Youth Without Age and Life Without Death ~ part 3

Youth Without Age and Life Without Death ~ part 3

If you enjoyed the Romanian folktale Emperor Aleodor , the first part and the second part of Youth Without Age and Life Without Death do find out how it al ends below.

Youth Without Age and Life Without Death ~ part 3

The prince spent a very long time at the palace without being aware of it, for he always remained just as young as he was when he arrived. He wandered about the woods without ever having a headache. He amused himself in the golden palace, lived in peace and quiet with his wife and her sisters, enjoyed the beauty of the flowers, and the sweet, pure air. He often went hunting; but one day, while pursuing a hare, he shot two arrows at it without hitting the animal. Angrily chasing it he discharged a third arrow, which struck it, but in his haste the luckless man had not noticed that he had passed through the Valley of Sighs while following the game.

He picked it up and turned toward home, but was suddenly seized with a longing for his father and mother. He did not venture to speak of this wish to his wife, yet by his grief and restlessness both she and her sisters instantly perceived his condition.

“Oh! luckless prince, you have passed through the Valley of Sighs,” they said in terror.

“I did so, my dear ones, without meaning to be so imprudent, but now the longing to see my parents is killing me! Yet I can not forsake you. I have already spent several days with you and have no cause to complain. So I’ll go and see my parents once more, and then come back to you, never to leave you again.”

“Do not quit us, beloved prince! Your parents died two or three hundred years ago, and if you go, we fear you yourself will never return; stay with us, for a presentiment of evil tells us that you will perish!”

Youth Without Age and Life Without Death ~ part 3

All the entreaties of the three ladies, as well as those of the horse, were unable to quiet the young hero’s longing for his parents, which was fairly consuming him alive.

At last the horse said: “If you don’t listen to me, master, whatever happens to you will be your own fault. I’ll tell you something, and if you accept my condition, I’ll take you back.”

“I’ll accept it with many thanks,” replied the prince; “let me hear it.”

“As soon as you reach your father’s palace you will dismount, but I am to return alone in case you stay even an hour.”

“Be it so,” the prince agreed.

They made their preparations for the journey, the prince embraced the ladies and after having bade them farewell he rode away, but they sobbed and wept bitterly when he left them.

They reached the country which had once been the kingdom of the Scorpion Witch, but found cities there; the woods had become fields; the prince questioned one person and another about the Scorpion Witch and her house, but they answered that their grandfathers had heard from their great, great grandfathers that such silly tales had once been told.

“How is that possible!” replied the prince, “I came through this region myself only a short time ago,” and he told them all he knew.

The people laughed at him as if he were a lunatic or a person talking in his sleep, and the prince angrily rode on without noticing that his hair and beard were growing white.

Youth Without Age and Life Without Death ~ part 3

When he reached the realm of the Woodpecker Fairy, the same questions and answers were exchanged. The prince could not understand how these places had altered so much in a few days, and again rode angrily on. He now had a white beard that reached to his waist, and he felt as if his feet were beginning to tremble.

Quitting this country he arrived in his father’s empire. Here he found new people, new towns, and every thing so much changed that he could not recognize it. At last he came to the palace where he was born. When he dismounted, the horse kissed his hand, and said:

“I wish you good health, master, I’m going back to the place from which I came. If you want to go too, mount quickly, and we’ll be off.”

“Farewell, I too hope to return soon.”

The horse darted away with the speed of an arrow.

When the prince saw the ruined palace and the weeds growing around it, he sighed deeply and with tears in his eyes tried to remember how magnificent these places had once been. He walked around the building two or three times, tried to recollect how every room, every corner had looked, found the stable where he had discovered the horse, and then went down into the cellar, whose entrance was choked up with fallen rubbish.

Youth Without Age and Life Without Death ~ part 3

He groped hither and thither, holding up his eyelids with his hands, and scarcely able to totter along, while his snowy beard now fell to his knees, but found nothing except a dilapidated old chest, which he opened. It seemed empty, but as he raised the lid a voice from the bottom said: “Welcome, if you had kept me waiting much longer, I too should have gone to decay.”

Then his death, which had become completely shriveled in the chest, seized him; but the prince fell lifeless on the ground and instantly crumbled into dust.

Into the saddle then I sprung, The tale to tell to old and young.

