The woman with whom Ion Creanga lived his life after his wife left him for a monk. Tinca Vertic was only 19, “thin and quick-witted”

Ecaterina (Tinca) Vartic was the woman who stood by the side of the great Ion Creanga after he was left by his wife for a monk. Find out who was the woman who chose to stay close to the beloved writer.

The famously gifted writer, born on the banks of the “beautifully flowing Ozana”, doesn’t seem to have had the same success in his private life. From childhood, coming from a poor family with many siblings, his shortcomings seemed never-ending.

Later, in adult life, he married the daughter of a priest from Iași, Elena Grigoriu. In 1867 she left him for a monk of Golia Monastery, leaving him to raise his 7-year-old son, Constantin, alone. Ion Creanga lived a solitary life until 1872, when he met Ecaterina Tinca Vartic, the woman who would remain by his side for almost two decades, although the marriage was not official. Even until 31 December 1889, when the famous writer died in the tobacco factory of his brother Zahei in Iasi.

In his worst moments, Ion receives care from Ecaterina, as he suffers from epilepsy, heart problems and is overweight.

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In the book “Armenian Personalities – Dictionary of Armenians in Romania”, Ecaterina mentions that she came from an Armenian family with roots in Moldova. She was the daughter of Andrei, a tenant in the famous “Bojdeucă din Țicău”, where the writer was to become a sub-tenant, and where he met the young girl of only 19.

Inca Vartic woman Ion Creanga
Tinca Vartic

Who was the woman who was at Ion Creanga’s side

On one of the covers of his books, Ion Creanga notes: “Today, January 16, 1872, a pleasant accident happened to me”. Tinca Vartic, “small in stature, agile, slim and pleasant in appearance”, although she had no schooling, was nevertheless intelligent, as Grigore Alexandrescu said: “She was clever and good-natured”, and Constantin Grigorescu: “She had the gift of storytelling”.

“I also took into my house a young nineteen-year-old maid, Ecaterina Vartic, to take care of the boy and me, because since the devil left me (my ex-wife – ed.), I am neither a married man nor a widow, but as is best: both one and the other. The world, as the world is, that only death can stop its mouth, says a lot. They say Tinca is too young for an old devil like me.”

This is how Ion Creanga described what was going on between him and Tinca Vartic, wondering at the same time if he “has the right to life and should put his nail in his throat like a dwarf?”. Ecaterina was described as being better than his ex-wife who left her own son for a monk, but also as being submissive and faithful.

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In 1879, the “bojdeuca” in Țicău, Iași is passed to the name of Tincai Vartic, after he bought the house. Regarding Tincai’s cooking skills, Ion Creangă wrote: “When the dawn broke, we returned with Mihai Eminescu to the nest (home – ed.) and we were received with alai and blessed by Tinca with borscht”. Ecaterina-Tinca Vartic died in 1912.

Ion Creanga's Bojdeuca
Ion Creanga’s beehive (Photo: iasi.travel.ro)

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