The Holy Spirit like a dove -drawing

 

MIORITZA (The Ewe-Lamb) - Shepherd's Thoughts Of Yore

“I can’t sing ‘The Shepherd’s Doina’ whenever I want but only when I’m hitted upon it, and then I sing it with all my heart that I give it to people. This means to take great pity on people to sing it.”

Horpin Gherasim 72 years old in 1939 –Vădeni-Soroca (Basarabia)

 

“We sing ‘Mioriţa’ (Mioritza = ‘The Ewe-Lamb’*) anytime, especially when somebody died or when two people get married (at the wedding) and so on. Although it’s abouth death, it brings us quitness, holy peace.”

Savu Constantin 69 years old in 1944 –Bălteni-Periş (Ilfov)

*Elegiac song typical of Romanian lyrical traditional (folkloric) poetry and music. It hasn’t got a proper equivalent in English.

 

“When my shepherds sing The Ewe-Lamb, they sing it as though the sky descends upon the earth.”

Roşca Matache 72 years old in 1935 –Cornova-Ungheni (Basarabia)

 

“The Ewe-Lamb accompanies me wherever I go. In the evening, after I say the prayer I say The Ewe-Lamb as well.”

Tătăranu Sultana 85 years old in 1978 –Gemenea-Dâmboviţa

 

“If the dead one has no relative we sing The Ewe-Lamb from the ‘bucium’ (alphorn*), for the springs to hear and mourn for him.”

Bâncă Elisabeta 45 years old in 1939 –Topolog-Tulcea

*approximately translation.

 

“In the morning we look in the distance and pray. We listen to the springs and they also teach us that we must sing.”

Berbac Dumitru 51 years old in 1936 –Săcele-Braşov

 

“When man sings, nature is feasting.”

Golea Petre 79 years old in 1939 –Izvoare-Floreşti (Basarabia)

 

“The Ewe-Lamb is a means of quitness and has a soul-up lifting power; you see beautiful images and get yourself calmed; the shepherd’s serenity is a good exemple.”

Gagiu Florea 60 years old in 1948 –Bezdead-Dâmboviţa

 

“The shepherd reassured himself; he knew he will be gone weddingly with all he possessed, as though he had lived. Longing for what will come but suffering from a touch of homesickness as well, the shepherd has raised from the dead. ‘Dorul’* (The longing) is a source of life.”

Răileanu Dochia 18 years old in 1939 –Izvoare-Floreşti (Basarabia)

* ‘Dor’ is an untranslatable term though it can be rendered with the help of some equivalents, more or less suitable.

 

“I appeased myself by singing. What is The Ewe-Lamb? It is a great song: the sheep hold the shepherd his fate (rather his foreordained wife) and he understood he must prepare to face death.”

Ciută Petre 60 years old in 1943 –Stăneşti-Gorj

 

“The Ewe-Lamb is the mother of the Romanian people. She comes from the deepest past and went with us in all ages. She guided us through the shepherds’ spiritual power. She answers to the most important question ever: What is life and death.”

Vaşoti Virgil 51 years old in 1940 –Băiasa -Epir

 

“The Ewe-Lamb is altogether a hearth, a dwelling place; and old hearth of our people.”

Bălan Ion 100 years old in 1959 –Buriaş-Periş (Ilfov)

 

“The Ewe-Lamb is the people’s song.”

Neacşu Gheorghe 89 years old in 1957 –Poenari-Ulmi (Ilfov)

 

“The deeds happened once in the past.”

Stângă Petre 75 years old in 1959 –Dobroteşti-Teleorman

 

“We all wire once together and our song has its origins at that time. But if many years have passed which years separated one from another, ‘Njala arudă’* (‘The Whitish-Yellow Sheep’) is not to blame.”

Tola Victoria 38 years old in 1940 –Gopeşi -Macedonia

*in Aromanian dialect. The Aromanians (or Vlachians, or Macedo-Romanians) are a branch of Romanian people, living at the South of Danube, in the Balkans.

 

“The Ewe-Lamb is like a history received an one’s deathbed. It has to be consigned exactly, like a will.”

