Bran Castle’s Unique Door Knocker and a Crocus Legend

Bran Castle's Unique Door Knocker and a Crocus Legend

There is a natural progression from the medieval Bran Castle with its unique brass door knocker in the shape of a queen’s head and the crocus legend.

Bran Castle’s Unique Door Knocker

The Bran Pass was long time one of the most important trade routs in Medieval times, between Asia, Moldavia, Wallachia, and further towards the Hungarian Kingdom and the West powers of Europe, and especially after the fall of Constantinople, after which the Ottoman Empire had full control over the Bosphorus strait, thus strangling in its unfaithful hand the sea trading of Venice and Genoa…

Bran Castle, a Unique Door Knocker, and crocus legend in Spring

Thus, the intent and the need arose for a fortress to be build, as the reinforcement of this geographic location was a necessity, military and economic. Military because the Bran Pass had the potential to also become an invasion route for the Turks, if ever they were to advance northward through the Carpathian Mountains…

As they did.

A deed was issued on 19 November 1377 by Louis the Great (or Louis the Hungarian, from the house of Anjou), and this deed gave the population of Brasov (then Corona) the rights to build a stone fortress at Bran: “of their own endeavors, and at their own expense.’ A rather important note, as it reinforces the local’s rights over their fortress.

The Anjou family was involved in the initial building of Corvin Castle, Transylvania.

Bran Castle's Unique Door Knocker and a Crocus Legend, Thursday Doors

A little over half a millennium later, on 1st December 1920, the people of Brasov donate the Bran Citadel to Queen Mary of Romania:

“We, the Town Council of Brasov… hereby unanimously decide in today’s festive meeting to bequeath to Her Majesty Queen Mary of Greater Romania the ancient castle of Bran, so laden with memories of our history.”

Queen Marie of Romania, also known as Marie of Edinburgh, was the daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia. Thus, she was granddaughter of Queen Victoria and of Tsar Alexander II of Russia. Marie married Crown Prince Ferdinand of Romania, thus giving up her place in line at the Crown of Great Britain. She was ‘lovely, with sparkling blue eyes’, he was ‘shy but amiable’.

Build on a rocky cliff, Bran Castle is, and crocuses will naturally bloom nearby.

A Crocus Legend for Spring

(This is an edited extract from my second WIP, 36 806 words in today, and a great progress during the past weeks).

‘Once upon a time,’ he says, ‘one upon a time there lived two sisters. And they were kind as they were spirited, and beautiful as they were hard-working.’
All I can do is stare at his hand, at the Autumn Crocus in his hand. It blooms a smile… By its pale mauve petals with their white center I recognize the Violet Queen.
‘Were they two princesses?’ I say.
He sucks his breath. ‘Could be, but I think they were just two girls.’
‘Like me,’ I say.
‘Like you,’ his eyes say. ‘But their mother had died, and soon enough their father remarried. And the stepmother did not like the two sisters, not one bit. So,’ he added quickly, knowing that I will open my mouth and add to his story, ‘so, he sent the one of them away. Chased her away. In autumn. It wasn’t enough for the wicked step mother and,’ he added quickly again, ‘soon enough, the following spring, she chased the other sister away. Alas, the two girls never saw each other again, and missed one another so much. No matter how far they searched, how many people they asked, couldn’t find each other. After their timely death God turned His face towards them and transformed them both into flowers, crocuses. That bloom often in the same space, yet one in autumn,’ and his right hand slides forward, offering me the Autumn Crocus, and one in spring.’ His left hand surfaces. It holds a piece of parchment he must have taken from the printing press where he helps at night. It is folded and his gesture beckons me to open it. I do so gently, as one would unswaddle a baby. And I find a perfect Spring Crocus, its pale violet still intact, but translucent, preserved in its papery cloak. It appears to be sleeping. I dare not touch its petals, so thin they are.
‘So they can finally be together,’ he ends his story, ‘in death.’

Copyright © Patricia Furstenberg. All Rights Reserved.

thursday doors, 100 words story

Thursday Doors is a blog feature everyone can take part in, hosted by Dan Antion over at No Facilities – where you can discover more doors from around the world.

