Illustrations of Mirela Pete
For centuries, our nation´s traditions have been preserved in people memories through many stories, songs and legends. Some of them have been orally transmitted, others were carved in stones, bringing evidence over time about this industrious, brave and passionate in love people. Today is Love´s Feast, so I will tell you the Dragobete´s Legend, who, according to the elders, was Dochia´s son, a very beautiful woman. She was believed to be Decebalus´ daughter and even Trojan, the Romans´emperor wanted her for wife. Her blonde hair braids on the back, her blue sky eyes, her white marble face and her strawberry red lips left everybody speechless. She was living in the mountains, with her sheep flock grazing daily fresh grass.
One day, bewitched by the flowers´ colours and their heady scents, she fall asleep on the river bank, where she took her sheep to water. That full moon night, Dochia fall asleep on a flower bad, smiling while sleeping. At the midnight, when she was deeply asleep, a foggy cloud raised from the mountain´s bottom, covering the moon´s light and hugging the sleeping virgin´s body. The next day, when she opened her eyes, the sun was at noon. She woke up from that deep sleep and looked around, seeing everything changed. She was still feeling the kiss´ delicate fragrance on her lips. Without knowing what happened, she looked her face in the lake mirror, when the forest began roaring and a tender flute sound was coming out of nowhere…
Life continued its normal course, but Dochia did not know what happened to her body, which was changing from day to day. Nine months after the foggy cloud event, on 24th of February, Dragobete was born. He have had four fairies as godmothers: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Each of them offered him what they considerated to be the most beautiful and useful in life. The Spring gave him love as a gift, by offering him the flowers´ freshness and the immortality and eternal youth. The Summer offered Dragobete the love´s burning fulfilment and the fruits´ sweetness. The Autumn Fairy gave him a flute, so that his songs could make happy the people. Ultimately, the Winter dressed him with diamond flashes clothes. As girdle, he had a red belt, with snowy white pearls. His clothes were remaining as white as the snow, no matter the child´s age or the many times he wore it.
With 19 years, Dragobete was having the hair as black as the night and the eyes green as the mountains´ silky grass, the voice as sweet as the honey and the kiss hot as the embers.
He was a jolly boy playing the flute, whom the girls considered a god. The young girls who met him, feeling his bewitched sight and, sometimes, his burning kiss, could swear that he was not like a normal human being. The elders believed the girls were right. And that because nobody knew who his father was, there was the rumour that the mountain´s spirit conceived him, while converting himself in a foggy cloud…A period of time no one the boy anymore, neither heard the whistle´s song.
In the mountains, in a white, red, blue, gray, pink and purple crystallized walls cave, a wise old man was living. When feeding his sheep in the meadow, the boy meet him, who called Dragobete on his name, urging to follow him. Surprised, the boy followed him without saying a word. Becoming the old man´s apprentice, Dragobete learnt to read the Secret nature´s Book. Thus, he was able to recognise medicinal plants, to speak to birds, to understand the forest and the sky´s magical signs, without fearing the wild beats anymore.
When he returned to people, he was well received. More than ever, he made the girls fall in love with him, he was able to travel at the speed of thought, appearing where he was called…Men also endeared him. No one knew how happened that men were not jealous of him. Until one day, when an old man revealed the secret. When younger, on 23rd of February, Dragobete used to appear in young men dreams, showing them the love´s secrets. Everything was happening under oath… The old man revealed the mystery, since he was 100, wanting to get rid of oath.
The legend tells that after hundreds of years living on earth, during which the people learned to love, learning from generation to generation, the mountain´s spirit called his child back. At the father´s request, Virgin Mary transformed the son into a magic plant, called hart´s tongue. Thus, Dragobete, also called Hart´s Tongue, sleeps on his father´s ¨body¨, being revived every spring…
Even nowadays , in the third millenium, some girls and young women of this brave nation , still believe in hart´s tongue´s magic power. They carry in the breast a silky bag full of hart´s tongue. It is a proof of appreciation and remembrance of the Romanian Love God, named Dragobete.
Are you wondering what happened next to Dochia? Malicious people tell that she became an evil and stubborn old woman. It is also said that in March, she would have put on her nine coats, to lead her sheep in the mountains. Because of the hot weather, she gave the coat off, one by one, and a frosty night she had been turned to stone, together with her sheep flock. Other wise people tell that she visited her beloved Ceahlau Mountain, asking him to turn her to stone, to be always together. Love never dies!
Author´s note: the 15th of August, the Assumption Day is the time when the hart´s tongue is picked as the last cure plant, growing in several places of the forest, known only by some old women, using it in love spells. Girls are given the hart´s tongue to carry in the breast, it is said to have the magic power to attract the lads´ love. (Source: Wikipedia)