A Tale of Dracula’s Justice

Or was it a test?

Carriage with masked figure from BL Harley 5256, f. 22 | Loys Papon Public Domain from The British Library Creative Commons Europeana collection

Carriage with masked figure from BL Harley 5256, f. 22 | Loys Papon. Public Domain from The British Library; Creative Commons Europeana collection

A merchant was travelling in Wallachia and he stopped overnight in the capital, Tirgoviste. He was reluctant to leave his carriage and wares unattended in a foreign city overnight, but the Prince of Wallachia, also known as Vlad III whom some call the Impaler and others call Dracula, Son of the Dragon, insisted that he share and trust his own princely hospitality.  So the merchant, dreading greatly, left his carriage unattended in the street in front of the palace overnight. The next morning the merchant hurried to his carriage and found his inventory unmolested, but he had been robbed of 160 gold coins. He reported the theft to the Prince.

The princely Son of the Dragon assured the merchant to have no concerns, and vowed that the thief would be found and the gold returned. He ordered his soldiers to search the city, and he threatened to destroy the entire city if this affront to his honor was not remedied.

Overnight the thief was found and the pouch of gold was returned to the merchant’s carriage. The next morning the merchant counted it: once, twice, thrice.  Each time he counted 161 coins in his bag.  He returned to the palace. “Sire,” he told Dracula, “My money has been found, but there is one coin extra.”

Dracula chuckled, and ordered his guards to bring in the thief.  “Go in peace,” he told the merchant, “And you may keep the extra coin for your honesty. For if you had not admitted to the extra coin, I was ready to impale you alongside this thief.”

"Dormition of the Theotokos" Church in the Old Royal Court at Targoviste, constructed 1585. Photo by Razvan Orendovici. Thru Flickr Creative Commons. https://www.flickr.com/photos/razvanorendovici/12474682075/

I couldn’t find a picture of the palace, so here is a church in Tirgoviste. Dormition of the Theotokos Church in the Old Royal Court at Tirgoviste, constructed 1585. Photo by Razvan Orendovici. Thru Flickr Creative Commons. https://www.flickr.com/photos/razvanorendovici/12474682075/

A tale from Russian and Romanian sources. Russian source from MS 11/1088 in the Kirillov-Belozersky Monastery Collection at the Saltykov-Schredin Public Library in St. Petersburg; translated by Raymond T. McNally and published in McNally & Florescu In Search of Dracula: The History of Dracula and Vampires (1972, revised 1994). Adapted by Cynthia June Long.

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