A modern fairy tale based on a true story
Once upon a time in a land far, far away, over rivers and marshes, through fields and high mountains stood the city of Sighisoara. Once a year the proud and prosperous city would hold a great festival for the amusement of the people. People from all over the realm would fill the roads to Sighisoara to take part in the festival, or to simply enjoy it.
The heroes of this tale came to the medieval festival from far south, from the Bulgarian port city of Varna. They were the Griffin family. They were welcomed warmly and allowed to set camp inside the city walls. The next day, the griffins fought well in the tournaments and made many friends.
On the second day of the medieval festival, a big storm came from the west and hit the city. Tents, shades and pavilions were swept away and dragged in the streets by the strong wind. Everyone ran for cover. Those who did not, were trying to secure their tents. Two of the eldest Griffins – Theodor and Stefan, were out in the streets helping people, when they saw an old man with long gray hair and beard trying to keep his pavilion from flying away. The man appeared to be struggling. He seemed like a seasoned warrior, yet his clothes were black and simple like a holy man’s clothes. The brothers helped him and went on to help others.
Later that night, the man in black came to their camp and gifted the brave lads with two bone talismans, one for each of them.
– You are my friends now. You helped me. This is for you. – The old man appeared to be a merchant and a craftsman of bone and horn. He had the brightest blue eyes one can imagine and the look of a wizard, that you can’t say “No” to.
The Griffins accepted the gifts, but Stefan was uneasy with his. He was honored, but wanted to give something in return. So, the next day he visited the wizard and gave him one of his personal weapons as a gift – a beautiful battle axe.
Later that day, the rumor of the curious bone carver reached the rest of the Griffins, and before the day was over another three brothers visited the old man’s shop. His jewels, trinkets, talismans and medallions were a thing of wonder. The men were quickly enchanted by the beauty and craftsmanship and wanted to buy a talisman for themselves as well.
The old man collected the medallions they wanted and looked at the men with warning in his eyes.
– You will pay me for this medallion, but I will give your money to your brother on your right. – then the wizard turned to the brother on the right and spoke:
– You will go to the brewery and buy that medallion’s worth in beer. If you spend my money on anything else, I will know! DO YOU SWEAR THAT! – Aye! – said second brother.
The old man took out the second medallion and said to him:
– You will pay me for this medallion, but I will give your money to your brother on your left . – then the man in black turned to him and spoke:
– You will visit the food market and get this medallion’s worth in food, to go along with the beer. If you spend my money on anything else, I will know! DO YOU SWEAR THAT! – Aye! – said first brother.
The gray-haired man took out the third medallion and said to the third Griffin:
– You will pay me for this medallion, but I will give your money to your last brother. – He turned to him and spoke:
– What, else can we get that goes nicely with beer and snacks?
– More beer? – said the last brother – More beer it is, but in one condition! When you buy all that, you will set a long table and give away everything, to anyone who comes along! You will treat everyone with this beer and food!
And so, they did. They kept their promise and organized a big feast, where everyone was treated generously to food and drinks. They partied until dawn and good times were had by all.
Some say the wizard still wanders from town to town selling his magic talismans. It is said they bring happiness, but are especially strong, when you share your happiness with others.
Vasily of Sighisoara