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Vampire Stories from Siret

In the two following vampire stories from Siret, vampires are thought of as wizardlike beings, being men or women capable of projecting their soul from their body at will.

Vampires story from Siret (I)

A woman from Siret tells the following:
Vampires are just like other folk, only that God has ordained that they should wander over the country and kill people. There was one that wandered through ten villages, killing their inhabitants. He had a little house in the plain, which was always empty except when he himself was there. One day he thought of going on a journey, and baked bread in preparation. He made ten loaves and put them on the table.

Twelve men who were going to work passed the cottage, and noticed that there was a light. One of the men said,
- "I'11 just go in and light my pipe."

They all entered, and the vampire became a cat. The men saw that there was no human being in the house, so they took all the loaves, except one, which they left because they had seen the cat. This was lucky for them, for otherwise they would all have been bewitched and died.

The vampire went round the villages, taking with him the one loaf.

When the men returned from work, they again passed the cottage and again saw a light. They entered, and this time saw the vampire, who told them of their escape. Their luck was great, for in all the villages where the vampire had wandered he had killed men and torn them to bits.

Vampires story from Siret (II)

An old man with some soldiers was driving in a cart in Transilvania, trying to find where he could get some hay. Night came on during their journey, so they stopped at a lonely house in a plain. The woman of the house received them, put maize porridge ( mamaliga ) and milk on the table for them, and then went away.

The soldiers ate the maize porridge, and after their meal looked for the old woman to thank her, but were unable to find her. Climbing up to the attic to see if she was there, they found seven bodies lying down, one of which was the woman's. They were frightened and fled, and, as they looked back, they saw seven little lights descending on the house.

These were the souls of the vampires. Had the soldiers turned the bodies with their faces downwards, the souls would never have been able to enter the bodies again.

Romanian Folk Tales
Tudor Pamfile, "Ion Creanga" 1914

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