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The Gypsies and the Other Realm-Chapter 2

Updated on May 7, 2022
Sherrye Barrow profile image

Sherrye has always enjoyed stories about gypsies, pixies,fairies and a variety of folklore characters.Research was key to this project.

Chapter 2

The Tribe

After Mariska and Livia’s older brother, and parents went to bed and fell asleep. Selena and Jupiter slipped out of the basket, found a window that was slightly open and flew off into the forest for their nightly rendezvous.They were," moon faeries." after all.

The forest was full of the eventide magic. The moon’s glow, cast a rough hew and shadows , onto the ground of tall crooked trees, with twisted, winding, sinuous branches and a strange silhouette of silky leaves dancing in the breeze. The forest creatures scurried around on the ground, chattering to one another in the night, and the wise old owls and other predators of the darkness hunted mice, squirrels and other small rodents, for their supper. The night was bright, and the stars were scintillating, as Jupiter flew Selena, higher and higher, into the cloudless dark sky. The pair traveled for hours, before returning back to the gypsy camp. They arrived just as some of the tribe members began to awake and prepare for the day. They watched silently from the roof of the caravan as the elders of the tribe began chanting morning prayers, and the members of the tribe gathered to participate in the rituals.

When the prayers were over, the gypsy boys, gathered wood, and the men built up the fire that had burnt to coals through the night. The tribe’s older women, began to prepare breakfast, and the younger women took the children to the stream to bathe.

Selena and Jupiter, flew back into the caravan, encountering , Livia, who was inside gathering soap, sundries, and fresh clothes to take to her siblings. Livia, looked startled to see Selena and Jupiter, as they gently landed on her shoulder. Selena, explained to Livia, tiredly, that they were, "moon faeries," and were awake at night and mostly slept during the day.Then the two of them flew back into their basket and snuggled together in slumber.

Livia, hastily ran to the stream, to alert, Mariska, that, "Selena and Jupiter, had come back, and not to wake the, moon fairies, during the day, as they had been up all night." Mariska, thanked Livia for bringing the soap, clothes and other sundries and for her being so thoughtful to let her know that Selena and Jupiter had rejoined them. When she saw the basket was empty this morning her heart had sank. Mariska, was disappointed, and had thought that they had decided to leave.

The tribe of, Romani Gypsies, began to break camp in the early pre-dawn hours, after a delicious morning meal of "clatite", (crepes filled with savory spiced, ground lamb’s meat), sweet jams, and "pasca", (a pastry made of cheese).

A spot of "tuica", (plum brandy), was also shared with each member of the tribe in a rehearsed pour, out of a clay jug into their personal tin cups, by a designated server. Some of the tribe members asked the server to pour a little more to take the bite out of the morning chill.

When breakfast was over, the older gypsy women began to break camp, washing the morning cooking and eating utensils with the water gathered and put into the wooden barrel yesterday. They ladled water into a large black metal cauldron, and heated the water before washing. Once everything was washed and dried, they neatly packed the dishes into ornate wooden chests, and emptied the large cauldron of water onto the campfire. They also packed left over food into clay containers and burlap bags, for the journey.

The young adult gypsy boys, deconstructed the tents, carefully rolling and binding the heavy tarps and stakes with twine for easy packing, and then loaded them into wooden crates. Some of the boys camped out in the tents at night, because many of the vardos, and caravans were too small and were cramped. The gypsy boys that camped out also acted as the night watchmen for the camp.

The older girls tended to the toddlers and babies. Some of the younger children played together, and other children went to the river to fill up empty clay vessels with more water. Some of the children, used their dogs to round up the herds of ponies, lambs, goats and cows, that would accompany them in their travels, and tethered them to the backs of carts. The ducks, chickens, geese, pigs and smaller livestock, were fed and tended to in their crates.

The men hurried off in the early morning light to hitch the tinker horses, to the larger vardos, and caravans, that had been loaded and filled yesterday, with their handcraft items and market wares. A joyful air of laughter in the group and an eagerness to get going prevailed.

The plan was to travel to Sheffield, England, a week’s journey by wagon, with the promise of a thriving market, whereas the gypsy tribe might sell, or trade their livestock and handmade wares. A journey that they took each year, from their homestead, near Kirk, Yentworth in Scotland.

Once the wagons, carts, vardos, and caravans were swept, and loaded, they were parked by the drivers, onto the narrow dirt path, that headed south out of Kirk, Yentworth, a parade of sorts. The women and children, were then loaded, into the caravans, seating themselves on benches at the front, inside, or on the back porches, that were attached to the vardos, and caravans, that had been built with heavy, wooden tongue and groove slats, and braced with rod iron brackets for support.

Many of the older boys mounted their ponies or oxen, to ride alongside the parade of wagons, or walked with their dogs and shepherd sticks, herding the untethered livestock, and watching the wagons for unfortunate mishaps, such as breaking axles or loose wheels.

The,"Gypsy King," stood to the side of the road analyzing the distance and size of the procession and then raised his right arm high into the air toward the sky, and rolled his wrist and hand to motion an acknowledgement to the wagon train parade, it was time to start rolling. He then climbed on to his own caravan and took his place as the lead driver on the front bench, of his ornately decorated, Romani caravan.

The," Gypsy Kings,"caravan was exquisite, it was painted a high gloss deep cherry red, and trimmed in elaborate gold leaf scroll. The black metal chimney poked out of the roof on the left side, indicating that this caravan had a pot bellied stove inside, few had this luxury.

The shutters on the back porch to the cabin were pulled shut and the heavy burgundy, curtain was pulled shut in front. His wife traveled perched on the wagon bench, at his side, his older daughter and his younger children traveled unseen inside.

His eldest son, a gypsy pony rider, was currently sitting on his beloved pony alongside the caravan. It was his job to ride ahead and scout the route with some of the other,"gypsy pony riders," and then ride back and forth throughout the journey, communicating with his father and other drivers, of any dangers or obstacles that lay ahead on the dirt road.


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