Oratea Fortress, Echoes of the 13th Century, 100-Word Story

When wind howls around Oratea Fortress, echoes from the 13th century swirl around fir trees and tumbled down walls.

When wind howls around Oratea Fortress, echoes from the 13th century swirl around fir trees and tumbled down walls.

Oratea Fortress, Echoes of the 13th Century, 100-Word Story
Oratea Fortress, rising atop Saxon’s Hill

Located near the charming Rucăr Bran Corridor, Oratea Fortress echoes back in history to the 13th century, year 1212, when the Teutonic Knights arrived, as invited by King Andrew III of Hungary, to settle in Burzenland, Țara Bârsei, and below and protect this eastern land against Cumans’ attacks.

Stone upon stone still stands where Oratea Fortress once rose tall, and the wind still echoes of past battles, and of laughter, and whispers of love.

For what is wind, but the amassed power of words long ago uttered?

Oratea Fortress, Echoes of the 13th Century, 100-word Story

They’d arrived. And settled. New souls on old land. Forced smiles, calling one another a little too loud, laughing too much. Living with intent, their purposeful reputation preceding them.

Rising a chapel (a place to lie down for their last sleep), ahead of the fortress they ought to build. And protect. Stashing memories in the sacred foundation.

Till their time would come, days are filled with battles, laced with life. On this new land, rich in new shades. new sounds. new hopes.

Besides protecting it, ought they mingle with the locals? Besides fighting off ruffians, ought they live a little?

Copyright © Patricia Furstenberg. All Rights Reserved.

The unique beauty of each 100-word story is in the way the words are strung together, each one a gem, and in the spaces left between the words, and between sentences. So much can be told with little words. It is a challenge for the writer, and a thrill for the reader (I hope), as each time the tale is read a new detail springs to mind.

Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories

“I would recommend this book to all fans of history and historical fiction, as this is a fantastic combination of both.”

(Bonnie Reads and Writes)

Copyright © Patricia Furstenberg. All Rights Reserved.

Corvin Castle, Window Slits and Telling Rocks, 100-Word Story

Hunedoara Fortress view through a gap in the wall

We return to Corvin Castle only to gaze at its window slits and telling rocks in a 100-word story.

When you ventured through an old place, have you ever thought, if only these walls could speak… Would you be prepared to listen to their tales? For receiving, upon asking, can be a dangerous game.

Listen, then. Who tells this story?

I remember the riverbed, my forever home. The steam floating above, ghosts of her removed children.

Rattled among my kin, I reach the destination in one piece, save for a chip on my face. A bare place, and inhospitable for many more snowy seasons. I hide – a mere illusion – and envy the crows, free with the wind.

The day I’m laid to rest, wedged among others, above is as dark as below. It’s over.

A crow’s call jolts me. Fresh breeze cools my hot cheek. A  widow’s open. I’m a stone in its jamb. Bright sky smiles down.

Copyright © Patricia Furstenberg. All Rights Reserved.

Corvin Castle, Window Slits and Telling Rocks, 100-Word Story, a lone rocky slit window
Corvin Castle, a lone rocky slit window
Hunedoara Fortress close-up view of rocky towers and outside walls
Hunedoara Fortress close-up view of rocky towers and outside walls
Corvin Castle, Window Slits and Telling Rocks, 100-Word Story - view of stony towers

The unique beauty of each 100-word story is in the way the words are strung together, each one a gem, and in the spaces left between the words, and between sentences. So much can be told with little words. It is a challenge for the writer, and a thrill for the reader (I hope), as each time the tale is read a new detail springs to mind.

I had fun writing 100-word stories for my latest book, Transylvania’s History A to Z:

Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories

“I would recommend this book to all fans of history and historical fiction, as this is a fantastic combination of both.”

(Bonnie Reads and Writes)

First Book Review for Transylvania’s History A to Z

Transylvania book travel time

First review for my latest book, Transylvania’s History A to Z, comes from lovely Bonnie of Bonnie Reads and Writes.

“Transylvania’s History A to Z by Patricia Furstenberg is a wonderful combination of stories, photos, history, and legends about Transylvania, Romania.”

Bonnie Reads and Writes

– writes Bonnie, and she put a huge smile on my face. I am ever so grateful to Bonnie for choosing to read my new book and write a review!

