Thursday, February 6, 2014

Myths and tales from Şicula, Romania

Origin of the name Şicula
Legends say that in the old times the village was scattered among the region to avoid the great floods of the Crişul Alb River. The previous community consisted in fact of many „cătune”- hamlets- spread on the highest places of the field. The old men gathered to set a new settlement and decide upon the place and the name of the new village. One of the chieftains, Cula, by his name, was angry and late for the meeting. The other ones thought he wouldn’t come at all, but to everybody’s surprise he showed himself at last. When they saw Cula one of those local chiefs said: “Iacă şi Cula” (Here‘s Cula, too). Thus they agreed to call the settlement Şicula. Cula is a short form of the Romanian name Niculae, Nicolae; there are several people in Romania and Moldova with Cula as a surname …

The tale of the rivers called Criş
The old men say that, once upon a time, when the men lived together with the giants, there was a prince of the fields, greedy for gold. He heard of a big gold mine in the Eastern Mountains, although nobody knew the place, but Criş the Old and his three sons. The prince had them captured, dungeoned and beaten by his guards to find out the fortune. The old man died in torture, but he did not reveal the secret. The lads, scared, decided to tell the place and live so that they could revenge their father’s death. So they set out for the place where the sun rises to find the mine, in unsteady steps, followed by the soldiers. After three day and night’s tiring walk the three lads disagreed on the way to follow, each of them pointing to another direction. The elder one said they had to keep the sunrise road, the other two said the right path would be souther. Quick tempered, the elder brother got angry and started hotfoot where he thought the way was, escorted by a group of soldiers. The second brother, a light-colored lad, and the youngest brother, a black one, turned south.  Later the youngest brother thought that the first brother might have been right, so he turned east, too. They wandered many days and nights in search of the golden mine, escorted by the guards. In the end the second brother, who went south, came across the treasure in the mountains. But when he wanted to show it to the soldiers, Vâlva Comorii (=the female spirit protective of the treasure) came out of the mine and put a spell on the lad turning him into a rock and the land under his feet into a stream. Vâlva did the same the other brothers, so that they would never find the treasure. The soldiers were also turned into springs. Thus the quick tempered brother became Crişul Repede (the rapid/quick one), the black brother became Crişul Negru (the black one), the faired-haired brother became Crişul Alb (the white one), while the guards became the other “Crişuri” (streams with the name Criş), too. The rocks of the three brothers can still be seen at the springs of the rivers, if not grounded by winds and rainfall.

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