Mihail Sadoveanu


Ancuţa's inn is no fiction. It actually existed and was famous in the past century. Its ruined walls still stood some ten years ago when the last heirs divided the bricks to build two modest farm houses for themselves, not very distant from one another. They can be seen to our day on the main road coming from Cornu-Luncii. and leading to Roman along the course of the river Moldova. At a certain point, a by-road branches off from the main road and this takes one to the bridge at Tupilaţi and to Războieni—a village made famous by the battle won by Prince Ştefan the Great in 1476 against the Turks. But this inn is not the only one of its kind in Moldavia. In the old days travellers came across such places at almost every stage of the coach. And in our own days traces of them may be found all over the country.

The most important part of Ancuţa's inn, the cellar, has remained such as it was in the past, though it is now deserted, sleeping as it were under a legendary halo. The delightful scenery of the river alone has preserved its vigour, with its sparkling rivulets striking across the meadows, its forests stretching to the distant mountain mists, its golden fields of ripe wheat and the expanse of maize of a sombre green. But other generations now move in the light of the same sun.

This inn, where our ancestors used to stop, witnessed many and astonishing adventures. Had my mother not spent her childhood in these parts—on the opposite bank of the Moldova, in a poor little village called Verşeni, had I not sometimes come with her from Paşcani to visit her parents, and had she not told me the stories of the old days, all these sorrows, passions, persecutions and vendettas would have been buried in oblivion, hidden as in the fastness of a rock. But my mother had a gift for story-telling and the memory of her deep voice still thrills me.

This little book, Ancuţa's Inn, that I wrote a quarter of a century ago, may still recall for some time to all those who chance to look upon the immortal scenery described therein, the laughter that rang and the tears shed in the old times in this corner of the high road close to Roman. As long as the living remember those who are no more, the dead will not break their links with life.

And the readers belonging to the recent generation of husbandmen who have grown up in these parts after the Revolution in the East, will perhaps be able to get a clearer insight into the present transformations by reading the old stories and remembering the past. And on the dark wool of the old century the sun of justice and freedom that has risen for the working people of our country will shine still more gloriously.