• I took the glass and gulped it, and started eating. Lifting my eyes suddendly, I could avoid seeing how the girls could hardly hold their laughing, holding their jaws together and their noses in the bowls.

    The tradition was that on the day of the summer solstice, all the groom-seeking girls in the village prepared dishes of mamaliga and set them on a special table at the village centre. A suitor would select a particular dish of mamaliga, either by its looks or by its taste, and then he would marry the girl whose dish he selected. People would come from far-away places to seek wives in Porumbani.     In choosing a bride I was a very picky fellow. Realising that the years went by and I was still not attracted to any girl, my mother sent me off to Porumbani, telling me that if I cannot decide, fate will decide for me. My mother was usually right, and besides she knew that all the marriages made in Porumbani were fortunate, and no husband or wife were ever known to complain against one another.

    I had to give them a hand with their work, and I asked to take the cows to graze.They gave me the cows and the goats.I was fearfuly looking to spot the cow that fell in the mud, but she was not among them.

    I got the bag with cold mush and onion and I went uphill leading the herd, together with a ten-year old boy and a couple of shaggy dogs. I reached the top of the hill and the cows started grazing, then when the sun was up I took them to the river flowing at the bottom of hills where they watered and dipped themselves in mud in the swamps on the river's banks, as was their custom. All of a sudden I saw the boy pushing them with his stick and muttering: "How I wish you got married so I can get rid of you!"

    "They will marry the oxes when their time will come, I said smiling."

    "What nonsense are you saying? you're a fool!" said the boy, speaking angrily, just like his father.

    "What did you just say?" I got angry and got him by his ears. At that moment all the cows raised their muzzles from the water and were getting ready to come at me. It was no joke. I patted the boyls head and the cows went on drinking water, however their bulging evil-looking eyes were fixed on me.

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