An old Romanian proverb says: Do not speak badly of the Devil because you cannot know to whom you will belong.
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23 November, 2015
Mythology in Romania: Exploring Beliefs about Witchcraft and the Devil
An old Romanian proverb says: Do not speak badly of the Devil because you cannot know to whom you will belong. According to popular Romanian mythology, it is not considered difficult to establish a connection with the Devil. He can appear quickly, happy with the availability of the person who wishes to be initiated into the secrets of witchcraft. Those who wanted to contact the Devil used to go to a crossroad where they called his name or they yelled out loud “Hey! Hey! Hey!” and the Devil was said to come to them. In other cases, staying in an unclean place was sufficient in order to obtain the infernal aid.
Ancient legends say that there was once a woman who wanted to become a witch, so she went to the river where she waited until midnight. At that time, the Devil came out of the water and asked her why she was sitting there. The woman replied that she wanted to be made a witch, so the Devil told her the necessary condition. She had to agree to dance with him during each full moon. Legend has it that the woman accepted and she was made a witch.
The Devil and a woman on horseback. Illustration by Hartmann Schedel (public domain)
Still, not all witches are very skilled when it comes to magic. Another popular story starts from a chant which begins as follows: “Oschi, oschi, Scaraoschi! Cu gura sa te invat, cu ochii sa nu te vad.” (“Devil, Devil, Devil! With the mouth to teach you, with my eyes not to see you”). The witch was a young woman from Barbosi village who was a beginner at magic, so she spoke the chant wrong. Instead of saying “with my eyes not to see you”, she said “with my eyes to see you”. As a result, the demon appeared at her window and the young woman only managed to escape him at sunrise when the rooster sang. According to the description, the demon was red and very skinny. He danced in front of the windows and hit them making the entire house tremble.