Once I was a stranger
to this people; now I am one of them, and, because I came from so
far, better was I able to see them with their good qualities and
with their defects.
Their country is a fruitful country, a country of vast plains, of
waving corn, of deep forests, of rocky mountains, of rivers that in
spring-time are turbulent with foaming waters, that in summer are
but sluggish streams lost amongst stones. A country where peasants
toil 'neath scorching suns, a country untouched by the squalor of
manufactories, a country of extremes where the winters are icy and
the summers burning hot.
A link between East and West.
At first it was an alien country, its roads too dusty, too endless
its plains. I had to learn to see its beauties —to feel its needs
with my heart.
Little by little the stranger became one of them, and now she would
like the country of her birth to see this other country through the
eyes of its Queen.
Yes, little by little I learnt to understand this people, and little
by little it learned' to, understand me.
Now we trust each other, and so, if God wills, together we shall go
towards a greater future!
My love of freedom and vast horizons, my love of open air and
unexplored paths led to many a discovery. Alone I would ride for
hours to reach a forlorn village, to see a crumbling church standing
amongst its rustic crosses at a river's edge, or to be at a certain
spot at sunset when sky and earth would be drenched with flaming
Oh! the Rumanian sunsets, how wondrous they are!
Once I was riding slowly homewards.
The day had been torrid, the air was heavy with dust. In oceans of
burnished gold the corn-fields spread before me. No breath of wind
stirred their ripeness; they seemed waiting for the hour of harvest,
proud of being the wealth of the land.
As far as my eye could reach, corn-fields, corn-fields, dwindling
away towards the horizon in a vapoury line. A blue haze lay over the
world, and with it a smell of dew and ripening seed was slowly
rising out of the ground.
At the end of the road stood a well, its long pole like a giant
finger pointing eternally to the sky. Beside it an old stone cross
leaning on one side as though tired, a cross erected with the well
in remembrance of some one who was dead. . . .
Peace enveloped me—my horse made no movement, it also was under the
From afar a herd of buffaloes came slowly towards me over the long
straight road : an ungainly procession of beasts that might have
belonged to antediluvian times.
One by one they advanced—mud-covered, patient, swinging their ugly
bodies, carrying stiffly their heavily-horned heads, their vacant
eyes staring at nothing, though here and there with raised faces
they seemed to be seeking something from the skies.
From under their hoofs rose clouds of dust accompanying their every
stride. The sinking sun caught hold of it, turning it into fiery
smoke. It was as a veil of light spread over these beasts of burden,
a glorious radiance advancing with them towards their rest.
I stood quite still and looked upon them as they passed me one by
one. . . . And that evening a curtain seemed to have been drawn away
from many a mystery. I had understood the meaning of the vast and