; 
how it got its tuft, 236 ; why 
the tuft is dishevelled, 238 ; its 
origin (Little Light), 240, 243 
and the ploughman's wife, 296 

Legend or creation stories, 4 

Legends, Adaptation of, 143 

Leopard, The, and the fox, 331 

Ler, 245 

Letts, 22 ; creation stories, 65 

Leviathan, 366 

Life allotted to man and animals, 

Light, Little, 240 



Lightning, 66 

Lion, The, Blood of, to water the 
vine, 92 ; bone of, for vine, 93 ; 
in his castle, 232 ; and the gnat, 
307 ; and the tiger, 308 ; and 
the Sultan's horse, 329 ; and the 
ass, 331 ; and the torn cat, 333 

Lithuanians, 22 

" Little horse " (locust), 127 

" Little master " (thistle-finch), 

Locust, Mower (Locusta viridis- 

sima), 128 

Locusts, Plague of, 125 
Loki, the God of Fire, 84 
Lombards, The, 43, 45 
Lot and Abraham, 204 
Lucanus cervus (bull-fly), 103 
Lucidaria, 52 
Lygaeus equestris, 107 

Macedonia, Bird tales in, 20 ; tales 

from, 58 

Magic, The Gipsies and, 24 
Magpie, The, aids the devil, 216 
Maiden, The wicked, and the Arch- 
angel Michael, 1 1 1 
Man and animals, Relation be- 
tween, 2 ; and his years taken 
over from animals, 336 ; and 
his good and evil angels, 339 ; 
his treatment of the animals 
recorded for and against his 
soul, 339 ; the pilgrimage of the 
soul, 341 ; the reward of the good 
man, 346 
Mangiuca, S., 58 

Manichaean teaching in Russia, 53 
Manichaeism, 25, 26, 31, 36, 41, 44, 

48, 5i 

Mantissa religiosa, 132, 134 

Marian, S. Fl., Ornitologia and 
Insectele, 58 

Marie de France, 32 

Mariolatry, 49 

Mary, the Virgin, 39 ; and the 
gift of milk, 1 08 ; and the 
" mower," 129 ; curses the 
plover, 183 ; curses the spider, 
184, 185 ; search for her Son, 
184, 190 ; blesses the swal- 
lows, 185 ; curses the mouse, 
185 ; mourning after the cruci- 
fixion, 1 86 ; turns the mother- 
in-law into a swallow, 188 ; and 
the frog, 190 ; and the tortoise, 
192, 193, 194 ; and the silk- 

worm, 193 ; and the Emperor 
Pic, 1 99 ; and the cherries, 202 ; 
and the little yellow bird, 205 ; 
at the fountain, 343 ; the willow 
tree, 344 ; helps the beasts, 349 

" Metamorphoses " in Greek 
mythology, 21 

Metempsychosis, 23, 25, 49 

Michael, Archangel, 99, 101, no ; 
and the wicked maiden, in ; 
loses part of the sole of his foot, 

Midrash Abkhir, 92 

Migration of folk tales, 4, 6, 7 

Milham, The bird, 365 

Milk, The Holy Mother and the 
gift of, 108 ; beetles as food to 
produce milk, 109 

Mill, The devil and the, 80 

Miracles, 204 

Mithras, The bull of, 96 

Mohammedans, Heretics become,. 
46 ; Cathars become, 52 

" Moirai," 21, 274 

Mole, The, and the making of the 
earth, 65, 67 ; outwitted by the 
bee, 68 ; why it lives under- 
ground, 68 ; its hills and bur- 
rows, 179 

Mongol invasion, Influence of, 23- 

Monkey, The, Length and manner 
of life of, 337. See Ape 

Moon, The Sun and, 72 ; stolen, 
99 ; the new, and a charm 
against bugs, 224 ; slanders the 
Sun, 359 

Moral character of the stories, 5& 

" Morals " to animal tales, i, 8, 28, 

Mosquito, The, origin (Emperor 
Pic), 199 ; a blood-sucker, 200 ; 
the smoke of the devil's pipe, 
20 1 ; as blood taster, 219 

Mother-in-law, The wicked, be- 
comes a swallow, 188 

Mountains, The origin of, 66 ; that 
knock one against the other, 263 

Mouse, The, cursed by the Holy 
Mother, 185, 186; enmity of 
cat against, 208, 209 ; the devil 
as, 211, 214 ; the town, and the 
field mouse, 311 ; slanders the 
cat, 359 ; why there is a seam, 
in its mouth, 362 

