Time in Romanian Folktales and Schrödinger’s Cat

Time in Romanian Folktales and Schrodinger's Cat

Recently I re-read one of best known Romanian folktales, Youth Without Age and Life Without Death, and something about the way time unfolds jabbed at my mind, yet only when I remembered Schrödinger’s Cat did it all fall into place.

What is Youth Without Age and Life Without Death about?

In a tiny nutshell, Youth Without Age and Life Without Death tells the story of a young prince who chose to leave his parents and kingdom to pursue a quest. What he seeks is what was promised to him before birth: eternal youth and a life without death. Of course he faces numerous trials but he also finds that what he searched for. And together with a lovely young woman lives the eternal youth he was born for, forgetting all about the life and the world he left behind.

Until one day… I won’t tell you how… when he suddenly remembers his past and his family. And as a heavy longing struck him he just has to go back and see them all one more time – although he is warned not to do it.

As he chases on his magic horse back to his native land he is amazed to discover how much the scenery changed and how the adventures he lived only yesterday are fairy-tales to those he meets along the road. And as he approaches the land of his birth he also ages at an alarming rate…

I do think there is a dual time lapsing in Youth Without Age and Life Without Death. While time passed at a normal rate for the humans left behind and actually the entire humankind, time stands still (or at least barely moves forward) for the hero once he finds himself in the land of everlasting youth.

And yet the two time zones are concurrent.

time in Romanian folktales and Schrödinger's Cat
Time in Romanian folktales and Schrödinger’s Cat

The time in Romanian folktale Youth Without Age and Life Without Death

The time that passed while the hero was away in his quest, away from family and the places where he was born, is indicative of his journey. A quest and a journey of initiation nevertheless. This time is measurable and irreversible for those he left behind, while his quest takes place in a different time, almost a parallel time, where the known means of time passing do not apply. Here, in this forever youthful land, the idea of time is simply erased or at least slowed down dramatically.

So how can the real time and the quest time be concurrent in fairy-tales and folk tales – and not mess with the story’s timeline?

Perhaps looking at the dual time continuum in fairy tales as a type of Schrodinger’s Cat experiment will save this writer’s sanity.

Time in Romanian folktales and Schrödinger's Cat
Time in Romanian folktales and Schrödinger’s Cat

What is Schrödinger’s Cat?

Just a note. No cats have ever been harmed during Schrödinger’s Cat experiment as this is a theoretical experiment and not a real one. It is a Thought Experiment, a Gedanken Experiment. An experiment one can only think of but never do in practice.

Schrödinger‘s Cat experiment was created as a visual teaching tool to illustrate how some people misinterpreted the quantum theory. But we won’t go that way.

I’ll describe the Schrödinger’s Cat experiment then I’ll explain how it illustrates the dual time lapsing in folk tales.

In his imaginary experiment Schrödinger places in a metal box fitted with a lock:

  • a cat;
  • a tiny bit of radioactive substance that is contained by a tiny vessel. Now here you can choose the quantity of the radioactive substance so that you know it will contain only a certain number of atoms because you want to have the possibility that after a certain amount of time (say one hour) there will be a 50/50 possibility that one of these atoms might decay radioactively and release particles;
  • a tiny Geiger counter – this instrument can detect if the radioactive release took place;
  • a tiny hammer connected both to the Geiger counter and to
  • a tiny glass vial containing cyanide.

The idea is that when / if the radioactive substance decays, it will triggers a Geiger counter which will cause the hammer to break the glass container releasing the poison that will kill the cat.

Or not.

The idea is also that one cannot know the outcome of the Schrödinger’s Cat experiment until one opens the box.

BECAUSE

Something can have both an absurd and a logical outcome. If you have something that can exist in two possible states the two states could be muddled together so you can’t say which is which.

Schrödinger's Cat
Schrödinger’s Cat – source

OR, considering the TIME in the Youth Without Age and Life Without Death folktale, TIME can exist in two different states or pass at two different rates at the same time.

In the metal box, during the time of one hour that it remains locked, there is a chance that radioactive decay might take place. But we cannot predict if it will or not and cannot tell if it did or not until we open the box. / The folktale hero, since he is still a human, might grow old during the time he spends away from his birth place but we cannot tell until he returns to his place of birth.