Youth Without Age and Life Without Death (Tinerete Fara de Batranete si Viata Fara de Moarte) is a Romanian folktale discovered by Petre Ispirescu, Romanian editor, folklorist, printer and publicist, and first published in 1862 in local newspaper Țăranul român (Romanian Peasant).

tales by Patricia Furstenberg on Amazon
Discover my books on Amazon.
Follow this blog:

Youth Without Age and Life Without Death

Youth Without Age and Life Without Death

If you enjoyed the eerie feeling and local color of Romanian folktale Emperor Aleodor you will love reading Youth Without Age and Life Without Death. Enjoy it and remember, the magic of Romanian folktales starts with the first words.

Youth Without Age and Life Without Death ~ part 1

Once upon a time long, long before something happened whose likeliness never occurred before, for if it had not happened it could not be told. When the flea had one foot shod with ninety-nine pounds of iron and jumped into the glory of the sky to get us fairy stories… When the fly would write on the wall, a bigger liar being the one who doesn’t believe what he is told… 

There was once a mighty emperor and empress. Both were young and handsome, and as they desired the blessing of children they did every thing that was necessary to secure it, that is they went to the witches and philosophers and asked them to read the stars to find out whether they would have children or not.
But it was all in vain.
Finally the emperor heard that a very wise old man lived in a neighboring village, and sent for him. The messengers returned with the answer: “Let him who needs me come to me.” So the emperor and empress set out for the wise man’s house, taking with them several of their courtiers, attendants, and soldiers. When the old man saw them in the distance, he rose, went to meet them, and said at once:

in a land far away - Youth Age Life Death

“Welcome! But what do you want to know, oh, emperor, your wish will bring you sorrow.”

“I am not here to question you about that,” replied the emperor, “but to learn whether you have any plants you can give us that will bestow us the blessing of children.”

“I have,” the old man answered, “but you will possess only one child. He will be a handsome, lovable boy, yet you will not be able to keep him long.”

After the emperor and empress had obtained the herbs they joyfully returned to the palace. The whole empire, the courtiers, and all the attendants rejoiced too. But when the hour of birth came, the child began to scream in a way no magic arts could silence it. The emperor commenced to promise it all the good things the world contained, but it was impossible to quiet him.

“Hush, father’s pet,” said the emperor, “I will give you this or that kingdom. Hush, my son, I will give you this or that princess for your wife.” At last, when he saw the child would not stop, he added: “Hush, my boy, I will give you youth without age and life without death.”

Then the prince stopped crying and was born. The courtiers beat drums and blew trumpets, and there were great rejoicings throughout the empire for a whole week.

The older the boy grew, the more thoughtful and reflective he became, handsome too. He went to the schools and the philosophers and gained every kind of learning, so that the emperor died of joy and came to life again. The whole realm was proud of having a prince so wise and learned, a second King Solomon.

Then one day, when the lad had just reached his fifteenth year and the emperor sat at a banquet with the nobles and grandees of the country, the handsome prince rose, saying: “Father, the time has come, you must now give me what you promised at my birth!”

Youth Without Age and Life Without Death - party

When the emperor heard this he grew very sorrowful and answered: “Why, my son, how can I give you an impossible thing? If I promised it to you then, it was only to hush you.”

“If you can’t give it to me, father, I shall be obliged to wander through the whole world till I find what was promised to me, and for which I was born.”

Then all the nobles and the emperor fell at his feet and besought him not to quit the country, because, as the courtiers said, his father was growing old, and they would place him on the throne and give him the most beautiful princess under the sun for his wife. But it was impossible to shake his resolution, he remained as firm as a rock. After his father had seen and duly considered all these things, he gave his consent and prepared to supply the prince with provisions and whatever else he might need for his journey.

The young hero went to the imperial stables, where the finest steeds in the whole realm were standing, to choose one of them; but when he laid his hand on the horse’s tail he knocked it down, and so they all fell, one after another. At last, just as he was going out, he let his eyes wander around the stables once more and saw in one corner a sick, weak horse, covered with sores. He went up to it, and when he grasped it by the tail, the animal turned its head, saying:

“What do you command, my master? I thank God that He has permitted a hero’s hand to touch me once more.”

