Alexandru Lapushneanu 1564-1569

I. Even if you do not want me, I want you  Iacov Eraclid, nicknamed The Despot, had been killed by the mace of Stefan Tomsha, who was ruling the country now, but Alexandru Lapushneanu, after he had been defeated twice by the army of The Despot, fled to Constantinople and succeeded in gathering a Turkish army. Now, he was coming back to drive away the usurper Tomsha and to take back his throne, which he wouldn't have lost if he hadn't been betrayed by the boyars. He had entered Moldavia, accompanied by seven thousand Spahis and about three thousand army of sorts. Besides, he had been ordered by the Emperor to support the Tartar Khan Nogai with as many soldiers the latter would ask for. Lapushneanu was riding beside the minister of the internal affairs Bogdan, both on Turkish horses and armed to the teeth. "What do you think, Bogdan," he said after a while, "will we defeat them?" "Don't you doubt, milord," answered the court official, "for the country is oppressed by Tomsha. His entire army will pledge allegiance to you as soon as you promise them higher wages. The boyars he let live stay with him only for fear of death, but when they see you, milord, coming with such a great army, they will run to you and forsake him at once." "I hope I won't need to do what Prince Mircea did to the Wallachians, so help me God; but I told you before, I know our boyars, as I have been living in the same community with them." "This is for you to decide, milord." As they were talking like this, they almost reached Tecuci, where they stopped to rest in a grove. "Milord," said a bailiff approaching, "there are several boyars who have just arrived and who ask to see Your Highness." "Let them approach," said Alexandru. After a while, four boyars entered the tent where Lapushneanu was sitting surrounded by his boyars and his captains. These four were the minister of internal affairs Motzoc, the minister of foreign affairs Veveritza, the sword bearer Spancioc, and Stroici. Approaching Prince Alexandru, they took a large bow but they didn't kiss his coat tail, as the custom required. "Welcome, boyars!" he said, trying to smile. "God bless you, milord," said the boyars. "I heard," said Alexandru, "that the country was attacked and I came to set you free; I know that the country has been waiting for me with joy." "You shouldn't believe that, milord, as the country is quiet, and maybe Your Highness didn't hear the things as they really are; our people are in the habit of making much ado about nothing. This is why the council sent us to tell you that the people don't want you, nor do they love you, and Your Highness should go back to…" "Even if you do not want me, I want you," answered Lapushneanu, whose eyes sparkled like lightning, and if you do not love me, I love you, and I shall proceed with or without your approval. Go back? I would rather make the Danube flow backwards. Oh! The country doesn't want me, does it? It is you who don't want me, as far as I understand!" "One shall not behead the messenger," said Spancioc; we are here to tell you the truth. The boyars are determined to leave their country and go to the Hungarians, Poles and Wallachians, where all of them have relatives and friends. They will come back with foreign armies, and God help our poor country when we start fighting between us, and maybe Your Highness will suffer as well, as Prince Stefan Tomsha…" "Tomsha! Did he teach you to speak so boldly? I don't know what stops me from breaking your skull with this mace," he said taking the weapon from Bogdan. "Did that villain of Tomsha teach you…?" "The Lord's anointed cannot be called a villain," said Veveritza. "But aren't I the Lord's anointed as well? Didn't you pledge allegiance to me too, when I was the mere High Steward Petre? Didn't you appoint me? What can you say about my ruling? How much bloodshed did I cause? Is there anyone who left my house without having been given justice and comfort? And yet, now you say you don't want me and you don't love me? Ha! Ha! Ha!" He was laughing; one could see his muscles twisting and his eyes blinking while he was laughing. "Your Highness," said Stroici, "allow me to tell you we can see that our country will fall prey to the heathens. After this horde of Turks have plundered the country, what will be left for Your Highness to rule?" "And how will you quench the thirst of these hordes of heathens whom Your Highness brought with you?" added Spancioc. "I will use your fortunes, not the money you fleece from the peasants. You take the milk of the country, but now it's high time I took the milk from you. Enough, boyars! Go back and tell the one who sent you not to stand in my way, otherwise, I shall make trumpets out of his bones and drums out of his skin." The boyars stepped out upset; Motzoc stayed. "What do you want?" asked Lapushneanu. "Milord! Milord!" said Motzoc kneeling, "Don't