Sunday, 19 February 2012

Baba Dochia

All Romanian myths and legends start with "Once upon a time it was as never again..." So...

Once upon a time, as never again, there was a most beautiful young woman called Dochia. Dochia, renowned for her beauty, chastity and wisdom was the only daughter of the Dacian king Decebal.

Decebal, the last king of the Free Dacia took a stand against the Roman emperor Traian when his armies invaded Dacia. Upon seeing Dochia, Traian fell in love with the beautiful maiden who with a broken heart from losing the freedom of her people, and trying to save the last of the Dacian treasures ran away into the mountains.

Using the last of her magic, Dochia transformed herself from a beautiful maiden into an old woman. Her golden cape becomes a sheep skin one, her gold scepter nothing more but just a simple wood stick. Still running from mountain path to mountain path, Dochia transforms her country's treasures into sheep, hoping  that an old shepherdess will pass unnoticed from Traian and his armies.  But at the beginning of March the weather is always changing, even more so high in the mountains.

Rain falls down like a river and the soaked sheep skin is too heavy to carry for the now old frail woman. Dochia leaves it under a tree and keeps on climbing the mountains with her sheep. But nowhere is safe and even though the weather changes to a beautiful balmy spring day, Traian, obsessed with getting hold of the beautiful maiden and her treasures, follows her closely.

The weather changes again and snow starts falling, making it harder and harder for the princess in a woman's old body to keep on moving. On a mountain top Traian finally catches up with the almost frozen princess and her old hag appearance does nothing to hide her. As he reaches to catch her, Dochia, desperate to protect herself and her people's treasure, asks the supreme god, Zamolxe, to transform her into rock. Seeing her tears streaked face, Zamolxe listens to her plea and transforms Dochia and her sheep, denying Traian both the princess and her treasures.

Even today, after so many thousands of years, high into Bucegi mountains, Dochia and her sheep remain in rocks simply called Babele, or The Old Women.

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