The Earth Beliefs Of The Romanian People I

excerpt THE MAKING OF EARTH AND ITS LIFE STORYI have already put together in my earlier works a whole series of histories and beliefs dealing with the world before its making as well as with the world above the endless realm of eternal water: And I strongly doubt that anyone else might add new information on the topic. God and Devil created the Earth together. The Devil takes out a fist of sand from the bottom of the water and God blesses it. The Earth was born that way. Most of the legends connect this moment to the Devil's attempt to push God into the abyss while He was sleeping. Variants of the same history present God accompanied by two devils, not one; other stories tell about hedgehogs, frogs or Andrew helping God or God alone creating the world, as the Bible Itself tells us.They say the Earth was black in the beginning, as black were the humans God first created: Adam made out of clay and Eve born from Adam's rib; the colour of the skin changed in time, beginning with Cain and his successors, caused by the horror of killing his brother. Others say that the Earth was transparent right from its beginning and everything that was held inside was revealing to the eye. When Cain killed Abel, he tried to hide the body by burying it in the ground and covering it with leaves and branches. But no matter how hard he tried the corpse could be easily seen. Then God turned the Earth black and thus the traces of the first killing in history were lost.There are some minor Romanian stories about the birth of the Earth, which bear the cores of one legendary cult of the living Earth. It regards the dust, the ground under our feet and around us. The ground is meant to be tilled by humans and to give them their daily food, therefore when humans thank God for the gifts by "bowing down piously," reaching the ground, couldn't we say that this is a homage paid to the Earth itself, as a cult?People usually say at funerals "may he rest in peace" but does this mean that the Earth has the power to make the afterlife lighter or heavier?Carducci makes his hero regret that he sacrificed his life for other nations and not for his own, being denied the chance to cry out loud:Alma terra natiaLa vita che mi desti, ecco, ti rendo!This is a poetic manifestation is also used by our poet Coşbuc when he presents the reader with the scene of a dying soldier who asks of his friend who gets to go home at the end of the war:Kiss the land of my country for me!This is beyond any doubt a greeting for the beloved ground of one's country, paid homage by the sender's family, by his relatives, by his love, his memories. This is not a fetish, a remain of some Earth cult.Maybe we should not totally overrule the existence of the Earth cult, represented by mounds, rocks, mountains, clearings. These ancient reminders as well as the contemporary creations can be easily distinguished from the poetic style, may that be lettered or popular because people create it in an accessible language for people.The Earth is alive and it laments to God:"Dear God, people cut my ground; I can't take it anymore!""Be patient! Now it's time for humans to feast on you but your time shall come, you'll feed on them, too."These stories were collected from Bucovina, preceded by a number of explanations:"When God created the world He then put a meaning onto all the things He made. At last, the Earth came before God to receive its mission. And God said: 'You, dark Earth, shall feed all creatures and humans that live with you, with your spicy plants and fruitful trees that spring from your ground and feed on it!'Hearing this holy commitment, the Earth shook with fear in such a powerful way that its neat face changed into mountains and valleys. The Earth said to God then:'My God, I accept to grow and shelter all plants, trees and creatures, but I will not take on feeding the multitude of humans that shall live here throughout time. I do not promise to feed the humans because You made them masters over everything on Earth and thus they won't till me and plough me to heap food; they shall expect me to give them everything like a windfall. These are my reasons, my God; please, share this mission with the bright sun, the gentle moon and the shiny stars or the vast seas!'" THE SEPARATION OF LAND FROM WATERSThe Holy Bible tells us about God's creation on the second and third day:"God said: Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: And it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.And God said: Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: And it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called the Seas. And God saw that it was good."We have already singled out the waters "from the beginning of the world" that have survived along Romanian ancient popular beliefs and that make the subject of our writing. However, the way God separated the land from waters remains blurred even in the Biblical text. The mystery seems to be unveiled by the popular stories, which also account for the genesis of some birds.One story is about the necessary conditions of the Earth's birth: "God created the firmament, but the land and waters were mixed together and God could not to separate them by Himself. All living creatures on Earth helped Him, besides the goshawk."Other stories use the separation story as an explanation for the birth of rivers, lakes, fountains and others. Here are some of the respective legends:"In the beginning, when God created all springs and fountains, all rivers and brooks, river beds and fords, He called for the birds' help. All birds from all over the world gladly helped God with His work, except for the goshawk who said it would not defile its claws by digging fountains and river beds.God was upset by its disobedience and stubbornness and cursed it:'All birds in this world shall be allowed to drink water from fountains and brooks. Only you and your successors shall not be permitted! You and your successors shall drink water only when it rains and if you dare to quench your thirst with river water then you shall perish! This is the punishment for your refusal to dig together with the other birds and help Me create river beds.'That is why in the summer, the goshawk flies so high into the sky; it needs to be closer to God to pray Him for rain to quench its thirst.The goshawk dies when drinking water from rivers because God made their water salty, too salty for it, but not for the other birds."In Bucovina, they say the uligan (goshawk) cries for rain in the summer because it can drink only water fallen down from the sky. It is not allowed to drink from brooks because when God created running water, the goshawk stalked and acted proudly and would not dig in the mud with its claws. For its vanity, the goshawk was punished by God to drink only rainwater.The crow saw the vanity of its peer and rushed to help God with His work. Today, if the crows see a goshawk drinking from the river, they grow furious and chase the bird and will not give up until they kill it.

by Tudor Pamfile (1883-1923)