I had only seen a weasel one time before. It had been dead. When I was a little girl in Morocco, our Arab gardener had killed a weasel and then pinned it to our clothesline. My parents told me that weasels were very dangerous, and they were glad he had killed it. He said he put it on our clothesline because he wanted us to know what one looked like and to stay away from them if we ever saw them because they were very dangerous. That is how I knew exactly what I had come to face with that day in my pivnita (basement) in Romania.
Every Romanian house has a pivnita (pronounced: peevneetsah). They are unfinished basements under the houses where they keep things from the garden during the winter. We had carrots, potatoes, apples,onions, etc. in ours from our garden. It had a complete dirt floor. There were really wide wooden shelves just as you entered from the house through the door at the bottom of the stairs. We had a bunch of apples on the shelf on the right just a we entered the pivnita. I was cooking, and there were vegetables I needed, so I went to the pivnita and opened the door. I began to walk in, and happened to glance to the right, and sitting right on top of the apples, there was a beast with glowing eyes looking right at me. Had it thought, it was aggressive enough that it could have bitten me easily, but it just looked at me. I was completely shocked! My heart raced! I was face to face with a weasel! I quickly backed up and slammed the door. I don’t know what the weasel would have done had I not moved so quickly.
I went back upstairs and told my husband, and he laughed at me. He thought I was funny. He told me to go back to the pivnita and get the vegetables. I refused! He thought I was silly, and he wasn’t going to help me. I made something else for dinner. I told all the kids not to go into the pivnita. My husband told me I would have to eventually go back in there, and I told him that as long as there was a weasel in there, I would not go in there. He just didn’t understand how dangerous the weasel was.
I told some Romanian friends, and they said I had done the right thing refusing to go in there because they knew how dangerous weasels were. When my husband heard them talking, he asked what a weasel looked like, and they told him. He said the weasel had been living in the bushes around our garden. We figured out that it had burrowed up under the house. It had built a tunnel and gotten into the pivnita because the floor was made of dirt, but we knew it couldn’t get into the rest of the house.
My husband finally relented and said we were just going to have to kill it so we could have our pivnita back, but he didn’t want to be the one to kill it. No one wanted to go into the pivnita. Finally, Vali, a friend of mine, said that her dog was tough. She said that people didn’t realize that dachshunds were extremely tough dogs, and she had seen her dog kill rats, and she was sure her dog could kill the weasel. I had never thought of dachshunds as being that tough, but she insisted they were, and she wanted to send her dog into our pivnita.
We let her do it. In just the matter of a few minutes, we heard a bunch of noise coming out of the pivnita, and then it was quiet. Vali opened the door, her dog came out unscathed, and the weasel was dead. Problem solved! Some people have told me they thought what she did would have been illegal in the States, but I really appreciated what she did. Her dog was fine, and I got my pivnita back. Weasels may be dangerous, but not as dangerous as a dachshund. I am glad I knew what I was looking at because had it been left up to my husband, one of us could have been hurt.