Together with the legend of the Sun and of the Moon, the “Legend of the Skylark” is one of the most beautiful love stories of the Romanian folk tales. If in the case of “Sun and Moon” Legend, the subject is an incestuous relationship, the sun falling in love with his sister, which is unallowable by the ancestral parental liaisons (in the Romanian tradition, for example, the cousins up to the 4th degree are not allowed to marry one to another, not even godparents and godsons), in this case the tale is about a girl from a humble background that loves an Emperor’s son.
This time, as (only) the social relations are breached, the punishment shall be gentler. Being a very beautiful girl, Lia was loved by many boys, some of noble origin, that would loved to marry her. But the girl refused all of them, and was looking at the Holly Sun with the eyes in tears. She was looking dearly as she was in love with … the Sun.
Her secret was known only by her shadow that appeared only when the Sun was shining on the sky. The shadow was chiding her telling that this guilty love for the one not being of the same origin as she was, will lead her to perdition. But Lia wasn’t listening to the shadow, and by magic means (the wonder horse) she arrived at the seaside (in other words at the end of this World) and then, also by magic means, she arrived at the enchanted island were the Sun was living.
Over there she was welcomed by the Sun’s mother that let her spend the night in her boyfriend’s room. The next day, the room of the Sun Prince was full of blossomed flowers, as symbol of their love. Because of too much love, the Sun forgot to set; therefore the Earth was endangered to be burned out. Then the star’s mother damned Lia that was transformed in a small, ugly bird with burned (black) feathers, but with an amazing voice. Since then the bird is still singing her unfulfilled love, flying towards the Sun.
In the folk tradition, the Skylark is considered a holly bird, “the bird of the plow” or the ”loughmen’s watch”. She begins to sing when the hard works on the field begin. Moreover her sacred character is indicated by the fly towards the high sky, being considered a demiurgic mediator between sky and earth.
Since this legend, Lia Ciocarlia is considered a general symbol of love sufferance, being assimilated with the unshared love and with the last for the loved one:
”Verde iasomie, / Lie, / Ciocârlie, / Ce ți-a venit ție / Să-mi cânți pe câmpie, / Singură, pustie?/ (Green jassamin, / Lie, / Ciocârlie, / What has come over you / To sing to me on the field, / Alone, ravaged”
(apudMihaiComan, Mitologie popularăromânească (Romanian Popular Mythology), București, Editura Minerva, 1988, p. 39). From the point of view of the mythical significations of depth, the skylark signifies the aspiration to high levels, to the goals, but also the tragic fall of the human being.