punish us for our mistakes! Remember you are a patriot, remember the Gospel and forgive those who trespassed against you! Save our poor country. Milord! Discharge these heathen armies; let only the Moldavians you have in your army come, and we swear that no harm will be done against you; and if you need an army, we will arm ourselves, with our wives and children, we will summon the people, we will summon our servants and our neighbours. Trust us!" "Trust you?" said Lapushneanu, understanding what his plan was. "Maybe you think I don't know the Moldavian proverb: Can the leopard change his spots? Maybe you think I don't know you all, and you especially? You think I don't know that, when you were the general of my army, and you saw I had been defeated, you forsake me? Veveritza is my old enemy, but at least he has never denied this; Spancioc is still young, his heart is filled with love for his country; I like to see how proud he is, and that he doesn't try to hide his pride. Stroici is a child, who doesn't know yet how people really are, who doesn't know how to mediate situations and lie; he thinks that all that glitters is gold. What about you, Motzoc? You are an expert in plotting, you are used to groveling before all princes, you sold Despot out, you sold me out, too, you will sell Tomsha out as well; now tell me, wouldn't I be the most stupid of all if I trusted you? But I forgive you for daring to think that you will be able to deceive me, and I promise you that my sword will not spill your blood; I will spare you, as I need you to facilitate my relationship with the people. There are other drones in the hive that need to be killed." Motzoc kissed his hand, like the dog that, instead of biting, licks the hand which has beaten him. He was happy with the promise earned; he knew that Prince Alexandru would need an intriguer like him. Tomsha ordered his Deputies, in case they weren't be able to make Lapushneanu go back, to go on their way to Constantinople, where they were supposed to facilitate his deposition from office by means of petitions and bribes. But, as Motzoc realized that Lapushneanu had come with the permission of the Sublime Porte itself and, on the other hand, as he didn't want to go back to Tomsha empty handed, he asked permission to stay and accompany the former. He was granted permission.  II. You will answer for this, my lady As he didn't feel strong enough to fight back, Tomsha had fled to Wallachia, and Lapushneanu didn't encounter any resistance on the way. All over the place, the people greeted him with joy and hope, as they remembered his first rule, when he hadn't have time to reveal his bad temper. But the boyars were shaking. They were concerned because of two main issues; they knew that the people hated them, and the Lord didn't love them. Immediately after his arrival, Lapushneanu ordered for all the Moldavian fortresses, except for Hotin, to be filled with wood and burnt down. Thus, he wanted to destroy the asylum of the dissatisfied who, on many occasions, plotted and caused mutiny behind the walls of these fortresses. In order to do away with the boyars' influence and the nests of feudalism, he would seize their fortunes under various pretexts, thus depriving them of the only means to lure and corrupt the people. But, as Lapushneanu thought this plan wasn't enough, he would kill them, now and then. At the smallest government mistake, at the smallest complaint submitted to him, he would hang the guilty person on the gate of the Court, with a note describing their fault, either real or imaginary, and no sooner had that person started to rot than another head would replace theirs. Nobody dared to say anything against him, let alone do anything. A lot of Albanian, Serbian and Hungarian mercenaries, banished for their wrong deeds, took cover beside Alexandru, who paid them high wages and relied on them; and the Moldavian armies, led by his captains, were kept at a distance; but as he discharged the soldiers and sent them to their homes, their numbers grew smaller. One day, he was walking alone in the hall of the royal palace. He had had a long meeting with Motzoc, who had become one of his favorites again, and who had left the room, after having presented to him the plan for a new contribution. Lapushneanu seemed nervous, he was talking to himself, and one could see that he was plotting another death, when Lady Ruxandra entered the room by a lateral door.After the passing away of her father, good old Petru Raresh, whose death had been lamented by many people, and who was buried in the yard of the saint church of Probota, commissioned by himself, young Ruxandra became the ward of her elder brothers, Iliash and Stefan. Iliash ruled for a while, and after a short and lickerish reign, he left for Constantinople, where he converted to Mohammedanism. Stefan came to the throne and he turned out to be worse than his brother. He