The Gypsies and the Moon Faerie- Chapter 3
Mariska, peeked through the front curtain, when she heard the set of horse’s hooves, cantering up to the caravan. The oldest boy of the tribe, Stefan, had reined his pure black satin, pony in to a full halt and sat alongside her brother, Brutus.
Stefan, Brutus and Raj had been life- long friends, having grown up in the same tribe. Stefan was a handsome, shy, well- groomed and polite boy and was sharply dressed today in a black silk peasant shirt trimmed with silver thread, embroidery, the handiwork of his mother Angela. He wore shiny black riding pantalones, accessorized by a black leather silver studded belt and knee high black riding leathers, made by his father, Andre. Stefan’s, mother sewed and designed clothes for the gypsy tribe, and his father was a master leather crafter.
Stefan had waist length, shiny blue, black hair that was drawn back into a ponytail, and loosely held by a black and silver thread, embroidered, silk scarf. He had a slender muscular build, deep olive complexion, and his deep brown eyes glinted brightly in the sun light. Today he wore a dazzling smile, as he joined in on the light conversation between Brutus and her father, Valentino.
Valentino, Brutus and Stefan were visiting, while they patiently waited on Raj, to finish checking his side of the wagon train parade, before Valentino could give the whistle, that would move the anxiously waiting, ”tinker,” mares, that were hitched to the front of the caravan.
Raj finally, cantered up alongside, the caravan, and reigned in his grey and black spotted pony, next to Viktoria, Valentino’s bride, Raj acknowledged Viktoria with a nod, and then gave Valentino a thumbs up that all was well with the line- up. Valentino , blew the shrill wooden whistle, he kept on a gold chain, around his neck. His father, Aries, the previous ,”Gypsy King,” had hand carved the wooden whistle himself, and gave Valentino the whistle, when he was voted in as the tribe’s, ”Gypsy King.”
The ,”tinker,” mares ears magically saluted and the small group of horses systematically began to trot in synchronized time with each other, gently pulling the heavy caravan forward, like it was as light as air. Both Stefan and Raj waved, farewell, as the procession moved forward and then they, galloped ahead , with Brutus in the lead, to scout the road, and remove any obstructions they might observe that would hinder any of the loaded wagons, or carts.
Mariska marveled at the, ”tinkers”... Valentino and Viktoria, raised and bred,” tinker,” horses, also known as,” gypsy van,” horses. This was the family trade, and they always kept their horses impeccably groomed, with special care given to their muscular draught horse legs, that were feathered in long glistening hair above well- manicured hooves. The tinkers were magnificent animals and had horse hair on their bodies that felt like velvet, when you touched them and had long silky glistening manes.
Viktoria,Mariska’s, mother, looked after the horses, after they had been worked, closely. She checked for mites and fungus as, ”tinkers,” were highly susceptible to disease caused by their long hair. Viktoria doctored them with herbs and medicines, she had learned to make from her mother. Her father, too, had raised “tinkers”, back in Romania.
Valentino’s younger brother, Bavaro, and his family, were put in charge of transporting the small herd of,”tinks,”they were taking to market this year. Bavaro’s, wife had passed away, recently, leaving him with one teen age boy and two adorable little girls. The family had built a heavy wooden wagon, to carry feed and other supplies, for the horses, by which they tethered the horses to the wagon, to tag along. Bavarro’s, boy, Oberon, drove the family vardo, with his younger sisters, Rosalie and Lilith in tow.
Mariska, watched until the movement of the caravan lulled her to sleepiness , and she moved away from the curtain and layed down on her bunk ,drifting off into her own thoughts.
Vikoria had told Mariska the story about how, Valentino , had gone to work on her families ranch, back in Romania. Valentino, was enchanting to watch as he trained and worked with the,” tinks.” Whenever he would accomplish a minor goal with one of the horses, he would invite, Viktoria, to share his lunch with him. They would stroll down to a nearby lake, and picnic and visit, mostly talking about the horses and methods he could try for working with the more stubborn animals. Soon enough their conversations turned to hopes and dreams and, their relationship blossomed into love.
Viktoria’s, family was not too keen on the union of the two, as Valentino was a gypsy, and a nomad traveler that had come around the ranch looking for temporary work as a horse trainer. When Valentino, was able to prove that he was highly skilled with horses and a good and respectable man, he and Viktoria married with the family’s blessings.
Valentino built a bender tent himself for the two of them to live in, and parked it close to the lake.When the war broke out, Viktorias family was captured and taken to war camps. Valentino and Viktoria, rounded up all the,”tinkers,” they could find that were roaming around freely grazing around the ranch, and tethered them to the vardo, and then moved on to escape capture. The two of them traveled alone for months, until they were able to meet up and travel with Valentino’s family tribe of gypsies. They made it to Scotland, with a handful of,”tinkers,” and when they settled in Kirk, Yentworth, for a time, they found open pasture and rebuilt their herd of,”tinks.”
Eventually, Valentino’s, family tribe of gypsy’s moved south into England, as the war progressed. They lived a nomadic life for several years, living in mountains, woods, deserts, and on beaches. They encountered other tribes of gypsies from other nations and the tribes joined one another and grew as one. The gypsies were sought after, to be put in war camps and stereotyped by many Christian partisans as tramps and thieves.
The processions of gypsies would camp outside villages, and take their goods to town to try to sell or trade for food or money. They were not trusted and many times run out of the area by village militants. Many of the tribes learned to set up vendors markets at specific gathering places and times throughout the year to buy and trade amongst themselves. Annually these vendors markets would grow. Recently villagers began to venture into the gypsy market places and even began to invite them to their villages.
The war had destroyed many villages, and countless people had died, or were captured and taken to war camps, the partisans were rebuilding, and needed the gypsy’s wares.
Valentino confided in Viktoria that he was hesitant about accepting the invitation to Sheffield, England. He secretly hoped it was not a trap. The tribe had voted and agreed that the market at Sheffield was needed to replenish the tribe.
The first trip to Sheffield ,England from Kirk, Yentworth, Scotland was about ten years ago. Valentino and Viktoria had returned to Scotland after their nomadic years and homesteaded, just outside Kirk, Yentworth about 15 years ago, because the good pasture land would be a great place to raise their family and their,”tinks.”
Viktoria stayed at the homestead with the children and cared for, Bavaro's, sick wife, Shaylee. Valentino traveled with his father, Aries, "The Gypsy King," and his younger brothers Victor and Bavaro. They had raised an amazing herd of ,”tinks”, to sell at market. The journey took about a week and there were some tense moments at the market, in Sheffield, as soldiers and militants were gathered to patrol for mischief. Most of the gypsy vendors were well received and monetarily did well at the market, and promised to return the following year.
Aries took ill shortly after their return, from Sheffield, England, and as his wife, Aurelia, had passed before him , he stayed with Valentino and Victoria until his passing, thus passing the title of "The Gypsy King" to Valentino. The tribe voted and it was so.