The Miorita Ballad

Mioriţa (The Little Ewe) is an old Romanian pastoral ballad and considered one of the most important pieces of Romanian folklore.

The setting is a simple one: three shepherds (a Moldavian, a Transylvanian and a Vrâncean) meet while attending to their flocks. An apparently enchanted ewe belonging to the Moldavian tells its master that the other two are plotting his murder and the plundering of his assets.

The shepherd replies that, were this to happen, the ewe is to ask his killers to bury his body by the sheep’s pen. She is to then tell the rest of his sheep that he had in fact married a princess during a ceremony attended by the elements of nature themselves, and marked by the falling of a star. However, the rite of passage metaphor discards all celestial reference in the version of the story the ewe is to depict to the shepherd’s mother: she is to hear only of her son having married a princess.