My full list is here 😉
At it`s core the legend of the Demidoff Princess is a tale of good old greed and craving for money.
The legend of Père-Lachaise is a rather interesting one as it is based on a couple of true facts. That`s why I think of it as an urban myth rather then a legend.
It all started around 1880 when some newspapers began running a story about a Russian princess who would leave a fortune to the person who would stay inside the chapel on top of her tomb for a year and a day.
It was reported that the princess was inside a glass coffin and that to make sure that her companion would see her at all times, the walls of the chapel had all been covered with mirrors. The only thing he or she was allowed to do was read.
There should be no contact with any living soul, not even the servant who would bring food on a daily basis.
Now this weird bit of news got picked up by foreign newspapers and started circulating around the world. Soon, the director of the Père-Lachaise Cemetery received letters from everywhere, from people who wanted to take up this challenge and stay in the tomb.
Quite a few of them were women.
Both the text and the reaction to the myth were analyzed by Frédéric Ortoli and his opinion on the matter can be found in his “La Tradition” [a magazine he kept, pertaining folklore, legends and superstitions]. According to him, the legend was fueled for so long and even picked up in other countries because it was linked to the human fear of being buried alive.
It is as if the princess wanted to make sure that if she ever were to be buried alive then someone would be there to help her upon her awakening – hence the glass coffin and all the mirrors.
Almost all agree on the fact that the Russian Princess was in fact Lady Demidoff [born Stroganoff] who died in 1818. Her exact title remains unclear… some refer to her as a Baroness, some say she is a Countess and others refer to her as being a Princess.
But the Demidoff tomb doesn`t fit the description in the news. In stead there is another in the 48th division of the famous cemetery that resembles the one in the legend. It belongs to a rich family from Provence – the de Beaujour.
The legend resurfaced in 1894 with an added twist. It was said that all that attempted to complete the task either gave up or went insane. Hauntings were reported and some even claimed that the princess is a vampire.
To that end, many have analyzed the symbolism on the Demidoff tomb and came to the conclusion that it is a “center for vampiric activity”. Everything was taken into consideration and given a special meaning… starting with the exact date of her death [8th of April 1818] that contains the number “888”, to the supposed orientation of the tomb and the engravings on it [a lot of Egyptian symbols, bats and wolfs].
I cannot tell you at what point it turned into an urban vampire legend, but the legend of the Demidoff Princess continues to fascinate to this day.
Solii lui Tepes la Mohamet
by Dimitrie Bolintineanu [from folklore]
Mohamet asculta, iar trimisu-i spune:
– “Tu doresti, prin arme, tara a supune,
Robi a ne reduce? Sufletu-ti fugos
Numai prin batalii poate fi voios.
Sunetul de arme, gemetele-amare
Popolilor lumei ce-i incarci de heare,
Singure impaca sufletu-ti turbat.
Astfel fiul stancei seamana-n pacat,
Numai cand prin noapte, printre vijelie,
Apa, vantul, norii urla a urgie!
Dar gandit-ai oare daca poti sa tii
Sub a ta putere tarile ce-mbii?
Caci aceste locuri de cand sunt sub soare
Au sorbit toreante d-armii si popoare.
Imparate mandre! pe cat te maresti,
Tot p-atat te farami, tot p-atat slabesti.
Pe cel mai nalt arbor crivatul, abate!
Un stejar a creste cearca greutate.
In multi ani se face, dar intr-un minut
Vijelia bate, arboru-i cazut.
Vei putea tu tine sub a ta putere
Toate aste lucruri fara-ngreuiere?
Paserea protege puii mititei
Cati pot sa-nveleasca aripile ei;
Dar pe cati aripa-i mica nu-nveleste
Sunt lasati furtunei, uleu-i rapeste.
Candela ravarsa razele-i de foc
Ce patrund in umbra pana la un loc;
Dar treacand de cercu-i noaptea deasa-ascunde
Negrele-i mistere; raza-i n-o patrunde.
Aste tari stropite de sange de bravi,
Rugin lesne lantul popolilor sclavi!
Vrei a trece raul ce te tine-n cale,
Far` sa cerci nainte valurile sale?
Dar aceste valuri, de mai multe ori,
Au plecat trufia multor calatori!
Astazi poti invinge caci ai mare-armie;
Dar ce-ti sigureaza stabila domnie?