Poiană Neculai 90 years old in 1978 –Bogdana-Vaslui

 

“We piously (literally: with holiness) sing The Ewe-Lamb carol, but only on winter holidays.”

Tipuriţă Valer 85 years old in 1980 –Vale-Sibiu

 

“I sing The Ewe-Lamb and ‘Ciobăneasca’ (‘The Shepherd’s Song’*) one after another, they are connected, and otherwise there wouldn't be something understandable. One may sing it at any holiday.”

Răzneanu Toma 74 years old in 1938 –Dişcova-Orhei (Basarabia)

*A pastoral song.

 

“In my childhood I used to graze the sheep. I had learned The Ewe-Lamb from Ştefan Vodă (Prince Stephen*) a shepherd who came to our village from Moldova (Moldavia*). He was a shepherd in charge of a sheepfold. He would sing so loud that the entire village could hear him. He blew the ‘bucium’ on the Saint George holiday in the distances (in the all four cardinal points).”

Vasencu Nichifor 77 years old in 1986 –Mânzeşti-Drăgoieşti -Suceava

*That was his name.
*Moldavia is the Eastern part of Romania.

 

“I sing to the sheep when they go to sleep, when they wake up, and on the pasture land for milk ewes; they stay like an army and listen to me.”

Rusu Gheorghe 54 years old in 1938 –Cubolta –Basarabia

 

“I can’t live without my sheep; whenever I sing to them, they flock together and jump on me.”

“I wandered through the village, I walked all over the grazing fields looking for the sheep and singing ‘Ciobanul care şi-a pierdut oile’ (‘The Shepherd Who Lost His Sheep’*) until I got quiet.”

Costache Radu 71 years old in 1954 –Periş-Ilfov

*A pastoral song.

 

“I fight with the Danube, which most of the times inundates my vegetable garden, though I come off victorious. The song is never failing. I know also The Ewe-Lamb, which I heard it from shepherds. I sing it on weddings, at ‘şezători’ (‘sittings’*) and on holidays.”

Cociog Ion 55 years old in 1939 –Ostrov -Tulcea

*Evening sitting of village women.

 

“We sing ‘Ciobăneasca’ (‘The Shepherd’s Song’) at any holidays; it is built up from two songs connected to each other.”

Ţilea Alexandru 48 years old in 1940 –Ghizdita –Soroca (Basarabia)



“Do me a Ewe-Lamb song…”

 

 

Old man from Poiana Sibiului (Transylvania) -in 1932

 

About Tradition, Life and Death

“We were so filled with the sense and power of tradition that the shepherd submitted unconditionally to the forefathers’ law and received the punishment - sometimes even death - with serenity so that the sin shouldn’t perpetuate and the honour of the community should stay untouched.”

Costicea Petre 81 years old in 1978 –Pleasa (Albania)

 

“I’m shepherd in charge in the sheepfold. The shepherds, with their guild; their group. Beforehand they had their ‘hora’*. They wore ‘cârlig’ (a hook), ‘tărchilă’ (a bag), ‘chimir de aramă’ (a copper wide girdle) and ‘cuşmă ţuguiată’ (a conic fur cap). I’m not a lettered man, but I’ve learned to read the signs of the sky and land. I play ‘Ciobăneasca’ with my ‘fluier’ (flute) sing it with my mouth. I fast on Wednesday and Friday; on Saturday I always take pity on somebody, for the sheep’s healthiness.”

Untu Petrea 70 years old in 1935 –Bârnova-Iaşi

*Romanian round dance, a kind of reel -do not confound with ‘hore’ which means song.

 

“We, the shepherds, do ourselves free wells at the crossroads, for passers-by to drink. You cannot leave this life without leaving a trace for one to be mentioned.”

Bahrin Teofan 62 years old in 1929 –Izvoare-Floreşti (Basarabia)

 

“Our forefathers were shepherds and came from Ardeal (Transylvania*). One of my great-grandfather’s shepherds was a hermit from Rarău Mountains*.
  I wanted to be honest and pure like a candle. Before The Ascension Day I would go with my brothers and neighbours to the monastery, walking on foot through mountains, in order to get ourselves renewed before starting the work.”