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A Door set in Stone for #ThursdayDoors

a door set in stone for Thursday Doors, short story

A Door set in Stone is a very short story I wrote to go with this week’s door image for the Thursday Doors, #ThursdayDoors, blog challenge where everyone can take part in, and hosted by Dan Antion over at No Facilities.

A Door set in Stone

It was the gurgling laughter that grabbed his attention causing him to nearly trip. It rose from behind the brick wall and floated with the wind like the bubbles kids blow at birthday parties. His eyes had left the road on their own accord, surprised as he was to hear a human voice. The toe of his right shoe hit against the raised pavement, his knees buckled downwards, his arms sprang upwards, then spun like two propellers, and for the duration of three rather large forward steps he’d been sure he was going to kiss the pavement.  

He didn’t, for he had recovered his balance by the time he had reached the next yard.

That blasted buckle in the pavement, the result of an overgrown root from a nigh tree! It had produced a hump in the ground, one he knew well. Each season he had to watch his footing here for a different reason. Exactly here, seven steps from the crossroad if he came from home and twenty-four from the traffic circle when he returned home… In wintertime, the slight downhill right past the bump became icy and slippery. In summer, the rain would make the tree overhead throw off its flowers, while the humid heat would do the rest, turning them into slimy mulch.

A Door set in Stone for #ThursdayDoors
A door from South Africa for Thursday Doors.

Yet today a human voice had laughed behind that brick wall, the wall he’d walked past every day and never noticed, focused as he always was on that bump in the road.

Halfling the wall stood an arched wooden door framed in stone and flanked by two ceramic vases, like two giants keeping watch. He stopped in the middle of the road, his mouth half-open, wondering how he’d never noticed any of these before, before the laughter.

The next day he left home earlier. Because he never liked to be late for work, that’s why. As soon as he approached the brick fence he slowed his pace, treading carefully, his eyes jumping from the road to the wall, from the wall to the road, while all the time he was listening, trying to pinpoint the instant before the laughter will bubble and rise over the wall again. He slowed his pace so much he nearly stopped, nearly, yet he didn’t. And the laughter didn’t come. And it didn’t come the following day either, nor the next. Until one day when he forgot all about it, intent as he was on the road.

A long, pink, sparkly dress the kind one would wear to a ball. A Door set in Stone for #ThursdayDoors

That day he’d caught the fold of a dress disappearing inside right before the arched doors slid shut. A long, pink, sparkly dress the kind one would wear to a ball.
Then the laughter rose again, sounding different this time. Questioning, somehow.
What? Authority?

The knocker’s thud still echoed in his ears, his hand still raised, when the door opened.

‘I was waiting for you,’ She smiled. And he was lost.

‘And had I rang the bell instead?’ was the last coherent thought to flash through his mind.

A missing report was filed a couple of weeks later. Only when files began piling on his desk had his co-workers noticed   his absence. Even then, it took them two days to figure out his name.

As for the bump in the road, it is still there, to avert the eyes of the passer-by from the door set in stone.

Copyright © Patricia Furstenberg. All Rights Reserved.

A Door set in Stone for #ThursdayDoors

thursday doors, 100 words story

Thursday Doors is a blog feature everyone can take part in, hosted by Dan Antion over at No Facilities – where you can discover more doors from around the world.

Green Are… Poem and Photography from my Garden

Green Are... Poem and Photography from my Garden - Thoughts on green and why green is good, but only if it comes in a bunch

Green Are, Poem and Photography from my Garden

Green are the leaves that grow between birds
Outside my window, playing hide and seek with the sky.
And green are the last of my vineyard’s hopes too,
Among rusty leaves, the last of a summer of grapes.

Green are my thoughts, the ones you see through my eyes –
Is my soul green? I surely hope it still is.
And green are the thoughts I keep in my heart,
For they are not ripe-green yet.

For green is good, I think,
As long as aplenty green things there are.
The singular green frightens me, envious and cold,
Therefore green is good in a bunch.

For green were the seas of my childhood tales
Of maidens who could and princes who dared, a tad.
And green were my teen years,
When I thought I could do it all, like them.

Green are the spines on my bookshelves now,
And a magic green pencil lays on my desk
For the times inspiration fails me,
I pick it and its energy handwrites me new tales.

