Boroanca Cave or Ciopic Hole

Hundreds of years ago, today’s area of the Mehedinti, near the Danube, was often robbed by Turkish conquerors, who invaded the Oltenia lands and quickly deserted them. Out of the fear of the Turks, as they heard the sound of hooves or saw the dust rising in the streets, the villagers in the area took with them the food and some clothes or things fell into their hands and hid through caves or forests. There they lived, hidden from the eyes of the world, sleeping on leaf beds and enduring hunger and cold, whole families.

Among them were the family of Tanase Boroancă, a poor man from a village in the Danube, and a little limping man, also known as Old Man Ciopic. He hid with his wife and the five children in a hollow near the Little Boilers. As days passed, the food was diminished, and after three weeks of run, they finished also the corn flour for the polenta. There were not enough sponges and mushrooms they picked from the forest, not the few fish that fell in the fishing rods or a rabbit that came in a chain. As Boroancă could not stand the situation anymore to hear the tummies rumbling of the children and crying wife, he began to think how to get something to eat for his family. He thought of trying to go back to the village the Turks have robbed, to look for more food in the cellar or the attic of the house. But, being a poor man, he had left behind when he had left but the dust and the dirt poor.

One day, in the evening, he was wandering the village from a distance, from the forest clearing, and saw in a nearby meadow one of the Turkish camps. The sipahis were gathered around the fire, sleeping more than being awake. Then he noticed that at the edge of the camp were five beautiful and well-kept horses. An idea came to him once:

“I’m going to steal a horse”, Tanase thought, “and if I am lucky, I would take it to the road of the mills, where the Turks did not arrive. Maybe someone can pity me for giving me even a bag of corn flour in exchange for it.

Satisfied with his idea, Boroancă returned to his hollow, where he told his wife the plan to steal a horse from the Turks at nightfall. Said and done, at night he started again to the meadow where he had seen the camp of the Turks. He approached and saw that all the Turks were sleeping, and the horses were without guards. Approaching himself not to frighten the horses, he took out a hand of green grass with which he had prepared beforehand. He reached for the horse further out, and as he chewed contentedly, Tanase untied him and began wrapping his hooves in cloths, so as not to make any noise or to leave traces. Also with great care he left with the horse, always stopping to look after him, to see of the Turks did not wake up and started in pursuit. Seeing that he had no reason to fear, he rode on the high-price saddle seated on the horse’s back and, hidden by the darkness of the night, started for the hollow where he had his home.

He had just arrived there, seeing his anxious and frightened wife, and Boroancă began to fear. What if the Turks catch him when he tries to sell the horse? What if no one wants to buy it? Then what does he do with it? Immediately he remembered his cousin Lazar, also called the Maur, who had one of the mills which the Turks had not yet reached, and decided to try his luck there.

He could no longer rest, immediately started with the beautiful horse, following a stream of water to the mill of the Maur. There he was welcomed by the dogs at the mill, barking furiously. Frightened by the hustle and bustle, the miller quickly came out of the mill, dressed as he had got out of bed, for he was still in the middle of night. He raised the lantern to see who sits in the yard:

– Tanase, is that you?

– It’s me, cousin!

– Yeah, what’s with you here at this time?

– Look, the troubles have pushed me. I came to ask you for a bag of corn to give to the children, that they so hungry. I’ll give in exchange this horse.

Hearing the words of his cousin, the miller approached to look better at the horse. Seeing how well cared of he was and what a beautiful saddle he has, he knew at once that something was wrong.

– Yo, Tanase, do you want to trouble me? This horse is stolen from the Turks!

“It’s taken, not stolen!” Boroancă replied whispering, for fear the trees and the grass would learn this so terrible thing he had done.

Then the Maur did not know what to do. On the one hand, he was afraid of the Turks, but on the other hand he had corn flour to give, and a horse to help in the affairs of the mill was in great need, especially if he took it so cheaply. He stopped thinking and made the deal with Boroancă, trying to get rid of the horse and help him with a bag of corn flour.

Very happy, Tanase threw the bag in his back and started on the road. The bag was heavy, and he was tired and limping, and the road was long. But the thought of bringing food to the children and his wife gave him strength and put a big grin on his face. Near the sunrise our man came to his hollow, dead from fatigue and hunger. When they saw him coming, the children threw themselves into his arms, and the wife put the kettle on the fire. Never was Boroancă so proud of his deed and of how well he did, giving the Turkish horse on a sack of corn flour to restrain his hunger and that of his family.

He didn’t even get finish the bag of corn flour, when the Turks were banished from the Danube area. The villagers left the forests, the caves and the hills and returned to their ancestral villages, houses and fireplaces. One day, as Boroancă was working in the field with other villagers, he saw from a distance coming this cousin Lazăr, the Maur, riding the horse he had sold from the Turkish, just as having the same saddle as he had gave it to him. On the horse was also tied a large bad, full, which spread on its sides.

– Good day, cousing!, greeted the Maur when he approached.

– Hello, Lazar! What wind brings you through our parts? asked Boroancă.

Getting off the horse, the Maur untied the bag and took it off the horse, placing it at Tanase’s feet.

– Here I came to give your horse back.

Hearing this, Boroancă began to think what was wrong with him, that his cousin might want his bag of corn flour back. But the corn had not even sprung up from the ground, not to talk about having it already grinded.

– We didn’t understand to get him back. That I have nowhere to turn back the flour you gave me.

– Be at peace, I don’t want flour, because you gave me more than you did anyway. On the contrary, I brought you another bag of corn flour and I give you your horse back.

The whole village stopped from work listening to the discussion between the two cousins, knowing from Boroancă the story of the horse stolen from the Turks. But Tanase still showed no sign that he understood what he meant, so the Maur continued:

– You gave me for that bag of flour a saddled horse. Probably you have not looked under the saddle, where I found a bag full of yellow coins. I made myself a man with that money, so now I’ve came to share with you my wealth and give you back the saddled horse. Well, being a decent human being, I brought you another bag of flour, to eat it healthy for the good that you did to me.

In this way, even more silenced remained Boroancă. He couldn’t believe what wealth he had in his hand and how he had given it away for nothing. Moreover, he had been in great need of luck to get a bag of cornmeal from the miller. And as he stood so in the field, his mouth wide open like the fish, without saying a word, he heard a villager working in the field beside him saying:

– Yo, Boroancă, how is your body made of ciopic, so is your luck!

All the villagers gathered around the miller and Tanase laughed at the man’s misfortune and told others about it. From then on, everyone was calling Boroancă only after the nickname, Old Man Ciopic. Moreover, the chollow in which he hid with his family when the Turks invaded took the name Ciopic Hole up to these days.



·         “The Cave of Boroancă”,