Poti sa tii in tara cate cete sant?
Poti sa sezi chiar insuti intr-acest pamant?
NU! Tu treieri lumea fara incetare,
Tara noastr-i mica, sufletul tau mare.
Mane te vei duce cu ostirea ta:
Mane din robie ne vom destepta.
Vrand sa pleci sub jugu-ti aste tari crestine,
Tu te-arunci in sanul limbilor vecine!
Mare imparate! Trage-te de-aici
Si ne recunoaste drepturile-antici!
Numai prin aceasta poate ca sa fie,
Intre turci si tara, pace, omenie.
Pace, omenie nu vor fi, nu sant
Intre robi si tirani, jos p-acest pamant!”
Si-mparatul zice: – “Noi cu arama-n mana
Nu putem invinge natia romana.
Drepturile tarei sa le respectam,
Ca-n streine brate sa n-o aruncam!”
Navala lui Tepes
by Dimitrie Bolintineanu [from folklore]
Noaptea-i furtunoasa, si superbul domn
In desert mai cheama fugatorul somn
O gandire mare sufletu-i imbata;
Printr-o fapta rara sa triumfe cata.
Printre noapte, ploaie, tunete de foc,
Cu cinci mii de rosii el isi face loc:
Cum furtuna cade pe-ape dormitoare
Si dodata-nalta valuri mugitoare,
In ordia turca rosii navalesc…
Turcii se desteapta, striga, s-ametesc.
Sunetele d-arme, strigate turbate,
Printre vijelie zbor amestecate;
Caii calca randurile de faramaturi;
Sangele ca ploaia cura din sacuri.
Mahomed sub cortu-i dulcea pace cata;
Vise gratioase sufletu-i imbata.
Usile, la cortu-i iata,se smicesc
Si pe cal apare domnul romanesc.
Mahomed p-o poarta repede dispare…
Printre umbra deasa cauta scapare.
Cand pe fruntea noptii zorile se joc,
Domnul cu romanii las al lupttei loc;
Dar sultanul cearca spaima-atat de rara,
Cat, la miezul zilei, fuge spre hotara.
Tepes si solii
by Dimitrie Bolintineanu [from folklore]
Temerea domneste peste Bucuresti;
Popolul ineaca curtile domnesti;
Caci doi soli venira de la-mparatie
Si aduc lui Tepes streang si mazilie.
Toti boierii tarii veseli i-nsotesc
Si cu pompa mare spre palat pornesc.
Tepes ii primeste intr-a sa mandrie.
Solii-nainteaza… -”Doamne, pace tie!
Insa inceteaza de a mai domni.
Sau te pregateste astazi a muri!”
La aceste vorbe toti sunt in unire
si toti trage pala spre a lui lovire.
– “Ce? Si voi, raspunde domnului turbat,
Cu dusmanii tarii moarte mi-ati jurat?
Ascultati, voi, care mai aveti simtire
De romani si lacrimi in nenorocire!
Viata si domnie le nesocotesc:
Ale mele lupte voua-o dovedesc;
Insa tiu la tara, tiu la neatarnare;
Tiu ca sa-mi fac neamul laudat si mare!
Am fost foarte aspru, si-ale mele mani
Au varsat atata sange de romani!
Dar al vostru sange ce mi se tanjeste,
Ii platea cu lacrima cel ce va vorbeste.
In mijlocul celor ce ma-nconjurau,
Si pe o coroana tara lor tradau,
Nu puteam intr-altfel face eu unire,
Ca sa scap romanii de a lor robire.
Dara, bratu acesta este sangerat,
Insa-ai tarei dusmani nu l-au cumparat!”
La aceste vorbe, ceata osteseasca
Striga cu poporul: “Tepes sa traiasca!”
Speriati, boierii prin ferestre scap;
Iar pe soli ii bate cu piroane-n cap.
Note: The scene is actually Targoviste where Vlad the Impaler had his court.
The town of Devnya, 30km west of Varna, is now known only for its highly noxious chemical industry, but during the last century its reputation was widespread as Bulgaria’s vampire capital.
As most Eastern Europe countries belief in vampires was widespread among the Bulgarian peasantry of the time and they had means of dealing with the night creatures.