obliged the foreigners and the Catholics to give up their customs and religion, and many rich families that had taken shelter in our country were exiled, bringing poverty to the land and decrease of trade profits. Since most of them were in-laws of the Polish and the Hungarians, the boyars got angry and connived with their exiled fellows, deciding to put the prince to death. Maybe they would have postponed carrying out their plan, if his lechery hadn't urged them to take action. "No young lady would have escaped him, if she was beautiful," said the chronicler naively. One day, the boyars who accompanied him to Tzutzora wouldn't wait for the exiled boyars, for fear that he might get away, and cut the ropes of the tent in which he dwelled and killed him.Ruxandra was the only heir of Petru Raresh and the murderous boyars had decided to make her marry a certain Joldea, whom they had elected ruler. But Lapushneanu, chosen by the exiled boyars, defeated Joldea, had his nose cut and sent him to the monastery. In order to warm up the people's hearts, in which the memory of Raresh was still alive, he married the latter's daughter. This is how delicate Ruxandra became the spoils of war of the conqueror.When she entered the ballroom she was dressed exquisitely, with the due grandeur of a ruler's wife, daughter and sister as she was. Over the long mantle of golden fabric she had a blue, smaller coat, fur-lined with sable, whose sleeves hung loose; she wore a gold girdle, fastened with jasper buckles, surrounded by gems. Her neck was adorned with a necklace with numerous pearls. In accordance with the fashion of the day, her hair hung freely to her waist. She was the bearer of that beauty that once had made the Romanian women famous. But she was sad and despondent, like a flower withering in the scorching sun, with no shade whatsoever. She had seen her parents dying, she had witnessed one brother giving up his religion and the other killed; after the community had decided to join her in marriage with Joldea, whom she didn't even know, now she had been obliged by the same community (that made use of her heart, without even asking her), to wed Alexandru, whom she would have wanted to love, had he shown any sign of humanity. She drew close to him and kissed his hand. Lapushneanu seized her waist and lifted her like a feather, then placed her onto his knees."How are you, my beloved lady? Who has woken you up so early?""The tears of the ladies who keep weeping at my door and who ask our Christ and His Holy Mother to avenge the blood that you have been spilling incessantly." Lapushneanu scowled and let go of her; the woman fell to his feet."Oh, my good Lord, my brave husband! Enough! Enough with the spilled blood, with the widows, with the orphans! Can't you see that you are all mighty and some poor boyars can't harm you in any way? What is the cause of your discontent? You don't wage war against anybody; the country is quiet and obedient. As for me, God knows, I love you! Your children are beautiful and young. Think that there is death to face after life, that you are mortal and you will have to answer for your deeds! You don't redeem yourself by commissioning monasteries, you rather anger and defy God, if you believe that He will be contented by your attempts, and…""You reckless woman!" shouted Lapushneanu and, out of habit, his hand fingered the daggers hanging to his belt. But he refrained himself from any violence, bent and lifted Ruxandra from the ground."My lady!" he said, "Don't you ever let your mouth utter such foolish things again; God knows what may happen. Give thanks to the great martyr Dimitrie, whose dedication day is celebrated by the church we commissioned at Pangaratzi, because he prevented me from sinning, by recalling to my mind the fact that you are the mother of my children.""Even if you kill me, I won't shut up. Yesterday, when I was about to reach home, a boyar's wife, accompanied by her five children, threw herself in front of my barouche and showed me a human head impaled on a pike of the castle gate. 'You will answer for this, lady! For allowing your husband to kill our parents, spouses and brothers. Look, this is my husband, the father of these children who are now poor! Look!' and she kept pointing at the head stained with blood, and the head was staring at me with terrible eyes! Oh, master of mine! That head has been haunting me ever since and I am so scared! I can't have a proper rest any longer!""And what would you like me to do?" asked Lapushneanu, with a smile."I want you to stop spilling blood, stop the killings. I don't want to see cut heads, I will die of fear and disgust otherwise.""I promise you that starting with the day after tomorrow, you won't see such things anymore," answered Alexandru. "And I will cure you of your fear.""What do you mean?""You will see. Now, my dear, go and see to your children and make