Do click on the link below and read her thoughts:

Self-Published Saturday: September 4, 2021/Transylvania’s History A to Z

Thank you for reading 🙂

Silent Sunday, Light and Shadows on the Beach

Silent Sunday, light shadow sea

Silent Sunday, or almost, light and shadows on the beach, the golden hour – a 100-word story.

Silent Sunday, light and shadows on the beach
Silent Sunday, between light and shadows on the beach

The laziness of a summer’s day lingers in the ruddy beams of the chaise longues, still stretching, ever hoping to dip their feet in the cool waves. Alas, perhaps tomorrow.

The thoughts abandoned upon them, now shadows, will hide with the night, without disappearing, hopes for the new day. And the day that’s gone, soon darkness and dreams, will join the rhythm of the waves, coming and going, departing and returning with the sun.

Only the umbrella stands above, out of sight, yet all-seeing, all-knowing. Fearless. Until the wind arrives. ‘What took you so long?’ she asks. He only sighs.

Copyright © Patricia Furstenberg. All Rights Reserved.

Happy Publication Day to me, Transylvania’s History A to Z, 100 Word Stories is LIVE on Amazon as eBook and paperback.

This is almost a Silent Sunday as I can’t seem to stop my thoughts from spinning. Thank you for reading.

Subscribe to my e-Newsletter for fun and informative content on dogs, books, history, folklore and a castle or two:

6 Idioms Linguistically Identical in Afrikaans, German, English and Romanian

6 Idioms Linguistically Identical in Afrikaans, German, English and Romanian

Because idioms can be fun, here are 6 phrases linguistically identical in Afrikaans, German, English and Romanian, with a little historical background too. How else? 🙂

1. Hit the nail on the head – as old as the Bronze Age

(AFR) Slaan die spyker op die kop
(GER) Den Nagel auf den Kopf treffen
(ENG) Hit the nail on the head
(RO) A pune punctul pe i.
Meaning: to do exactly the right thing and also to know that acting differently will cause a great deal of pain. Ouch!

The origin of the phrase ‘to hit the nail on the head

Carpentry comes to mind and thus this expression must be as old as, well, the Bronze Age – bronze nails dating to 3400 BC were discovered in Egypt.

Searching for the use of hit the nail on the head in writing, The Phrase Finder mentions a medieval text, ‘The Book of Margery Kempe’ written during the 1430s. The book is a dictation of the life and divine revelations experienced by a woman, an English Christian mystic and pilgrim, yet not a nun, and is considered to be the first autobiography in the English language.

“If I hear any more these matters repeated, I shall so smite the nail on the head that it shall shame all her supporters.”

The Book of Margery Kempe, 1430s (in modern English)

In this context, the expression ‘hit the nail on the head’ probably means to speak severely.

idioms Afrikaans German English Romanian, Hit the nail on the head - as old as the Bronze Age

2. When the cat’s away, the mice will play – in Ancient Rome

(AFR) As die kat weg is, is die muis baas.
(GER) Ist die Katze aus dem Haus, tanzen die Mäuse auf dem Tisch.
(ENG) When the cat’s away, the mice will play.
(RO) Cand pisica nu-i acasa, joaca soarecii pe masa.
Meaning: when any kind of authority is lacking, someone will always take advantage.

When the cat’s away, the mice will play – its history

When the cat’s away, the mice will play is an idiom / proverb originated from the Latin dum felis dormit, mus gaudet et exsi litantro (when the cat sleeps, the mouse leaves its hole, rejoicing). The idiom was also encountered in 14th century France, ou chat na rat regne (‘Where there is no cat, the rat is king’). Surely, at any time throughout history it was observed that without moral standards, chaos ruled.

idioms Afrikaans German English Romanian. When the cat’s away, the mice will play - in Ancient Rome

3. Take the bull by the horns – in Ancient Greece

(AFR) Die bul by die horings pak
(GER) Den Stier bei den Hörnern (an)packen
(ENG) Take the bull by the horns.
(RO) A lua taurul de coarne.
(SPANISH) Coger el toro por las astas
Meaning: to face a difficult situation head-on.

Take the bull by the horns – its history

As many would have guessed, the rodeo practices of West America have bulled this saying into the everyday English vocabulary. During the 18th century, wrestling steers (castrated bulls) was part of the everyday working life of American ranchers.
Yet the practice of bullfighting and cattle wrangling originated with the sixteenth-century conquistadores, the conquistadors (soldiers and explorers of 15th – 17th centuries Spanish and Portuguese Empires), and the Mexican vaqueros, cowboys.
Obviously, a cowboy of any origin would be quite handy at controlling a bull by its horns, thus the literal use of the expression ‘to take the bull by the horns’ was long in use before it gained a figurative meaning.

