Roumanian Fairy Tales and Legends, by E.B. Mawr, , at sacred-texts.com
IN clays gone by, there dwelt a King and a Queen in Jassy, who, to keep their only son at home with them, were always making him fine promises, which they never fulfilled.
One day this young Prince, Marin by name, went to his mother's apartments, and announced to her, that if she did not speedily bring to him the beautiful Princess from foreign parts which she had promised him to wife, he should set off in search of her himself. After waiting some weeks, finding that this promise was not likely to be fulfilled, he called for his horse and his retainers, and set off on his travels. He rode along until he came to a vast prairie, studded with the most beautiful flowers, through which meandered a silvery rivulet of pure water.
By the side of this rivulet grew a large rose tree with spreading branches, under which Marin stretched himself, and was trying to seek repose when he heard issuing from the tree these words:
I pray thee sweet and loved rose tree,
Open thy bark and let me free,
To seek the brook's refreshing wave,
To cool my face, my limbs to bathe,
To cull sweet flowers to deck my brow,
Then know'st my soul is pure as snow."
The rose tree unfolded, and from its centre came a fair golden-haired maiden, so dazzling, that to see her was brighter than sunlight. When the Prince Marin cast his eyes upon her, he was petrified at the sight of her beauty; but recovering his confidence he approached her and said, "lovely maiden, if you will give me a flower from your girdle, I will give you a nest in my palace; if you will give me a flower from your lips to kiss, I will dig up your rose tree and transplant it in the garden of my palace; if you will give me your love, I will make you Princess." The maiden, like most other young maidens, believed this flattery, and gave to Marin all that he asked and desired.
Sitting hand in hand talking of love, they fell asleep. Marin waking before the maiden, mounted his horse, and went on his way with his followers, leaving only a bunch of flowers in the lap of the sleeping girl. Journeying on, the young Prince arrived at length at a golden palace studded with topazes. He enquired of the first man whom he met, whether in that palace there dwelt a young Princess? It so happened that it was the owner of the palace to whom he had addressed himself, and who could boast of possessing a most charming daughter. He had heard of the good looks, and of
the riches of this Prince of Jassy, and readily came to the conclusion that this could be no other but the young Marin, so he replied willingly, "Yes, here dwells the Princess Lexandra, and I am her father." Marin heard this with joy, and requested to be introduced into the Palace, with the view of soliciting the hand of the young Lexandra.
The invitation was given, and after some days' sojourn, and finding that the Princess was as lovely as she was good, and that he had found favour in her eyes, he set off with his future father-in-law, and intended bride, in a chariot to present her to his parents at Jassy.
* * * * *
The rose maiden on awaking, finding herself alone, and with but a bunch of flowers for her only companions, sighed and said, "dear little flowers, why have you made me sleep so long, and why have you separated me from my beloved?" Rising from the ground, she went up to the rose tree, and striking it, said:
I pray thee, sweet and loved rose tree,
Open thy bark, make place for me."
but the rose tree would not unfold itself, and only answered, "Go away, my pretty maiden, for you have sinned and can no more enter here."
Weeping, she turned aside, and seeing that she could no more be received in the bosom of the rose tree, seizing a staff she set off on the same road as that which the young Marin had taken. After going some distance she met with a Monk, and entreated him to exchange with her his rough frock and cowl, in return for her rich dress. He accepted willingly; the maiden wrapped herself in his garment and went on her way. On the confines of a wood, being very weary, she seated herself under the shade of a large elm, in order to take a little rest; shortly after, she saw in the distance a chariot drawn by eight horses approaching, and as it drew near, she recognised her faithless lover.
"Good day, young Monk," said Marin. "I thank thee, Highness," said the Monk, approaching the carriage. "From whence come you?" said Marin. "From the valley," said the Monk. "What did you see there?" asked the Prince. "Nothing, very extraordinary," said the Monk, "only near to a large rose tree, there was a beautiful girl weeping, and on my enquiring the cause of her grief, she told me her history." "Repeat it to us," said Marin, visibly moved. "This was what she told me," said the Monk, "that her home had been in a rose tree, where she was loved and nurtured; that coming out
one day in search of flowers, she met with a young Prince, who begged a flower from her waist, which she gave him." Now the Monk looked fixedly at the Prince, but the latter bade him go on with the story. "Then he asked a flower from her mouth to kiss, and then for her love, and she gave even that also." "Go on," said the Prince. "Sitting hand in hand amongst the flowers, sleep overtook them; but when the maiden awoke she found herself deserted, and only a bunch of flowers on her lap. Going to the rose tree, she repeated the rhyme which would open its bark to admit her into its body; but the rose tree remained solid and firm, because she was no longer worthy to enter within, and for this the young girl was weeping alone, and in misery." "Is that all?" said the Prince. "So far as I know, for I left her crying in the field." "To what town are you going, my good Monk?" asked the Prince. "To the same as your Highness, to Jassy," said he. "Jump into our carriage, then," said the Prince, opening the door and making place for him. The Monk accepted readily, and during the whole of their journey, the Prince questioned him for further news of the young maiden.
Arrived in the Capital, and at the home of Marin, he invited the Monk to be his guest, and gave him a
room next to his own in the palace. Yet in three days this marriage with the Princess Lexandra was to take place, and still Marin could not forget the rose maiden, and each evening on passing the door of the Monk, he would stay to talk about her.
At length the wedding day approached, and the Monk disappeared.
One evening, the Prince stopped as usual at the Monk's door, hoping to hear more of the deserted maiden; but for answer he only heard a muffled sigh! Breaking open the door, he saw the poor Monk suspended by a cord to a large book on the wall; cutting him down, and taking off the Monk's frock, underneath it the golden hair and the pale face of the rose maiden met his view. Then he called the King and Queen-his parents, and exclaimed, "Look! this is my Princess, do what you will with the other."
So the Princess Lexandra was sent back home with her father, and with great riches, enough for her dower, and the rose maiden was married to the Prince Marin, and they had many children and lived very happily ever after.