arrangements for a feast, for I decided to invite all the boyars to have lunch with us."Ruxandra went out after she had kissed her husband's hand. The latter saw her off to the door."Well, is everything ready?" he asked the captain of his army, who had just entered the room."Yes, everything is ready.""Will they come?'"They will, for sure." III. We want the head of Motzoc… In the evening all the boyars were announced to come to the bishopric the next day, since it was a holy day; their master would be there too, and after having listened to the liturgy, he would invite his subjects to have lunch with him at the palace.When Alexandru arrived at the church, the holy mass was in progress and all the boyars were present.That day Lapushneanu was dressed up in all pomp. He wore the crown of the Palaeologus, and over his Polish scarlet furred velvet mantle he had a Turkish cloak. He had no other weapon than a small gold-hilted dagger; between the buttons of the mantle, you could see a mail hauberk.After he had listened to the holy mass, he got off his pew, crossed himself in front of the icons and then bent piously in front of the reliquary of Saint John and kissed the latter's relics. It is said that he was very pale at that moment and that the reliquary winced.Afterwards, he went back to his pew, turned to his boyars and said:"My dear boyars! Since I came to the throne, I have oppressed many of you; I was wroth and cruel and spilt a lot of blood. Only God knows I repent utterly. But you know that I was only pushed by the desire to put a stop to the arguments and betrayals of some of you who meant the country's disaster and my death. Today things have changed. The boyars have come to their senses; they have realized that the herd can't do without its shepherd. Jesus himself said: 'Forsake the shepherd and his sheep will scatter.' My dear boyars! Let's live in peace from now on, let's love each other as if we were brothers, since this is one of the Ten Commandments: Love thy neighbor as you love your self. Let's forgive and forget, because we are mortal, and pray to our Lord – he crossed himself – to forgive our trespasses, as we forgive our trespassers."Having finished this loose speech, he went to the middle of the church, and after he crossed himself again, he turned to his people and said:"Forgive me, all of you!""God forgive you, Your Highness!" answered all the boyars, except for two young fellows who leant thoughtfully against the door, unseen by the rest.Lapushneanu got out of the church, after he had invited the boyars to have lunch with him; he mounted and rode back to his palace. "What do you think?" asked one of the young boyars who hadn't forgiven Alexandru."I advise you not to go to have lunch at his place today," answered the other. They mixed with the other people. They were Spancioc and Stroici.At the palace, there had been made great preparations for the feast. The news that the Hospodar had made peace with the boyars spread. The boyars were happy, as they hoped for a change that would allow them to have positions from which they could gather riches out of the poor's labor. As for the people, they were indifferent; no good or bad change for them of this peace. The people were satisfied with Alexandru's rule; they only protested against minister Motzoc who made use of his power to oppress the needy. Although they complained incessantly against Motzoc, Lapushneanu would not lend them an ear.When lunch time came, the boyars started arriving at the palace, each of them accompanied by two or three servants. They noticed that the yard was full of hirelings and that four cannons were turned to the gate; but they thought that they were there to celebrate the event by salvoes, as the custom asked. Perhaps some suspected a trap, but once they had entered the yard, they couldn't go out, since the gates were guarded and the guardians had order not to let anyone out.When the forty-seven boyars had gathered, Lapushneanu sat at the table, seating chancellor Trotushan on his right and minister Motzoc on his left. The fifes started to play and the dishes were brought to the tables. At the time, in Moldavia, the fashion of the posh food hadn't been introduced yet. Even the greatest feast consisted of several courses. After the Polish borsch, there came Greek food boiled with vegetables that floated in butter; then the Turkish pilaf and, at the end, the cosmopolitan steaks. The table cloth and the napkins were made of a very fine fabric. The trays and the glasses were made of silver. Several round mugs full with Odobeshti and Cotnar wine leant against the wall and a servant who poured drinks stood behind each boyar.In the yard, apart from two roasted heifers and four rams, there were three barrels full of wine; the servants were eating, drinking and making merry; the same were the boyars. They were already besotted; the wine had done its duty. The boyars