What I love about idioms is that they seem to have an invisible connection with literature. And I remember now The Twelve Labours of Hercules (Heracles in Greek), especially the seventh one: capturing the Cretan bull.

Thus, could the expression ‘to take the bull by the horns’ originate in 600 BC with The Labours of Hercules written by Peisander of Camirus?

idioms Afrikaans German English Romanian. Take the bull by the horns in Ancient Greece
Detail – mosaic with the Labors of Hercules, 3rd century AD, found in Liria (Valencia), now at National Archaeological Museum of Spain, Madrid, photo Luis García for Wikimedia

4. To have someone wrapped around your (little) finger – during the Middle Ages

(AFR) Sy draai almal om haar vinger
(GER) Jemanden um den Finger wickeln
(ENG)To have someone wrapped around your (little) finger
(RO) Il are la degetul mic
Meaning: to exert total emotional control over someone, but without a lot of effort, to have someone under total control without no effort

This phrase ‘to have someone wrapped around your (little) finger’ is my favorite of these six idioms linguistically identical in Afrikaans, German, English, and Romanian – because of its origin. You see, it could originate in sewing or… falconry!

A seamstress would reel thread on her index finger, then draw out the yarn as needed in her sewing work – taking stock for later use.

In hawking, the hunter will have a leash tied to the bird’s foot. After the bird lands on their arm, the falconer would wind the leash around their little finger so the bird won’t take off again that easily.

hawking, a possible origin for the idiom 'To have someone wrapped around your (little) finger' - during the Middle Ages
Goshawk Falconry, Lord Lilford on Birds, 1903. Hutchinson & Co. – wikipedia

In writing, a 1743 letter appears in The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia could be the oldest known mention of the idiom ‘to have someone wrapped around your (little) finger’:

“Watson could wind Parker round his finger; yet he was ready to swear twas all false.”

The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, 1743

5. To walk (tread) on eggshells – during the revolutionary 16th century

(AFR) Op eiers loop
(GER) Auf Eierschalen laufen
(ENG) To walk (tread) on eggshells
(RO) A calca / a merge ca pe ace
Meaning: to act cautiously as to not upset someone.

The oldest known written mention of ‘to walk (tread) on eggshells’ is in the 1591‘s translation of Ariosto’s ‘Orlando Furioso by Sir John Harington:

“So soft he treads, although his steps were wide,
As though to tread on eggs he were afraid.”

1591’s translation of Ariosto’s ‘Orlando Furioso by Sir John Harington

Surely, the expression is much older than that, dating from a time when humans would tread carefully looking for the places where (wild) hens and birds would have built a nest (or not) and hid their eggs.

Madonna-with-Child-Portal-of-the-Virgin-and-a-bird-nest-Notre-Dame-Cathedral-by-Lysandra-Furstenberg - To walk (tread) on eggshells - an idiom as old as the revolutionary 16th century
Madonna with Child, Portal of the Virgin and a bird’s nest, Paris Notre Dame Cathedral, Photo by Lysandra Furstenberg

6. To hang onto every word during the Industrial Revolution

(AFR) Aan iemand se lippe te hang
(GER) An jemandes Lippen hängen
(ENG) To hang on to (someone’s) every word / hung on her every utterance
(RO) A atarna de fiecare cuvant
Meaning: to listen very intently to someone.

I think this might be one of the youngest idioms in use, as it originated with the phrasal verb “hang on”, which came in use during the 19th century, when the cloth hangers were invented: 1860, hang on, meaning “to remain clinging.”

Although, here is a of beautiful quotes from the Bible, from Luke:

“and they could not find anything that they could do, for all the people [stayed close to Him and] were hanging on to every word”

The Bible, Luke 19:48

An idiom is a group of words that has a deeper, figurative meaning, other than its literal, word for word, denotation. But I think that an idiom also reflects the times when it surfaced, carrying even a minor historical aura around it.

Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories
Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories

I hope you enjoyed these 6 Idioms linguistically identical in Afrikaans, German, English and Romanian.

Subscribe to my e-Newsletter for fun and informative content on dogs, books, history, folklore and a castle or two: