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".

Miorița - Romanian Folk Ballad

Nicolae Grigorescu's paintings

Miorița is a Romanian folk poem, spread over 1500 variants in all regions of Romania. Is a specific Romanian folk creation, not known to other nations . The song was conceived in Transylvania, based on a rite of initiation and interpreted in the form of carols during the holiday season. Turned into a ballad (in southern and eastern regions of the country) in this version is considered a consummate literary text in terms of layout and style. It was examined and commented on the most famous people of Romanian culture.

Mioritic reason was the inspiration for writers, composers and Romanian and foreign artists. It has been translated into over 20 languages. It is considered one of the four fundamental myths of Romanian literature  and is now a national cultural brand.


Near a low foothill

At Heaven’s doorsill,

Where the trail’s descending

To the plain and ending,

Here three shepherds keep

Their three flocks of sheep,

One, Moldavian,

One, Transylvanian

And one, Vrancean.

Now, the Vrancean

And the Transylvanian

In their thoughts, conniving,

Have laid plans, contriving

At the close of day

To ambush and slay

The Moldavian;

He, the wealthier one,

Had more flocks to keep,

Handsome, long-horned sheep,

Horses, trained and sound,

And the fiercest hounds.

One small ewe-lamb, though,

Dappled gray as tow,

While three full days passed

Bleated loud and fast;

Would not touch the grass.

”Ewe-lamb, dapple-gray,

Muzzled black and gray,

While three full days passed

You bleat loud and fast;

Don’t you like this grass?

Are you too sick to eat,

Little lamb so sweet?”

”Oh my master dear,

Drive the flock out near

That field, dark to view,

Where the grass grows new,

Where there’s shade for you.

”Master, master dear,

Call a large hound near,

A fierce one and fearless,

Strong, loyal and peerless.

The Transylvanian

And the Vrancean

When the daylight’s through

Mean to murder you.”

”Lamb, my little ewe,

If this omen’s true,

If I’m doomed to death

On this tract of heath,

Tell the Vrancean

And Transylvanian

To let my bones lie

Somewhere here close by,

By the sheepfold here

So my flocks are near,

Back of my hut’s grounds

So I’ll hear my hounds.

Tell them what I say:

There, beside me lay

One small pipe of beech

With its soft, sweet speech,

One small pipe of bone

Whit its loving tone,

One of elder wood,

Fiery-tongued and good.

Then the winds that blow

Would play on them so

All my listening sheep

Would draw near and weep

Tears, no blood so deep.

How I met my death,

Tell them not a breath;

Say I could not tarry,

I have gone to marry

A princess – my bride

Is the whole world’s pride.

At my wedding, tell

How a bright star fell,

Sun and moon came down

To hold my bridal crown,

Firs and maple trees

Were my guests; my priests

Were the mountains high;

Fiddlers, birds that fly,

All birds of the sky;

Torchlights, stars on high.

But if you see there,

Should you meet somewhere,

My old mother, little,

With her white wool girdle,

Eyes with their tears flowing,

Over the plains going,

Asking one and all,

Saying to them all,

“Who has ever known,

Who has seen my own

Shepherd fine to see,

Slim as a willow tree,

With his dear face, bright

As the milk-foam, white,

His small moustache, right

As the young wheat’s ear,

With his hair so dear,

Like plumes of the crow

Little eyes that glow

Like the ripe black sloe?’

Ewe-lamb, small and pretty,

For her sake have pity,

Let it just be said

I have gone to wed

A princess most noble

There on Heaven’s doorsill.

To that mother, old,

Let it not be told

That a star fell, bright,

For my bridal night;

Firs and maple trees

Were my guests, priests

Were the mountains high;

Fiddlers, birds that fly,

All birds of the sky;

Torchlights, stars on high.”


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