were having toasts for the hospodar and were cheering him. The hirelings were answering by shouts and the cannons by salvoes.There was almost time to finish lunch when Veveritza put up his glass and said:"Long live His Highness! May you rule in peace and God Almighty show you the right way and prevent you from oppressing the boyars and the people."Hardly had he uttered the last words when the captain of the army hit his forehead with the mace."A! You offend your master!" the latter shouted. "On them, my boys!" In a minute, all the servants behind the boyars took out their daggers and stabbed them; other soldiers, brought in by the captain of the hirelings rushed over them. As for Lapushneanu, he had seized Motzoc by one hand and dragged him near an open window, from where he was watching the slaughter. He was laughing, while Motzoc, striving to laugh, too, felt his hair standing on end. The picture was gory and dreadful indeed. Fancy a room that is ten-meter long and five-meter wide, more than one hundred men craving to kill, executioners and victims, the former fighting with the fury of despair, the latter with the dizziness of drunkenness. The boyars, who had been feasting carefree, were now caught unawares, unarmed, so they fell down without fighting back. The elders died crossing themselves; but most of the young defended themselves with fury; the chairs, the trays, the cutlery became weapons in their hands; some of them, even if wounded, clenched the necks of their assassins, and, ignoring the blows they received, stifled them to death. If one got hold of a sword, he fought terribly for his life. Many hirelings died, but, eventually, no boyar remained alive. Forty-seven bodies were lying on the ground! The table had been overturned in the fight; the mugs had been broken and the wine mixed with blood had formed a pool on the floor. When the slaughter in the house had started, the one in the yard had started as well. When they were hit all of a sudden, the boyars' servants dashed away. The very few that remained alive by jumping over the walls, gave the alarm to their masters' houses. They urged other servants and the people, who were now heading to the gate of the palace. Once they got there they started to break it with their hatchets, and the drunk soldiers could hardly face them. The mob got more and more furious.Lapushneanu, who had been informed about the riot, sent the captain of his army to ask the people about their claims."Well, minister Motzoc," he said, turning to his subject, "tell me, wasn't I right to get rid of these ruffians and deliver the country from such pests?""Your majesty, you were very wise indeed," answered the hypocritical servant; "I had intended to advise you to do that for a long time, but I see that Your Majesty, wise as you are, read my mind and had them cut to pieces; because, since, aaaa…""I see the captain tarries," said Lapushneanu, interrupting Motzoc, who was stumbling over the words. "I feel like ordering the hirelings to cannon into those fools. What do you suggest?""Right, let them kill the fools with the cannons; good riddance! What's some hundred dead peasants, when so many boyars perished? Yes, let them be killed.""I was expecting such an answer," snapped Lapushneanu. "Let us see first what they want."Meanwhile, the captain of the army had got up the gate and shouted:"You, gentle fellows! His Highness is asking what it is that you want. What's ado?"The crowd was astonished. They hadn't expected such a question. They had come without knowing exactly why. They got together and asked each other what to demand from the master. Finally, someone started shouting:"Smaller taxes!""No more robbing! No more plundering! No more oppression!" "We are poor! We have no money! Motzoc has taken all of it from us! He is the one who scourges us and steals from us! He is the one who counsels our master! Let him die!""Let Motzoc die! We want the head of Motzoc!"This last cry found an echo in every heart and was like an ignition. All voices turned into one and this one voice was shouting: "We want the head of Motzoc!""What do they want?" asked Lapushneanu when the captain returned."The head of minister Motzoc," the latter answered."What? No!" said Motzoc, jumping out of his skin. "You must have heard wrong! You want to joke, but this is not an appropriate time to fool around. What kind of words are these? What should they want my head for? I'm telling you, you are deaf!""No, he is not," said Alexandru, "listen for yourself. Their shouts can be heard from here." Indeed, since the soldiers had stopped fighting, the people had started to climb over the walls, where they shouted as loudly as they could: "We want Motzoc! We want the head of Motzoc!" "Oh, my!" the scoundrel kept whining. "Jesus Christ, don't let me die! What have I done to these people? Holy Mary, save me from this and I swear I'll commission a church, I'll