Mihai Comaneshteanu, a refined young aristocrat, the scion of an illustrious family with impeccable reputation, returns from abroad. Has the childhood romance between him and Tincutza Murguletz survived the years of separation? Will she keep her promise to him, or will she favor the attentions of nouveau riche Tanase Scatiu and his rougher brand of masculinity?
The author, Duiliu Zamfirescu, has been called ‘the Romanian Tolstoy’. The Comaneshteni Saga was Romanian literature’s first novel series, and one of the most beloved. It offers the readers a unique, authentic glimpse into the life of the peasants and aristocrats of 19th century Romania.
When Scatiu saw his coach returning empty, he understood at once what had happened. Then, indeed, he seemed to completely lose his mind. Deathly pale, without saying a word, he grabbed the revolver, went outside, and shot Forgash, hitched as he was, firing six bullets into him.
“Take it, take it, take it, to teach you how to jump next time!” He then threw the revolver and leaped at Stoica. The latter thought Scatiu would kill him too, so he took off running toward the backyard fence, hoping to leap over it and run away. But Scatiu caught up with him, grabbed him by his hair, and dragged him through the yard, where he beat him like a thug. After catching his breath for a moment, he left them all in a crowd and went upstairs.
Stoica got up from the mud, without saying a word; he straightened his hair, out of which he pulled entire clumps yanked out by his master, and approached the horse. The animal had fallen under the harness in a pool of blood, stretching its head on the ground, and was nearing death. Its clear eyes looked at Stoica, life draining from them. Once in a while, it moaned from the bottom of its lungs, like a human being. Its flesh quivered, as if trembling from pain. At the sight of the dying horse, Stoica threw himself down on the ground, next to its face, and began to lament him in the Gypsy way:
“Horsey, you poor thing, your master burnt you, may God wilt the hand he shot you with!”
The other workers leaped to lift up the carcass, to unhitch the remaining horse and to put the coach back in its place, but it was not possible to make Stoica get up from Forgash’s face. Then Banica and the other workers lifted him up. They brought an old wagon, placed the killed horse in it, covered it with straw, and took it to the fields. They washed the stains of blood on the ground, and thus, everything seemed returned to the former order.