What is the state of the cat before opening the box? / What is the age of the folktale hero during the time spent in the land of forever youth?

The hero of the Romanian folktale Youth Without Age and Life Without Death, since he was born in a normal human timezone, will be affected by the passing of time as we know it. At the same time, the hero finds himself in a miraculous place ruled by a different clock and is also affected by it – he does not grow old. So, at the same time, he is old if you count the years passed on his birth clock and he remains young, based on the clock the miraculous world is ruled by.

And we have no way of knowing what the hero’s age is.

The conclusion of Schrödinger’s Cat theoretical experiment is that the cat is in a superposition of state of being both alive and dead.

The conclusion (at least mine) of the hero in Youth Without Age and Life Without Death is that he is in a superposition state of being both young and old / young and dead.

What are your thoughts on Schrödinger‘s Cat and Youth Without Age and Life Without Death?

As always, a gentle reminder to check my book on Amazon or Loot (if you reside in South Africa).

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Youth Without Age and Life Without Death ~ part 2

Youth Without Age and Life Without Death

If you enjoyed the Romanian folktale Emperor Aleodor and the first part of Youth Without Age and Life Without Death do read further.

Youth Without Age and Life Without Death ~ part 2

On the morning of the third day there was great mourning throughout the whole court and empire.

The handsome prince, clad like a hero, holding his sword in his hand and riding the horse he had chosen, took leave of the emperor, the empress, the great nobles and lesser grandees, the army, and all the attendants who, with tears in their eyes, implored him to give up the journey and not risk his life. Yet setting spurs to his steed, he dashed through the gate like the wind, followed by carts loaded with provisions and money, and the two hundred horsemen the emperor had commanded to accompany him.

After reaching the boundaries of his father’s country and arriving at the wilderness the prince distributed all his property among the escort, bade them farewell, and sent them back, keeping for himself only as much food as his horse could carry. Then he turned toward the east and rode for three days and three nights, till he came to a wide plain where lay a great many human bones.

Youth Without Age and Life Without Death

When he stopped here to rest the horse said: “You must know, master, that we are on the land of a Woodpecker Witch who is so wicked that nobody can enter her domain without being murdered. She was once a woman, but the curse of her parents, whom she angered by her disobedience, turned her into a woodpecker. She is with her children now, but you will meet her tomorrow in yonder forest. She will come to kill you. She is terribly big, but don’t be frightened. Hold the bow ready to pierce her with an arrow and keep your sword and lance in hand, so that you can use them in case of need.”

Then they went to rest, taking turns in standing watch.

At dawn the next morning they prepared to pass through the forest. The prince saddled and bridled the horse, drew the girths tighter than usual, and mounted. Suddenly he heard a tremendous crashing. “Make ready, master,” said the horse, “the Woodpecker Witch is coming!”

As she approached, she moved so fast that she tore the trees down. But the horse leaped upward like the wind so that it was almost over her, and the prince shot off one of her feet with an arrow. But just as he was about to discharge the second arrow she cried:

“Stop, my young hero, I’ll do you no harm.” And seeing that he did not believe her, she gave him a promise written with her own blood.

“May your horse live long and prosper, my young hero,” she added, “for it is enchanted. If it hadn’t been for him, I would have roasted and eaten you. Know that until today no mortal has ventured to cross my boundaries as far as this. A few bold unruly who dared to make the trial reached the plain where you saw the sea of bones.”

They now went to the witch’s house where she entertained them as guests. But while sitting at the table enjoying the banquet, the Woodpecker Witch moaned with so much pain that the prince pulled out of his traveling bag the foot he had shot off and, fastened it on, it instantly healed. The hostess, in her joy, kept open house for three days and begged the emperor’s son to choose one of her three daughters for his wife, all as beautiful as fairies.

Yet he would not do that, but told her what he was truly seeking and she replied:

“With your horse and your heroic courage, I believe you will succeed.”

After three days had passed, the prince prepared to continue his journey and departed. He rode on, and on, and on. The road seemed to grow longer and longer, but when he had finally crossed the frontiers of the Woodpecker Witch’s kingdom, he entered a beautiful meadow, one side of which was covered with blooming plants, but the other was scorched.

Youth Without Age and Life Without Death ~ The road seemed to grow longer and longer

The prince asked why the grass was singed, and the horse answered:

“We are now in the domain of the Termagant Witch; she is the Woodpecker Witch’s sister, but they are both so wicked that they can’t live together. Their parents’ curse has fallen upon them, and so, as you see, they have become monsters. Their enmity goes beyond all bounds and they are always trying to get possession of each other’s lands. When this one is very angry she spits fire and pitch. She must have had some quarrel with her sister, and, to drive her out of her kingdom, has burned the grass on which she was standing. She is even worse than her sister, and has three heads. We will rest awhile now, and be ready at the first peep of dawn to-morrow.”

The next day they prepared themselves just as they did when they expected to meet the Woodpecker Witch, and set out. Soon they heard a howling and rustling unlike any thing ever known before.

“Make ready, master, the Termagant Witch is coming.”

The Termagant Witch, with one jaw in the sky and the other on the earth, approached like the wind, spitting fire as she came, but the horse darted upward as swiftly as an arrow and then rushed over her a little on one side. The hero then shot an arrow and one of her heads fell, but just s he was about to strike off another the Termagant Witch implored him to forgive her. She would do him no harm, she promised, and to convince him of this she gave him proof of her promise, written in her own blood.

Like the Woodpecker Witch before her the Termagant Witch entertained the prince, who, eventually, returned her head which grew on again, and at the end of three days he resumed his travels.

Youth Without Age and Life Without Death ~ they hurried on without resting till they came to a field covered with flowers, where reigned perpetual spring

When the hero and his horse reached the far boundaries of the Termagant Witch’s kingdom they hurried on without resting till they came to a field covered with flowers, where reigned perpetual spring. Every blossom was remarkably beautiful and filled with a sweet, intoxicating fragrance; a gentle breeze fanned them all. They remained here to rest when the horse said:

“We have succeed thus, master, but we still have one great peril to undergo and, if the Lord helps us to conquer it, we shall really be valiant heroes. A short distance further on is the palace where dwell Youth without Age and Life without Death. It is surrounded by a high, dense forest where roam all the wild animals in the world, guarding it day and night. They are very numerous,and it is almost beyond the bounds of possibility to get through the wood by fighting them. Thus we must try, if we can, to jump over them.”

After resting about two days they prepared to continue their journey and the horse, holding its breath, said:

“Buckle my girth as tight as you can and when you have mounted hold fast to my mane and press your feet close to my neck, that you may not hinder me.” The prince mounted, and in a moment they were nearing the forest.

“Master,” said the horse, “this is the time that the wild beasts are fed. They are all collected together. Now! We’ll jump over.”

“Forward,” replied the handsome prince, “and may the Lord have mercy on us.”

They flew upward and saw the palace, which glittered so that it would have been easier to look at the sun. They had passed over the forest when, just as they were descending towards the palace steps one of the horse’s hoofs lightly touched the top of a tree and put the whole woods in motion.

The wild animals began to howl till it was enough to make one’s hair bristle. The prince and his horse hastily alighted and, if the mistress of the palace had not been outside feeding her chickens (for that is what she called the wild beasts), they would certainly have been killed. She spared their lives out of pure pleasure, for she had never before seen a human being. Restraining the savage beasts she soothed them and sent them back to their haunts. She was a tall, slender, lovely fairy, quite too beautiful. And when the young hero saw her he stood still as though was turned to stone. But as she gazed at him she pitied him and said:

“Welcome, my handsome prince. What do you seek here?”

“We seek Youth without Age and Life without Death.”

When the prince dismounted from his horse and entered the palace to discover two other ladies, both of about the same age, the elder sisters of the first one.

The prince thank the fairy for having delivered him from danger when she and her sisters, to show their joy, had a handsome banquet served in golden dishes. They gave the horse liberty to graze wherever it chose, and afterward made it acquainted with all the wild beasts, so that it might rove about the forest in peace.

The ladies pleaded with the prince to stay with them saying that it was so tiresome to be alone. He did not wait to be asked a second time, but accepted the offer with the satisfaction of a man who has found precisely what he sought.

By degrees they became accustomed to live together. The prince told them his story and related what he had suffered before meeting them, and after some time he married the youngest sister. At their wedding permission was granted to him to go wherever he liked in the neighborhood. They only begged him not to enter one valley, which they pointed out to him, otherwise some misfortune would befall him. It was called, they said, the Valley of Sighs.

Do return tomorrow to find out how the story ends.

The Romanian term for wicked Woodpecker Witch is outstanding and reserved to it alone: Gheonoaie, deriving from Albanian Gjon “owl” and “woodpecker”.

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).

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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.

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What I hope readers take from my books by Patricia Furstenberg

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Mircea the Elder and Vlad the Impaler, Family and Historical Ties

Mircea the Elder, Vlad the Imaler, Vlad Tepes, history, family, Dracula nickname

Without the great courage and patriotism of Mircea the Elder, grandfather to Vlad the Impaler, ‘Vlad Dracul‘, Vlad Draculea in Romanian or Dracula the nickname may not have existed.

Sometimes history whispers, and the tales it tells are worth listening to and passing on.

It was in 1395 on this day, March 7, when Mircea the Elder, or Mircea I of Walachia, (Mircea cel Batran in Romanian) signed a coalition treaty with Holy Roman Emperor Sigmund of Luxembourg, King of Hungary and Croatia, king of Germany from 1411, king of Bohemia from 1419 and king of Italy from 1431. The treaty was signed in the beautiful city of Brasov (then Kronstadt) and initiated a military coalition against the Ottoman Empire.

Historical conjunctures during the 14th century Europe

Try to conjure your knowledge of Medieval Europe. Around the 14th century, when The Black Death claimed million of lives, when the Kingdoms of England and France were tormented by the Hundred Years’ War, but also when chivalry was reaching its peak and knights rode in shinning armors, ready to die for an ideal.

At the very same time, Eastern Europe was facing the Ottoman Empire’s increase in power. And the one land that stood in the way of the Turkish countless invasions, fighting them off and acting as a buffer for the Western Europe was Romania, back then still split into Walachia (Tara Romaneasca), Moldavia and Transylvania (incorporated in Hungary, later Holy Roman Empire).

East Europe during the 14th century - Ottoman Empire, Wallachia, Moldovia and Transylvania (still part of Hungary)
East Europe during the 14th century – Ottoman Empire, Wallachia, Moldovia and Transylvania (still part of Hungary)

It was imperative for King Sigismund to strike a military alliance with the rulers of Wallachia, Mircea I at that time, if he wanted to keep his empire intact. Don’t you think so? Good planning…

Sigismund of Luxembourg and the Order of the Dragon

Inspired by the military orders of the Crusades , the Order of the Dragon (Societas Draconistarum, Society of the Dragonists) was a monarchical chivalry founded in 1408 by King Sigismund of Luxembourg. Its members were expected to defend Christianity against all enemies, especially the Muslim Ottoman Empire, and the order was awarded only to few selected members of the nobility.

Order of the Dragon insignia
Order of the Dragon insignia

One such exemplary warrior was Vlad II, the second son of Mircea the Elder. King Sigismund of Luxembourg held Vlad II in highest regard and awarded him the Order of the Dragon on the 8th of February 1431 in Nuremberg for ultimate services in the gruesome fight against the Ottoman Empire.

Vlad II was later known as Vlad Dracul II, Prince of Wallachia, as in Romanian language dragon had close connotations and resonance with dracul, the Romanian word for devil.

Mircea the Elder was Prince of Wallachia from 1386 until his death in 1418.

Vlad II, his son, was Prince of Wallachia from 1436 to 1442 and again from 1443 to 1447.

Vlad III Dracula, Vlad Tepes, Vlad the Impaler, born in 1431 in Sighisoara (some sources state 1429), was the middle son of Vlad Dracul II and grandson of Mircea the Elder (from the Basarab Dynasty).

Mircea the Elder, Vlad II Dracul, Vlad the Impaler, grandfather, son, grandson

History whispers to us today. Mircea the Elder, through his military campaigns and political ties with King Sigismund of Luxembourg, paved the road for Vlad II to join the military coalition against the Ottoman Empire (did he even had a say?) and be awarded the Order of the Dragon later inherited by Vlad the Impaler, Vlad Tepes, and the nickname the Dragon, Dracul, was passed on.

Perhaps without Mircea the Elder we would not have Dracula, Vlad Dracul, after all…

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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.

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