Moldova – Dragoș

In one part of the Country of Romania – Maramures – there was a young man Dragos, a son of the local voievod. Having heard of Negru-Voda’s success, Dragos longed to be just as brave and as great since early childhood. He grew up to become a strong and beautiful ambitious young man. His beauty was the reason why the people gave him the nickname “the Sun of Maramures”. His dream was to become the Voievod of the Country of Romania. But with his father still feeling capable of carrying out his duty, Dragos couldn’t even think of becoming the Voievod of Maramures in the near future.

Often he would gather a team of his mates and would go hunting throughout the lands of Maramures and other counties for days and even weeks. His real intent was to meet the people of these lands and make friends and connections in the nearby districts. But hunting was always a high priority too as he never came back without a good catch.

During one of such ‘hunts’ Dragos came across a doe, so beautiful that no one had ever seen anything like it before. Dragos decided to chase it. They raced like mad – many times they nearly caught it but still it managed to get away. They could easily shoot and kill it, but Dragos wanted the doe alive and unharmed as it possessed a divine beauty. At one point, the doe vanished into the thin air. Despite this, Dragos continued the pursuit in hope to find it. The hunt led them far away to the east from their home – to the other side of the Carpathian mountains, but Dragos didn’t want to give up and carried on.

During the chase they came across a glade that looked as if it was in heaven. On the glade, a beautiful young girl was picking flowers and singing a song. The sight of the girl made Dragos forget about the hunt, the doe and everything else. He dismounted and approached the girl: Who are you? Are you a mortal or an angel or a fairy?The girl replied: You don’t know who I am and never will, but I know that you are Dragos, The Sun of Maramures, and I’m here to advise you. Give up your hunt and the doe and go to the Valley of Siret*. There are Romanian domains there and God has chosen you to spare the people from the rage of the Tatars and be their master. But there is one thing you must do first. What thing? Dragos asked. You must kill the furious buffalo that is roaming these lands unpunished. Take its head and show it to the people. And then all Romanians will gladden, praise you and will say: ‘Long live Dragos the Great and Strong! That was all that the girl said. Dragos, glad that his dream was about to come true, wanted to hug the girl but she vanished just like the doe…

So there he was, the Sun of Maramures, ready to face the bloodthirsty beast. He didn’t have to go far to find the buffalo. The beast was as wild as a wolf, but much bigger and much more ferocious. It had a strong body and legs that could carry it with the speed of arrow and sharp horns as tough as steel. As soon as the buffalo had spotted Dragos, it turned around to face the warrior and bowed its head showing the sharp horns. Dragos, not intimidated by the buffalo’s threatening position, squeezed his spiked cudgel harder, raised it above his head and, when the buffalo approached, hit it on the head between the horns with all his strength. The buffalo screamed so loud that, it seemed, the end of the world had come. Then, it turned around and started running away from Dragos, who immediately engaged in the chase to finish off the beast. After an exhaustive chase, Dragos caught up with the animal and hit it again a couple of times until the beast dropped dead. Then, Dragos took out his war axe and cut the buffalo’s head off, which he took to the people of that land.

The people praised Dragos, just as the girl had predicted, and the voievods of that land decided to unite under his rule just like Romanian voievods united under the rule of Negru-Voda on the other side of the mountains.