1.The Golden Cup
Dracula was known throughout his land for his fierce insistence on honesty and order. Thieves
seldom dared practice their trade within Dracula's domain - they knew that the stake awaited any who were caught. Dracula
was so confident in the effectiveness of his law that he placed a golden cup on display in the central square of Targoviste.
The cup was never stolen and remained entirely unmolested throughout Dracula's reign.
2.The Foreign Merchant
A merchant from a foreign land once visited Dracula's capital of Targoviste. Aware of the reputation of Dracula's
land for honesty, he left a treasure-laden cart unguarded in the street over night. Returning to his wagon in the morning,
the merchant was shocked to find 160 golden ducats missing. When the merchant complained of his loss to the prince, Dracula
assured him that his money would be returned and invited him to remain in the palace that night. Dracula then issued a proclamation
to the city - find the thief and return the money or the city will be destroyed. During the night he ordered that 160 ducats
plus one extra be taken from his own treasury and placed in the merchant's cart. On returning to his cart in the morning and
counting his money the merchant discovered the extra ducat. The merchant returned to Dracula and reported that his money had
indeed been returned plus an extra ducat. Meanwhile the thief had been captured and turned over to the prince's guards along
with the stolen money. Dracula ordered the thief impaled and informed the merchant that if he had not reported the extra ducat
he would have been impaled alongside the thief.
3.The Two Monks
There are several versions of this anecdote.
In some the two monks were from a Catholic monastery in Wallachia or wandering Catholic monks from a foreign land. In either
case Catholic monks would be viewed as representatives of a foreign power by Dracula. In other versions of the story the monks
were from a Romanian Orthodox establishment (the native church of Wallachia). Dracula's motivation also varies considerably
among the different versions of the story.
All versions of the story agree that two monks visited Dracula in his palace
at Targoviste. Curious to see the reaction of the churchman, Dracula showed them rows of impaled corpses in the courtyard.
When asked their opinions of his actions by the prince, one of the monks responded, 'You are appointed by God to punish evil-doers.'
The other monk had the moral courage to condemn the cruel prince. In the version of the story most common in the German pamphlets,
Dracula rewarded the sycophantic monk and impaled the honest monk. In the version found in Russian pamphlets and in Romanian
verbal tradition Dracula rewarded the honest monk for his integrity and courage and impaled the sycophant for his dishonesty.
4.The Polish Nobleman
Benedict de Boithor, a Polish nobleman in the service of the King of Hungary, visited
Dracula at Targoviste in September of 1458. At dinner one evening Dracula ordered a golden spear brought and set up directly
in from of the royal envoy. Dracula then asked the envoy why he thought this spear had been set up. Benedict replied that
he imagined that some boyar had offended the prince and that Dracula intended to honor him. Dracula then responded that he
had, in fact, had the spear set up in the honor of his noble, Polish guest. The Pole then responded that had he done anything
to deserve death that Dracula should do as he thought best. He further asserted that in that case Dracula would not be responsible
for his own death, rather he would be responsible for his own death for incurring the displeasure of the prince. Dracula was
greatly pleased by this answer and showered the man with gifts while declaring that had he answered in any other manner he
would have been immediately impaled.
5.The Foreign Ambassadors
There are at least two versions of this
story in the literature. As with the story of the two monks, one version is common in the German pamphlets and views Dracula's
actions unfavorably while the other version is common in Eastern Europe and sees Dracula's actions in a much more favorable
light. In both versions ambassadors of a foreign power visit Dracula's court at Targoviste. When granted an audience with
the prince the envoys refused to remove their hats as was the custom when in the presence of the prince in Wallachia. Angered
at this sign of disrespect Dracula had the ambassadors' hats nailed to their heads so that they might never remove them.
In the German version of the story the envoys are Florentine and refused to remove their hats to demonstrate their superiority.
When Dracula asked the ambassadors why they wouldn't remove their hats they responded that such was not their custom and that
they wouldn't remove their hats, even for the Holy Roman Emperor. Dracula immediately had their hats nailed to their heads
so that they might never come off and had the ambassadors ejected from his court. In Germany and in the West, where the concept
of diplomatic immunity was at least given lip service, this was held to be an act of barbarity against the representatives
of a friendly power.
