Ancient Myths of Maramures


These are mythological creatures of Romanian legend. The Ursitoarele appear when a child is born to decide and control his destiny. They are also known to help young women marry the man of their choice through the casting of a magic spell.

Matraguna (Belladonna)

This is a plant believed to have magical properties. It grows at the edge of the forest "so the sun can find it, but people cannot." Women seek this plant to bring them good luck. It was often used by love struck women in folk tales to separate a married couple or young lovers so they could steal the man. Most often this brought disastrous results

When Matraguna is picked for its magic it must be done by two women dressed in their finest clothes. They remove the plant from the soil and in the hole they must place money, wine, honey and holy bread. The women then undress and dance naked around the hole while asking for mercy. The women then bring the plant home and plant it in the garden between flowers with plenty of sun. For their wishes to be fulfilled they must look after the plant with great care and keep it alive and healthy.


These are human-like creatures with tails who can change their sex. They are known to steal milk from one cow and give it to another using magic words. The spell can be reversed with another spell. The cow which is given the extra milk will usually die from the excess burden.

Fata Padurii (The Girl of the Forest)

A creature from Romanian mythology, she is tall, broad shouldered, with long, dark hair and dressed in a gown of white. She sings her magic song, "hab, hi, habra," to hypnotize and seduce the shepherds with a rhythmic cadence without meaning. She takes the men to her cave in the rocks where they will be her captives. To break her spell the shepherd can tie her up with the drawstring from his pants and throw her into the fire. Her greatest enemy is the Man of the Night who is always looking for her. When he finds her, he will kill her.


A fabled woman who punishes those women who work on Tuesday evening as it is her day (Marti means Tuesday) and she will not allow any woman to work on that evening. If a woman disobeys, Martolea kidnaps the woman's children or brings her own ugly and hairy children over to the disobedient women's homes.

Varcolac (Werewolf)

As in the legend around the world, an ordinary man by day turns into a wolf-like creature when the moon is full. Then he attacks people, even his own family to satisfy his hunger. Being aware of his own metamorphosis, he will put his family in a safe place, so when he transforms into a beast they will be safe.