And, planting its feet firmly, it remained standing. The young prince told it what he intended to do, and the horse replied:

“To obtain your wish, you must ask your father for the sword, lance, bow, quiver of arrows, and garments he wore when a youth; but you must take care of me with your own hands for six weeks and give me oats boiled in milk.”

When the prince begged the emperor for the articles the horse had advised, the monarch called the palace chamberlain and ordered him to open all the chests of clothing, that his son might choose what he pleased.
The young hero, after rummaging them three whole days, at last found in the very bottom of an old trunk the weapons and garments his father had worn in his youth, but the arms were covered with rust. He set to work to clean them with his own hands and in six weeks, during the time he was taking care of the horse, he succeeded in making the weapons as bright and shining as a mirror.

When the horse heard from the handsome prince that the clothes and arms were cleaned and ready, it shook itself once. All the sores instantly fell off and there it stood, a strong, well-formed animal, with four wings. When the hero saw this, he said:

Youth Without Age and Life Without Death - magic horse

“We’ll go in three days!”

“May you have a long life, master. From to-day I shall be at your service,” the horse answered.

~ Return tomorrow for part 2 ~

Youth Without Age and Life Without Death (Tinerete Fara de Batranete si Viata Fara de Moarte) is a Romanian folktale discovered by Petre Ispirescu, Romanian editor, folklorist, printer and publicist, and first published in 1862 in local newspaper Țăranul român (Romanian Peasant).

tales by Patricia Furstenberg on Amazon
Discover my books on Amazon.
Follow this blog:

What I Hope Readers Take from my Books

hope readers books Furstenberg

I write with the hope that readers, while looking for a captivating and interesting read, a way to unwind and pass the time, will also find a novel that addresses their mind and their humanity, a book that speaks to their heart.

I write for the joy of it, but also for bringing into the light less know contemporary and historical characters. I write in an attempt to connect past and present, the readers of my books with the lesser known, yet equally mystifying and significant, aspects of our history.

hope readers books Pat Furstenberg
What I hope readers will take from y books, by Patricia Furstenberg

We naturally seek the stories of those who lived before us, of those who went through incredible experiences, of those who loved and lost, who followed their dreams and paid dearly for it; people who have already been there, done that. It’s a natural human impulse. Go with it.

What I hope my readers will discover in my books

Realistic, relatable characters and that they will want to know what happens to them, rather than just following the plot.

Heartwarming relationships.

A setting that will transport them to another location, another lifestyle, another time, while still enjoying the safety of their reading space.

A complex story-line, involving historical events, accurately depicted and an addictive storytelling.

That tingling feeling that keeps you turning the pages.

An image, a feeling that will stay with them long after finished my book. Readers have appreciated in my writing the occasional passages they paused upon to enjoy especially for their lyrical descriptions.

A positive feeling, hope, a smile, as my writing has been described as uplifting and heart-warming, “making the world a beautiful place”- although my stories are honest.

An addictive reading, fueled by a passion for the topic and for storytelling.

Although reality can be uncomfortable in places, books can hold a mirror to real life. But life is also filled with joyful moments, with laughter and appreciation for our blessings. I hope readers will discover both in my books, as I write poetry, children’s stories, contemporary and historical fiction.

poetry books inspired by true historical events

Gifts all readers reap out of books

Reduced stress and depressive thoughts, while instilling a sense of tranquility.

An increased IQ, a wider vocabulary and an improved memory.

An increased EQ, making us more empathic.

Improved analytical thinking and a deeper knowledge of what we want.

Also, reading as a form of mental stimulation slows down dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

hope readers books Furstenberg
What I hope readers take from my books by Patricia Furstenberg

Follow this blog:

Emperor Aleodor, Romanian Folktale, The End

Emperor Aleodor, Aleodor Imparat, is a Romanian folktale gathered by Romanian folklorist and writer Petre Ispirescu in 1875 and translated into English in 19th by historian and linguist Robert Nisbet Bain. I did very little to edit Nisbet Bain’s skillful translation. I liked his choice of early modern English, I thought it gives Emperor Aleodor a charming old-fashioned patina.
Read part one here and part two here.

Emperor Aleodor, a Romanian folktale, The End

“On the second day, Aleodor bethought him of the crow, and immediately the crow stood before him, and said to him: “What dost thou want, my master?”

