A Tall House, a Banknote, and a Legend on Fire for Thursday Doors

This tall house, a near lookalike of the one depicted on the 10 Lei Romanian Banknote, comes with a legend about a fire, and about how three villages came to be.

The Tall House of Chiojdu Mic

The tall house we admired at the Village Museum of Bucharest is from Chiojdu Mic village (Little Chiojdu), Buzău County in the historical province of Muntenia, Romania. Muntenia (or Greater Wallachia, or Valachi, or Țara Românească) – where Vlad the Impaler ruled – is the southern part of Romania, where the capital city of Bucharest is also found. I was born in Bucharest, so you can say I’m a girl from Muntenia, a munteancă.

The household above is from the 18th century.

The living quarters (usually two rooms) are all on the first floor, the river-rock foundation is meant for a cool cellars, where fruits are kept throughout winter, as well as the many barrels with țuică (tzuica, a traditional Romanian spirit, 24–65% alcohol by volume, and prepared only from plums.

The four-sided roof is also characteristic for this area. It is made from fir-tree wood, and these traditional wooden roof-tiles are called şiţă in Romanian, and are arranged like fish scales.

You can see a similar house on the 10 Lei Romanian Banknote:

A Tall House, a Banknote, and a Legend on Fire
A Tall House, a Banknote, and a Legend on Fire

The Legend on a Great Fire and of How a Village Came to be

It was a time when kings grew their empires, and people grew their crops. The Kings with golden crowns and ermine capes of the west, or kings with glass beads and marmot furs of the east – they all dreamed the same fantasy. It was the people, whose hands bled, and whose children needed feeding, who dreamed of nothing else but of a roof over their heads.

That day, when apples were in bloom and farmers blessed their lambs, the army on fast horses, the army with limbs of maces and daggers, with slanted eyes and harsh goat leggings, attacked again. Their lances took without asking. Their torches fed without concern. And what they couldn’t take, they tore apart.

After their retreat, the fire burned for three days. A sprinkle of survivors sat about, waiting. Waiting to mourn and bury their families. Chiojd was one of them. A rich man that very morning, and not my his household, and his sheep, and his grains in the barn, but by the love of his wife and the smiles of his children.

When the last cross went up, Chiojd knew he’d buried his last hope. He turned his back on the ashen shadow of their village and, without looking back, he left. A pup at his heel.

It is said that Chiojd left Transylvania behind and wandered for an entire summer. His feet carried him, his eyes looking without seeing. The pup, now taller, still at his heel.

Until one day when he his feet stopped.

Ahead, sweet hills followed one another. Trees dressed in tender yellows, and hushed reds grew around gentle streams – so unlike the nature he’d known all his life. There, Chiojd build a new home. With time, a new wife appeared in his life. And three children, Big Chiojdu, Little Chiojdu and the girl, Chojdeanca, who later went to found three new villages: Starchiojd, Chiojdu and Chojdeanca.

The big doors to the cellar

Fire, a 100-Word Story

I am Life.
Contended faces surround me. They need me. Eager hands grab at my elusive energy as I pull away, then withdraw as I boldly approach them. I laugh, and I kindle the spirits around me, light the stars above. They are but my echo.
I am Power.
My vitality creates all that I see; I am but the sun on this earth. I cook their meals, melt their iron. I, I keep them alive and warm. While feeding myself. Just take what I fancy. Stretch, expand myself out of proportions, as my hunger grows.
I am their Death.

A tiny door to the cellar
thursday doors, 100 words story

For Thursday Doors weekly event over on Dan Antion’s lovely blog, No Facilities.

Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories

NEW RELEASE:
(click on the book)

A – Z, 100-Wors Stories are inspired by Transylvania’s history, from the Paleolithic Period to WW1
Each 100 Words Story is followed by a brief historical reference.

29 Replies to “A Tall House, a Banknote, and a Legend on Fire for Thursday Doors”

  1. I swear, I’m more clever reading your blog. I had no idea what was the story with that house on the 10 lei banknote. I haven’t even noticed it. Yet again, I’m not a material girl. 🙂 Beautifully written, Patricia… as always. ☀️

    1. Ah, really? You’re really sweet to say that, Jo. Thank you 🙂

      You do notice that it isn’t exactly the same house, but a similar one. See how the stairs climb on different sides of the porch? Right on the banknote, left on the brick house.

      The legend goes with the brick house, the one found in the Bucharest Village Museum.

      The house on the 10 Lei banknote is identical to a house from the Sibiu Village Museum.

      1. Yes, I read attentively and I understood that the house on the banknote was a different one. My point was that I haven’t even noticed there was a house, any house, on the 10 lei banknote. 🙂 Now I know.

        1. The eye goes over many details of our everyday life. If you’d ask me what’s on the SA banknotes, I’ll have to look 🙂

  2. I am enjoying reading your Transylvania short stories very much. I started yesterday and can’t put it down. Very clever intermingling of fiction with historical events. Best, Babsje

  3. Oooh, I see and thank you so very much – and for letting me know. I am thrilled 🙂
    Enjoy the read, Babsje.

    1. Oh, the Fire is might powerful. Thank you for commenting on my little story, I appreciate that.

      I don’t know how I always seem to write myself into a history lesson. Ha ha 🙂

  4. I love the history I learn when I visit here (or read your book). This is a region I know very little about, but I’m learning more and that’s always good. The houses are remarkably similar. They are interesting structures. Thanks for sharing this interesting history with Thursday Doors.

  5. What an interesting-looking house and a good story to go with it. It does look like the one on the bank note. Your language is always interesting to me because there are so many consonants and odd (to Americans) consonant combinations. Keeps life interesting. 🙂

    janet

  6. Thank you, Janet.

    I think the Romanian language is musical, and sounding so much like Portuguese and Italian, but especially Portuguese.

    Or were you referring to Afrikaans? Afrikaans is similar to Dutch and German.

  7. This was so interesting. And the house looks so simple yet beautiful. And it is tall. I love the stones upon the bottom portion. They add so much charm along with the cooling purpose they serve. I enjoyed the storytelling in the article and the 100 word story at the end. You have wonderfully explained the essence of fire in such a creative way. You always teach me something new. 🙂

  8. I would have visited for the memory of a bottle of țuică given to me by a friend long ago. But your story makes it come alive with associations. Another place to visit when travel starts again …

  9. It is the memories that keep us going forward 🙂
    Thank you for reading, and I hope you will visit one day, soon.

    As for țuica, it’s for local color 🙂 I would rather have a glass of Murfatlar, or a slice of plum pie, since we’re supposed to have plenty of, to distill our own drink 🙂

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