" Mower " (locust), 127, 129 

Mugur, 285 



Mummers, Fair of the, 221 
Musca Columbaca, 118 
Mythology, Heathen and Chris- 
tian, 244 
Myths, Ancient, Survival of, 12, 37 

Nadan, 30 

Naxia, 92 

Neculea, The land of, 256 

Nessus, The Shirt of, 299 

New Testament, Animal tales and 

the, 30 

Nica, the shepherd, 94 
Nicaea, Council of, 42 
Nicodemus, The Gospel of, 101 
Nightingale, The colour of the, 

148 ; how it learned to sing, 

149 ; the best singer, 152 ; tales 
of its origin, 152 

Nimrod, 319 

Noah and the animals in the ark, 

90 ; and the drunken goat, 90 ; 

eats grapes and is drunk, 91 ; 

recovers and kills the goat, 91 ; 

Noah, the ark, and the devil, 

213, 214, 218 ; and the seam in 

the mouth of the mouse, 363 ; 

and the raven, 364 
Nornes, 274 
Northern mythology, The raven 

in, 279 

" Nun," the messenger, 131 
Nun beetle, The, 132, 134 

Oak, The, and sparrow, 196 

Oaks without leaves, 88 

Occult practices and the Gipsies, 


Ockley, Simon, 31 

Odin, The ravens of, 279 

Olt, The River, 95 

Omens of the raven, 280 

" Oral " literature, 19 ; of Ru- 
mania, 52 

Orchard worms, 123 

Origins of folk tales, 5, 7, 36 

Owl, The, and the wren, 301 ; one- 
witted, 320 

Ox, The, why it has no hair on its 
nose, 359 

Oxen of the Lord, 109 

Pachytylus migratorius, 125 
Panchatantra, The, 6, 29, 324, 326, 

330. See Benfey 
Pann, Anton, Proverbs and Tales, 

29, 31. 58 

Pannonia, 43 

Paradise, Satan loses, 98 ; the 
heathen gods rob, 99 ; the gate 
of, in ; the entry into, 286; 
" Journey to Paradise," 286 ; 
flowers of, 343 

Parallelism in folk tales, 6, 12 

Parker, H., 28 

Partridge, The, why she is mottled, 
155 ; the fox, and the hound, 
290 ; and her young, 294 

Peacock, The, in sun myths, 245 

Pelasgian survivals, 10 

Pelasgians, 15, 1 8 

Pelican, The, and its pouch, 145 

" Perfecte," 123 

Persian Empire, 26 

Petchenegs, 15 

Peter and Asan, 51 

Peter, St., and the fallen angel, 
75 ; his establishment and 
horses, 76 ; horses stolen by the 
cuckoo, 77 ; God and the Devil, 

80 ; Feast of, and the wolves, 

8 1 ; gets sparks inside the flint, 
87 ; The Devil stealing the sun 
(carol), 99 ; God, St. Peter, and 
the lazy shepherd, 114 ; and 
clever women, 131 ; and the 
nun beetle, 132 ; and vermin, 
143 ; and the boastful thrush, 
153 ; recovers the contract with 
the devil, 216 ; sole of his foot 
injured, 217 ; apple tree of, 343 

Peter the Great, 55 

Philology, Comparative, Analogy 

of, with folk-lore, 14, 1 6 
Philomela and Halcyon, 21 
Philtres, 175, 222 
Physiologus, 27 
Pic, The Emperor, the sun, and 

Lady Mary, 199 
Pine, The, and the soul, 341 
Planudes, 30 

Plover, The, and Our Lady, 183 
Pobres, 26 
Pointer, The, 317 
Poison-fly of Kolumbatsch, 117, 

1 20 

Poles, The, 22 

Political animal broadsides, 33 
Politis, N., 88 
Polycrates, 272 
Polyphemus, 262 
" Popa " (priests), 125 
Por, Emperor, 124 
Porus, King, 125 



Poultry, Charm against the illness 

of, 349 

Prehistoric survivals, 10 
Priests and nuns, The Emperor 

Por and, 124 ; priests as locusts, 


Priscillianites of Spain, 45, 49 
Priscillianus, 46 
Provence, 41 
Proverbs, 29 
Pumpkins, The titmouse and, 146 

