Immortalis, the Immortal Căluşarii Dance, 100 words story

Immortalis, the Immortal Căluşarii Dance 100 words story

With Immortalis, the Immortal Căluşarii Dance we’ve reached the 4th century AD in our 100 words story posts along the historical timeline of Transylvania. Remember how it all began? Do you see the pattern?

A Paleolithic Murder in Transylvania
Behind the Cave Art of Transylvania
Conduct in a Neolithic Kingdom in Transylvania
Dacian Horses of Bronze Age
Echoes of a Battle, the Getae
Falx vs Gladius, Dáoi vs Romans
Greed, of the Roman Kind
Hope Has Multiple Faces

Immortalis, the Immortal

For each lad lost to Ielele, Fairies, ten wish to join Căluşarii, Stallions, in dance-battle.

The voiceless one, masked – goat and sun, death and rebirth – leads into the clearing drawing a sacred circle with his two-edged sword. In leap Căluşarii  as one, counter-clockwise, armed with sticks crossed over their bodies, red ribbons, garlic.

They pledge on their linden-poled flag then spring, their bodies twisted roots… float like leaves, bells ringing in the wind… climb their sticks… pounce across, hop, spin.
One drops dead.

They broke the spell like an earthenware jug crashing. The sick cured, Căluşarii  depart quietly.

Copyright © Patricia Furstenberg. All Rights Reserved.

Immortalis, the Immprtal Căluşarii Dance 100 words story - The voiceless one, masked - goat and sun, death and rebirth - leads into the clearing
The voiceless one, masked – goat and sun, death and rebirth – leads into the clearing

Immortalis, the Immortal – words, stories, and some history

Immortalis, immortale, immortal. (Oxford Latin Course, Balme & Morwood)

Căluşarii  and their dance goes back as far as the Thracians and Dacians. Were those more peaceful times? I hope so, as the rituals developed then and involving important life stages have survived and have reached us.

Men, and by this I mean the male gender, were willingly involved in dancing ritual even before Mr Darcy’s (in)famous words:

[Dance] “has the advantage also of being in vogue amongst the less polished societies of the world; every savage can dance.”

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

The Spartans, for once, had their pyrrhike (having its roots apparently in the exultant victory dance performed by Pyrrhus, Achilles’ son, after killing their opponent’s leader. Dancing stayed with the Greek soldiers for centuries, part of their military training, until combat rules changed and only Sparta kept the tradition alive.

Yet Greek philosopher and historian Xenophon describes in his work Anabasis (The March into the Interior – the interior land beyond the Black Sea), a Thracian war dance he witnessed. The Thracians danced to the sound and rhythm of the reed pipe.

Reed pipes stuck with resin later became the panpipes, a Romanian national musical instrument.

For me, I will never forget the Haka, the ceremonial challenge-dance of the Māori culture as it is still performed by the New Zealand sports teams before international challenges.

Back to Romanian Căluşarii  and their dance, its tradition rises from Dacian times and it still holds its pagan essence. Led by their great priest who would ask the gods for guidance, Căluşarii  would perform their ritualistic dance to fight off evil spirits, and heal the sick.

Immortalis, the Immortal Căluşarii Dance, 100 words story, Calusari dance Mures

Initially, Căluşarii  were a restrictive groups of odd numbered men, between 5 and 13, sworn to stay together in celibacy and to perform ritual dances during a period of three – seven – or nine years. Their leader was the only one to know all the secrets, some passed on orally, others taken to the grave. Căluşarii  were / are feared warriors who fight Ielele, magical maiden fairies who steal the spirit and the minds of all those men who happen to see them in the forest. Ielele only dance on the night of Rusalii or the Descent of the Holly Spirit (Pentecost). Rusallile go back to the Roman celebration of Rosalia, the day of the roses, dedicated to worshiping the dead and bringing them food and roses.

Why Căluşari? Cal in Romanian language means horse, perceived as a fantastic creature. Horse, cal, symbolizes heat, warmth, summer, it even aids the sun climb atop the sky every day. As is the head of a horse, sculpted in wood, seen as a protective, positive symbol. Therefore Căluşarii are divine stallions.

horse head woodcraft positive symbol
horse head, crafted wood, seen as a positive symbol

The dance Căluşarii  perform imitates the horse’s walk, canter, and gallop, but also the rider’s jump on the horse’s back, as well the limb walk of a horse without shoe-horses. Over 100 dances, all performed to become as strong and agile as a horse, thus receiving a stallion’s divine powers and fight off evil spirits.

The costumes worn by the Căluşarii  is filled with symbology. Made of white linen with stitching to depict the geographical area they belong to, it is decorated with colorful sticks stuck in their belt to form a cross, for protection. Hand made hankies (gifted by women and girls for their own protection and fortune in the year ahead), silver spurs and bells, a leather harness complete the look while their hats have tassels and colored ribbons, white and red -sacred Dacian colors.

