Reading time: 3 minutes
Tags: Romanian King, Queen & Prince, eternity, death, life, false values, yearning parents, family,
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One figure from Romanian Mythology was Făt-Frumos (Beautiful Son), an important figure in Romanian folklore. Făt-Frumos is the model persona of a folk hero who performs kind deeds, helps distressed mortals & confronts many adventures including his greatest challenge, the quest to find immortality. The basis of this story can also be found in much earlier myths such as the Japanese fable, Urashima the Fisherman, from 700 AD or even the Mesopotamian epic Gilgamesh from 2100 BC. Such tales never die.
The story begins with a Romanian Queen with child. Shortly before the baby was born, he begins weeping uncontrollably. In order to quiet the crying baby, the Romanian King offers him kingdoms, Princesses, & all the riches in the world. Nothing he offers seems to stop the crying, until finally, the King promises, “Be quiet, my child & I’ll give you youth without age & life without death.” With that, the unborn child finally quieted down & was born into the world. The Beautiful Prince grew up to be quick-minded, witty, wise & daring, & on his 15th birthday, he asked the King to grant him the promised immortality. The King admitted he had no power to fulfill his promise, so Făt-Frumos made an oath that he would search the world for the elusive secret of immortality without end. The King, Queen, & close allies begged him to stay at his parents were growing old & they would need him to rule the kingdom, but Făt-Frumos would not listen to their pleas.
On his adventures, the Prince acquires a flying horse & fights his way past many demons & monsters until they finally come to the palace of Youth without Age & Life without Death. The fairies that live in the palace take a liking to Făt-Frumos & ask him to stay with them forever, an offer to which he hastily agrees. Although the fairy kingdom was a paradise & he had attained his goal of immortality, after a time Făt-Frumos begins to yearn for his home & his parents. The fairies were sad & told him not to go, but the Beautiful Son insisted on leaving the palace of eternity to find his parents. As he travelled home Făt-Frumos grew older & older, until he was a stooping, old man with a long beard. The no-longer Beautiful Son cried in despair when he came to discover that his castle, where he grew up, was in ruins & long ago abandoned. Slowly, in sadness, the Făt-Frumos searched every room until he came to the room where he was born.
A weak, cracked voice greeted him, “You are most welcome! Had you been much later, I would have perished myself!” & with that, Death Făt-Frumos struck him & he fell down dead, turning instantly to dust.