Green Are Poem Photography

Green are my hopes that end one more decade,
And I think that’s pretty cool too.
For green speaks of more springs to come,
Of harvests of hopes, and a future in green.

Green Are Poem Photography

If you enjoyed ‘Green Are… Poem and Photography from my Garden’ you might also like to read:

Poets, Poetry and a Pandemic
As Good as Gold – Why, Hedgehog?

You can discover all my books with Amazon and even read them for free with Kindle Unlimited.

Maroons, Autumn’s Chocolates

Maroons Autumn's chocolates, chestnuts on forest floor

As Autumn fades into Winter, I find myself longing for roasted chestnuts. Prickly, like the history of their maroons shades, they are Autumn’s chocolates.

Maroons Autumn's chocolates. Coffee, Silent Heroes book, quill and ink pot.

I trust my inspiration to the rich, maroon liquid I came to associate with writing and quiet introversion at home. Its many shade and richness, in the auburn Autumn, are luscious bits of legal bliss.

Maroons Autumn's chocolates. Chocolate speckled eggs in a nest in forest.

Perhaps autumn found inspiration for its sepia, russet and chocolates between the patterns of birds’ eggs.

Maroons Autumn's chocolates. person holding fireworks in a forest.

Did you know that before naming a color, maroon, already associated with chestnuts bursting in the fire, dubbed a firework’s explosion?

Marooned by Howard Pyle, Public Domain. Maroons Autumn's chocolates
Marooned by Howard Pyle, Public Domain

I love how the word maroon escaped from a 17th century label for unruly people… to anyone marooned on an island in 18th century & beyond. It happened because authoritative would sent the wild specimens on an island they could not escape from, nor survive on!

Maroon has richness to it, depths, warmth. It is a promise never disappointing. Burgundy roses, chestnuts, chocolates paired with a glass of wine, coffee, tulips, an aubergines. Yet in art, maroon is perceived as a shade of red, a darker red – near burgundy, carmine, crimson, fire engine red, magenta, rust (like russet?) and scarlet, terra cotta, Venetian red, vermilion… A poem of colors.

One of my favorite spots of maroon in art is in The Wedding Feast at Cana by the Italian artist Paolo Veronese, a massive painting housed in the Salle des États of the Louvre Museum, facing The Mona Lisa. The Wedding Feast at Cana tells a beautiful biblical story of the Marriage at Cana, at which Jesus converts water to wine. And… there are dogs painted right in the center and one other dog with a gorgeous maroon head… on the left side:

I leave you now with a Maroon Haiku:

Of secret islands,
It transcended centuries
Boom! In my coffee.

maroons autumn’s chocolates maroons autumn’s chocolates

Amber, Autumn’s Dragonfly Moment Captured in a Leaf

amber autumn dragonfly moment

It all started with a dragonfly in amber. Dragonfly, the epitome of a perfect moment. Amber, the symbol of courage. The courage to live in the moment, for each moment is perfect. And Autumn captured it for eternity. dragonfly amber symbol courage

amber dragonfly

If sepia is autumn’s way of reminding us that time does flow, amber if a gift. A chance of being immortalized.
Step into the autumn’s amber glow and capture the moment, the best of you. Think of your future self holding this golden instant of what it could have been…

amber autumn

Scented maroons and pure amber unlock the morning horizons. Each day can be a journey of discovery.
The word safari comes from the Arabic safariya, an expedition during which discoveries can be made. Be it a new smell, a new sound or just appreciative silence.

amber Safari from Arabic sfariya

Glorious amber was originally used in English to describe a substance used as spice and in perfumery.
It originated in Arabic anbar.

amber a substance used in spice and perfumery - dragonfly amber symbol courge
From a dragonfly suspended by a sun’s ray, midair, to a teardrop embedded in amber.

What comes to your mind when you think of a dragonfly and of amber, and what symbol speaks of courage to you?

My latest book,Silent Heroes, looks at war from a different perspective. If warriors and local people would help each other, would global fights still take place?

silent heroes

BUY Silent Heroes the book here: Amazon universal link

Love symbolism? You might like to read:

Symbolism in Silent Heroes, the Story behind it
4 Romanian Myths between Culture, History and the Sacred
Snow’s Thousand Faces and Meanings

dragonfly amber symbol courage