THE CREATION OF THE VIOLIN (based on a Gypsy folktale told to me by my father)

(scroll down to hear great violin music by Taraf de Haidouks)

In mountainous region

Where the winds can drive

One to do more than shiver

Lived willful Maja

Setting her hopes on a stranger

Come to hunt on nearby lands


Used to running alone like the

Goats she tended

Her dreams crossed the border

Becoming real in her mind

So she insisted herself upon the hunter

Who persistently ignored her

His thoughts only of his beloved prize back home


Maja’s voice seduced all the young men

She tried again:

“Dearest man from a strange country

I dream of your touch all night

Shelter me in your strong arms

“Til we surface in the light.”

But the stranger remained aloof

Maybe he did not understand her words

But the melody’s meaning was so plain

A passionate song in a minor key

Of unrequited love’s terrible strain.


“I will sell my blood to Beng!” Maja cried

“Help me quench this unstoppable fire!”

Beng, the devil, handsome and tall

Appeared among her goats

Assuring her of the heart’s desire.


“Whoso looks in this mirror will be mine

And I will gladly give him to help you”

Maja glanced in the obsidian mirror

Single-minded in her pursuit

Sure-footedly moving down the mountain

To piedmont of forest and deer

Where the stranger moved silently among his men


All thought drowned in burning desire

Approaching him with the dark reflector

He stopped his quest for deer

To see what she held

Seeing himself

Then recoiling in horror, recognizing

The object as the embodiment of a legend

Told to young boys and girls

He turned and ran

Into the deepest forest.


Crying for Beng and begging for her prize

The devil appeared with a new plan

“Where are your four brothers?

You must give them to me.”

Maddened Maja led Beng to their cottage

Nighttime dreams woven among the breaths

She showed him the bed sheltering

Four young boys


Arcane words uttered as Beng approached

Touching the eldest, the once-beautiful boy

Metamorphosed into a long string

Thick-gauged for volume and powerful sound


Next were the twins both medium gauge strings

Perfect for an evenly balanced tone

The youngest became the thinnest gauge string

Brightening notes even when played alone


Beng then found the parents

In a bed behind a drape

More words sent out into the night

As the father changed into

A formed hollow box

And the beautiful mother segued into

A stick, only her fine thick hair remaining


A heavenly vibration from her locks.

“I name this LAVUTA! VIOLIN!” Beng declared

Picking up his creation, heavenly sounds

Wafting into the spheres

But Maja cried and begged for her hunter

No care for family

Beng laughed and left, giving her the violin

And Maja played for love

The lure of the mystical music

At last brought the Hunter

Who for nine perfect days stayed


Beng returned demanding they worship him

Maja and the hunter refused, as one

Beng roared out more indecipherable words

Forming a chain, chained together

Leading them away from the haven in the mountains

Gone! Gone from the world and the setting sun.


Comes a Gypsy after a full moon phase

Finds, amid the pines, violin and bow

Magically, his fingers know what to do

Playing in thorp and town where he will go.

Other Gypsies touch the music maker’s magic box

Forming their own from wood and metal string

Only the Gypsies can make others cry

Only the Gypsies can make this box sing.


DOSTA (enough)!


© 2014 Clarissa Simmens, Poetic Alchemy: Talking Blues

IMAGE: “The Red Violin” Gypsy scene from the movie


(Listen to: Turceasca by Taraf de Haidouks on Youtube)