fast all life long, I'll bind in silver your icon from Neamtz monastery! My good master, don't listen to these fools. Kill them with the cannons! I am a great boyar, they are just a bunch of fools!""They may be fools, but they are many," replied Lapushneanu in cold blood. "Wouldn't it be a pity to kill so many people for one single man? Think it over for yourself. Go and die for the welfare of your land, as you used to say to me when you told me that the country didn't want me, and it didn't love me either. I am glad that the people avenge the betrayal you stooped yourself to when you deceived the army of Anton Sechele and then betrayed me and took the side of Tomsha"."Oh, poor me!" whimpered Motzoc, pulling at his beard, understanding that there was no way to escape the tyrant's punishment. "Let me go and see to my house first! Pity my wife and my children! Let me confess to a priest."He kept crying and sobbing."Enough! Stop whining like a woman! Be brave. What should you confess for? What would you tell to the priest? That you are a thief and a traitor? The whole Moldavia knows your sins. Come on! Take him and give him to the people and tell them this is the way His Majesty punishes those who plunder the country."The captain of the army and the captain of the hirelings seized him and started to drag him. The poor boyar was shouting as loudly as he could and he was struggling to escape, but his old hands couldn't fight the four strong arms that were dragging him. He wanted to stamp his feet but he stumbled over his fellows' dead bodies and slid on the blood that had curdled on the floor. Eventually, he gave in and the tyrant's servants took him to the gate of the palace and pushed him in the middle of the mob.The vile boyar fell in the arms of this hydra with many heads and he was turned to pieces in no time. "This is the way Alexandru punishes those who plunder the country!" said the messengers of the tyrant."Long live His Majesty!" answered the mob. Satisfied with this sacrifice, they went on their way.While unfortunate Motzoc way dying such a terrible death, Lapushneanu ordered that the table should be cleaned and the cutlery taken away. Then he had the heads of his subjects cut, placed them in the middle of the table slowly and thoroughly, ranking them according to the importance of the boyars, the smaller ones below, the greater ones above, until he concocted a pyramid of forty-seven heads, on the top of which lay the head of a big chancellor. Then he washed his hands, went to a lateral door, unlocked it and entered his wife's apartment. Since the beginning of the tragedy, lady Ruxandra, unaware of what was going on, was worried. She couldn't make out the source of the noises she had heard, because in those days women didn't come out of their apartments and the maids couldn't venture in the middle of an army that had no common-sense. A bolder one had gone out and heard that there was a riot against the hospodar and she brought the news to her mistress. The kind lady, fearing the anger of the people, was frightened and when Alexandru entered her room, he found her praying on her knees in front of the icon, her children clasped to her bosom."Thank God I see you alive! I was so afraid!""Do you remember I promised you I would cure you of your fear. Come with me, my lady.""What were all the shouts and cries about?""It was nothing, just the servants who had an argument, but they have calmed down now." Uttering these words, he took Ruxandra by the hand and led her to the ballroom.At the sight of the terrible picture, she cried out and fainted."Women will be women," said Lapushneanu with a smile; "instead of rejoicing, she is frightened." He took her into his arms and back to her apartment. Then he came into the ballroom again, where he found the captain of the army and that of the hirelings waiting for him. "You, have the carrions of these dogs thrown over the wall, and their skulls aligned on the wall," he said to one of them, "and you, make sure that you catch Spancioc and Stroici." But Spancioc and Stroici had reached the river Dniester by that time. Their pursuers caught up with them when they were about to pass the border."Tell to he who has sent you that he will see us again before he dies!" said Spancioc to them. IV. If I get up, I'll ordain many of you Four years had passed since the tragedy described above, years in which Alexandru, keeping the promise to his lady, hadn't had any of the remaining boyars slain. However, in order to satisfy his lust for human sufferance, he made up all sorts of tortures. He had eyes put out, hands cut, he ordered his men to cripple those he suspected of betrayal; but he wasn't right in doubting his subjects, for none dared to protest anymore. Nevertheless, he was full of anxiety, because he couldn't get hold of Spancioc and Stroici, who had found shelter at Camenitza's, where they were waiting for the