You have undoubtedly heard of Roman and Greek mythology, but have you heard of Romanian myths? Any civilization with a long history has loads of myths and legends. And although Romania has strong Roman influence, Romanian history goes back to before Rome invaded the land. In fact, present-day Romania was originally inhabited by the Dacians, who are believed to have originally inhabited Romania beginning around 500 B.C.

As you might imagine, with a history that long, there are quite a few centuries-old tales that have survived. And no, we are not talking about Count Dracula – the vampire story was made up by Irishman Bram Stoker, who had never even been to Romania. Let’s start with some of the real myths of Romania!

Romania has many myths that are actually pretty dark. This is likely because all the mountains and forests have long been shrouded in mystery (just look up the Hoia Baciu Forest or Gugu Peak). The natural wonders of Romania have also been pretty harsh, from natural disasters, disease and wild animals, but also from wars being so close to home.

The Romanian people have stories to help them through the hard times. These myths or legends help explain the world around them, help create a sense of good and evil, and make the harshness of the world feel just a little less overbearing. Stories are not only entertaining, but explain the cruelty of our world and can even provide hope.

Below we tell the Romanian Creation Story!


As with any set of myths, there has to be a creation story! There are a couple different versions of the Romanian creation story, as the details have evolved over time. Also, with the Christianization of Romania, the mythical creation story grew to involve God and Satan.

Here is one version of the creation story, with elements borrowed from the various versions that are out there: At the beginning of time, all that existed was an infinite ocean called Apa Sâmbetei. At first, the water was so still it looked like a mirror. Then one day a ripple appeared, as if someone were gently blowing on it. This created a chain reaction, as the ripple turned into waves, foam was created, and from the froth a tree began to grow. The tree was huge, it sprouted branches, and from its branch a single butterfly and worm emerged.

The butterfly then transformed into a boy, lighting up the world around him. The worm saw this, wriggled and shed his skin, and also became a boy. The second boy looked at the first and exclaimed, “brother!” The first looked at him and said, “I have no brother and no equal. I shall call you nonbrother.” The two were known as brother and nonbrother, Fîrtat and Nefîrtat, and they created the world.


Fîrtat could not swim, so he asked Nefîrtat to dive to the bottom of the ocean to collect sand to create land. Nefîrtat dove to the bottom, but the sand simply slipped from his fingers. He tried again, but failed once more. He dove for a third time, but once again without any luck. Frustrated, Fîrtat said that that was enough, that they would just use the mud from under Nefîrtat’s fingernails to create land.

Fîrtat used the mud to create an island around the lone tree of their world. With the island created, Fîrtat thought that it was time to rest. He laid himself down under the tree and began to sleep. Nefîrtat saw his brother resting and thought that this would be the ideal time to take charge. He could get rid of his brother and create the rest of the world himself.

Knowing that Fîrtat could not swim, Nefîrtat tried to roll him into the ocean. However, as he rolled his brother, more land appeared. Nefîrtat then tried to roll him in the other direction, but more land appeared! Nefîrtat rolled and rolled until every corner of the earth was covered in land.

Fîrtat woke up and saw what Nefîrtat had done. He was happy his nonbrother had created the rest of the land, but thought that it was too much. Fîrtat needed to do something to make the world smaller again. The two then grasped the world in their hands, compressing it together. They pressed and pressed, creating creases and ridges, mountains and rivers, until the earth was just the right size.


Once the land was created, the two thought it would be best to build a barrier between the waters of the earth and the waters of the heavens. They wanted something that would separate this life from the next. They decided they would build a sky. They added the stars, sun and moon, decorating the sky like a canvas. Suddenly, the sky was too heavy for the earth. There was too much in the sky and nothing to hold it up. Quickly, Nefîrtat dove back into the ocean and resurrected four pillars, supported by four cosmic fish, to keep the earth afloat.


With sunlight shining down upon the earth, the original tree was able to bloom and grow fruit. Fîrtat and Nefîrtat used the fruit to create life. They would pick a fruit and mold it into different being. This is how men and women, animals, and all other forms of life were created.

Fîrtat built beautiful and practical animals, while Nefîrtat built animals that stretched his imagination: giants, shape-shifters and other beasts. When Fîrtat and Nefîrtat first created all these forms of life, everything and everyone seemed to get along together just fine. However, over time evil oozed into these life forms, wreaking havoc. The tension between these beings is why we still have evil today.

There you have it, the creation story of Romania! There are many more myths and legends from Romanian folklore – read some of our other articles to learn about those stories!