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Vampires in Romania

The Girl and the Vampire.

(Story from Ramnicul Sarat.)

Once in a village there were a girl and a youth who were deeply in love, their parents did not know, and when the relations of the youth approached the parents of the girl with a proposal of marriage they were repulsed because the youth was poor. So the young man hanged himself on a tree, and became a vampire. As such he was able to come and visit the girl. But, although the girl had loved the man, she did not much like to have to do with an evil spirit. What could she do to escape from danger and sin? She went to a wise woman, and this wise woman advised her what to do.

The vampire came one evening to make love to the girl and stayed late. When he knew that it was about time to leave, he said,
- "Good night," and made ready to go.

The girl, following the advice of the wise old woman, fixed into the back of his coat a needle, to which was attached one end of the thread from a large ball of thread. The vampire went away, and the ball unrolled and unrolled for some time and then, all at once, it stopped. The girl understood what had happened, and followed the clue given by the thread. She traced it along the road, and found that it entered into the churchyard, and went straight to a grave. There it entered the earth, and that was the end.

She came home, but the next night, as twilight came on, she hastened to the churchyard, and stood some distance from the grave to see what would happen. It was not long before she saw the vampire coming out, going to another grave, opening it, eating the heart of the dead man buried there, and then setting out towards the village to visit her. She followed him as he left the churchyard.

- "Where were you this evening, and what did you see?" asked the vampire after he had greeted her.
- "Where was I? Nowhere, I saw nothing," said the girl.

The vampire continued,
- "I warn you that, if you do not tell me, your father will die."
- "Let him die, I know nothing, I've seen nothing, and I can say nothing."
- "Very well," said the vampire, and indeed in two days the girl's father was dead. He was buried with all due rites, and it was some time before the vampire again came to the girl.

One night, however, he came and made love to her as usual, but before leaving he said,

- "T ell me where you were that evening, because, if you will not, your mother will die."

- "She may die nine times. How can I speak when I know nothing?" answered the girl.

After two days the mother died. She was duly buried. Again some time passed, and the vampire reappeared, and now he said,

- "If you do not tell me what you saw that evening, you shall die too."

- "What if I do?" said she, "it will be no great loss. How can I invent a story, if I know nothing and have seen nothing?"
- "That is all very well, but what are you going to do now, for you are about to die?" replied the vampire.

On the advice of the wise old woman the girl called all her relations together and told them that she was going to die soon. When she was dead they were not to take her out by the door or by the window, but to break an opening in the walls of the house. They were not to bury her in the churchyard, but in the forest, and they were not to take her by the road but to go right across the fields until they came to a little hollow among the trees of the forest and here her grave was to be. And so it happened. The girl died, the wall of the house was broken down, and she was carried out on a bier across the fields to the margin of the forest.

After some time a wonderful flower, such as has never been seen, either before or after, grew up on her grave. One day the son of the emperor passed by and saw this flower, and immediately gave orders that it should be dug up well below the roots, brought to the castle, and put by his window. The flower flourished, and was more beautiful than ever, but the son of the emperor pined. He himself did not know what was the matter, he could neither eat nor drink. What was the matter? At night the flower became again the maiden, as beautiful as before. She entered in at the window, and passed the night with the emperor's son without his knowing it. However, one night she could contain herself no longer, and kissed him, and he awoke and saw her. After that, they pledged troth to each other, they told the emperor and empress, they were married, and they lived very happily together. There was only one drawback to their happiness. The wife would never go out of the house. She was afraid of the vampire.

One day, however, her husband took her with him in a carriage to go to church, when there, at a corner, who should there be but the vampire. She jumped out of the carriage and rushed to the church. She ran, the vampire ran, and just had his hand on her as they both reached the church together. She hid behind a holy picture. The vampire stretched out his hand to seize her, when all at once the holy picture fell on his head, and he disappeared in smoke. And the wife lived with the emperor's son free from all danger and sin for the rest of her life.

Romanian Folk Tales
Tudor Pamfile, "Ion Creanga" 1914

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