Calusarii dance, Hunedoara

The most important instrument is their flag, a three to ten meters long linden (oak or hazelnut) stick topped with a white cloth decorated with white-red ribbons, garlic, wormwood, wheat and salt.

There is a wealth of information and symbology behind Căluşarii, their dance still performed all across Romania. Know that since 2005 Căluşarii  are par of the UNESCO Heritage.

As always, you can find all my books on Amazon.

The Ferris Wheel, Fiction in A Flash Challenge 2021, week 39

ferris wheel flash fiction

Welcome to Ferris Wheel, my week’s response to the image prompt of Fiction in a Flash Challenge 2021, week 39, as initiated by Author Suzanne Burke.

The Ferris Wheel

The man with the felt hat liked the park because its tangled alleys – bordered by old trees that saw as many sunsets as he did – made him feel like a ship wandering the seven seas. He would come here whenever he caught an opportunity, sometimes as often as every second month – he was an optimist – for the man with the felt hat had a job, a job he once enjoyed, like a fisherman reeling in the big catch of the day. Now he was more like a fish in a net… so to say. To keep up with the nautical theme, he smiled.

But not today. Today he was a ship choosing its course across seas he knew too well. A ship with a set compass.

Left at the newsstand, then the first alley left again stood the tree where he’d last seen the Bishop. Ah, to spot its red head profiled against the crisp winter sky again!

She’d draw him in his nest, the woman who sometimes sat on the bench across from his. She’d been lucky to spot him in his nest long enough to sketch him. Quite the artist she was. A natural talent. A natural beauty too, her alabaster profile against the clear blue sky. If he’ll only see it again.

‘He’s got himself a pair, you know,’ she spoke as he walked past her bench.

‘The Bishop?’ he asked like it was the most natural thing in the world for two strangers to engage in conversation about a bird.

She nodded, forcing him to turn his head back from the bare tree and to bend to see her drawing. She turned the sketch pad to show him what she’d been working on.

‘You’ve been away for a while,’ the woman smiled. ‘It was a treat to watch them meet. But I drew them for you, so you won’t miss it.’

‘I do wonder how they see us,’ and he accentuated they with a tip of his head towards the tree. His hand flew up as if he was measuring the height of the arbor. ‘From the height of their branch,’ and his head stood upturned for a moment, smiling at the sun, and at the peaceful life of the little birds.

That’s when his phone rang, like a cloud chilling one to the bone in a flash, in the heat of the day.

She smiled and returned to her drawing, allowing him his privacy.

‘Work,’ he sighed upon his return.

‘And you have to go,’ she said and she tilted her head the way she used to whenever the Bishop would fly away for the day – and she knew the bird-watching was over… ‘Again,’ the slant of her head had added, like a whisper, and he’d heard it.

Was he right in assuming? Should he? At his age? Should he be a  Bishop?

‘I wonder,’ he started then stopped as if a blast of wind had frozen the words on his lips.

‘Yes?’ and her eyebrows arched the way they did whenever the Bishop was in sight.

‘The Ferris wheel,’ he waved towards the far end of the park. Last carriage goes up at 17:45. Would you do me the honour and join me? We’d get a Bishop’s glimpse over the world.’

He couldn’t tell her how he knew the schedule. He couldn’t tell her it was his job to know everything, any trivial piece of information, and use it to his advantage.

She smiled but didn’t ask how he knew such details. She smiled brighter than he’d ever seen her smile for the Bishop, and she tilted her head.

Had she agreed?

‘I’ll wait for you at the leg of the Ferris wheel. With two tickets,’ and he lifted his felt hat in salute.

He didn’t count on the crowds, on the rowdy group of teenagers celebrating a birthday. For the first time, he didn’t count on being swept by the crowd inside an open carriage. He was at the top of the wheel before he knew it. The ground squeezed below, too far for him to see clearly with his reading glasses.

Was she there? That speck on the ground, was it she? He boxed the air to reveal his watch. 17:49 and darkness all around.

The lights of the Ferris wheel mocked him, as did the glow of the city.

He was but a fish trapped in a net, a fish who dreamed to be a Bishop for a night.

Copyright © Patricia Furstenberg. All Rights Reserved.

I wrote the follow-up: Two of a Kind. 🙂

Hello everyone and welcome to the “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week Author Suzanne Burke will feature an image and invites everyone to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words. Suzanne runs a great blog as well as authoring many exciting books. WECOME TO THE WORLD OF SUZANNE BURKE

Enjoy short fiction? Have a look at my 100 words story, Short Stories or my Humorous stories 🙂

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Greed, of the Roman Kind, 100 words story

Greed, of the Roman Kind, 100 words story

Greed, of the Roman Kind, is the next 100 words story following the timeline of Falx vs Gladius, Dáoi vs Romans and of Echoes of a Battle, the Getae before it. You will find a short explanatory paragraph at the end.