" Questions and Answers " (Luci- 
daria), 52 

Ralston, Russian Folk Tales, 65, 
178, 195, 213, 219 

Rat, The, journeys to God, 318 ; 
and the daughter of the sun, 318 

Raven, The, 1 70 ; croaking omen, 
175 ; and drought, 178 ; and 
burial of Abel, 178 ; of Noah's 
ark, 278 ; turns black and feeds 
on carcases, 279 ; eggs hatched 
by frost, 279 ; the bird of oracle, 
279 ; in mythology, 279 ; Ru- 
manian popular beliefs, 280 ; a 
bird of ill-omen, 280 ; the young 
of the, 357 ; why it hops in its 
walk, 363 ; why it mates differ- 
ently, 364 

Recared, 45, 47 

Religious character of Rumanian 
animal tales, i, 5 ; religious 
beliefs, 3 ; religious cause for 
unity of folk-lore, u ; religious 
sectarians and use of animal 
tales, 31 ; propaganda and 
popular rhymes, 47 ; popular 
religious songs, 48 

Reverence, Lack of, in the stories, 


Reynard cycle, 54 
Reynard the Fox, 8, 31 ; and the 

clergy, 33 

Ring, The, and the fish, 271 
Roads and pathways, 179 
Romans, 15 

Rosebush, The, and the soul, 341 
Royal Asiatic Society, Journal, 30, 


Rumania, The saints in, 40 
Rumanian animal tales, Charac- 
teristics of, i ; religious char- 
acter 3 ; the interest of their 
study, 4 ; their two groups, 4 ; 
similarity with those of other 

nations, 6 ; their origins, 7, 1 7, 
36 ; their survival, 9 ; parallels, 
20 ; fables not found among the, 
23 ; not local, survivals, or iso- 
lated, 23 ; their source, 25, 26 ; 
fables not " humanised," 28 ; 
their moral nature, 58 ; syn- 
cretism, 59 

Rumanian language, Slavonic in, 
17, 1 8 ; and the gipsies, 17 ; of 
Latin origin, 17 ; purity of, 17 ; 
elements of other languages in, 
1 8 ; no old Teutonic words in, 

Rumanian peasantry, Supersti- 
tions of, 55 

Rumanian Popular Literature, His- 
tory of, 30. See Gaster 

Rumanians of Latin origin, 10 ; 
how long in Rumania, 50 ; 
unity with the Bulgarians, 51 ; 
and the wasp and bee, 135, 137 

Rushava, 117 

Russia and the transmission of 
folk-tales, 24 ; the saints in, 40 ; 
heterodox sects, 53 

Russian tales, 22, 26, 27 ; animal 
tales, 53 

Ruthenians, 22 

Sahula, 31 

Saineanu, L., Basmele Romane, 72, 

St. George, 121. See also George, 


Saints, The, 39, 40 ; on earth, 76 
Saints, Lives of the, 120 
Samodiva. See Sila. 
Sanziana, 117 
Sarcophaga canaria, 215 
Satan. See Devil, The 
Satan worship, 89 
Satires, Animal, 31, 32 
Saturday, Holy Mother, 236 
Satyrs, 89 

Saul and David, 358 
Saw-fly, why is it red ? 104 ; why 

does it live in stables ? 108 
Saxons, 15 
Scapegoat, The, 89 
Schott, A. and A., 58 
Scripture characters, legends of, 57 
Sea, The, divided, 268 
Sects, Influence of, 55 
Seed of the earth, The devil and, 

Seirim, 89 



Semitic languages, 14 

Serpent as deceiver of Eve, 219 ; 

bites the swallow's tail, 220 
Seth, The dog dwells with, 362 

Setter, The, 317 

Sevastos, 319 

Sezatoarea, 58 

Sheba, Queen of, 239 

Sheep, made by the Devil, 22, 88 ; 
given to Adam, 79 ; the shep- 
herd and the (God and the 
lamb), 94 ; and the gad-fly, 115, 
116; God's blessing on, 138; 
and the dog, 361 

