This site is an outcome of the Comenius 2008-2010 multilateral project "European Journey Through Legends".

"Becoming more European does not mean forgetting our national cultural heritage, but sharing it with other European nation".

The legend of Rivers Mureș and Olt

True facts

Mures is a river which crosses Romania and Hungary to finally drain into Tisa. It is 761 km long and more than 80% of it flows on Romanian territory. Some of the most important and beautiful spots located on the river Mures are: Arad, Lipova, Ocna Mures, Targu Mures, Reghin and Geoagiu Spa. Toplita is situated at the Mures and Toplita river junction and Alba Iulia, Deva and Aiud are situated on only one of the river banks. Olt is one of the most important rivers of Romania as there are almost 30 barrier lakes and reservoirs built on it. It is 615 km long and drains into the Danube. Some of the most important localities to be crossed by this river are: Miercurea Ciuc, Sfantul Gheorghe, Fagaras, Ramnicu Valcea and the Spa resorts Caciulata and Calimanesti.

The legend

Once upon the time, when the stories were reality, on the top of the Eastern Carpathians, there was a fortress with two towers. The prince and the princess had twins. The boys were alike; only their faces were, not their nature. They were fighting to blood from nothing. The boys grew. One day the prince went to a battle and didn't return. The princess sent messengers to find her husband. The truth was that the prince was dead ,but the princess didn't know this thing.

"What am I going to do with my boys?" she said."They are fighting and fighting all over again. I built for them two different towers. In the northern one leaves. Mures and in the southwest leaves Olt. Soon they will have to marry, but still don't understand each other."

"Olt, my brother", Mures said.
"Mother is still crying after our dad. What are we going to do?"
"Mures, my brother, let's forget our argues and let's go to find the prince. Maybe he's somewhere into some prison and he needs our help to rescue him."

The twins went to their mother, the princess, and spoke to her about their decision. When she heard, she burst into tears. The queen did not know whether to be glad or sad about that decision: was she to be happy she had such brave and determined children or should she fear they might be lost for good like her much beloved husband and king. She advised the two young men to stay together and not to argue with each other during that long and probably difficult quest as she knew they were very different and proud. She reminded the brothers they were much stronger together than divided.

"OK, my boys", the princess said. "Go and find your dad. I advise you to stay together as horses on carriage".

And the boys left. But as soon as they came out the fortress they were already arguing which way to go.

"Let's go to the north", Mures said.
"No, let's go to the south", Olt said. And, like in their childhood, they started to fight.
"Because I grew into the northern tower, I will go in this direction", Mures said.
"And I will go to the south", Olt said ," 'cause I grew into the southwest one."

Like this, they separated each other. After a while Mures was thinking:

"With all our argues, we are still loving each other. Also our mother asked us not to separate. Can I find again my brother?"

On a valley he turned to the south, but Olt wasn't anywhere. Mures was lost and went to the west through plains which were so beautiful that he forgot his brother. The princess found out what was happened, and angry ran to return his sons, but never caught up them cause they were running as fast as their legs carried them. She was praying then:

"Dear Lord, please take care of my sons. Make them immortals."

God heard and transformed then the sons to immortals rivers. The paths they took down to the valley became their river beds. And rivers they are even today maintaining their names: MURES and OLT. Nowadays, in our places wandered by the Mures river, every children must know the tale of Mures and Olt rivers, beeing proud to leave such a wonderful place.

Sugested Tasks:

  • Form four groups: the author, critics, readers, adolescents. Each group has to say their opion about this legend.
  • Locate on Romania's map the routes of the two rivers.
  • What other legend about those river do you know?
  • What other rivers' legends do you know? 

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