Cârşmari Ion 75 years old in 1986 –Mânzeşti-Drăgoieşti –Suceava

*Transylvania is the Western part of Romania.
*In the Northeast of Moldavia.

 

“Many of our hermits were shepherds.”

Brădean Atanasie 59 years old in 1938 –Cisnădia-Arad

 

“I have kept my soul’s quietness with holiness (literally: like a holiness).”

Pană Ion 73 years old in 1948 –Nehoiu-Buzău

 

“My mother used to teach me to be kind like a sweet violet -which, when is crushed underfoot, is spreading her smell, coming from under a stone.”

Diamandi Stere 79 years old in 1978 –Aminciu -Epir

 

“The sheep feeds you while you are looking at her. In this way you become a kind man. That you may, do only good*.”

Găluşcă Alexandru 60 years old in 1928 –Izvoare-Floreşti (Basarabia)

*Around you, in your life.

 

“I am dressed with black and white national costume -the colours of life. The life on earth means the struggle between good and evil. We have either good or bad days. We thank God come what may!”

Gagiu Nicolae 72 years old in 1948 –Bezdead-Dâmboviţa

 

“The sky is on my side, is protecting me. I walk with my sheep straight forward; if I were to die, I die.”

Vidraşcu Petre 58 years old in 1943 –Doroţcaia (Basarabia)

 

“Life is a fight, the death is a law, when your last hour has come you cannot escape from it.”

Panait Varvara 52 years old in 1942 –Brădeşti-Dolj

 

“Poor men, life is a struggle; only the one who has a powerful soul is worthy to win.”*

Cârşmari Dominica 78 years old in 1983 –Mânzeşti-Drăgoieşti –Suceava

*This is not Darwinian natural selection-"the survival of the fittest"!

 

“Being a child I departed from Făgăraş (Fagarash) Mountains* with my sheep. When I crossed the Danube on ice, half of them got drowned. I and a little boy who was at the head of the sheep escaped death. I was strong, all is nothing in comparison with life eternity*.”

Brumă Nicolae 82 years old in 1939 –Chilia Veche –Tulcea

*In the South of Transylvania.
*(eternal life).

 

“We are fleeting like field’s grass*, the mountains alone remain standing. Only the language and customs* remain to tell about our passing on earth.”

Cutină Dumitru 77 years old in 1975 –Pleasa (Albania)

*See Psalm 103, 15-16: “Man’s days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field…”
*(traditions).

 

“For the living, time is running, but for the dead is stone-still. The death is a transformation, a new beginning. It’s not (simply) death, but again life, yet in a different manner.”

Axinte Ion 79 years old in 1951 –Brazii –Ialomiţa

 

“When I’ll get out from the running time, which flight, in order to enter in that stone-still life from beyond, we won't have meet each other, but our words will meet.”

Gorea Niculai 72 years old in 1943 –Balta –Bucovina de Nord

 

“Are you coming to my wedding?”(funeral).

Ciobanu Leanca 90 years old in 1950 –Periş -Ilfov

 

“We, the shepherds, love life. It has no end. The death is a transformation so that it has no power against me.”

Poiană Neculai 90 ani în 1978 –Bogdana –Vaslui

 

“I walk with my sheep through Hunedoara, Haţeg, at Pui, Cârligei (Dolj)*, around hamlets with sheepfolds, with individual farms scattered on Muncel. Closed by the sheepfold and house we have the tombs of our forefathers.”

Cozma Ion 79 years old in 1970 –Stâna de Vale –Bihor

*District in Oltenia -the Southeastern region of Muntenia (Wallachia). Muntenia (Wallachia) is the Southern part of Romania.

 

“The ewe-lamb behaves like its shepherd: wishes to be buried around the sheepfold.”

Popa Teodor 79 years old in 1935 –Măgurele-Ungheni (Basarabia)

 

“The shepherds used to let in honour of the shepherds dead on the road their funeral repast under a branchy pubescent oak. On the place named ‘Şapte Fraţi’ (‘Seven Brothers’) where were seven twinned pubescent oaks, a votive light was burning in a hollow.”