Greed, of the Roman Kind

From his balcony of marble whiter than Venus’ bosom the King found solace in the Seven Hills of his beloved urbs.  Here, in the heart of his Empire all dreams, glory or greed, came alive. By Jupiter!

Yet tonight the same nightmare returned to shake this King awake.

He was an eagle with wings spanning across Mare Nostrum. His heart, fearless. His beak, fatal. He took down the Phoenix in one dive.

Then a temple, ahead, sheltering small birds. He, still ravenous, fell upon them. Again and again. Till the last brown bird killed her chicks leaving the King lonesome.

Copyright © Patricia Furstenberg. All Rights Reserved.

Greed, of the Roman Kind, 100 words story - Scene from Trajan's Column in Rome, The Burning of a Dacian Town
A scene from Trajan’s Column in Rome, scene XXV, The Burning of a Dacian Town

Greed, of the Roman Kind – a few comments

Seven hills – a geographical location found in the heart of Rome

Urbs (Latin) – city.

Jupiter was the Roman king of Gods, is even depicted on Trajan’s Column as supporting the Roman cause in their wars against the Dacians.

The eagle (Aquila in Latin) was a symbol for the Roman army, and a symbol for Rome as the ideal ruler in the global sphere.

Mare Nostrum (Latin) – the Mediterranean Sea, literally translated to ‘Our Sea.’

At the Battle of Carthage (146 BCE), the last to fall was the Temple of Eshmun, where the wife of a Carthagian commander sacrificed her sons right in front of the Romans, then killed herself. The Romans attacked out of revenge and greed, killed all Carthagians, then wiped the city off the face of the earth.

Plutarch wrote in Pompey, on the fall of the Roman Republic: “Greed and personal rivalry… had brought the empire to such a pass… here the whole manhood and might of single state was involved in self-destruction – a clear enough lesson of how blind and how mad a thing human nature is when under the sway of passion.”

For the greed (greed for power and land) of Roman Emperors prompted and accelerated the collapse of moral integrity and tradition, by propelling a corrupt political system that undermined trust. Glory and power belonged to the riches, skills and expertise were no longer appreciated and honored. On the other hand, poverty and virtue were considered a stigma, and soon even the masses became to welcome and fill themselves with greed, thus bringing the foundation of the Empire to collapse.

Thank you for reading. As always, you can find my books on Amazon.

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.

Echoes of a Battle, the Getae, 100 Words Story

Echoes of a Battle, Getae, Romania

Echoes of a Battle, the Getae, is the next 100 words story following the historical timeline of Romania’s past. Although most of these stories focus on Transylvania, ‘Echoes of a Battle’ looks at the Getae, a Thracian tribe that occupied the left and right bancs of Danube River between 6th – 1st centuries BC.

Next to the Dacians who lived in the mountainous area of Transylvania, towards the valley of Mures river, the Getae are some of the first ancestors of the Romanians.

Their bravery and fairness was legendary.

Echoes of a Battle, the Getae

It was the chickens’ cry that covered the lost echoes of metal ringing against metal, not the widows’ and mothers’ heartache. In the aftermath of battle, the lambs’ bleating sang for the souls rushed to Zalmoxis’ kingdom, not the wake preceding the burial.

‘Prepare the feast!’ Getae King Dromihete ordered. ‘Balance after battle, Zalmoxis’ word.’

The gold plates their Thracian prisoners ate from shone under the bonfires and the gleaming stars above, more tonight. Around, the Getae’s wooden spoons kept a peaceful rhythm against wooden dishes.

Freed by daybreak, the prisoners broadcasted about a tribe worthier, wiser than any others.

© Patricia Furstenberg, 2001, All Rights Reserved.

The seed of this story

Ancient Greek historian Herodotus wrote about the Getae that they were “the noblest as well as the most just of all the Thracian tribes”.

We also know that around 300BC Getae king Dromichaetes won a great battle against Thracian king Lysimachus (successor of Alexander the Great and ruling Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedon). The Getae held Lysimachus captive, yet in the aftermath of his victory Dromichaetes ordered a great feast. During this feast the Getae ate with the same wooden spoons and plates they always used, while the Thracian prisoners and Lysimachus received gold spoons and plates and were afterwards released.

Thus, Dromichaetes wished to prove that a rich kingdom like the one ruled by Lysimachus is in no need of a poor land like the one his people occupied.

Dromichaetes also released Lysimachus knowing that freeing an enemy king would bring them greater political advantage than killing it.

Transylvania from the Iron Age to Roman Dacia (1 100 BC – 150 AD)

Discover more 100 words stories on my blog here.

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