about four centuries back, a strange series of events occurred in a
far away country. This country, a rich and colourful one, is still
on the map and its name is Romania. The people of the country are
goodnatured and Godfearing; they pray with feverish hope, and they
give thanks with grateful humility.
At the time of this story, the country was ruled by a
beloved Prince—Neagoe Basarab—who
had won the affection of his people, and who wanted to honor God for
his good fortune. He decided to give part of his gold to build a new
monastery. He wanted this monastery to be more beautiful than any he
had seen before, and he summoned the most famous mason of the
country to help him realize his wish. The name of the mason was
Manole, and this man was a genius in his field. He employed nine
other men, all of them exceptionally good builders. The team was
very glad to serve the Prince in his noble pursuit.
One day Neagoe Basarab was riding in a gold and green coach
drawn by eight black horses; Manole was following him on horseback
with several of his men. They were searching the banks of the River
Argesh in hope of finding the ruins of an ancient forsaken monastery.
It is an old custom that churches be erected on previous holy ruins.