Page:Notes and Queries - Series 7 - Volume 9.djvu/110

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[7th S. IX. FEB. 8, '90.

intending it, falls into the enchanter's cave. He follows smiling. "At last I have thee!" he exclaims. She rushes to the inner part of the cave, where she sees that all the stones about her are marvellously beautiful young girls, from whose eyes flow constant streams of tears. "Oh, flee, flee, far hence, unhappy young girl!" cried a hundred voices. "One kiss from him, and thou wilt become stone like us!" An arrow sped across the cave, and struck the fugitive chamois. In the agony of death she cried:

"Would I were a stream! I should then escape him." At once, as a headlong torrent, she rushed from the cave. The enchanter, with an oath, became rocks, which ever seek to arrest the escaping water. Coman came up at the moment, and knew the voice of his beloved, who was calling on his name. Gathering his strength, he hurled the flute against the rock under which he could recognize Bucur. The enchantment was at an end. Neither Bucur nor Jalomitza could any more change the forms now assumed. So Jalomitza continues to run her course over the benumbed arms of Bucur. And Coman became a hermit, and passed his days in a small cell built in front of the grotto, contemplating his well-beloved.

The foregoing can hardly be called a conflict, since it is the sole object of the maiden to escape from the power of the enchanter by successive transformations; nor does it appear that she herself possessed magical power, which, however, seems to have been in the wondrous flute, so long as it was played upon. The story, like the others in the collection, purports to explain the origin of certain prominent natural features in the neighbourhood of the Pelecb. In the preface we read that Bucegi and Pelech are "twin mountain torrents, noisy, boastful, carrying off leaves, flowers, and even trees; for ever gossiping, and talkative as old wives; never failing in summer, but ably and resolutely making way over rocky courses to the distant valleys and straths. Many tales have they, some of which we will relate. The water nymphs sail down on dried leaves, showing the tips of their rosy feet, admiring their pretty little figures in the pools, and smoothing the ruffled white hair of the noisy stream in the ruder reaches." Truly Carmen Sylva has a keen appreciation of the grandeur of nature in her rougher as well as her gentler scenes!

233, Cambridge Street, Glasgow.


(Continued from p. 43.)

Arrived in Transylvania, however, Meldritch thought fit to change his plan of campaign.[1] We are told by our "historian" that the earl, hearing of the death of Michael (the Vayvode of Wallachia) and the brave Duke Mercury, and knowing the policy of Busca and "the Prince his Royaltie" (i. e., Báthori), who now owned the best part of Transylvania, persuaded his troops, in so honest a cause, to assist the prince against the Turk, rather than Busca against the prince. The troops were easily persuaded to follow unquestioningly their leader, who, having received permission from the prince to plunder the Turks, made incursions into "the Land of Zarkam," and laid siege to the fortress of "Regall." This is said to have been a strong city, "an impregnable den of theeves," in the plain of the same name, environed by high mountains. The "clear, graphic, and condensed style" of the narrator does not allow of determining exactly whether the place was actually within or only in the neighbourhood of the above-mentioned "Land of Zarkam, among those rocky mountains, where were some Turkes, some Tartars [some lewes[2]], but most Banditos, Renegadoes, and such like." This territory, we are told, formerly belonged to the earl's father, but was conquered by the Turks, and then still in their possession. It was reported that, "notwithstanding those warres," these lands were "rich and unspoyled," which greatly redounds to the credit of the afore-enumerated queer gentry, who seem to have possessed a more highly developed sense of honour than the Christians led by the Earl of Meldritch and our Capt. Smith, whose self-imposed task was "to regaine or ransacke" the country. To give the reader an idea of the strength of Regall, it will suffice to mention that it was never before taken, and that the most convenient passage to it was "a narrow valley betwixt two high mountains," and that Meldritch had to employ 6,000 (!) pioneers for six days to make a passage for his ordnance through this defile, after having captured it by stratagem. The handful of men (only 8,000) brought by the earl to lay siege to Regall were received by the Turkish garrison with derision; but he was soon reinforced by "Zachel Moyses" (Székely Mózes), the prince's lieutenant, who brought 9,000 foot and 26 pieces of ordnance to his aid. The beleaguering troops spent nearly a whole month in entrenching themselves and raising batteries, some 50 ft. to 60 ft. high. These proceedings were naturally slow, and we are told that the Turks grew weary, and began to poke fun at the Christians for the sluggish progress of the siege. They informed the besiegers that for want of exercise the garrison were growing fat, and that if matters were not pushed on with greater energy they would have time to pawn their ordnance.

We are further told that, in order to while

  1. Chap. vii.
  2. According to Purchas.