Shepherd, The polite, and the gad- 
fly, 115, 116 

Shirt, The poisoned, 299 

Sicily, Survivals in, 10 

Sila Samodiva, 238 

Silkworm, The, its origin, 193 

Sin arises among men, no 

Sindbad the Sailor, 262 

Singing of the birds, 151 

Skeat, Walter, 28 

Slavonic language and the Ru- 
manian language, 17 ; in Ru- 
mania, 51 

Slavonic tales, Parallels with Ru- 
manian, 22, 33 

Slavs, 15, 50 ; and saints, 40 ; in 
the Balkans, 43 

" Sleep " ring, 204 

Smiths, The, and nails for the 
Crucifixion, 184 

Snake, The, 82 ; the Devil as 
Eve's house-snake, 211 ; stops 
up holes in the ark, 218 ; saved 
from the burning tree, and King 
Solomon, 325 ; with a headache, 


Snake-bite, Charm for a cow 
against, 351 ; charm against, 

Solomon, King, gift of the tuft to 

the hoopoe, 230 ; Solomon's 

ring, 272 ; as judge between the 

man and the snake, 325 
Songs and ballads, Religious, 48 
Sorcery, 55 
Soul, The pilgrimage of the, after 

death, 341 ; Egyptian ideas on, 

Spain, The saints in, 40 ; the 

Goths in, 41 ; Arab conquest of, 

4 6 
Sparrow, Christ's curse on, 195 ; 

age of, 196 ; and the sapling, 

196 ; charms against, 197 ; 
accuses man, 339 
Sparrow-hawk, The, 302 
Spider, The sullen, 70 ; and the 
Holy Mother, 184, 185, 186; 
hangs on a thread, 185, 186 ; 
David and the use of, 358 
Spiritual unification in religion, 


Stag, The, and the maiden, 95 
Starling, The, variant of Partridge, 

fox, and hound story, 293 
Stars. The, fallen angels, 74 ; the 
Great Bear or Car. 80 ; the 
stolen, 99 

Steel, Mrs. F. A., 28 
Step-mother, The wicked, 225 
Stone, The, eats the Devil and 

becomes a wolf, 84 
Stork, The, and the waters of life 
and death, 263 ; lose their tails, 
265 ; King of the frogs, 304 ; 
and the tomtit, 305 ; pleads for 
man, 340 

Sultan's horse, The, 329 
Summer, The thrush and the mak- 
ing of, 153 

Sun, The, stolen, 99 ; The Devil 
and the, 71 ; marriage of the, 
72 ; and moon, 72 ; and God's 
oxen (Dull-flies), 102 ; and the 
Emperor Pic, 199 ; and the 
young knight (cricket), 207 ; 
and the princess Little Light 
(lark), 240 ; and the rat, 318 ; 
slandered by the moon, 359 
Sun, Festival of the, 246 ; Mother 
of the, 242, 244 ; Sister of the, 
245, 247, 248 

Sunday, Holy Mother, 237, 273 
Survivals in folk- tales, 9, 12, 15, 

16, 19, 36, 37, 38 

Swallow. The, and the Holy 
Mother, 185, 186 ; a sacred 
bird, 1 88 ; its origin and forked 
tail, 1 88, 220 ; guardian spirit 
of the knocking mountains, 265 ; 
the demon's wife becomes a 
swallow with red breast and 
divided tail, 271 ; servant of 
Holy Sunday, 273 ; a sacred 
bird, 274 ; pleads for man, 340 
Swan, The, The king and swan 
maiden, 249 ; origin of, 254 ; 
" Song of the dying swan," 254 ; 
legend of the swan maiden 
(carol), 256 

3 80 


Swine, Blood of, to water the vine, 

Sword, The, and the threads, 


Synaxarium, 120 
Syntipas, 330 
Syria, 30, 31, 36 
Syrians, 15 

Tannhauser legend, 204 
Tartarian language of the Bulgars, 


Tartars, 15, 24 

Teeth of children, Crows and, 175 
Temple, R. C., 28 
Temple, The burning of the, and 

the swallows, 188 
Teodorescu, G. Dem., 58 
Teutonic mythology, 49 
Theodosius and Arianism, 42 
Thessaly, 116 
Thieves, 76 
Thrace, 10, 24, 26, 50 
Thrush, The yellow, 151 ; the 

boastful, 153 
Thumb, A., Bulletin of John Ry- 

lands Library, 93 
Thunder, 66 

Thursday, Holy Mother, 236 
Tiger, The, and the lion, 308 
Titmouse, The, and the pumpkin, 


