The Magic of Romanian Folktales Starts with the First Words

While a grew up I thought that the magic and musicality of Romanian folktales was so much better than that of the Grimm’s fairy tales. Because I was sure of their truthfulness.

Although both sources shared the same well-known prologue, “Once upon a time,” the Romanian ones went on with “for if it didn’t happen it couldn’t be told,” thus proving that some truth was at the bottom of the folktale about to unravel, since nothing can be told that didn’t happen

You might argue that the description is ambiguous, leaving the recipients to decide for themselves whether the story is true or not.

But to wide-eyed children, it was proof enough.

And then it went on, to prove to the grown-ups too, that those times, when the story took place, were extraordinary times, thus such tales must be true… For those were the times when:

“…the poplars fruited apples and the willow tree sprouted wallflowers, when the bears wrestled one another through the strength of their tails.”

magic Romanian folktales, brown bear
Romanian brown bear

And if you don’t believe that such a time existed, it goes on:

“…when wolves and lambs kissed one another; when one would put 99 iron shoes on the flea and then thrust it into the glory of the sky only to return to Earth and tell us stories; when the fly would write on the wall, a bigger liar being the one who doesn’t believe what he is told. “

"when wolves and lambs kissed one another" - Romanian folktales
The magic of Romanian folktales happened in a time when ” when wolves and lambs kissed one another.”

What turn of phrase charmed your childhood?

5 Replies to “The Magic of Romanian Folktales Starts with the First Words”

    1. Nursery rhymes – the way their rhythm speaks to our inner self and pulls our bodies in a dance of vowels and consonants that charms us before their words even make sense! 🙂

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