Biting Cold

One of the things that cannot be overlooked when exploring Promethea is the impact on people’s lives of ordinary nature. Specifically wildlife. Not all threats have been created by the application of Frankenstein’s gifts.

In the mid-19th Century, travel writer Charles Boner travelled through Transylvania, writing about his journey in the book Transylvania; Its Products and its People, published in 1865. It’s been a cracking resource of late, leaving me wishing there was a similar volume covering Wallachia. Do please let me know if you know of such a book!

Boner encountered the reality of living with wolves in the woods. He was travelling from the village of Torja (now Turia) to Büdös. The road was appalling:

“One wheel is now three feet higher than the other, or we go over blocks of stone which fill the bed of a stream, or into ditches and up banks, with such jolting and rattling, that it is quite incomprehensible that the whole wagon does not fall to pieces.”

Typical at the time of most links from one place to another in recklessly following naturally occurring avenues such as streams, the road passed through extensive beech woods. That the author described them as beautiful despite his genuine discomfort speaks volumes of the astonishing beauty of the Romanian countryside. However, this was (and still is in many places) a wild place:

“As we moved slowly on, my gipsy guide asked me if I could discern a certain tree which he pointed to. “Yes.” – “Well, just there, close to that tree, my mother was eaten by three wolves.” – “When and how?” I asked. “She was out in the forest in winter, getting wood; my father was out too, but he was a good way off, and could not help her. By the time some one came, a great part of the body was eaten. There are sometimes many wolves here. Yesterday, I was coming along this way from Büdös, and I saw one among the trees.”

(Presented as in the book, punctuation and all.)

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