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Zână (plural zâne; zînă and zîne, d̦ână and d̦âne in old spellings) is the Romanian equivalent of the Greek Charites or fairy godmother. They are the opposite of monsters like Muma Pădurii. These characters make positive appearances in fairy tales and reside mostly in the woods. They can also be considered the Romanian equivalent of fairies and of the Germanic elf. They vary in size and appearance, though they can polymorph to the extent of blending into their surroundings for protection and cover. They can appear openly in the woods and coax travelers to follow them in order to help them find their way. They can also hide in the woods and quietly guide those who need help through signs and "breadcrumbs" through the forest.
They give life to fetuses in utero and bestow upon them great gifts like the art of dancing, beauty, kindness, and luck. In folk tales, it is told not to upset them because they also have the power to do bad things or put a curse on the wrongdoer. They also act like guardian angels, especially for children who enter the woods, or for other good people.
Zână is also used in current Romanian slang to refer to an attractive girl, though it is not necessarily the kindest way to do so.
- Luminița Frențiu (12 November 2012). A Journey through Knowledge: Festschrift in Honour of Hortensia Pârlog. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 174–. ISBN 978-1-4438-4268-6.
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