I was cooking dinner in my kitchen in Sura Mica, Romania, a small village outside of Sibiu, Romania’s fifth largest city, right in the middle of the country. My kitchen was upstairs. We had remodeled our house because a German Romanian had originally built it. He made it so that if you came in the front door, you cold only go upstairs, and if you wanted to go downstairs, you had to go outside and use an outside door. I had the bright idea of changing the stairs so that it was like a ranch style house at the front door, so you could go either up or down when you opened the front door. It worked well.
Every Romanian house has what the call “the pivnitsa.” The pivnitsa is a kind of cellar under the house with a dirt floor. Since there wasn’t much food in the stores, all Romanians grew a garden, and they stored the things from their garden in the pivnitsa. Our pivnitsa had a dirt floor. There was a door at the bottom of those stairs I just told you about that let you into the pivnitsa. As you opened the door, on the right, there was a huge shelf that was several feet deep and was almost as high as my shoulder. My potatoes were stored there. I needed potatoes to make dinner, so I went downstairs, opened the door, and looked to the right.
There was an animal sitting there on my potatoes! It had glowing eyes looking right at me! We were face to face, and I recognized it because I had seen one the gardener had killed when I was a little girl in Morocco. It was a weasel! Weasels are downright dangerous! You don’t want to go anywhere near one. They could tear you up with their teeth. My heart leapt into my mouth! I was so scared I quickly backed out and shut the door! I was lucky it just looked at me and didn’t attack me. It could have attacked because we were looking at one another face to face. After that, I refused to go back into the pivnitsa.
My husband was born and raised in America, and he just didn’t understand. He thought I was crazy. He kept telling me I had to go back to the pivnitsa, but refused. I wanted to do something about that weasel before I ever went back in. I didn’t want to be confronted by it again for fear of what it might do. We figure out that the weasel had been living in our garden, and that it had burrowed a hole under the house to come up into the pivnitsa.
My husband just kept laughing at me. A friend of mine understood. She decided to help me. She had a dachshund. She told me that dachshunds are very ferocious and strong animals, but that people never think of them that way. She was sure if I let her send that dachshund into my pivnitsa, the dachshund could get rid of it for me. I let her do it.
She opened the door, and sent her dachshund into my pivnitsa. We heard what sounded like a really ferocious dog fight! But, not for long, because soon, everything was quiet. My friend opened the door. Her dog came trotting happily back out the door, and the weasel lay there on the dirt floor dead. Everyone was amazed! My friend was right that dachshund was a tough dog!
The dachshund had solved my problem. I could then go into that pivnitsa and get anything I needed to fix dinner.