“Look now, senseless one, what has happened to me. Canst thou not show me a way out of it?”

“Let us try!” and with that, it struck him with its wing and turned him into a young crow, and placed him in the midst of a flock of crows that were flying high in the air in the teeth of a fierce tempest.

As soon as the damsel woke up that morning she reached for her eye-glass and searched for him in every direction. He was nowhere to be found. She looked for him on the earth, but he was not there. She looked for him in the rivers and in the sea, but he was not there either.

The damsel grew pensive. She searched and searched till mid-day when it occurred to her to look upwards also. And perceiving him in the glory of the sky, in the midst of a swarm of crows, she pointed him out with her finger and cried:

“Look! look! Rogue that thou art! Come down from there, man, that hast made thyself into a bit of a bird! Nothing in the fields of heaven can escape my eye!”

emperor Aleodor Romanian folktale - "Come down from there, man, that hast made thyself into a bit of a bird"

Then he came down, for what else could he do? Even the Emperor himself now began to be amazed at the skill and cunning of Aleodor and lent an ear to the prayers of his daughter. Inasmuch, however, as the deal declared that Aleodor was to hide three times, the Emperor said to his daughter: “Wait once more, for I am curious to see what place he will find to hide himself in next.”

The third day, early in the morning, he thought of the ant, and—whisk!— the ant was by his side. When she had found out what he wanted she said to him: “Leave it to me, and if she doth find thee I am here to help thee.”

So the ant turned him into a flower-seed and hid him in the very plate of the damsel, without her perceiving it.

Then the Emperor’s daughter rose up, took her eye-glass, and sought for him all day long, but look where she would, she could not find him. She plagued herself almost to death in her search, for she felt that he was close at hand, though see him she could not. She looked through her eye-glass on the ground, and in the sea, and up in the sky, but she could see him nowhere, and towards evening, tired out by so much searching, she exclaimed:
“Show thyself then, this once! I feel that thou art close at hand, and yet I cannot see thee. Thou hast conquered, and I am thine.”

emperor Aleodor Romanian folktale, "She plagued herself almost to death in her search, for she felt that he was close at hand, though see him she could not."

Then when he heard her say that he had conquered, he slipped slowly down from her plate and revealed himself. The Emperor had now nothing more to say, so he gave the youth his daughter, and when they departed, he escorted them to the boundaries of his empire with great pomp and ceremony.

While they were on the road they stopped at a place to rest, and after they had refreshed themselves somewhat with food, he laid his head in her lap and fell asleep. The daughter of the Emperor could not forbear from looking at him, and her eyes filled with tears as they feasted on his comeliness and beauty. Then her heart grew soft within her, and she could not help kissing him. But Aleodor, when he awoke, gave her a buffet with the palm of his hand that awoke the echoes.

“Nay but, my dear Aleodor!” cried she, “thou hast indeed a heavy hand.”

“I have slapped thee,” said he, “for the deed thou hast done, for I have not taken thee for myself, but for him who bade me seek thee.”

“Good, my brother! but why didst thou not tell me so at home? for then I also would have known what to do. But let be now, for all that is past, yet nothing is lost.”

Then they set out again till they came alive and well to the Half-man-riding-on-the-worse-half-of-a-lame-rabbit.

“Lo, now! I have done my service,” said Aleodor, and with that he would have departed. But when the girl beheld the monster, she shivered with disgust, and would not stay with him for a single moment. The hideous cripple drew near to the maiden and began to caress her with honeyed words, that so she might go with him willingly. But the girl said to him: “Depart from me, Satan, and go to thy mother Hell, who hath cast thee upon the face of the earth!”

red scarf on antlers

Then the half-monster half-man was near to melting for the love he had for the damsel, and, writhing away on his belly, he murmured fair words and sweet nothings hoping it might help to persuade the maid to be his wife. But meanwhile, the damsel had dug a little trench all round herself and stood rooted to the spot with her eyes fixed on the ground. The hideous Satanic skeleton of a monster could not get at her.

“Depart from the face of the earth, thou abomination!” cried she piercing him with her beautiful eyes one last time, “the world is well rid of such a pestilential monster as thou art!”

Still, he strove and strove to get at her, but finding at last he could not reach her, he burst with rage and fury that a mere woman should have so covered him with shame and reproach.

