Oral History

THE SNAKE AND THE FLUTE

Description: Travelling through the past of 1950s Archangelos, Northern Greece (Oshanj), Stella Vragali, in this video accompanied by Stella Koziari, narrates a series of unique stories that marked her as a little girl. Through her autobiographical interviews, Stella gifts us with her love for stories on miracles performed through the intercession of Saints and everyday life happenings. Her stories reveal the portrait and the harsh reality of a village and at the same time of a little girl's life through the eyes of the later distinguished woman she is today. Most of the stories reflect the social relationships and structures, the social and religious norms of those times. While she is defining the past in the most original way, her sources of knowledge and inspiration are often called to be her family circle that shaped her views on life, social behavior and religious morals for the most part. "The snake and the flute", the first story to be recalled here, resembles a fairy tale. A snake that cannot get enough of drinking the milk from people's cattle finds its end when almost fantastic, though real forces come to help. This narrative shows that the community would almost always have to get back to the elders' experiences and use uncommon practices in order to restore peace to the village. In the interviews' second part we find out more about snake species and other animals to whom the village and the region are home. We then learn how some sentient beings, in this case, the mole, can become part of the traditional medical practice and even cure wounds.

Cite as: Šárpili ši sfirélu – The snake and the flute; performers: Stella Vragali, Stella Koziari; camera/ interview: Andreea Pascaru, transcription/ translation: Thede Kahl, Andreea Pascaru; editor: Antonio Fichera, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID number: megl1237GRV0005a.