In the version of the story common in the East, the envoys are Turkish. When ushered into the presence
of the prince, the Turks refused to remove their Phrygian caps. When questioned they answered that it was not the custom of
their fathers to remove their hats. Dracula then ordered their hats nailed to their heads with three nails so that they might
never have to break such an excellent tradition. The envoys were sent back to the sultan. In the East this was held to be
a courageous act of defiance in the face of the Ottoman sultan. It should also be noted that the nailing of hats to heads
of those who displeased a monarch was not an unknown act in Eastern Europe. Apparently this method was occasionally used by
the princes of Moscow when faced by unpleasant envoys.
Dracula once had
a mistress who lived in a house in the back streets of Targoviste. This woman apparently loved the prince to distraction and
was always anxious to please him. Dracula was often moody and depressed and the woman made every effort to lighten her lover's
burdens. Once, when Dracula was particularly depressed, the woman dared tell him a lie in an effort to cheer him up; she told
him that she was with child. Dracula warned the woman not to joke about such matters but she insisted on the truth of her
claim despite her knowledge of the prince's feelings about dishonesty. Dracula had the woman examined by the bath matrons
to determine the veracity of her claim. When informed that the woman was lying Dracula drew his knife and cut her open from
the groin to her breasts while proclaiming his desire for the world to see where he had been. Dracula then left the woman
to die in agony.
7.The Lazy Woman
Dracula once noticed a man working in the fields while wearing
a too short caftan. The prince stopped and asked the man whether or not he had a wife. When the man answered in the affirmative
Dracula had the woman brought before him and asked her how she spent her days. The poor, frightened woman stated that she
spent her days washing, baking and sewing. The prince pointed out her husband's short caftan as evidence of her laziness and
dishonesty and ordered her impaled despite her husband's protestations that he was well satisfied with his wife. Dracula then
ordered another woman to marry the peasant but admonished her to work hard or she would suffer her predecessor's fate.
8.The Nobleman with the Keen Sense of Smell
On St. Bartholomew's Day in 1459 Dracula caused
thirty thousand of the merchants and nobles of the Transylvanian city of Brasov to be impaled. In order that he might better
enjoy the results of his orders, the prince commanded that his table be set up and that his boyars join him for a feast amongst
the forest of impaled corpses. While dining, Dracula noticed that one of his boyars was holding his nose in an effort to alleviate
the terrible smell of clotting blood and emptied bowels. Dracula then ordered the sensitive nobleman impaled on a stake higher
than all the rest so that he might be above the stench.
In another version of this story the sensitive nobleman
is an envoy of the Transylvanian cities of Brasov and Sibiu sent to appeal to the cruel Wallachian to spare those cities.
While hearing the nobleman's appeal Dracula walked amongst the stakes and their grisly burdens. Some of the victims still
lived. Nearly overcome by the smell of drying blood and human wastes the nobleman asked the prince why he walked amidst the
awful stench. Dracula then asked the envoy if he found the stench oppressive. The envoy, seeing an opportunity to ingratiate
himself with Dracula, responded that his only concern was for the health and welfare of the prince. Dracula, angered at the
nobleman's dishonesty ordered him impaled on the spot on a very high stake so that he might be above the offending odors.
9.The Burning of the Sick and Poor
Dracula was very concerned that all his subjects work and contribute
to the common welfare. He once noticed that the poor, vagrants, beggars and cripples had become very numerous in his land.
Consequently, he issued an invitation to all the poor and sick in Wallachia to come to Targoviste for a great feast, claiming
that no one should go hungry in his land. As the poor and crippled arrived in the city they were ushered into a great hall
where a fabulous feast was prepared fore them. The princes guests ate and drank late into the night, When Dracula himself
made an appearance. 'What else do you desire? Do you want to be without cares, lacking nothing in this world,' asked the prince.
When they responded positively Dracula ordered the hall boarded up and set on fire. None escaped the flames. Dracula explained
his action to the boyars by claiming that he did this, 'in order that they represent no further burden to other men so that
no one will be poor in my realm.