right time to act. Although their host had two sons-in-law who had great influence at the court of Poland, he was advised by these two boyars not to invite the Polish into the country, since the latter would have taken up the opportunity to invade Moldavia; these two Romanians were great patriots and understood that war and help from foreign armies would lead to their country's destruction. Lapushneanu had written to them several times, had asked them to come back and sworn he wouldn't punish them, but the brave boyars knew better than that. In order to survey them closer, the hospodar moved to the fortress of Hotin, which he secured carefully. Here he fell ill with fever. He got worse and worse and soon the tyrant was at his death's door. In his delirium, he saw all the victims of his cruelty, dreadful and menacing, asking him to answer for his deeds in the Last Judgment. In vain did he toss and turn, he couldn't find any comfort at all. He called for the bishop Teofan, the bishops and the boyars, he told them he felt the end of his life was getting near and begged them all to forgive him. Then he asked them to take care and support his son Bogdan, who was young and helpless and surrounded by enemies."As for me," he went on, "if I get well this time, I am determined to take the habit and spend the rest of my life in the monastery of Slatina, where I will repent for my sins. Therefore, I ask you, priests, if you see I am about to die, to cut my hair like a monk's." He couldn't speak anymore. He was seized by convulsions and fainted; his body was so cold that the bishop and the bishops, thinking that his life was over, named him Paisie, for the name Petru he had had before becoming a hospodar. After that, they bowed in front of lady Ruxandra, in recognition of her position as a regent during her son's minority and appointed Bogdan ruler. Then messengers were sent to give the news to the boyars in the country and to the exiled ones. Hardly had the night fallen when Stroici and Spancioc dismounted in the yard of the fortress. The fortress was quiet and deserted like a huge tomb. The only sounds to be heard were the murmur of the waters of the Dniester, washing regularly its stony, grey feet and the monotonous shouts of the sentries whom you could see in the twilight leaning against their long lances. Entering the palace, they were very surprised to find no one. Eventually, a servant showed them the room of the moribund. Just when they were about to set foot inside they heard some argument and stopped to listen. Lapushneanu had waken up from his lethargy. When he opened his eyes, he saw one monk standing at his head and another at his feet, as still as two bronze statues; he had a look at himself and realized he was wearing a habit and a kamelaukion on his head. He wanted to raise his hand and he saw he had a rosary around his wrist. It seemed to him that he was dreaming and closed his eyes, but when he opened them again, he saw the same things, the rosary, the habit, the monks."How are you, brother Paisie?" asked one of them .The named called to his mind all that had happened. He flew into a temper and sat up, starting to shout:"What the hell is going on? You are fooling around with me! Out, you, bastards! Out! I'm going to kill you all!" Seeking for a weapon around him, he found nothing but the kamelaukion and hurled it angrily towards one of the monks. Upon hearing his shouts, his wife and son, the bishop, the boyars and the servants entered the room. It was at that moment that the two boyars stopped to listen to the door. "A! You had me take the habit," was shouting Lapushneanu in a husky, terrible voice; "Did you think you would get rid of me? No way! God or the devil will help me get well and…" "You, miserable man! Don't you curse!" said the bishop. "You forget that you are at the death's door. You, sinful man, think about the fact that you are a monk now, you are no longer a ruler! You will frighten this innocent woman and this child whose difficult duty is to come to the expectations of Moldavia.""You, hypocrite!" added the moribund, trying to get out of bed. "Keep your mouth shut. I made you a bishop, I'll make you a mere priest again. You made me take the habit, but if I get well, I'll ordain many of you! And I will have this bitch and her son cut into pieces, so that she should never listen to my enemies' advice. He who says I am a monk is a liar! I am not a monk, I am a ruler! I am His Majesty Alexandru! Help, my boys! Where are my soldiers? Kill them, kill them all, I order you! Don't let anyone get out alive! Oh, I can't breathe anymore! Water, water!" and he fell back on his pillow, choking. The lady and the bishop stepped out of the room. Stroici and Spancioc were waiting for them."My fair lady," said Spancioc, seizing Ruxandra by the hand, "this man has to die at once. Here is some powder, mix it in his drink.""Poison!" she cried