In Romania, like in many countries, they name streets and buildings after the heroes of their culture. Perhaps Romania doesn’t have that many heroes to choose from (or maybe I just don’t know who they are yet), but every town I’ve been in has a Mihai Viteazul school and a Strada Stefan cel Mare (Stefan the Great street). I decided to start looking into some of the heroes of Romanian culture to find out a little more about the heroes behind the names.
We are in the Moldavia region of Romania, which is in the north east of the country bordering on Moldova, the country. Outside of Romania, most people have only heard of Bucharest but Iasi, the Cultural Capital of Romania is definitely another city worth putting on your map. Traditionally, Iasi has been one of the leading centres of Romanian social, cultural, academic and artistic life and I think it’s a shame that most visitors to Romania don’t think to come here and head down to Bucharest instead.
Elena’s family live in the Neamt county, which was home to one of Romania’s most loved childrens storytellers, Ion Creanga. In fact, I hadn’t realised it, but we have been past Creanga’s house loads of times as it’s just across the river from Elena’s house.
Elena’s dad drove us over there yesterday and we took a look at the house where he lived and then went across to the Ion Creanga “theme park” next door, which had models based on Creanga’s most popular stories. Elena and her father told me most of the stories, reminiscing on the stories of their youth. These were the stories that all Romanian children are told, and I decided to base today’s postcard on the story of the bear who was tricked by a fox, “Ursul păcălit de vulpe”
In brief, this is a classic children’s tale about how the bear came to have no tail. As is normal in classic tales of this period, the bear was tricked by a crafty fox. The bear was told by the fox that to catch fish he had to sit with his tail in the pond. The pond froze over and the bears tail was trapped. When he realised what had happened, the bear got up to chase the fox and his tail came off in the pond.
This was a fun little piece to draw and we sent it today to one of you lucky people!