Nae Ion 88 years old in 1965 –Periş -Ilfov

 

“We have no shells*. Some people made their cross from some crossed goat horns fixed with wooden nails.”

“My father couldn’t afford to die until his flock would forgive him, for he had burned - once - a sick sheep.”

Tache Vrană 43 years old in 1940 –Veria -Macedonia

*coffins.

 

“I know the history of the village. I took part in the removal of the precincts of the village by the authorities, from Valeni to Burias, because of the floods caused by Ialomita River. The dead were also taken to Valeni. In 1926 we asked for permission to bring the dead as well. The bones were carried in ten carts, adorned with fir tree branches. We beat the stake and said: now we are in our own village!”

Bălan Ion 100 years old in 1959 –Buriaş-Periş (Ilfov)

 

 

An brightly old Romanian graveyard

 

 

Tradition, Shepherding, Nation

“This is of yore…” (traditionally).

Veţian Maria 62 years old in 1988 –Şerbeni –Mureş

 

“I spin while I’m walking on foot, in the way the woman is destined to.”

Roznovan Voica 76 years old in 1958 –Răstoaca -Vrancea

 

“We are God-chosen people to be shepherds.”

Şapteboi Spiridon 69 years old in 1936 –Cornova-Ungheni (Basarabia)

 

“I have been grazing sheep all my life. I cannot live without sheep. I wear a national costume. I cannot feel comfortable in town clothes*.”

Cârşmari Constantin 60 years old in 1980 –Mânzeşti-Drăgoieşti –Suceava

*literally: ‘Mr’s clothes’. Town clothes are influenced by the Occidental fashion.

 

“Shepherd means a highlander (a man of eminence), a man who moves from hill to mountain. The one who didn’t go and suffered on the shepherd-like roads is not a true shepherd.”

Trăznea Gheorghe 79 years old in 1958 –Poenari-Ulmi (Ilfov)

 

“I am of shepherd’s origin came from Apuseni Mountains*. We fraternized with other shepherds who had come from Moldova (Moldavia). The sheepfold is never-failing from the common grazing-ground.”

Ţilea Alexandru 48 years old in 1940 –Ghizdita –Soroca (Basarabia)

 

“The foundation of our shepherding used to be the group of shepherds. In the past, the fraternized shepherds bound themselves by (on) oath in the presence of the old folks; in this way they become brethren.”

Geavela Sotir 75 years old in 1978 –Pleasa (Albania)

 

“Shepherds are movable, but bound to a root. We are like the grain and like the oak tree. Had we made the land transparent, it would be only our bones. The Romanian is like a pear tree, held by seven roots; the more you wish to pull it out the more it keeps itself up.”

Curmei Teodor 87 years old in 1969 –Hârtop-Orhei (Basarabia)

 

“The Romanian is born to be a free master, for this reason we were able to keep our customs*.”

Dima Tudorache 75 years old in 1958 Pleasa (Albania)

*(traditions).

 

“The sheepfold is a national dwelling, which united us all: the same construction, the same tools.”

Vaşoti Virgil 51 years old in 1940 –Băiasa –Epir

 

“The shepherd is the same everywhere.”

Tache Vrană 43 years old in 1940 –Veria –Macedonia

 

“We the shepherds are acquainted with all the history mysteries written on the Country’s land.”

Ghindaru Nicolae 83 years old in 1961-Ciolani-Ilfov (originary from Muscel)

 

“I love the people. In the presence of the suffering of many people, my heart is very much alike to Iancu Jianu’s*, exactly in the way you strike a drive into a green tree.”

Niţu Nicolae 84 years old in 1955 –Bălteni-Periş (Ilfov)

*A national hero.

 

“I wear long hair and dress myself with an apparel which comes of yore. I had walked with the sheep in the Southern Basarabia, to Reni, Cetatea Albă (‘The White Fortress’) and Chilia (‘Hermitage’). I stayed in Dobrogea (Dobrudjea*). Many of ours had established in this place. I have been shepherd from my childhood. I lived like a hermit. I used to sing ‘Deşteaptă-te române’ (‘Rise up Romanian’) and ‘Cântecul lui Avram Iancu’ (‘The Song of Avram Iancu’*). We used to speak about our beautiful villages from Ardeal (Transylvania). One from here, other from elsewhere, we managed to bind ourselves spiritually like brethren.”cu straie ca din vechie

Curecheanu Iacob 92 years old in 1939 –Casimcea-Tulcea (originary from Topârcea –Sibiu)

*Dobrudjea -the Southeastern region of Romania.
*A national hero.