Then Aleodor added the domain of the Half-man-riding-on-the-worse-half-of-a-lame-rabbit to his own possessions, took the daughter of the Green Emperor to wife, and returned to his own empire.

emperor Aleodor Romanian folktale, Deva Fortress, Romania
The actual Dev Fortress, in Romania

And when his people saw him coming back in the company of a smiling spouse as beautiful as the stars of heaven, they welcomed him with great joy, and, mounting once more his imperial throne, he ruled his people in peace and plenty till the day of he felt tired of life.

And now I’ll mount my horse again, and say an “Our Father” before I go. And I’ll mount my horse once more and hope the story was not a bore.”

~~~The End~~~

I hope yo enjoyed Emperor Aleodor, a Romanian folktale.

books by Patricia Furstenberg You can find all my books on Amazon worldwide here.

Follow this blog:

The Journey of Initiation in Romanian Fairy Tales

journey initiation Romanian fairy tales

A strong sense of the place, a memorable, relatable character, a journey of initiation we are eager to follow – are the markings of retellable Romanian fairy tales.

Romanian folk tales are filled with active characters involved in amazing journeys. Perhaps an influence of the millennial transhumance and of a local history forged in battles, seen through the Romanian metaphysical view on religion, what better way to explain the connection between the sacred and the profane but through stories?

Romanian folklore sees the sacred and the profane as two parts that, united, create this world. Thus the journey the main character of a mythical story or a folk tales follows is seen as a bridge connecting the two, a way of communication, of connecting the sacred with the profane. But at the same time this journey, by reaching the sacred, allows the character to achieve a higher level of knowledge and understanding of the world he lives in, the profane.

Going back to my Romanian roots I read my childhood’s fairytales with one though in my mind. That the material read influences not only the style and the form, but also the thoughts and the ideas behind one’s work (and actions). By observing various characters from Romanian fairy tales I drew a mind map of the various journeys of initiation, with examples.

The journey of initiation as depicted in Romanian fairy tales

1. The quest of finding one’s fate, even going to the netherworld

Youth without Age and Life without Death, Tinerete Fara de Batranete si Viata Fara de Moarte, is the story of a young prince who goes in search of that what was promised to him before he was born, a youthful state of life that lasts forever. During his adventure he discovers a land far away, where time passes at a different pace. Surprisingly this fairy tale does not have a happy ending.

The journey of finding what was promised, of finding one’s fate, or the journey to the underworld often includes a forbidden place, a room or an object that has the power to suddenly undo the happiness found. The world that the main character left behind, ruled by normal time, is different than the new world he discovered. Often, there is no exact border between the two. While time cannot physically affect them in the world they discovered at the end of their quest of initiation, we must remember that the main character was born in a world guided by normal time and therefore time can still affect him psychologically (they becomes homesick).

journey initiation Romanian fairy tales

2. The journey of finding a beloved that went (suddenly) missing or of leaving a beloved behind in order to find something lost

The Enchanted Pig, Porcul cel Fermecat, is the story of the youngest princess (of three), the one who marries a pig because that was her fate. Following wrong advice, one night she gets rid of the pig’s skin and this throws her into her journey. Turns out the pig skin was only spell put over a handsome prince that now she must search for all over the world, “until she will wear out three pairs of iron shoes and a steel staff”in order to undo the spell and find happiness again.

Often in Romanian fairy tales a character appears to have a different shape, wear an animal skin that is suddenly lost due to the main character’s mistrust.
The transformation that the secondary charter goes through, often from that of an animal to a human appearance, can represent the hero’s confusion, his or hers lack of experience in dealing with intimate relationships.
It is the journey of initiation the hero must take (in this case of finding something lost, the animal skin) that will eventually allow him/ her to mature enough so that on his / her return a relationship can be pursued.

During this type of journey the character can be forced to leave the loved one behind due to a mistake. The journey he is about to undertake will help solve the problems, or redeem the sin that was committed and was the catalyst of he journey.
On the other hand, the hero that undergoes such a journey shows exceptional qualities, as anyone else showing less class would not have been able to undergo such a quest.
The loved one that is left behind or must be found, often waiting in anguish, is not having happier days either until the hero’s victory.

journey initiation Romanian fairy tales

3. The trip to solve a problem, fix a wrong doing, or of proving oneself