Titus the wicked, 357 
Toads, 82 
Tobit, Book of, 30 
Toledo, Council of, 47 
Tomtit, The, and the stork, 305 
Toothache, The ant as a remedy 

against, 283 
Tophail, Ibn, 31 
Tortoise, The, Origin of, 180 ; as 

almoner of the Virgin, 192, 194 ; 

in the procession to Golgotha, 


Totemism, 2 

Toulouse, 41 ; Council of, 47 

Transmigration of the soul into 
animals. See Metempsychosis 

Transmission of folk-tales, 4, 6, 7, 

Transylvania, Saxon colony in, 
22 ; tales collected from Ru- 
manians in, 58 

" Tree, The world," 49 

Tristram and Isolde, 248 

Turkish conquest, 52 

Turks, 15 

Turtle dove and its song, 149 ; and 
its love for its mate, 299 ; its 
tears, 299 

Twilight, The stolen, 99 

Tylor, E. B., on beast tales in 
his Primitive Culture, 8 

Ulfilas, 42, 44 
Ulysses, 262 

Valens, Emperor, 42 

Vallachia, 51 

" Vegetation god," 10 

Vermin, St. Peter and, 144 ; 

charms against, 221 
Vilas, 21 
Vine, The, none before the flood, 

90 ; Noah discovers the grapes, 

91 ; St. Dionysios and bones of 
bird, lion, and donkey, 92 

Virgin, The. See Mary 

Visions of St. Peter, Paul, and the 

Lady Mary, 344 
Vitae Sanctorum, 120 
Vixen, The, and the torn cat, 332 
Voinic inflorit, 104 
Volga, The, 44 
Volsunga Saga, 47 
Vultures, 302 

Wagtail, The gipsies' bird, 161 ; 

" half a bird," 161 ; its bor- 
rowed tail and why it wags it, 


Wanderer, Poems of the, 15 
Wart, Mole, charm against, 179 
Wasp, The, as the Gipsy's bee, 

J 35 *37 J David and the use of, 


Water, The birds dig for, 176, 178 
Waters made holy by Baptism, 

80 ; of life and death, 263 
Weasel, Charm if bitten by a, 354 ; 

not among the creatures of the 

sea, 366 

Weaver son, The (spider), 69 
" Wedding Feast of Tom, The," 22 
Wells, The birds dig, 176, 178 
Wesselofsky, A. N., 53, 101 
Wheelwrights (bull-flies), 103 
" Who killed Cock Robin ? " 33. 

See also Cock Robin 
" Who killed the cat ? " 33 
Widow, The, and her two children, 


Wife, Bad, Charm against, 132 
Willow tree, The, St. Mary, 344 



Wind, The, 126 ; and the rat, 

Wine, Noah and, 91 ; St. Dionysios 

and, 93 
Witchcraft, 54, 55 ; and the illness 

of animals, 348 
Witches, 89 ; philtres and spells 

of, 175 
Wlislocki's Zigeuner-marchen, 65, 


Wolf, The, 25 ; and the lamb, 27 ; 
myths of the, 49 ; St. Peter's 
dogs, 77, 81 ; why the wolf is 
ferocious, 79 ; made by the 
devil, 79, 82, 83, 85 ; power 
over the devil, 80 ; the devil's 
hairs, 80, 81, 82, 83 ; the eyes 
fired by the devil, 81, 82 ; the 
devil becomes a wolf, 84 ; eats 
the devil, 85 ; God's dogs, 88 ; 
kills the goats, 88 ; the boast- 
ing, 309 ; and the pointer and 
setter, 317 ; and the Sultan's 
horse, 329 ; and the lion, 329, 

331 ; and the torn cat, 332 ; 
challenges the dog, 335 ; in 
stories from Ahikar, 355 ; and 
the dog, 361 

Woman, Inquisitive old, who be- 
came the woodpecker, 141 ; the 
greedy old, who became the tor- 
toise, 1 80 
Women, The lark and the taming 

of, 296 

Woodpecker, Origin of the, 141 
World-wide range of fairy lore, 4 
Worms in apples, 122 ; Day of 
the worms, 123 ; that eat the 
cherries, 202 ; charms against 
worms in beasts, 352, 353 
Wren, The, lends its tail to the 
wagtail, 228 ; becomes king by 
a trick, 300 ; a furtive bird, 301 

Ygdrasil, The Northern, 345 

Zanas, 21 
Zoroastrianism, 26 








Gaster, Moses (ed. and tr.) 
Rumanian bird and beast