 

“We lived together with Bulgarians, Serbians and fraternized with them, but kept our language and customs*, otherwise the forefathers’ curse might have reached us.”

Zisu Nicolae 56 years old in 1942 –Coceani –Macedonia

*(traditions).

 

 

Little house from Râmeţi (Transylvania)

 

 

About the Beauty and the Signs of Nature

“While gazing at the stars in the middle of the night my thought was flying round. Fog was flowing among the pine trees and my heart filled with joy knowing that what I see others don’t have this opportunity. I have lived for my soul*, not for money.”

Tache Vrană 43 years old in 1940 –Veria –Macedonia

*Spiritually.

 

“Man is beautified in his work by trees, flowers, cattle. I stay on the skyline and I feel the way in which life ascends above the earth. The tinkling of cattle bells and ringing of copper chimes* urges me on turning my face to God and thank Him for the seeing of the beauty.”

Tudor Gheorghe a Irinei –ploughman and shepherd, 76 years old in 1986 –Oblogeni-Prahova

*(church bells)

 

“I have particularly liked in the forest; I cannot live without grass and the nightingale’s song.”

Niţu Ilie 73 years old in 1953 –Periş –Ilfov

 

“When I walk towards the field to get some maize, I have never faced solitude -the sky is above.”

Paşcă Maria 65 years old in 1946 –Crişcior –Hunedoara

 

“…There, where are large fields and better grass.”

Găluşcă Alexandru 60 years old in 1928 –Izvoare-Floreşti (Basarabia)

 

“Are you walking on a foot path and hear how whiz the grass than you are tempted to believe it sings from leaf, so thinly are whizzed when will come the rain.”

Vasencu Nichifor 77 years old in 1986 –Mânzeşti-Drăgoieşti -Suceava

 

“Not only the birds have their language; even the spring ‘gurliţează’* heralds in the same way as the trees ‘puşpurează’* rustles (sighs).”

Tache Vrană 43 years old in 1940 –Veria -Macedonia

*A possible literally translation of this regionalism: talking (with his mouth).
*A literally translation is not possible for this regionalism.

 

“Even the water had me its signs; it flows in a certain manner; the wind at his turn is blowing as if it had a human voice.”

Cârşmari Dominica 78 years old in 1983 –Mânzeşti-Drăgoieşti -Suceava

 

“We hold you as a mountain.”

Tache Vrană 43 years old in 1940 –Veria –Macedonia

 

“I know to braid twists in a sixfold or eightfold sort; big, round, yellow like sun done to turn… I enjoy weaving using all the beech’s colours. By the time the sun goes to bed I do not dare to retire for the night.”

Cârşmari Dominica 78 years old in 1983 –Mânzeşti-Drăgoieşti –Suceava

 

“I am in the habit of weaving ‘the Lord’s beard’ making use of the most beautiful wheat ears which I bring it at the opening of the sheepfold.”

Panait Ion 78 years old in 1986 –Poenari-Ulmi (Ilfov)

 

“I am a ‘mocan’* by origin. I’ve learned from the shepherds to talk in proverbs and parables.”

Tudose Ion 89 years old in 1946 –Bărăganu –Brăila

*Inhabitant of the mountainous regions of Transylvania; a shepherd from this regions; a highlander.

 

“This will remain as a story for posterity, yet, ‘Mioriţa’ will not come into being. Nowadays the soul is blowing out in other (different) directions, life has changed, the lands come to an end, and on the old common grazing grounds people are sowing. You no longer see people who go out and gather together around bonfires, saying in the ‘fluier’ flute or simply singing or telling stories of old.”

Ichim Ion 55 years old in 1940 –Somova -Tulcea

 

 

Old Romanians - in 1932

 

FORWARD to Fr. Stăniloae - About 'Dor' and Song