September 20, 2012

"In Romania, on moonlit nights, the peasant women used to look down into a well until they saw the reflection of the moon."

"Then they let down a pail, slowly drew up water with the moon in it and, with a spoon, drank its reflection. Looking down into the well at that moment, they could see the face of their future bridegroom."

(A quote at the end of an essay by Saul Steinberg, found in a fruitless search for a drawing I remember or misremember with "we" and "they" —or is it "Who are they?" — drawn to signify the emotion contained in those words — a search undertaken after writing "So we they are not chomping cheeseburgers simply for sensual pleasure....")

24 comments:

Comanche Voter said...

Sounds like the plot line from the opera Russalka.

Paddy O said...

It's a well-known fact that moon-faced Romanian men always seemed to marry earlier than other Romanian men.

wyo sis said...

Clearly Romanian women had low standards of masculine beauty.

dbp said...

I don't think it is possible to see a reflection of the moon from a well in Romania. Unless the well is either very shallow, very wide or dug in a non vertical direction.

rhhardin said...

Non-vertical direction won't help.

Eustace Chilke said...

The question I've got is what does Naomi Wolf see when she looks down a well?

Pogo said...

So Romanian women lust for Whittaker Chambers. Weird.

EDH said...

So they are not chomping cheeseburgers simply for sensual pleasure...."

That's... Amore'

When the moon hits you eye like a big pizza pie
That's amore
When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine
That's amore
Bells will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting-a-ling-a-ling
And you'll sing "Vita bella"
Hearts will play tippy-tippy-tay, tippy-tippy-tay
Like a gay tarantella

When the stars make you drool just like a pasta fazool
That's amore
When you dance down the street with a cloud at your feet
You're in love
When you walk down in a dream but you know you're not
Dreaming signore
Scuzza me, but you see, back in old Napoli
That's amore

EMD said...

They'll be eating cheeseburgers in no time if they fall for Mac Tonight!

ricpic said...

Looking down the well the woman saw the moon
While over her shoulder darkly loomed
A vampire dressed in his Transylvanian best.
Foolish woman! Who goes out at night in Romania?

edutcher said...

I thought they just saw their vajayjay.

Darrell said...

Whenever I drink a lunar reflection, I'm thirsty again in a matter of minutes. I often wonder why that is. I blame Neil Armstrong for missing something up.

bagoh20 said...

Hey look, mine has a Baby Ruth bar.

Mary Beth said...

Out in the dark for hours, night after night, something's bound to happen.

Darrell said...

Hey look, mine has a Baby Ruth bar

Wait! That's a turd, my friend. shiloh must have stopped by when we weren't looking.

davis,br said...

What's wrong with you people (not a question, but an observation). Y'all need to grow a soul. Seriously.

...I thought it was a wonderful look at a culture, probably vanished or vanishing, through a tradition in a folk-tale. An old wives-tale; the good kind.

...a glimpse of something in the heart of a people, pretty and poetic.

And with the core of an essential truth, beautifully self-contained in a two sentence idyll that your imagination could expand upon for awhile, into longer tales of love and hope and tragedy and the mystical.

Like those "simple country villagers" probably meant it for, in the first place.

Which you sophisticated urban modernists apparently recognize not at all.

Yeesh.

Thanks, Ann. That was a non-guilty pleasure.

dbp said...

rhhardin said...
Non-vertical direction won't help

Good catch!

Okay then, a second shaft to see the reflection of the light let down by the slanted first shaft.

deborah said...

I see the moon
And the moon sees me,
God bless the moon
And God bless me.

sleepless nights said...

In junior high, we had one where you'd hold a stem of an apple while turning the apple and concurrently saying the alphabet - the letter at which the stem broke off was your next boyfriend.

My niece is 11 and has begun mass forwarding me "your crush" spam texts 24/7.

Kirk Parker said...

dbp, indeed the southernmost point of (current-day, at least) Romania is about 43 degrees north.

Kirk Parker said...

rhh,

OK, how about dual angled holes?

Astro said...

As KParker points out, the southernmost point of Romania (43 deg N) is too far north to allow anyone to see the reflection of the Moon down a conventional vertical-shaft well. The northernmost 'latitude' of the Moon is about 28.5 degrees.
It would have to be a 'well' in the sense of a pond or artesian spring to permit the well visitor to see the Moon's reflection.

Astro said...

As KParker points out, the southernmost point of Romania (43 deg N) is too far north to allow anyone to see the reflection of the Moon down a conventional vertical-shaft well. The northernmost 'latitude' of the Moon is about 28.5 degrees.
It would have to be a 'well' in the sense of a pond or artesian spring to permit the well visitor to see the Moon's reflection.

cameresupravegherevideo said...

C'mon

these are not only superstitions but are like the old legends from ancestral times.And there are a lot not only this, which I heard about them, long time ago - more than 40 years - in my childhood in Romania.