Local wise men [known as vampirdzhiya or dzhadzhiya] were paid handsomely by villagers to drive the fiends away and vampire hunters of Devnya were considered the best in eastern Bulgaria.
To chase the vampires away, a dzhadzhiya would be summoned to walk among the flocks, holding an icon aloft. The icon also came in handy when trying to identify the resting place of the vampire. If it began to tremble when held above a particular grave, it meant that the culprit had been found. If the vampire was in spirit form, it could be driven into a bottle which was then thrown onto a fire.
We do have an example for such a ritual, presented in “Bulgarian Mythology” by Ivanichka Georgieva.
Acording to the author the incident takes place in 1882 somewhere in the Varna district. An epidemic broke out in two villages and the locals declared that they were caused by vampires so they called in the help of a couple of dzhadzhiya.
The dzhadzhiya marched around the village streets holding up a holy icon. When they came to a place where the icon started shaking in their hands, they knew that the vampire must have touched it.
They chased the vampire until they came to its grave and after opening it, they found a blooded corpse that was lying on its belly. The vampire hunters stuck a thorn into the heart of the corpse after which the vampire was cremated on a fire of hawthorn branches.
The vampire is said to have screamed when it was burned.
Two weeks later, the epidemics had come to an end.
As you can see the superstitions greatly differ from one region to another, but one thing remained the same… sometimes the dead came back to feed on the living so they had to be put down again!
There are a lot of legends about Vlad the Impaler [said “Dracula” – as westerners like to call him], confusing him with the vampire count.
Most of them derive from the stories fabricated about him during his imprisonment by Mathias Corvin, the traders from Brasov and Sibiu, his rival to the throne of Wallachia or even by the Turks [in their attempt to fade the crushing defeat they suffered in the summer of 1462].
The Romanian legends about Dracula portray him as a good ruler, fierce warrior and impartial judge. We find a total of 13 such legends:
๑۞๑ The legend of Poenari – the fortress was build by Dracula in the region of Arges [on the superior course of the mentioned river] and where the workers were none other than the families of the noblemen charged with treason.
๑۞๑ The legend of the wallachian soldier – when captured by the Turks during the war, none of the fallen warriors would give up the position of their ruler, not because they were afraid of Vlad`s revenge but because they loved their country and Dracula so much they gladly accepted to make the sacrifice.
๑۞๑ The legend of the night attack – the reason we are given is slightly different from the European versions; Vlad the Impaler wanted to take the Sultan prisoner, thus ending the war and ensuring a lasting peace.
๑۞๑ The legend of the fierce archer – in this tale Vlad and his trusted council retreat to Poenari to plan the next phase of the war but they are cornered by the Turks; he is warned of the turkish plans through a message that is shot in the council room by a skilled archer.
๑۞๑ The legend of the feast at Targoviste – when Dracula calls all the noblemen of his country to the royal court for a feast to celebrate the beginning of his reign and he kills most of them to avenge the death of his father and elder brother.
๑۞๑ The legend of the Turkish messengers who get their turbans nailed to the head.
๑۞๑ The legend of the feast in the Forest of the Impaled – serving as a cover to test a possible traitor.
๑۞๑ The legend of the trader from Florence – who leaves his caravan with his goods unguarded [as it was demanded in Wallachia during the reign of Vlad Dracula] and finds that he was robed during the night. Dracula adds one gold coin when returning the funds to him.
Here we have 2 versions:
§ the honest trader that confesses there is one extra coin is allowed to leave unharmed.
§ the one that doesn`t admit the existence of the extra coin is staked.
๑۞๑ The legend of the foul trader – who refuses to repay the man who had found his gold purse.
๑۞๑ The legend of the hypocrite monk – who is invited to meal with Dracula and eats from a different plate than his.
๑۞๑ The golden cup legend – about how safe the country had gotten.
๑۞๑ The legend about the peasants wife – when a woman is punished for not taking care of her husband.
๑۞๑ The legend of the mistress – Dracula killed his mistress because she lied she was with child.
๑۞๑ The legend of the two monks – they were asked to tell Dracula what people said about him abroad; one told him the truth [that he was considered a tyrant] and was allowed to live and the second lied fearing for his life and was staked.
๑۞๑ The legend of the Fire Feast – when all the deformed, lazy, homeless and people who didn`t want to work [living on the work of others] were killed.