Ileana Simziana or The Princess Who Would be a Prince tells the story of three princesses who try to prove themselves in the eyes of their elderly father, the king. It is the youngest one who emerges victorious from the different quests she has to undergo.

Through the journey the hero finds himself on a higher level, gaining the experience needed to live in a world he knew nothing about at the beginning of the story. Often it is the youngest one or the smallest one (of three brothers of sisters) who emerges victorious.
The journey also allows the main character to finally perceive the reality just the way it is, without the initial pink cloud of an ideology based on the ignorance of youth or of a sheltered existence.
In other occasions this journey of initiation starts out of indifference to the place of birth or because the character is banished.

journey initiation Romanian fairy tales

4. The ride of humility, of forgiveness or of teaching a lesson

Junior the Brave and the Golden Apples, Praslea cel Voinic si Merele de Aur tells us the story of how the youngest son of an emperor who goes to find and punish the intruder who would steal the golden apples from the king’s orchard. During the quest he discovers the cunning jealousy of his older brothers as well as a monster with great powers. Luckily, a beautiful fairy comes to his rescue.

Often, a hero found high on the social scale has to undergo a journey of initiation that will force him or her to leave below the social standard received through birth, thus learning a valuable lesson on self-sufficiency, humility and compassion.

journey initiation Romanian fairy tales

5. The voyage as a pretext that will lead to lessons learned or other journeys.

Emperor Aleodor, Aleodor Imparat, is the story of an emperor’s son who accidentally passes the border to a forbidden land, that of Half-man-riding-on-the-worse-half-of-a-lame-rabbit. To redeem himself he has to undergo a series of tasks. He doesn’t mind proving his innocence and escaping the beast, but the outcome is not what he bargained for – still a happy ending.

The initial journey is often an every day activity, such as a stroll, hunt, or a trade. The result, on the other hand, is that of the main character meeting a fairy, a witch, a spirit, a beast, entering a forbidden space or having a terrible dream that will later lead to him pursuing more adventures.
Although it begins as an involuntary activity, this journey of initiation proves that the spiritual and the sacred surpass the godless and the worldly side of life.

The journey of initiation will often allow the character access to the sacred. In Romanian folklore, life consists of seen and the unseen combined, much like the world we live in, crated by God as a unity.
The journey of initiation allows the character to travel between the two worlds, the seen and the unseen. These worlds, although different, are governed by the same moral laws. What differ is often the way the physical body interacts and reacts, often to the passing of the time.

journey initiation Romanian fairy tales

The journey of initiation in Romanian fairy tales and its connection with time

One other element connected with the journey of initiation is the time that seems removed from the normal timeline of the character’s everyday life. No matter where the character arrives, in a magical valley, over seven mountains and seven seas, in an enchanting kingdom, time passes different.

In Romanian folk culture there are various sacred tradition throughout the year, connected with the seasons, with observing of various saints, with agriculture or human life stages and each tradition is preceded by a series of customs. These customs have to be performed in a certain order, at a certain time. By doing so we mark the sacred time in the year that we celebrate.

Through the prism of the the end result – the finding of what “rightfully” belonged to the main character, the braking of the spell, the removing of the obstacle, the knowledge and experience gathered – the journey of initiation is similar to the traditions of the Romanian folk culture, marking a sacred time in the life of the character, the time he spent in his quest.
The character fought to obtain something and by doing so he gained access to a sacred time in a different land, away from the time frame and the borders of the era and the country where he was born.
By traveling to a far way, enchanted land, the main character passed not only a border between worlds, but he traveled in time, not in the past or the future, but in a parallel time, governed by different laws. There is often little difference between the two worlds and there is no visible border either, the exact moment of passing is often unnoticed. Only by observing the various rules that govern the two world can we tell them apart.

The journey of initiation in Romanian fairy tales is extraordinary and it often spans over the entire length of the folktale. But is this journey mesmerizing though the various tasks the hero goes through and the challenges he faces or because he finally gains that much needed knowledge and sees the life and the world around him for what it actually is?

Life is a journey of initiation in itself and it is in how we address its problems and on how we emerge from its various challenges that makes it retellable and relatable, much like fairy-tales.

tales by Patricia Furstenberg on Amazon

Follow this blog: