London : Hurst & Blackett


Introduction Part One

[p. v]


I AM no folklorist; I have merely dabbled in folklore as a branch of the great Egyptian Question, which includes also intricate problems of philology, ethnology, craniology, archaeology, history, music, and what not besides. But for twenty years I have been trying to interest folklorists in Gypsy folk-tales. Vainly so far; and during those twenty years there have died Dr. Paspati, Dr. Barbu Constantinescu, Dr. Franz von Miklosich, Dr. Isidore Kopernicki, M. Paul Bataillard, and John Roberts, the Welsh-Gypsy harper: with them much has perished that folklorists should not have willingly let go. Meanwhile, however, a Romani Grimm has arisen in Mr. John Sampson, the librarian of University College, Liverpool. With unparalleled generosity he has placed his collections at my free disposal--I trust I have not made too lavish use of them,--and has read, moreover, every page of the proofs of this volume, enriching it from the depths of his knowledge of 'matters of Egypt.' Another, a very old friend, to whom my debt is great, is the Rev. Thomas Davidson, author of the admirable folklore articles in Chambers's Encyclopaedia; he has lent me scores of scarce works from his unrivalled folklore library. Others to whom I owe acknowledgments are: Mr. Tom Taylor, Mr. W. R. S. Ralston, Mr. W. A. Clouston, Dr. Hyde Clarke, Professor Bensly (all five also dead), Mrs. Gomme, Mr. H. Browne of Bucharest, Mr. Robert Burns, Lord Archibald Campbell, Mr. Archibald Constable, Mr. H. T. Crofton,

[p. vi]

[paragraph continues] Professor Dobschutz of Jena, Mr. Fitzedward Hall, Dean Kitchin, Mr. William Larminie, Mr. David MacRitchie, M. Omont of the Bibliotheque Nationale, Dr. David Patrick, Dr. Fearon Ranking, Mr. Rufus B. Richardson of Athens, Professor Sayce, and Dr. Rudolf von Sowa of Brunn. And, finally, I would thank in advance whoever may send me corrections, additions, or suggestions on the subject of Gypsy folk-tales.



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[p. ix]


Distribution of Gypsies.

No race is more widely scattered over the earth's surface than the Gypsies; the very Jews are less ubiquitous. Go where one will in Europe, one comes upon Gypsies everywhere--from Finland to Sicily, from the shores of the Bosporus to the Atlantic seaboard. Something under a million is their probable number in Europe; of these Hungary claims 275,000, Roumania 200,000, Servia 38,000, and Bulgaria 52,000. How many Gypsies there are in Great Britain I have not the vaguest notion, for there are no statistics of the slightest value to go by. [*1] But I have never lived for any length of time in any place--and I have stayed in most parts of both England and Scotland--without lighting sooner or later on nomadic or house-dwelling Gypsies. London and all round London, the whole Thames valley as high at least as Oxford, the Black Country, Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, and Yarmouth, it is here I should chiefly look for settled Gypsies. Whilst from study of parish registers, local histories, and suchlike, and from my own knowledge, I doubt if there is the parish between Land's End and John o' Groats where Gypsies have not pitched their camp some time or other in the course of the last four centuries.

Asia has untold thousands of these wanderers, in Anatolia, Syria, Armenia, Persia, Turkestan, and Siberia, perhaps also India and China; so, too, has Africa, in Egypt, Algeria, Darfur, and Kordofan. We find them in both the Americas, from Pictou in Canada to Rio in Brazil; nor are New Zealand and Australia without at least their isolated bands.

To-day at any rate the sedentary Gypsies must greatly outnumber the nomadic: in Hungary only 9000, or less than one-thirtieth of the entire number, are returned as 'constantly on the move.' Still the race has always been largely a migratory race; its wide distribution is due to bygone migrations. Of these the most important known to us is that of the first half of the fifteenth century, whose movements have been so lovingly and laboriously traced by the late

[p. x]

[paragraph continues] M. Paul Bataillard in his De l'Apparition et de la Dispersion des Bohemiens en Europe (1844), Nouvelles Recherches (1849), and 'Immigration of the Gypsies into Western Europe in the Fifteenth Century' (Gypsy Lore Journal, April 1889 to January 1890, for pages [*1]).


^ix:1 According to the Spectator (24th December 1897) ten thousand Gypsies wintered in Surrey in 1896-97!

^x:1 I shall have frequent occasion to refer to the Gypsy Lore Journal (3 vols. 1888-92), which should in time be one of the libri rarissimi, as the issue was limited to 150 copies, many of which are sure to have perished. There are complete sets, however, at the British Museum, the Bodleian, the Edinburgh Advocates' Library, Leyden, Berlin, Munich, Cracow, Rome, Madrid, Harvard, and twelve other public libraries.

Appearance in West.

Late in 1417 a band of 'Secani' or Tsigans, 300 in number, besides children and infants, arrived in Germany 'from Eastern parts' or 'from Tartary.' Their presence is first recorded at Luneburg; and thence they passed on to Hamburg, Lubeck, Wismar, Rostock, Stralsund, and Greifswald, At their head rode a duke and a count, richly dressed, with silver belts, and leading like nobles dogs of chase; next came a motley crew afoot; and women and children brought up the rear in waggons. They bore letters of safe-conduct from princes, one of which from the Emperor Sigismund they had probably procured that same year at Lindau on Lake Constance; and they gave out that they were on a seven years' pilgrimage, imposed by their own bishops as a penance for apostasy from the Christian faith. They encamped in the fields by night outside the city walls, and were great thieves, especially the women, 'wherefore several were taken and slain.' In 1418 they are heard of at Leipzig, at Frankfort-on-Main, and in Switzerland at Zurich, Basel, Berne, and Soleure: the contemporary Swiss chronicler, Conrad Justinger, speaks of them as 'more than two hundred baptized Heathens from Egypt, pitiful, black, miserable, and unbearable on account of their thefts, for they stole all they could.' At Augsburg they passed for exiles from 'Lesser Egypt'; at Macon in August 1419 they practised palmistry and necromancy; and at Sisteron in Provence as 'Saracens' they got large rations from the terrified townsfolk. In 1420 Lord Andreas, Duke of Little Egypt, and a hundred men, women, and children, came to Deventer in the Low Countries; and the aldermen had to pay 19 florins 10 placks for their bread, beer, herrings, and straw, as well as for cleaning out the barn in which they lay. At Tournay in 1421 'Sir Miquiel, Prince of Latinghem in Egypt,' received twelve gold pieces, with bread and a barrel of beer.

At Bologna.

Next the Chronica di Bologna tells how 'the 18th of July 1422 a duke of Egypt, Duke Andrew, arrived at Bologna, with women,

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children, and men from his own country. There might be a hundred. This duke having denied the Christian faith, the King of Hungary [the Emperor Sigismund] had taken possession of his lands and person. Then he told the King that he wished to return to Christianity, and he had been baptized with about four thousand men; those who refused baptism were put to death. After the King of Hungary had thus taken and rebaptized them, he commanded them to travel about the world for seven years, to go to Rome to see the pope, and then to return to their own country. When they arrived at Bologna, they had been journeying for five years, and more than half of them were dead. They had a mandate from the King of Hungary, the Emperor, permitting them during these seven years to thieve, wherever they might go, without being amenable to justice.

When they arrived at Bologna, they lodged themselves inside and outside the Gate of Galiera, and settled themselves under the porticoes, except the duke, who lodged at the King's Inn (Albergo del Re). They remained a fortnight at Bologna. During this time many people went to see them, on account of the duke's wife, who, it was said, could foretell what would happen to a person during his lifetime, as well as what was interesting in the present, how many children would be born, and other things. Concerning all which she told truly. And of those who wished to have their fortunes told, few went to consult without getting their purse stolen, and the women had pieces of their dress cut off. The women of the band wandered about the town, seven or eight together; they entered the houses of the inhabitants, and whilst they were telling idle tales, some of them laid hold of what was within their reach. In the same way they visited the shops under the pretext of buying something, but really to steal. Many thefts were thus committed at Bologna. So it was cried through the town that no one should go to see them under a penalty of fifty pounds and excommunication, for they were the most cunning thieves in all the world. It was even permitted those who had been robbed by them to rob them in return to the amount of their losses. In consequence of which several of the inhabitants of Bologna slipped during the night into a stable where some of their horses were shut up, and stole the best of them. The others, wishing to get back their horses, agreed to restore a great number of the stolen articles. But seeing that there was nothing more to gain there, they left Bologna and went off towards Rome.

'Observe that they were the ugliest brood ever seen in this country. They were lean and black, and they ate like swine. Their

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women went in smocks, and wore a pilgrim's cloak across the shoulder, rings in their ears, and a long veil on their head. One of them gave birth to a child in the market-place, and at the end of three days went on to rejoin her people.'

On 7th August the same band, now swelled to two hundred, arrived at Forli, where, writes the city chronicler, 'some [*1] said they were from India.' The Vatican archives may contain some record of the audience granted to these strange penitents by Pope Martin v.; all that we know is that later in the same year the 'cunning and lazy strange people called Zigeiner,' led by Duke Michael, were back in Switzerland with papal as well as imperial safe-conducts. And next, after a gap of nearly five years, in the August of 1427 there appeared outside Paris, then held by the English, a hundred men, women, and children, 'good Christians from Lower Egypt, who were headed by a duke, an earl, and ten other horsemen. They told how the pope, after hearing their confession, gave them as penance to wander seven years without sleeping in a bed, and letters enjoining every bishop and mitred abbot to make them one payment of ten livres tournois.'


^xii:1 Aliqui in the Latin may stand for either some of the Gypsies or some of the townsfolk, more probably the latter. Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (Pope Pius II.) speaks, a very few years after this, of the Northumbrian women staring at him 'as in Italy the people stare at an Ethiopian or an Indian.'

At Paris.

The Bourgeois of Paris, whose Journal records this visit with a Pepys-like fidelity, describes how multitudes 'came from Paris, from Sainct Denis, and from the neighbourhood of Paris to see them. And it is true that the children, boys and girls, were as clever as could be. And most or nearly all had both ears pierced, and in each ear a silver ring, or two in each, and they said it was a sign of nobility in their own country. Item, the men were very black, their hair was frizzled; the women, the ugliest that could be seen, and the blackest. All had their faces covered with wounds (toutes avoient le visage deplaie), hair black as a horse's tail, for sole dress an old blanket, very coarse, and fastened on the shoulder by a band of cloth or a cord, and underneath a shift, for all covering. In short, they were the poorest creatures ever seen in France in the memory of man. Yet, in spite of their poverty, there were witches among them who looked into people's hands, and told what had happened to them, or would happen, and sowed discord in several marriages by saying to the husband, "Your wife has played you false," or to the wife, "Your husband has played you false." And what was worse, whilst they were speaking to folks, by magic or otherwise, or by

[p. xiii]

the Enemy in Hell, or by dexterity and skill, it was said they emptied people's purses and transferred the coin to their own. But in truth I went there three or four times to speak with them, yet never perceived that I lost a penny, nor did I ever see them look into a hand. But people said so everywhere, and it came to the ears of the Bishop of Paris, who went there, and took with him a Minorite friar called Little Jacobin. And he, by command of the bishop, made a fine preaching, excommunicating all who had believed them and shown them their hands. And they were obliged to depart, and departed on the day of Our Lady of September, and went away towards Pontoise.'

Three weeks later, at Amiens, Thomas, Earl of Little Egypt, with forty followers, received pious alms from the mayor and aldermen after exhibition of the papal letters; and during the next seven years we find similar scattered bands of Egyptians, Saracens from Egypt, or Heidens, at Tournai, Utrecht, Arnheim, Bommel, Middelburg, Metz, Leyden, Frankfort, etc. These, according to M. Bataillard, all belonged to the original band, some four hundred strong, which split up or reunited as occasion required, and which had probably started from the Balkan peninsula. The thirty tented Cingari or Cigawnar, who encamped near Ratisbon in 1424 and 1426, seem on the other hand to have belonged to Hungary. Their leader had also a safe-conduct granted him at Zips on 23rd April 1423 by the Emperor Sigismund, and styling him 'our faithful Ladislas, Woiwode of the Cigani'; and they gave out quite a different reason for their exile, that it was 'in remembrance of the flight of our Lord into Egypt.' The four hundred would-be pioneers, then, sent forward to spy out the lands of promise on behalf of vast hordes behind, who in 1438 began to pour over Germany, Italy, and France by thousands instead of by hundreds, and headed this time by King Zindl. Spain the Gypsies reached in 1447, Sweden by 1512, and Poland and Russia about 1501.

In England.

The earliest certain mention of their presence in England is this chance allusion in A Dyalog of Syr Thomas More, knyght (1529), bk. iii. ch. xv. In 1514 the king sent the lords to inquire into the death of Richard Hunne in the Lollards' Tower, and a witness appeared who owned to having said 'that he knew one who could tell who killed Hunne. "Well," quoth the Lords, "at the last, yet with much work, we come to somewhat. But whereby think you that he can tell?" "Nay, forsooth, my Lord," quoth he, "it is a woman. I would she were here with your Lordships now." "Well," quoth my Lord, "woman

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or man is all one. She shall be had wheresoever she be." "By my faith, my Lord," quoth he, "an' she were with you, she could tell you wonders, by God. I have wist her tell many marvellous things ere now." "Why," quoth the Lords, "what have ye heard her tell?" "Forsooth, my Lords," quoth he, " if a thing had been stolen, she would have told who had it. And therefore I think she could as well tell who killed Hunne as who stole a horse." "Surely," said the Lords, "so think we all, I trow. But how could she tell it--by the Devil?" "Nay, by my troth, I trow," quoth he, "for I could never see her use any worse way than looking into one's hand." Therewith the Lords laughed, and asked, "What is she?" "Forsooth, my Lords," quoth he, "an Egypcyan, and she was lodged here at Lambeth, but she is gone over sea now. Howbeit, I trow she be not in her own country yet, for they say it is a great way hence, and she went over little more than a month ago."'

It is quite Shakespearian, this scrap of dialogue; well, that is our earliest evidence for the presence of Gypsies in England. Eight years later, in 1522, the churchwardens of Stratton in Cornwall received twenty pence from the 'Egypcions' for the use of the church house; and some time between 1513 and 1524 Thomas, Earl of Surrey, entertained 'Gypsions' at his Suffolk seat, Tendring Hall. For all which, and eighty more similar notes of much interest, see Mr. H. T. Crofton's 'Early Annals of the Gypsies in England' (Gypsy Lore Journal, i. 5-24).

In Scotland.

In Scotland the accounts of the Lord High Treasurer yield this entry: '1505, April 22. Item to the Egyptianis be the Kingis command, vij lib.'; and Gypsies probably were the overliers and masterful beggars whom an Act of 1449 describes as going about the country with 'horses, hunds, and other goods.' In no other country were the Gypsies better received than in Scotland, where, on 3rd July 1505, James iv. gave Anthonius Gagino, Earl of Little Egypt, a letter of commendation to the King of Denmark; where in 1530 the 'Egyptianis that dansit before the king in Halyrudhous' received forty shillings, and where that same king, James v., subscribed a writ (February 15, 1540) in favour of 'oure louit Johnne Faw, lord and erle of Litill Egipt,' to whose son and successor, Johnne Wanne, he granted authority to hang and punish all Egyptians within the realme (May 26, 1540). Exactly when cannot be fixed, but about or soon after 1559, Sir William Sinclair, the Lord Justice-General, 'delivered ane Egyptian from the gibbet in the Burrow Moore, ready to be strangled, returning from Edinburgh to Roslin, upon which accoumpt the whole

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body of gypsies were of old accustomed to gather in the stanks [marshes] of Roslin every year, where they acted severall plays, dureing the moneth of May and June. There are two towers,' adds Father Richard Augustine Hay in his Genealogie of the Sainteclaires of Roslin (written 2700; ed. by Maidment, 1835, p. 136), 'which were allowed them for their residence, the one called Robin Hood, the other Little John.' Roslin seems to have been a Patmos of the race for upwards of fifty years, but in 1623-24 they were hunted out, and eight of their leaders hanged on the Burgh Muir. Six of those leaders were Faas; and eleven years before, on 21st August 1612, four other Egyptians of the same well-known surname had been put on trial as far north as Scalloway in Shetland. These were 'Johne Fawe, elder, callit mekill Johne Faw, Johne Faw, younger, calit Littill Johne Faw, Katherin Faw, spous to umquhill Murdo Broun, and Agnes Faw, sister to the said Litill Johne.' They were indicted for the murder of the said Murdo Brown, and for theft, sorcery, and fortune-telling, 'and that they can help or hinder in the proffeit of the milk of bestiale.' Three of them were acquitted; but Katherine, pleading guilty to having slain her husband with a 'lang braid knyff,' was sentenced to be 'tane to the Bulwark and cassen over the same in the sey to be drownit to the death, and dome given thairupone.' For all which, and a multitude more of most curious and recondite information, I refer my readers to Mr. David MacRitchie's Scottish Gypsies under the Stewarts (Edinb. 1894, 120 pages), which has done for our northern tribes what Mr. Crofton had done for the southern. Its one omission is this, the earliest mention of Gypsies in the Highlands, contained in a news-letter from Dundee of January 1, 1651:--'There are about an hundred people of severall nations, call'd heere by the name of Egyptians, which doe att this day ramble uppe and downe the North Highlands, the cheifest of which are one Hause and Browne: they are of the same nature with the English Gypsies, and doe after the same manner cheate and cosen the country' (C. H. Firth's Scotland and the Commonwealth, Edinb., Scottish Hist. Society, 1895, p. 29).

In North America.

As to America it was till recently supposed that there were not, had never been, any Gypsies there. In 'The Fortune-teller,' a story reprinted in Chambers's Journal for November 25, 1843, from The Lady's Book, an American publication, a Mrs. Somers is made to exclaim, 'An English gipsy! Alice, you must be deceived. There never has been a gipsy in America.' And, sure enough, the fortune-teller turns out to be no Gypsy. Nay, in a work so well-informed as Appleton's

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[paragraph continues] American Cyclopaedia (1874), the writer of the article 'Gipsies' pronounces it 'questionable whether a band of genuine Gipsies has ever been in America.' Yet in 1665 at Edinburgh the Privy Council gave warrant and power to George Hutcheson, merchant, and his co-partners to transport to Jamaica and Barbadoes Egyptians and other loose and dissolute persons; and on 1st January 1715 nine Border Gypsies, men and women, of the names of Faa, Stirling, Yorstoun, Finnick (Fenwick), Lindsey, Ross, and Robertson, were transported by the magistrates of Glasgow to the Virginia plantations at a cost of thirteen pounds sterling (Gypsy Lore Journal, ii. 60-62). That is all, or practically all, we know of the coming of the Gypsies to North America, where, at New York, there were house-dwelling Gypsies as far back as 1850, and where to-day there must be hundreds or thousands of the race from England, Scotland, Hungary, Spain, one knows not whence else besides. Some day somebody will study them and write about them; meanwhile we have merely stray jottings by Simson and Leland.

In South America.

For South America our information was, quite recently, even more meagre. Twenty years ago I just knew from Henry Koster's Travels in Brazil (Lond. 1816, p. 399) of the presence of Ciganos there, whom he described as ' a people of a brownish cast, with features which resemble those of white persons, and tall and handsome. They wander from place to place in parties of men, women, and children, exchanging, buying, and selling horses, and gold and silver trinkets. . . . They are said to be unmindful of all religious observances, and never to hear Mass or confess their sins. It is likewise said that they never marry out of their own nation.' Since then, however, Mello Moraes has published Os Ciganos no Brazil (Rio de Janeiro, 1886), which, besides a Romani glossary, gives a good historical and statistical account of the Brazilian Gypsies. They seem to be the descendants of Ciganos transported from Portugal towards the close of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth century. Thus, by a decree of 27th August 1685, the Gypsies were henceforth to be transported to Maranhao, instead of to Africa; and in 1718, by a decree of 11th April, the Gypsies were banished from the kingdom to the city of Bahia, special orders being given to the governor to be diligent in the prohibition of the language and 'cant ' (giria), not permitting them to teach it to their children, that so it might die out. It was about this time, according to 'Sr. Pinto Noites, an estimable and venerable Gypsy of eighty-nine years,' that his ancestors and kinsfolk arrived at Rio de Janeiro--nine families transported hither by reason of a robbery imputed to the Gypsies.

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[paragraph continues] The heads of these nine families were Joao da Costa Ramos, called Joao do Reino, with his son, Fernando da Costa Ramos, and his wife, Dona Eugenia; Luis Rabello de Aragao; one Ricardo Frago, who went to Minas; Antonio Laco, with his wife, Jacintha Laco; the Count of Cantanhede; Manoel Cabral and Antonio Curto, who settled in Bahia, accompanied by daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and grandchildren, as well as by wife and sons. They applied themselves to metallurgy--were tinkers, farriers, braziers, and goldsmiths; the women told fortunes and gave charms to avert the evil eye. In the first half of the nineteenth century the Brazilian Gypsies seem to have been great slave-dealers, just as their brethren on this side of the Atlantic have always been great dealers in horses and asses. We read on p. 40 of 'M . . ., afterwards Marquis of B . . ., belonging to the Bohemian race, whose immense fortune proceeded from his acting as middleman in the purchase of slaves for Minas.' And there are several more indications, scattered through the book, that the Brazilian nation, from highest to lowest, must be strongly tinctured with Romani blood. We know far too little about the Chinganeros or Montaneros, wandering minstrels of Venezuela, to identify them more or less vaguely with Gypsies (Gypsy Lore Journal, i. 306, 373); and a like remark applies, even more strongly, to the Lowbeys of Gambia, who have been described as the 'Gypsies of North-West Africa,' who never intermarry with another race, and who confine themselves almost exclusively to the making of the various wooden utensils in use by natives generally (ib. i. 54). Still, these Lowbeys may be the descendants of Gypsies transported from Portugal, or of the Basque Gypsies, whole bands of whom so lately as 1802 were caught by night as in a net, huddled on shipboard, and landed on the coast of Africa (Michel's Pays Basque, p. 137).

In Australia.

To transportation Australia certainly owed its earliest Gypsies. In 1880, a few months before his death, Tom Taylor wrote to me:--'The only Gypsy I ever knew who had travelled among "the people" was one Jones, who used to drive a knife-grinding wheel at Cambridge. Having "left his country for his country's good" in the old transportation days, he had made his escape from Australia, and, the ship aboard which he had stowed himself putting into a Spanish port, had landed, met with some of the Zincali, and travelled with them for some time. He was looked on as a master of "deep Rommany" among the Gypsies round Cambridge.' Mr. MacRitchie has a letter containing a longish list of wealthy Australian Gypsies, whose grandsires were bitchade pardel ('sent over'); yet, according to the Orange Guardian of May 1866:--'The first Gypsies seen in Australia passed through

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[paragraph continues] Orange the other day en route for Mudgee. Although they can scarcely be reckoned new arrivals, as they have been nearly two years in the colony, they bear about them all the marks of the Gypsy. The women stick to the old dress, and are still as anxious as ever to tell fortunes; but they say that this game does not pay in Australia, as the people are not so credulous here as they are at home. Old "Brown Joe" is a native of Northumberland, and has made a good deal of money even during his short sojourn here. They do not offer themselves generally as fortune-tellers, but, if required and paid, they will at once "read your palm." At present they obtain a livelihood by tinkering and making sealing-wax. Their time during the last week has been principally taken up in hunting out bees' nests, which are very profitable, as they not only sell the honey, but, after purifying and refining the wax, manufacture it into beautiful toys, so rich in colour and transparency that it would be almost impossible to guess the material' (quoted in Notes and Queries, 28th July 1866, p. 65).


Banishment and transportation have been important factors in the dispersion of the Gypsies. They were banished from Germany in 1497, Spain in 1499, France in 1504, England in 1531, Denmark in 1536, Moravia in 1538, Scotland in 1541, Poland in 1557, Venetia in 1549, 1558, and 1588, etc.; to such banishment is probably due the fact that in 1564 we find in the Netherlands a Gypsy woman, Katarine Mosroesse, who had been born in Scotland. Besides the transportation, already noticed, of Scottish Gypsies to Jamaica, Barbadoes, and Virginia, of Portuguese Gypsies to Africa and Brazil, of Basque Gypsies to Africa, and of English Gypsies to Botany Bay, we know that some time prior to 1800 Gitanos were transported from Spain to Louisiana; whilst in 1544 we find one large band of Egyptians being sentenced at Huntingdon to be taken to Calais, the nearest English port on the Continent, and another being shipped at Boston in Lincolnshire and landed somewhere in Norway.

In Crete.

From the preceding it may be safely deduced that, with our present knowledge, or rather lack of knowledge, we can seldom, if ever, fix the precise date when the Gypsies first set foot in any country. Till 1849 it was almost universally accepted that 1417, the year of their appearance at the Hanse cities of the Baltic, was also the date of their first arrival in Europe. But since then Bataillard, Hopf, and Miklosich have collected a number of passages which prove incontestably that long before then there must have been Gypsies in south-eastern Europe. Symon Simeonis, a Minorite friar, who made pilgrimage from

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[paragraph continues] Ireland to the Holy Land, tells in his Itinerarium (Camb. 1778, p, 17), how in 1322 near Candia in Crete: 'There also we saw a race outside the city, following the Greeks' rite, and asserting themselves to be of the family of Chaym [Ham]. They rarely or never stop in one place beyond thirty days, but always wandering and fugitive, as though accursed by God, after the thirtieth day remove from field to field with their oblong tents, black and low, like the Arabs', and from cave to cave. For after that period any place in which they have dwelt becomes full of worms and other nastinesses, with which it is impossible to dwell.' [*1]


^xix:1 This passage was cited as far back as 1785 by Jacob Bryant in Archaeologia, vii. 393; but another on p. 57 of the Itinerarium has hitherto escaped Gypsiologists. I give it in the original Latin:--'Item sciendum est, quod in saepedictis civitatibus [Alexandria and Cairo] de omni secta alia ab illorum viri mulieres lactantes juvenes et cani pravae venditioni exponuntur ad instar bestiarum; et signanter indiani schismatici et danubiani, qui omnes utriusque sexus in colore cum corvis et carbonibus multum participant; quia hii cum arabis et danubianis semper guerram continuant, atque cum capiuntur redemptione vel venditione evadunt. . . . Praedicti autem Danubiani, quamvis ab Indianis non sunt figura et colore distincti, tamen ab eis distinguuntur per cicatrices longas quas habent in facie et cognoscuntur; comburunt enim sibi cum ferro ignito facies illas vilissimas terribiliter in longum, credentes se sic flamine [?flammis] baptizari ut dicitur, et a peccatorum sordibus igne purgari. Qui postquam ad legem Machometi fuerunt conversi christianis deteriores sunt Saracenis, sicut et sunt Radiani renegati, et plures molestias inferunt. . . . Item sciendum, quod in praefatis civitatibus tanta est eorum multitudo, quod nequaquam numerari possunt.' There is much in this passage that remains obscure; but it seems clear from it that in 1322 there were in Egypt large numbers of captives, male and female, old and young, from the Danubian territories. They were black as crows and coal, and in complexion and features differed little from Indians, except that their faces bore long scars produced by burning (?a kind of tattooing, like that of the Gypsy women in 1427 at Paris on <page xii>.). On conversion to Mohammedanism these Danubians were worse to the Christians than the Saracens. Were these Danubians, or some at least of them, Gypsies, prisoners of war, from the Danubian territories? and did some of them buy back their freedom and return to Europe? If so, perhaps one has here an explanation of the hitherto unexplained names 'Egyptian,' 'Gypsy,' 'Gitano,' etc., and of the story told by the western immigrants of 1417-34 of renegacy from the Christian faith.

In Corfu.

The Empress Catherine de Courtenay-Valois (1301-46), granted to the suzerains of Corfu authority to receive as vassals certain 'homines vageniti,' coming from the Greek mainland, and using the Greek rite. By the close of the fourteenth century these vageniti were all of them subject to a single baron, Gianuli de Abitabulo, and formed the nucleus of a fief called the fief of Abitabulo or feudum Acinganorum, which lasted under various superiors until the abolition of feudal tenures in the beginning of the present century. One of those superiors,

[p. xx]

about 1540, was the learned Antonio Eparco, Melanchthon's correspondent; another, the tyrannical Count Teodoro Michele, who died in 1787. This little Gypsy colony, numbering about a hundred adults, besides children, had a tax to pay twice a year to their superior, as also such fines as two gold pieces and a couple of fat hens for permission to marry. They were mechanics, smiths, tinkers, and husbandmen; celebrated a great yearly festival on the first of May; and were amenable only to the jurisdiction of their lord. Carl Hopf, in Die Einwanderung der Zigeuner in Europa (Gotha, 1870, pp. 17-23), tells us much about them, collected from the papers of Count Teodoro Trivoli, who succeeded to the property in 1863. Still we would fain know much more, especially something as to their language. One point to be noticed is that Italians must in Corfu have come early in contact with Gypsies, for the island belonged to Venice from 1401 to 1797.

In the Peloponnesus.

From a Venetian viceroy, moreover, Ottaviano Buono, the Acingani of Nauplion in the Peloponnesus received about 1398 a confirmation of the privileges granted them by his predecessors; and Hopf from two facts infers that Gypsies must have been early settled in the peninsula--one, the frequency of ruins called Gyphtokastron ('Gypsy fortress'); the other, that in 1414 the Byzantine rhetorician Mazaris [*1] reckoned Egyptians as one of the seven races dwelling there. Nauplion is on the east coast, Modone on the west; and at Modone the Cologne patrician, Arnold von Harff, who went on pilgrimage 1496-99, found a whole suburb of 'poor naked people in little reed-thatched houses, well on to three hundred families, called Suyginer, the same as those whom we call Heiden (Heathen) from Egypt, and who wander about in our lands. Here the race plies all sorts of handiwork--shoemaking, cobbling, and also the smith's craft, which is right curious to behold. The anvil stands on the ground, the man sat in front of it, like a tailor with us; near him sat his wife, also on the earth, and span. Between them was the fire. Near it were two little leather bags, like a bagpipe's, half in the ground and pointing towards the fire. So the wife, as she sat and span, sometimes lifted up one of the bags and then pressed it down again; this sent wind through the earth to the fire, so that the man could get on with his tinkering.' Harff then says that the race originates from a

[p. xxi]

country called Gyppe, some forty miles distant from Modone 'Sixty years ago' [i.e. about 1436] 'the Turkish emperor seized this territory, whereupon some counts and lords, who would not submit to his authority, fled to Rome to our spiritual father, and demanded his comfort and succour. So he gave them commendatory letters to the Roman emperor and to all princes of the empire, to render them conduct and assistance as exiles for the Christian faith. But though they showed the letters to all princes, they found, nowhere assistance. So they died in wretchedness, but the letters passed to their servants and children, who still wander about in our lands, and call themselves from Little Egypt. But that is a lie, for their parents came from the territory of Gyppe, called also Suginia, which is not so far from our city of Cologne as it is from Egypt. But these vagabonds are rascals and spy out the lands.' This passage, modernised from Harff's narrative by Hopf (pp. 14-17), is of high interest, though there was no Turkish occupation of the Morea about 1436, and though we know of no territory there called Gyppe or Suginia.


^xx:1 E. A. Sophocles in the Introduction to his Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine Periods (Boston, U.S., 1870, p. 32) regards Mazaris as probably an imaginary character of an anonymous writer of the fourteenth century, according to whom 'Peloponnesus was at that time inhabited by a mongrel population, the principal elements being Lacedaemonians, Italians, Peloponnesians, Slays, Illyrians, Egyptians (Aiguptioi), and Jews.'

In Roumania.

In 1387 Mircea I., woiwode of Wallachia, by a charter still preserved in the archives of Bucharest, renewed a grant made about 1370 by his uncle Vladislav to the monastery of St. Anthony at Voditza of forty salaschi ('tents' or families) of Atsegane. Which shows that already the Roumanian Gypsies were serfs; and serfs they continued till 1856. To the Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society (vol. i., Lond., 1857, pp. 37-41) Mr. Samuel Gardner, H.M. Consul at Jassy, contributed some interesting 'Notes on the Condition of the Gypsy Population of Moldavia.' 'The Tzigans,' he says, 'are an intelligent and industrious race, and in their general condition of praedial slavery (for few are in reality emancipated) are a reproach to the country and to the Government. Many of them are taught arts. They are the blacksmiths, locksmiths, bricklayers, masons, farriers, musicians, and cooks especially, of the whole country. . . . They dwell in winter in subterranean excavations, the roof alone appearing above ground, and in summer in brown serge tents of their own fabric. . . . The children, to the age of ten or twelve, are in a complete state of nudity; but the men and women, the latter offering frequently the most symmetrical form and feminine beauty, have a rude clothing. Their implements and carriages, of a peculiar construction, display much ingenuity. They are in fact very able artisans and labourers, industrious and active, but are cruelly and barbarously treated. In the houses of their masters they are employed in the lowest offices, live in the cellars, have the lash continually applied to them, and are still subjected to the iron collar and a kind of spiked iron mask or

[p. xxii]

helmet, which they are obliged to wear as a mark of punishment and degradation for every petty offence.' The Gypsies of Wallachia and Moldavia are referred to in eleven original documents of the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries. Every one of these documents speaks of them as serfs, but we get never a hint of when they were first reduced to serfdom.

The Chaltsmide.

In a free metrical paraphrase of Genesis, made in German about or before the year 1122 by an Austrian monk, and cited by Freytag in Bilder aus der deutschen Vergangenheit (1859, 226), occurs this passage:--'So she [Hagar] had this child, they named him Ishmael. From him are descended the Ishmaelitish folk. They journey far through the world. We call them chaltsmide [mod. Ger. kaltschmiede, 'workers in cold metal ']. Out upon their life and their manners! For whatever they have to sell is never without a defect; whenever he buys anything, good or bad, he always wants something in; he never abates on what he sells himself. They have neither house nor country; every place is the same to them. They roam about the land, and abuse the people by their knaveries. It is thus they deceive folk, robbing no one openly.' That here, by chaltsmide, Ishmaelites, and descendants of Hagar Gypsies were meant, can scarcely admit of doubt. The smith's is still the Gypsies' leading handicraft; Lusignan in 1573 says of the Gypsies of Cyprus, [*1] 'Les Cinquanes sont peuple d'Egypte dits autrement Agariens'; Agareni is one of the numberless names applied to the Gypsies by Fritschius in 1664; and in German and in Danish thieves' slang Geshmeilim and Smaelem (Ishmaelites) are terms for Gypsies at the present day. One fancies that Austrian monk had somehow been 'done' by the Chaltsmide.


^xxii:1 Of the Gypsies of Cyprus, as indeed those of Crete, Modern Greece, Lesbos, etc., we know practically nil. A writer in the Saturday Review for 12th January 1878, p. 52, quoted, without giving date or source, these words of a Cretan poet:--'Franks and Saracens, Corsairs and Germans, Turks and Atzingani, they have tried them all, and cannot say who were better, who worse.'


From whatever cause, it seems certain that a confusion did exist between the Atsigkanoi, or Gypsies, and the Athigganoi, or heretics forming a branch of the Manichaean sect of the Paulicians, which renders it sometimes extremely difficult to determine whom the Byzantine historians are speaking of in seven passages collected by Dr. Franz von Miklosich in his great work, Ueber die Mundarten and die Wanderungen der Zigeuner Europa's (part vi., 1876, Vienna, pp. 57-64). It appears from these that the Athingani, described as magicians, soothsayers, and serpent-charmers, first emerge in Byzantine history under Nicephorus I.

[p. xxiii]

[paragraph continues] (802-11), were banished by Michael I. (811-13), and were restored to favour by Michael II. (820-29). But Miklosich's grounds for absolutely identifying them with Gypsies, and positively asserting the latter to have appeared at Byzantium in 810 under Nicephorus, are hard to recognise.


Far less dubious seems an extract from the Georgian Life of Giorgi Mtharsmindel of Mount Athos (St. Petersburg, 1846, p, 241), which was demonstrably composed in the year 1100. We have two French translations of that extract--one published by Otto Boehtlingk (Bulletin historico-philol. de l'Academie de St. Petersbourg, ii. 1853, p. 4), and the other by Miklosich (loc. cit., part vi. p. 60). Both translations agree closely; I follow Miklosich's:--'Whilst the pious king, Bagrat IV. [c. 1048], was in the imperial city of Constantinople, he learnt--a thing marvellous and quite incredible--that there were certain descendants there of the Samaritan race of Simon Magus, called Atsincan, wizards and famous rogues. Now there were wild beasts that used to come and devour the animals kept, for the monarch's chase, in the imperial park. The great emperor Monomachus, learning of this, bade summon the Atsincan, to destroy by their magic art the beasts devouring his game. They, in obedience to the imperial behest, killed a quantity of wild beasts. King Bagrat heard of it, and summoning the Atsincan, said, "How have you killed these beasts?" "Sire," said they, "our art teaches us to poison meat, which we put in a place frequented by these beasts; then climbing a tree, we attract them by imitating the cry of the animals; they assemble, eat the meat, and drop down dead. Only beasts born on Holy Saturday obey us not. Instead of eating the poisoned meat, they say to us, 'Eat it yourselves'; then off they go unharmed." The monarch, wishing to see it with his own eyes, bade them summon a beast of this sort, but they could find nothing but a dog which they knew had not been born upon that day. The monk, who was present with the king, was moved with the same natural sentiment as we have spoken of above, on the subject of the icons and of the divine representation. He was moved, not with pity only, but with the fear of God, and would have no such doings among Christians, above all before the king, in a place where he was himself. He made the sign of the cross on the poisoned meat, and the animal had no sooner swallowed it than it brought it up, and so did not drop dead. The dog having taken no harm, the baffled wizards begged the king to have the monk, Giorgi, taken into the inner apartments, and to order another dog to be brought. The holy monk gone, they brought another dog, and gave him the

[p. xxiv]

poisoned meat: he fell dead instantly. At sight of this King Bagrat and his lords rejoiced exceedingly, and told the marvel to the pious emperor, Constantine Monomachus [1042-54], who shared their satisfaction and thanked God. As to King Bagrat, he said, "With this holy man near me, I fear neither wizards nor their deadly poisons."' That things fell out precisely as here reported is questionable, but Gypsies are clearly meant by the Atsincan; the passage attests their existence in Europe in the eleventh century. The poisoning of pigs--for which compare Borrow's Romany Rye--has become a lost Gypsy art. But twenty-five years ago I knew English Gypsies who had a most unpleasant knowledge of whence to get natural arsenic. One of them dropped down dead, and the policeman who examined his body found a quantity of it in his pocket. ' Oh! yes,' explained the survivors, ' he used it, you know, sir, in his tinkering.'


What it was first directed my attention to the Komodromoi of Byzantine writers I cannot be positive, but I am pretty sure it was something somewhere in Pott. Not in any of the 1034 pages of his Zigeuner in Europa and Asien (2 vols.; Halle, 1844-45), for I have once more gone through that stupendous work,  perhaps in a letter, perhaps in a conversation, or perhaps in one of his contributions to the Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenlandischen Gesellschaft. Anyhow, I am sure no work hitherto on the Gypsies has cited this extract from Du Cange's Glossarium ad Scriptores Mediae et Infimae Graecitatis (Paris, 1688):--

'kumodromoi, interdum komodromoi, Circulatores, atque adeo Fabri aerarij qui per pagos cursitant: ut hodie passim apud nos, quos Chaudroniers dicimus. Lexicon MS. ad Schedographiam:

Babai, thaymastikon esti, Banaysos, o xalkeus te,
Kai xrysoxoos, legetai, alla kai kumodromos.

[paragraph continues] Glossae Graecobarb. Akmun, sideron ef' ui xalkeus, xalkeuei, egoyn akmonin opoy komodromeuei o komodromos. Alibi, Akrofusia, ta akra tun askun, en ois oi xalkeis to pur ekfysusin. ai akrai, egoyn e akres tun askun e askiun, meth' ais opoiais fysousin oi komodromoi ten futian. Theophanes, an. 17 Justiniani: tis ek tun Italun xuras komodromos,--exun meth' eaytoy kuna xanthon kai tyflon, etc. Constantinus de Adm. Imp. c. 50, p. 182, kai apo tou thematos tun Armeniakun eis to tou Kharsianou thema metethesan tauta ta banda, etoi e tou komodromoy topoteresia Tabias, kai eis ten tourman tou Kharsianou ten eiremenen prosetethesan. Anonymus de Passione Domini:

[p. xxv]

[paragraph continues] kai ote fthasusin eis toy topon, elthun o komodomos as stayrusei ayton, etc. Occurrit praeterea in Annalib. Glycae.'

Dictionaries are not as a rule lively reading; but every line almost in this extract has its interest. Komodromos, 'village-roamer,' is certainly a vague term, but no vaguer than landlooper, which does in Dutch stand for 'Gypsy,' as landlouper does for 'vagrant' in Lowland Scotch. Du Cange's own definition of komodromoi as roamers (circulatores) and coppersmiths who rove about the country, like those in our midst whom we call Chaudronniers, must have been meant by him to apply to Gypsies, and to Gypsies only. The modern Roumanian and Hungarian Gypsies are divided into certain classes--Caldarari (chaudronniers or caldron-smiths), Aurari (gold-workers), etc.; and Bataillard's note prefixed to most of his monographs runs--'L'auteur recevrait avec reconnaissance toute communication relative aux Bohemiens hongrois voyageant hors de leur pays (vrais nomades pourvus de tentes et de chariots, la plupart chaudronniers).' Next, the six passages quoted by Du Cange show that the komodromos was variously or conjointly a coppersmith (chalkeus) and a gold-worker (chrysochoos, defined by Du Cange as 'aurifer, aurarius'). The Gypsy Aurari have practised gold-washing in Wallachia and Transylvania from time immemorial (Grellmann, Die Zigeuner, 2nd ed. 1787, pp. 105-112); but we have also many indications of the Gypsies as actual goldsmiths. Captain Newbold says that the Persian Gypsies 'sometimes practise the art of the gold and silver smith, and are known to be forgers of the current coin of Persia. These are the zergars (lit. "workers in gold") of the tribe' (Jour. Roy. Asiatic Soc., vol. xvi. 1856, p. 310). The Egyptian Gypsies, he tells us, at Cairo 'carry on the business of tinkers and black-smiths, and vend ear-rings, amulets, bracelets, and instruments of iron and brass' (ib. p. 292). The Gypsy bronze and brass founders of Western Galicia and the Bukowina--the only Gypsy metallurgists of whom, thanks to Kopernicki, we possess really full information--are called Zlotars and Dzvonkars, Ruthenian words meaning 'gold-smiths' and 'bell-makers.' They are no longer workers in gold, but they do make rings, crosses, clasps, ear-rings, etc., of brass and German silver (Bataillard, Les Zlotars, 1878, 70 pages). Henri van Elven, in 'The Gypsies in Belgium' (Gypsy Lore Journal, ii. 139), says: 'The women wear bracelets and large earrings of gold, copper, or bronze, seldom of silver; while all the Gypsies wear earrings [cf. supra, <page xii>.]. It appears to me that the Gypsy jewels and the metal-work of their pipes have not yet been sufficiently studied. In the fabrication of these objects they

[p. xxvi]

must have preserved something typical and antique, which would contribute to the comparative study of their ancient industries. I remember seeing some rings, cast in bronze, of which the setting was ornamented with a double or a single cross, and whose ornamentation recalled the motifs of the Middle Ages, the style being evidently Oriental. Their walking-sticks are topped with copper or bronze hatchets, but more frequently with round knobs, which are hollow, and which hold their money, the lid being screwed off and on. These Gypsies were tin-workers, repairing metal utensils, and also basket-makers.' The Gypsies, says Dr. R. W. Felkin, 'appear to be on friendly terms with the natives of the country, and curiously enough they are said to have introduced the art of filigree work and gold-beating into Darfur' ('Central African Gypsies,' Gypsy Lore Journal, i. 221). Even the Brazilian Gypsies of 1816, as we have seen from Koster's Travels, sold gold and silver trinkets.

The reference to the anvil and to the bellows of skins with which the komodromoi blew up their furnace recalls the passage cited from Arnold von Harff on p. xx., where, about 1497, he described the anvil and the bellows of the Modone Gypsies. Gypsy bellows are figured in Bataillard's Les Zlotars, in Van Elven's article, and in Die Metalle bei den Naturvolkern of Richard Andree (Leip. 1884, p. 83). Arthur J. Patterson in The Magyars: their Country and Institutions (1869, ii. 198) writes: 'A curious consequence of their practising the art of the smith is that a Gypsy boy is in Hungary called purde, which is generally supposed to be the equivalent in the Gypsy language for "boy." It is really the imperative mood of the verb "to blow," for, while the Gypsy father is handling the hammer and the tongs, he makes his son manage the bellows.' Small points enough these, but they must be viewed in relation to the metallurgical monopoly still largely enjoyed by the Gypsies in south-east Europe and in Asia Minor. So exclusively was the smith's a Gypsy (and therefore a degrading) craft in Montenegro that, when in 1872 the Government established an arsenal at Rieka, no natives could be found to fill its well-paid posts. And in a very long letter of 21st January 1880, the late Mr. Hyde Clarke wrote to me that 'over more than one sanjak of the Aidin viceroyalty the Gypsies have still a like monopoly of iron-working; the naalband, or shoeing-smith, being no smith in our sense at all. He is supplied with shoes of various sizes by the Gypsies, and only hammers them on.' It is most unlikely that, if recent comers to the Levant, the Gypsies should have acquired such a monopoly; it is obvious that, if they possessed that monopoly a thousand years ago, these komodromoi must have been Gypsies.

[p. xxvii]

For Du Cange's first three quotations I can assign no dates, but Theophanes Isaurus was born in 758 and died in 818; the seventeenth year of Justinian would be 544 A.D.--a very early date at which to find a Gypsy from Italy, 'having with him a blind yellow dog.' The dates of the Emperor Constantinus Porphyrogenitus are 905-959; I own I can make little of this passage from his Liber de administrando Imperio, but thema, bandon, topoteresia, and tourma seem all to be words for administrative divisions.


^xxiv:1 According to Captain Newbold, the Gypsies of Syria and Palestine 'vend charms, philtres, poisons, and drugs of vaunted efficacy'; in 1590 Katherene Roiss, Lady Fowlis, was 'accusit for sending to the Egyptianis, to haif knawledge of thame how to poysoun the young Laird of Fowlis and the young Lady Balnagoune.'

Nails of Crucifixion.

Du Cange's last passage is by far the most interesting:--'Anonymus de Passione Domini: "And when they arrive at the place, the komodromos coming to crucify him," etc.' 'Why so interesting? there does not seem much in that,' my readers may exclaim. Why? because there is a widely-spread superstition that a Gypsy forged the nails for the crucifixion, and that henceforth his race has been accursed of heaven. That superstition was first recorded in an article by Dr. B. Bogisic on 'Die slavisirten Zigeuner in Montenegro' (Das Ausland, 25th May 1874); and in Le Folklore de Lesbos, by G. Georgeakis and Leon Pineau (Paris, 1891, pp. 273-8), is this 'Chant du Vendredi Saint,' this plaint of Our Lady:

'Our Lady was in a grotto
And made her prayer.
She hears rolling of thunder,
She sees lightnings,
She hears a great noise.
She goes to the window:
She sees the heaven all black
And the stars veiled:
The bright moon was bathed in blood.
She looks to right, she looks to left:
She perceives St. John;
She sees John coming
In tears and dejection:
He holds a handkerchief spotted with blood.
"Good-day, John. Wherefore
These tears and this dejection?
Has thy Master beaten thee,
Or hast thou lost the Psalter?"
"The Master has not beaten me,
And I have not lost the Psalter.
I have no mouth to tell it thee,
Nor tongue to speak to thee:
And thine heart will be unable to hear me.
These miserable Jews have arrested my Master,
They have arrested him like a thief,
And they are leading him away like a murderer." [p. xxviii]
Our Lady, when she heard it,
Fell and swooned.
They sprinkle her from a pitcher of water,
From three bottles of musk,
And from four bottles of rose-water,
Until she comes to herself.
When she was come to herself, she says,
"All you who love Christ and adore him,
Come with me to find him,
Before they kill him,
And before they nail him,
And before they put him to death.
Let Martha, Magdalene, and Mary come,
And the mother of the Forerunner."
These words were still on her lips,
Lo! five thousand marching in front,
And four thousand following after.
They take the road, the path of the Jews.
No one went near the Jews except the unhappy mother.
The path led them in front of the door of a nail-maker.
She finds the nail-maker with his children,
The nail-maker with his wife.
"Good-day, workman, what art making there?"
"The Jews have ordered nails of me;
They have ordered four of me;
But I, I am making them five."
"Tell me, tell me, workman,
What they will do with them."
"They will put two nails in his feet,
Two others in his hands;
And the other, the sharpest,
Will pierce his lung."
Our Lady, when she heard it,
Fell and swooned.
They sprinkle her from a pitcher of water
From three bottles of musk,
And from four bottles of rose;
Until she comes to herself.
When she had come to herself, she says:
"Be accursed, O Tziganes!
May there never be a cinder in your forges,
May there never be bread on your bread-pans,
Nor buttons to your shirts!"
They take the road,' etc.

[paragraph continues] And M. Georgeakis adds in a footnote, The Tziganes whom one sees in the island of Mitylene are all smiths.' It is a far cry from the Greek Archipelago to the Highlands of Scotland, but in the

[p. xxix]

[paragraph continues] Gypsy Lore Journal (iii. 1892, p. 190), is this brief unsigned note: 'I should be pleased to know if you have the tradition in the South [of Scotland], that the tinkers are descendants of the one who made the nails for the Cross, and are condemned to wander continually without rest.' No answer appeared; and I know of no other hint of the currency of this belief in Western Europe, unless it be the couplet:

'A whistling maid and a crowing hen
Are hateful alike to God and men,'

[paragraph continues] 'because,' according to Lieut.--Col. A. Fergusson (Notes and Queries, August 1879, p. 93), though he gives no authorities, 'a woman stood by and whistled while she watched the nails for the Cross being forged.' [*1]

On the other hand, the Gypsies of Alsace have a legend of their own, opposed to, and probably devised expressly to refute, the gaujo or Gentile version. How there were two Jew brothers, Schmul and Rom-Schmul. The first of them exulted at the Crucifixion; the other would gladly have saved Our Lord from death, and, finding that impossible, did what he could--pilfered one of the four nails. So it came about that Christ's feet must be placed one over the other, and fastened with a single nail. And Schmul remained a Jew, but Rom-Schmul turned Christian, and was the founder of the Romani race ('Die Zigeuner in Elsass and in Deutschlothringen,' by Dr. G. Muhl, in Der Salon, 1874). In a letter of 16th December 1880, M. Bataillard wrote: 'An Alsatian Gypsy woman, one of the Reinhart family, has been at me for some time past to procure a remission of sentence for one of her relations who has been in gaol since ad October. "The Manousch" [Gypsies], she urges, "are not bad; they do not murder." And on my answering with a smile that unluckily they are only too prone to take what doesn't belong to them, and that the judges, knowing this, are extra severe towards them, her answer is, "It is true, it's in the blood. Besides, you surely know, you who know all about the Manousch, they have leave to steal once in seven years." "How so?" "It's a story you surely must know. They were just going to crucify Jesus. One of our women passed by, and she whipped up one of the nails they were going to use. She would have liked to steal all four nails, but couldn't. Anyhow, it was always one, and that's why Jesus was crucified with only three nails, a single one for the two feet. And that's why Jesus

[p. xxx]

gave the Manousch leave to steal once every seven years."' [*1] The Lithuanian Gypsies say, likewise, that 'stealing has been permitted in their favour by the crucified Jesus, because the Gypsies, being present at the Crucifixion, stole one of the four nails. Hence when the hands had been nailed, there was but one nail left for the feet; and therefore God allowed them to steal, and it is not accounted a sin to them.' ('The Lithuanian Gypsies and their Language,' by Mieczyslaw Dowojno-Sylwestrowicz, in Gypsy Lore Journal, i. 1889, p. 253.)

This Gypsy counter-legend offers a possible explanation of the hitherto-unexplained transition from four nails to three in crucifixes during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The change must at first have been hardly less startling than a crucifix now would be in which both hands should be pierced with one nail. Dr. R. Morris discusses it in his Introduction to Legends of the Holy Rood (Early Eng. Text Soc., 1875). There it appears that while St. Gregory Nazianzen, Nonnus, and the author of the Ancren Riwle speak of three nails only, SS. Cyprian, Augustine, and Gregory of Tours, Pope Innocent 555., Rufinus, Theodoret, and Aelfric speak of four; and that the earliest known crucifix with three nails only is a copper one, of probably Byzantine workmanship, dating from the end of the twelfth century. Now, if the Byzantine Gypsies possessed at that date a metallurgical monopoly, this crucifix must of course have been fashioned by Gypsy hands, when the three nails would be an easily intelligible protest against the calumny that those nails were forged by the founder of the Gypsy race.

I give the suggestion just for what it is worth; but the occurrence of the legend and the counter-legend in regions so far apart as Lesbos and Scotland, Alsace and Lithuania, strongly argues their antiquity, and corroborates the idea that the komodromos was a Gypsy who figures in 'Anonymus de Passione Domini.' One would like to know the date of that Greek manuscript; but Professor R. Bensly, in a long letter of 28th May 5879, could only conjecturally identify it with 'S. Joannis Theologi Commentarius Apocryphus MS. de J. C.' (? No. 929 or 5005, Colbert Coll. Paris Cat. MSS. [*2]). Probably there are many allusions to komodromoi in Byzantine writers, if one had leisure and scholarship to hunt them up; certainly it is strange that of Du Cange's six quotations for komodromoi four should seem unmistakably to point to Gypsies. I myself have

[p. xxxi]

little doubt of their identity. From which it would follow that more than a thousand years ago south-eastern Europe had its Gypsies, and that not as new-comers, but as recognised strollers, like the Boswells and Stanleys of our old grassy lanes. The verb komodromein occurs in Pollux Archaeologus (flo. 583 A.D.); and the classic authors present many hints of the possible presence of Gypsies in their midst. Romani Chals, or Gypsies, would often fit admirably for Chaldaei; and the fact that the water-wagtail is the 'Gypsy bird' of both German and English Gypsies reminds one that the Greeks had a saying, as old at least as the fifth century B.C., 'Poorer than a kinklos' (kigklos = water-wagtail), and that peasants in the third century A.D. called homeless wanderers kinkloi. One need not, with Erasmus and Pierius, derive Cingarus (Zingaro, Tchinghiane, Zigeuner, etc.) from kinklos; the words in all likelihood were as distinct originally as Gypsies (Egyptians) and vipseys or gipseys (eruptions of water in the East Riding of Yorkshire; cf. William of Newburgh's twelfth century Chronicle). But the Gypsies may have been led, by the resemblance of its name to theirs, to adopt the water-wagtail as their bird; and Theognis and Menander may have applied to the water-wagtail the epithets 'much-wandering' and 'poor,' because the bird was associated in their minds with some poor wandering race.

I do not build on this guesswork, as neither even on the ingenious theories of M. Bataillard, according to which prehistoric Europe gained from the Gypsies its knowledge of metallurgy, and which may be studied in his L'Anciennete des Tsiganes (1877) and other monographs, or in my summaries of them in the articles 'Gipsies' (Encycl. Britannica, vol. x. 1879, p. 658), and 'Gypsies' (Chambers's Encycl., vol. v. 5890, p. 487). All that I hold for certain is our absolute uncertainty at present whether Gypsies first set foot in Europe a thousand years after or a thousand years before the Christian era. We have no certitude even for western Europe. In 1866 a large band of English ball-giving Gypsies paid a visit to Edinburgh; Scottish newspapers of that date wrote as though Gypsies had never till then been seen to the north of the Border. That was ridiculous: a similar mistake may have been made by the German, Swiss, Italian, and French chroniclers of 1417-34. As it is, M. Bataillard has established the presence, before 1400, of 'foreigners called Bemische' in the bishopric of Wurzburg, who may have been Gypsies, as almost indubitably were certain Bemische at Frankfort-on-Main in 1495 (Gypsy Lore Journal, i. 207-50). [*1]

[p. xxxii]

[paragraph continues] Then 'A Charter of Edward III. confirming the Privileges of St. Giles' Fair, Winchester, A.D. 1349 (ed. by Dean Kitchin, 1886), contains this passage:--'And the Justiciaries and the Treasurer of the Bishop of Wolvesey for the time being, and the Clerk of the Pleas, shall yearly receive four basons and ewers, by way of fee (as they have received them of old time) from those traders from foreign parts, called Dynamitters, who sell brazen vessels in the fair.' On which passage Dean Kitchin has this note: 'These foreigners were sellers, we are told, of brazen vessels of all kinds. The word may be connected with Dinant near Namur, where there was a great manufacture of Dinanderie, i.e. metal-work (chiefly in copper). A friend suggests Dinant-batteurs as the origin. Batteur was the proper title of these workers in metal. See Commines, II. i., 'une marchandise de ces oeuvres de cuivre, qu'on appelle Dinanderie, qui sont en effet pots et pesles."'


^xxix:1 It is just worth noting that St. Columbanus (543-615) was accustomed to celebrate the Eucharist in vessels of bronze (aeris), alleging as a reason for so doing that Our Lord was affixed to the cross by brazen nails.--Smith's Dict. Christ. Antiqs., s.v. CHALICE.

^xxx:1 Cf. supra, <page xi>., line 13.

^xxx:2 Information supplied by M. Omont of the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris, and by Prof, von Dobschutz of Jena, shows that the komodromos passage is to be found in neither of these two mss. It has still to be sought for, then.

^xxxi:1 In his Beitrage zur Kenntniss der deutschen Zigeuner (Halle, 1894) pp. 5-6), Herr Richard Pischel maintains, as it seems to me, successfully, that the 'Bemische [p. xxxii] lute' (Boehmische Leute) at Wurzburg between 1372 and 1400 were real Bohemians and not Gypsies.

Gypsy Language.

It is a relief to turn from the thousand and one appellations under which Gypsies have been known at different times and in different countries, to the sure and unerring light that their language throws on their history. Though never a chronicler or traveller had written, we yet could feel confident from Romani that the forefathers of our English Gypsies must for a long period have sojourned in a Greek-speaking country. Among the Greek loan-words in the Anglo-Romani dialect are drom, road, (dromos), chirus, time (kairos), efta, seven (epta), ennea, nine (ennea), foros, market-town (foros), filisin, mansion (fylakterion), kekavi, kettle (kakkabe), kokalo, bone (kokalon), koli, anger (xole), kuriki, Sunday (kyriake), misali, table (mensali), ochto, eight (oktu), papin, goose (pappia), papus, grandfather (pappos), sapin, soap (sapouni), shamba, frog (zampa), sima, to pawn (semadi), skamin, chair (skamni), solivaris, reins (solibari), stadi, hat (skiadi), wagora, fair (agora), walin, bottle (yali), and zimin, soup (zoymi). The total number of Greek loan-words in the different Gypsy dialects may be about one hundred; and the same loan-words occur in dialects as widely separate as those of Roumania, Hungary, Bohemia, Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Scandinavia, Germany, Italy, the Basque Country, Spain, and Brazil. This is important as indicating that the modern Gypsies of Europe are descended not from successive waves of Oriental immigration, but all from the self-same European-Gypsy stock, whenever that stock may have first been transplanted to Europe. It conclusively negatives the Kounavine theory that the Italian, Spanish, Portuguese,

[p. xxxiii]

[paragraph continues] Basque, and French Gypsies arrived at their present habitats by way of Africa, and the Scandinavian Gypsies by way of the Ural Mountains. [*1]

Slavonic loan-words come next to the Greek: English Romani has some thirty of the former, against fifty of the latter. There are also a few words of Persian, Armenian, Roumanian, Magyar, and German origin; but the question of the presence or the absence of Arabic words in European Romani is hardly yet determined. According to Professor De Goeje (1875; trans. in MacRitchie's Gypsies of India, 1886, pp. 54-5), there are at least ten such words; according to Miklosich (Ueber die Mundarten, etc., part vi. 1876, pp. 63-64), there are none. Kotor, a piece, for instance, by De Goeje is derived from the Arabic kot'a, by Miklosich from the Armenian kotor. Neither, however, of the two scholars seems to have recognised the possible importance of the presence or the absence (especially the absence) of Arabic elements. Romani contains Persian words, e.g. ambrol, a pear; would it not have certainly contained also Arabic words if the ancestors of our modern European Gypsies had sojourned in Persia, or even passed through Persia, at a date later than the Arab conquest of Persia? If Miklosich is right in his contention that there are no Arabic words in European Romani, it follows almost inevitably that the Gypsies must have passed through Persia on their way to Europe at some date prior to the middle of the seventh century A.D.

Important as are the borrowings of Romani for helping us to trace the Gypsies' wanderings, they can barely amount to a twentieth of the total vocabulary (five thousand words rich, perhaps). The words of that  for 'water' and 'knife' are in Persia pani, cheri (1823); in Siberia, panji, tschuri (1878); in Armenia, pani, churi (1864); in Egypt, pani, churi (1856); in Norway, pani, tjuri (1858); in England pani, churi (1830); in, probably, Belgium,

[p. xxxiv]

panin, chouri (1597); in Brazil, panin, churin (1886)--where spelling and dates are those of the works whence these words have been taken. Over and above the identity in every Romani dialect of these two selected words--and there are hundreds more like them--they are also identical with the Hindustani pani and churl, familiar to all Anglo-Indians. And to cite but a few more instances, 'nose,' 'hair,' 'eye,' 'ear' are in Turkish Romani nak, bal, akh, kann; in Hindustani, nak, bal, akh, kan: whilst 'Go, see who knocks at the door' in the one language is Ja, dik kon chalavela o vudar, and in the other Ja, dekh kon chalaya dvar ko. This discovery was not made till long after specimens of Romani had been published--by Andrew Boorde (1542), whose twenty-six words, jotted down seemingly in a Sussex alehouse, were intended to illustrate the 'speche of Egipt'; by Bonaventura Vulcanius (1597), whose vocabulary of seventy-one words, collected apparently in Belgium, fills up some blank pages in a Latin work on the Goths; and by Ludolphus (1691), whose thirty-eight words are embedded in his huge Commentarius ad Historian Aethiopicam. In 1777 Rudiger first compared with Hindustani some specimens of Romani got from a Gypsy woman at Halle, and in 1782 he published the result of the comparison in his Neuester Zuwachs der Sprachkunde. In 1783 Grellmann's Historischer Versuch uber die Zigeuner reaped all the fruits of Rudiger's research; and William Marsden the same year was independently led to a like discovery (Archaeologia, 1785, pp. 382-6). Grellmann, whose work has still a high value, leapt naturally enough to the conclusion that the Gypsies who showed themselves in western Europe in 1417 had, newly come also to south-eastern Europe, and were a low-caste Indian tribe expelled from their native country about 1409 by Tamerlane. In 1783 the older languages of India were a sealed book to Europeans; and Grellmann's opinion found almost universal approval for upwards of sixty years. Now, however, thanks to the linguistic labours of Pott, Ascoli, and Miklosich, combined with the historical researches of Bataillard and Hopf, the question has assumed a new aspect. For while on the one hand it has been demonstrated that south-east Europe had its Gypsies long before 1417, so on the other Romani has been shown to be a sister, not a daughter--and it may be an elder sister--of the seven principal New Indian dialects. Not a few of its forms are more primitive than theirs, or even than those of Pali and the Prakrits--e.g. the Turkish Romani vast, hand (Sansk. hasta, Pali hattha), and vusht, lip (Sansk. ostha, Pali ottha). In his Beitrage zur Kenntniss der Zigeunermundarten (iv. 1878, pages 45-54) Miklosich collected a number of such forms; but

[p. xxxv]

[paragraph continues] Miklosich it was who also pointed out there that many of the seeming archaisms of Romani may be matched from the less-known dialects of India, especially north-west India--that we find, for example, in Dardu both hast and usht. I have not the faintest notion what was Professor Sayce's authority for his statement that 'the grammar and dictionary of the Romany prove that they started from their kindred, the Jats, on the north-western coast of India, near the mouth of the Indus, not earlier than the tenth century of the Christian era' (The Science of Language, ii. 325). So far as I know, the only attempted comparison between Romani and Jataki was made by myself ('Gipsies,' Enc. Brit., x. 618); and its results seemed wholly unfavourable to the Jat theory of the Gypsies' origin.


^xxxiii:1 No Greek loan-word has more interest for us than paramisi or paramisa, a story (Mod. Gk. paramuthi). It occurs in the dialects of the Roumanian, Hungarian, Bohemian, Polish, German, and English Gypsies. I heard it myself first in 1872 near Oxford, from old Lolli Buckland, in the curious sense of stars:--'As you kistas kerri ke-rati, reia, tui'll dik the paramishis vellin' avri adre the leeline' (As you ride home this evening, sir, you'll see the stars coming out in the darkness). How she came to apply the word thus, I cannot say, perhaps from the mere jingle of stars and stories, perhaps from the notion of the stars foretelling the future. Again, in 1879, from one of the Boswells, I heard the verb paramis, 'to talk scandal, tell tales.' And lastly, Mr. Sampson got paramissa in its proper sense of 'story' from the old tinker Philip Murray, who, though no Gypsy himself, had an unrivalled knowledge of Gypsydom and Romani (Gyp. Lore Jour., iii. 97).

Gypsies as Nomads.

No; language, like history, has yielded important results, but on many points we still have almost everything to learn. We do not know within a thousand years when the Gypsies left India, or when they arrived in Persia, Armenia, Africa, Asia Minor, and South-eastern Europe. But we do know that India was their original home, that they must have sojourned long in a Greek-speaking region, and that in western and northern Europe their present dispersion dates mainly if not entirely from after the year 1417. These three facts will have to be borne in mind for understanding what follows; a fourth fact is that a portion, if a small portion, of the Gypsy race is still intensely nomadic. Nothing is commoner than for the English Gypsies of our novels and plays to speak familiarly of 'sunny Spain'; those of a little anonymous story, The Gipsies (1842), go backwards and forwards to Norway. But as a rule English Gypsies never stir out of Great Britain, or, if they do leave it, leave it only for another English-speaking country--Canada, the United States, or New Zealand. [*1] So far, too, as we know, our present Gypsies are all descendants of early Gypsy immigrants; their surnames--Lee, Faa, Baillie, Stanley, Gray, Smith, Heron, Boswell, etc.--date back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. And our sole hint, until a quite recent date, as to visits to England by Continental Gypsies is a Bartholomew Fair handbill of 1689 about some German Gypsies, rope-dancers.

[p. xxxvi]

[paragraph continues] Mutatis mutandis, the same seems to hold good of the Gypsies of Germany, Poland, Norway, etc.; they are apparently the descendants of early immigrants into those different countries.


^xxxv:1 In Chronicles of a Virgin Fortress (1896), Mr. W. V. Herbert gives an extraordinary story of one of the Stanleys, who, forced to fly Hampshire for some offence, found his way to Bulgaria, and as 'Istanli' became a Gypsy chieftain and public executioner of Widdin about 1874. Tom Taylor's returned 'lag' of p. xvii recurs also to memory, and John Lee, the Gypsy recruit of 'John Company,' from whom on the outward voyage in 1805 Lieut. Francis Irvine of the Bengal Native Infantry took down a Romani vocabulary of 138 words (Trans. Lit. Soc. Bombay, 1819).


[paragraph continues] But the case is quite otherwise with the Caldarari, or coppersmiths, of Hungary, for they will wander forth north, south, east, west, and sometimes stay away a whole seven years. Myself I have met with Caldarari but once, at Halle, in 1875; I described that brief meeting thus in my Gypsy Tents (1880, pp. 43-44):--

'I had been paying my first call to Professor Pott, who had told me that only once had he spoken with living Gypsies, somewhere near London. So I asked him did they never come to Halle, and he answered, No; and presently I came away. I was not two hundred yards from his doorstep, when I saw a curious sort of skeleton waggon, drawn. by two little horses, with their forelegs shackled together. On the top of this waggon sat a woman smoking a big black pipe; and round it three or four children were playing, stark-naked. The waggon was standing outside an inn; and entering the inn, I found two Gypsy men seated at the table, eating soup and drinking beer. I greeted them with "Latcho divvus" (Good-day), and they seemed not the least bit surprised, for these were travelled gentlemen. Three years they had been away from Hungary, in France and Germany; and they could both speak French and German fluently. We talked of many things, and compared, I remember, passports: mine they pronounced an exceeding shukar lil (fine document), the lion and unicorn seeming to take their fancy. Every place they came to, they had to go first thing to the head policeman and show their passes, and then he told them where they were to stop. They were allowed three days in every place, and no one could meddle with them all that time. . . . The women came in, two of them, and some of the children. There was one, a little fellow of nine or ten, as brown and pretty a thing as ever I saw, but wild as a fox-cub. His father gave him a plate of soup to finish, and he lapped it up just as a fox-cub would, looking out at me now and again from behind his mother. Then they paid their reckoning, the women climbed up on the waggon, the children shouted, and the men cracked their whips. "God go with thee, brother"; and so we parted.'

There is not much in that, but one cannot learn much in half an hour's chance interview. Nor, indeed, is there very much in all the scattered notes that I have been able thus far to collect respecting the Caldarari; some of those notes relate to them only conjecturally. Du Cange's definition of komodromoi proves that

[p. xxxvii]

coppersmiths roamed through France in 1688; and it is at least highly probable that to this caste belonged the band of forty Gypsies with whom, in the spring of 1604, Jacques Callot, a boy of twelve, wandered from Nancy to Florence. Of the journey itself we know nothing, but he has left an imperishable record of it in his three matchless engravings of the 'Bohemiens,' which show them on the march, in their bivouac, and spoiling the Gentiles. Charles Reade worked a clever description of Callot's engravings into his Cloister and the Hearth, and they were admirably reproduced in the Gypsy Lore Journal for January 1890, with a long article on them by Mr. David MacRitchie.

In his Travels (1763, u. 157-8), under the date 1721, John Bell of Antermony has the following passage:--'During our stay at Tobolsky, I was informed, that a large troop of gipsies had been lately at that place, to the number of sixty and upwards, consisting of men, women, and children. The Russians call these vagabonds tziggany. Their sorry baggage was carried on horses and asses. The arrival of so many strangers being reported to Mr. Petroff Solovoy, the vice-governor, he sent for some of the chief of the gang, and demanded whither they were going? they answered him, to China; upon which he told them he could not permit them to proceed any farther eastward, as they had no passport; and ordered them to return to the place whence they came. It seems these people had roamed, in small parties, during the summer season, cross the vast countries between Poland and this place; subsisting themselves on what they could find, and on selling trinkets, and telling fortunes to the country people. But Tobolsky, being the place of rendezvous, was the end of their long journey eastwards; and they, with no small regret, were obliged to turn their faces to the west again.' I fancy these Gypsies also must have been Caldarari. But whether they were or no, the passage remains one of the most curious that we have relating to Gypsy migrations. Taken in its most limited sense, it shows that the band had wandered in small detachments from Poland to Tobolsk, a distance of two thousand miles or upwards. But it suggests a great deal more than this. There seems no reason to question the statement that China was really the ultimate goal of their wanderings. If so, it is probable that they were following in the track of former migrations, that Gypsies had been in the habit of passing backwards and forwards between Europe and China, which opens up a vista of a possible connection between the West and the farthest East undreamed of by all our geographers. But without further evidence this must be mere conjecture. Of Gypsies in China I know nothing

[p. xxxviii]

whatever, except that a Russian noble, Prince Galitzin, whom I met three years since in Edinburgh; assured me he had seen a number of them there. Physique, outward appearance, seemed his only test; and his statement, though interesting, needs corroboration.

The Weserzeitung of 25th April 1851 announced that one hundred Gypsies had passed through Frankfort, on their way from Hungary to Algeria; and in the Revue de l'Orient for 29th January 1889 Madame Marlet thus described her meeting with a Hungarian Gypsy in North Africa:--'I shall ever remember a scene which I witnessed in Africa. It was one evening at the base of the superb mountains of Mustapha Superieur, just as the setting sun flooded the plain with his last rays of golden and crimson light--the gold and purple of the incomparable majesty of the Eastern sky. I observed a caravan of nomads encamped in the plain beneath their tents. I drew near, and saw that they were Gypsies, but Gypsies who had dwelt under other skies. Some were Spanish Gitanos, with garments of many hues, their shears hanging by their sides, at the end of a silvered chain wound around their blades; the others came from Morocco, and wore the simple white attire of the Children of the Desert. They received me with indifference. By means of my knowledge of Italian I managed at length to make the Gitanos understand that I came from Hungary. They were at once alive with interest. "Hungaria!" I heard them whisper into one another's ears; and finally an old Gypsy man informed me, "There is one of us who comes straight from that very country." They ran all at once to seek him out. But the young Gypsy--a superb, swarthy figure--quite unmoved, maintained a proud and gloomy silence. Did he suspect me of untruth in telling him that I knew that Hungary, so far away beyond the wide stretch of sea? He may have thought so. However, I saw that the old Gitano had told the truth. The dress of the young nomad was entirely Hungarian, from his shining boots up to his little Magyar calpate. His attire generally was rather rich than poor. Had I conversed with him in Hungarian, perhaps his heart would have softened. But he remained thus, sombre and mistrustful, and only the Gitanos, who, in their fantastic rags, stood around us, repeated vivaciously in Spanish, as they pointed towards him, "Patria Hungaria!"'


Ciboure, a suburb of St. Jean de Luz, is a sort of Basque Yetholm. Like Yetholm it has largely lost its Gypsy character. Its 'Cascarrotac' are supposed to be the descendants of Gypsies who came from Spain two centuries ago, but they are now quite mixed up with the Basques of the neighbourhood, and have lost the last remnants of Romani, though at the

[p. xxxix]

beginning of the century they retained a few words, as debla, the sun, mambrun, bread, and puro, old man. But Ciboure is still a regular halting-place of Hungarian Gypsies, as appears from this passage in a very valuable article on 'The Cascarrots of Ciboure,' by the Rev. Wentworth Webster (Gypsy Lore Journal, October 1888, pp. 76-84):--'My own observations are that the passage of the Hungarian Gypsies, or Gypsies from Eastern Europe, alluded to in 1868 and 1874 by the former mayor of Ciboure, M. Darramboure, is a recurring fact every two or three years. I left St. Jean de Luz in 1881, but for some time before that I had been ill, and a band may easily have passed without my being aware of it; but there were at least two other bands between 1870 and 1880--one, I believe, in 1872. [*1] Their route seems to be, as far as I have been able to trace it, via Paris, Bordeaux, Bayonne, St. Jean de Luz, Hendaye, through Spain quite to the south, and returning by the eastern extremity of the Pyrenees, by Barcelona and Perpignan. M. de Rochas appears to have met one of these bands at Perpignan in July 1875 (Les Parias de France et d'Espagne, by V. de Rochas; Hachette, Paris, 1876, p. 259). These bands follow always the same route, and encamp on the same spots. When at St. Jean de Luz they make an apparently useless visit to Ascain, a village about five miles off their road, returning to St. Jean de Luz. They are evidently well-off, with good carts, wagons, horses, and utensils; many of them wear silver ear-rings and ornaments. Their trade, mending the copper vessels in the neighbourhood, seems to me to be a mere pretence; it cannot pay the expenses of the journey. What is the reason of this migration? Once I was standing with a Basque fisherman, watching their arrival, when the chief of the band addressed him in Basque, and the conversation went on between them in that language. When it had ceased, I asked the fisherman, whom I knew well, how the man spoke Basque. The reply was curt:--"He speaks it as well as I do." Afterwards I tried to draw out the Gypsy, but he evaded my questions. "We pick up languages along the road. I was never in the neighbourhood before," etc. These I believe to have been falsehoods. I must, however, add, that I have known Basque scholars learn Magyar, and Hungarians Basque, with unusual facility. Still the question remains: What is the object of these journeys?--a question for your Society to answer.'

Alas! the Gypsy Lore Society is dead; after four years' most

[p. xl]

excellent work it died of want of support in 1892. And that question remains still unanswered. In the passage itself, however, there is a good deal to be noticed. Ciboure at present has little or nothing to draw foreign Gypsies to it; but a hundred, two hundred years ago, it was probably a genuine Gypsy quarter: then there would be every reason why Caldarari should make it a regular halting-place. This conjecture, if valid, suggests the antiquity of these strange peregrinations; and Gypsies assuredly are the very staunchest conservatives. Another guess is that at Ascain Gypsies very likely are buried; that would fully account for their descendants turning aside thus. Mr. Webster's remark as to the ease with which Basque scholars acquire Magyar, and Hungarians Basque, was well worth making; still the fact remains--and it is an important one for our theory--that the unlettered Gypsies as a race are marvellous linguists. The immigrants of 1417-34 must, to tell fortunes as they did, have been able to speak German, French, and Italian; and I could, if necessary, adduce many testimonies as to the Gypsies' faculty for picking up foreign languages. I have myself known an English Gypsy family remove (for family reasons) into Wales, and in three years' time become thoroughly Cymricised.

M. Paul Bataillard was for years collecting materials about the Caldarari, but he died without publishing his promised monograph on the subject, so we must content ourselves with these stray notes from his writings:--'The Gypsy Caldarari (as they are called in the districts of Roumania where they are accustomed to journey), have recommenced in our own days, throughout the whole of the west, circuits which have led them sometimes as far as England, as far as Norway, and sometimes, by way of France and Spain, as far as Corsica and Algeria. France was during a certain time "infested" by them, to quote the newspapers of the day, whilst I was rejoicing in the good luck which had thrown them in my way. . . . These exotic Gypsy blacksmiths generally return to the country whence they came. . . . They travel sometimes in rather large numbers in waggons which have no resemblance to the houses upon wheels of our Gypsies; and wherever they stop they set up large tents, where each waggon finds its place. The men have generally long hair, and clothes more or less foreign, often ornamented with very large silver buttons; and the chiefs carry a large stick with a silver head. It is easy to recognise them at a glance by these signs, and by their trade. . . . The journeys of these Gypsy blacksmiths had already been noticed in Germany and Italy [*1] long before 1866. On

[p. xli]

the other hand, the edict of Ferdinand and Isabella, published at Medina del Campo in 1499, mentions the "Calderos estrangeros," who might well be Gypsies ("Immigration of the Gypsies into Western Europe," Gypsy Lore Journal, i. 202-3). . . . The Caldarari, if I am rightly informed, form a corporation, strictly organised, and having its hierarchical chiefs, They always travel in groups, commanded by chiefs of different degrees; and the work is done always in common. They even say it is the head chief who procures at Temesvar all the copper used by the corporation, and supplies the wandering bands with it. . . . There was certainly an intermission in the circular journeys pushed as far as France and farther, since I know of none that date from earlier than 1866; but they may have gone back to a long way beyond that date; and, as a matter of fact, before 1866 the Caldarari made excursions in Germany and Italy' (Les Zlotars, p. 549). . . . 'A fact still stranger is that Algeria has recently received a visit from Hungarian Gypsies, forming part of the numerous bands of Danubian Tsigans (for the most part chaudronniers), who, for some years (especially since 1866) have been traversing the West. I know for a fact that at Algiers a band of twenty to twenty-five persons was seen towards the middle of 1871, and that the same persons, or others like them, reappeared six months later. I have myself seen at Paris Hungarian Gypsies who had a vague idea of visiting Algeria' (Les Bohemiens en Algerie, 1874, p. 3, note). Cf. also his L'origine des Tsiganes, pp. 54-58.

In an article on the Lithuanian Gypsies (Gypsy Lore Journal, i. 252) M. Mieczyslaw Dowojno-Sylwestrowicz says: 'Sometimes we are visited also by Hungarian, Servian, and Roumanian Gypsies. These last consider themselves to belong to the Orthodox (i.e. the Russian) Church. They are mostly tinkers, repairing copper cooking utensils; but of these they are very apt to steal the copper bottoms, substituting an imitation of papier-mache. They differ greatly from our own Gypsies, whom they excel in an incredible amount of obtrusiveness; moreover, they attack and rob wayfarers, and when asked what they are, they say, "We are not Gypsies, sir, we are Magyars."'

In an article, already quoted, on the Gypsies of Belgium (ib. 138) Professor Henri van Elven writes of the Caldarari:--'They usually travelled in little two-wheeled carts covered over with tilts

[p. xlii]

of grey cloth, and containing straw, baggage, and tinworkers' tools. They have a great love for their horses, who are far from being in the miserable condition of horses of wandering mountebanks. I have seen the children share their bread with the horses. They buy and sell--sometimes steal--their horses. They have also dogs, large and well set-up. Their clothes are -for the most part of Hungarian style, but also often like ours notably, of gaudy colours, red and blue. All have long, black, curly hair, well furnished with inhabitants, which renders scratching a habit. [*1] The complexion is swarthy; the features are fine and strongly accentuated, both among the men and the women. The nose is fairly long, and aquiline; the teeth are yellow, through the use of tobacco in all forms among women as well as men, unless in the case of some young girls. . . . These Gypsies were tin-workers, repairing metal utensils, and also basket-makers. The women went from door to door, asking work and begging. The women and children usually go barefoot and bare-headed, even in bad weather, displaying an astonishing endurance. We have not observed any smelters among the Gypsies, but many exhibitors of animals, jugglers, and female fortune-tellers. With regard to the young girls given over to vice, they are better attired, wearing clothes of the Italian and Hungarian modes of bright colours. They go about in the evening especially, looking about them, or carrying playing-cards, or again with small articles of basket-work for sale.'

In 1879 Sir Henry Howorth encountered in Sweden fez-wearing Gypsies, natives presumably of the Balkan peninsula; and in July 1881 a band of Gypsy blacksmiths from Corfu landed in Corsica, after having travelled over Italy (Gypsy Lore Journal, i. 204, note). Late in the sixties a company of Caldarari visited England, and en-camped at several points round London. I know no mention of this visit in print, and I never met them myself, but I have talked with English Gypsies who did, and who were full of their little horses, their big copper vessels, and curious Romani. Some of the Taylors on Rushmere Heath in 1873 told me these foreign Gypsies came from the Langari country, and were called Langarians.'


^xxxix:1 In 1894 there was a small band of Bosnian Gypsies at St. Jean de Luz on their way to Spain. They were evidently well-off.

^xl:1 The tented Gypsies in Calabria in May 1777, described in Henry Swinburne's Travels in the Two Sicilies (2nd ed. ii. 168-172), were almost certainly [p. xli] not Italian Gypsies, but Caldarari. Borrow speaks of the foreign excursions of the Hungarian Gypsies, which frequently endure for three or four years, and extend to France, even to Rome (The Zincali, 1841, i. 13); and Adriano Colocci tells in Gli Zingari (Turin, 1889), p. 181, how in the Apennines of Fossato he encountered Hungarian Gypsies who seemed quite at home there, as also how at Kadi Koi in Asia Minor he had discourse with a band of Neapolitan Gypsies.

^xlii:1 Against this statement I must set what was quite a typical remark of an English Gypsy, a Boswell:--'That's a thing, sir, I should be disdainful of, to be juvalo' (verminous).

Greek Gypsies.'

In July 1886 ninety-nine Gypsies arrived by train at Liverpool. They were called the 'Greek Gypsies,' and had started from Corfu, but according to their passports came from all parts of Greece and European Turkey, as also from Servia, Bulgaria, Roumania, even Smyrna. Three hundred napoleons their

[p. xliii]

journey had cost them thus far, and they meant to take shipping to New York. But America being closed to 'pauper' immigrants, no steamboat company would accept them, and they had perforce to encamp at Liverpool. Their encampment was visited by Mr. David MacRitchie and Mr. H. T. Crofton, the joint author with Dr. Bath Smart of the admirable Dialect of the English Gipsies (1875); the former wrote an excellent article about them in Chambers's Journal for September 1886. These Gypsies were not Caldarari, though some of them were coppersmiths (designated as 'chaudronniers'); others were builders, bricklayers, and agriculturists. They were typical Gypsies in physique, but not in apparel, 'absolutely free from the vice of drunkenness,' but most inveterate beggars. Their chief spokesman 'was quite an accomplished linguist, and could speak Greek, Russian, Roumanian, and two or three other dialects of south-eastern Europe. The curious thing was, that he never once included in his list his own mother tongue, the speech of the Gypsy race. Neither would he admit that he was a Ziganka, not for a long time, at anyrate; but subsequently both he and his comrades answered to the name of Roum; and the cigar was no longer bon' but lasho.' After stopping some time at Liverpool, these Gypsies crossed over to Hull, but neither there could they get passage to America; about a year later, so an English Gypsy informed me, a showman was exhibiting them, or some of them, through Yorkshire. Their subsequent fate is unknown to me; perhaps they are in process of absorption into English Gypsydom.

Eastern Gypsies in Galloway.

I thought at first it must have been some of this band whom my friend Mr. Robert Burns, the Edinburgh artist, met in Galloway in 1895; but his account of that meeting, written at my request, dispels that notion:--'Two years ago, while

walking with my wife near Kirkcudbright, I met a large troop of Gypsies, of a type quite different from any I had formerly seen. The first to appear round a corner was a tall, swarthy man leading a brown bear. My dog, a big powerful beast, immediately made a rush for the bear, but I managed to catch him in time. On seeing me holding the dog, the man came up, and, in very broken English, said that the bear would not hurt the dog. I explained that my fears were not for the dog but for the bear, an undersized, emaciated beast, and strongly muzzled. By this time we were surrounded by the whole troop, numbering, I should think, sixteen or seventeen, all begging from the "pretty lady" and "kind gentleman," which seemed to be about all the English they knew. A good-looking young woman, with a baby on her back, asked me in French if I understood that language. I said I did, and asked her where they

[p. xliv]

came from. "From Spain." Then she spoke Spanish also? "Oh! yes, and German, and other languages as well." I tried her with a few sentences in German and Spanish, and found that she spoke both languages fluently, although with an accent which made it difficult to understand her. While we were talking, the men, not having stopped, were a considerable distance off. So I gave the woman some silver, while my wife distributed pennies among the children, and with many smiles and thanks they started off to join the others. They were very dark in colour, like Hindoos; the men and the older women very aquiline in feature, some of the younger girls really beautiful, with lithe graceful figures; and all without exception had splendid teeth. Their dress, though ragged and dirty, suggested Eastern Europe rather than Spain; some cheap brass and silver ornaments seemed to point in the same direction. They had two ponies with panniers, full of babies, cabbages, empty strawberry baskets, and other odds and ends; one of the ponies had a headstall of plaited cord similar to those used in Hungary. I saw them several times about Kirkcudbright and Gatehouse-on-Fleet; and from mental studies painted the head exhibited in the R.S.A. Exhibition of 1896.'

These must have been Ursari, or bear-wards, and recent arrivals in Britain; but what were they doing in that remote corner of Galloway, in Billy Marshall's old kingdom? Frampton Boswell, an English Gypsy of my acquaintance, met the very same band, I fancy, near Glasgow in 1896; and they were perhaps the foreign Gypsies encamped at Dunfermline in the autumn of 1897--I was lying ill at the time in Edinburgh. Almost certainly they were identical with 'a little band of Roumanian Ursari' whom Mr. Sampson met in Lancashire in the latter half of 1897, and who were 'travelling in English-Gypsy vans which they had bought in this country. They stopped for a month or more at Wavertree, quite close to us, and I saw a good deal of them. The first time, crossing a field by night and expecting to meet with some of the English breed, I stumbled among the six unmuzzled bears, chained to the wheels of the vans, and took them for large dogs till their grunts undeceived me; fortunately I got off with whole legs. They spoke a jumble of tongues--some Slavonic dialect (brat = brother), bad French, Italian, no German, and little English; but with the help of Romani and scraps of other tongues we held some instructive conversations. Their young girls were beautiful, half-clad, savage, but the older women ugly as sin. When I first spoke to them, they replied to a question in Romani with an Italian denial:--'We are not Gypsies, we are (###10016###) Christianos.'

[p. xlv]

Oh for three years of health, a thousand pounds sterling, say, and a good capacity for wine and languages! I would pass those three years at Temesvar and Ciboure, and also perhaps in Morocco; at their close I should hold the key to Mr. Wentworth Webster's problem. Fifty years hence, very likely, there will no longer be any problem left to solve; the ancient corporation of the Caldarari will have undergone dissolution.

Gypsy Folk-tales.

Given then this wandering race, from time immemorial established in Europe, but emigrants originally from India: the interest of their folk-tales, if folk-tales indeed they have, will surely at once be apparent to every student of Indo-European folklore. Yet folklorists as a body seem strangely ignorant of the existence of Romani folk-tales, of the fact that not a few Gypsies are even professional story-tellers.

Campbell of Islay

In the Saturday Review for 22nd August 1856 was an article by, I fancy, Grenville Murray, the 'Roving Englishman,' on Alexandri's Ballades et Chants Populaires de la Roumanie, where allusion is made to 'the long-haired Gypsies who wander about in their snowy tunics and bright sashes, the rhapsuidoi of Moldo-Wallachia, as in Russia their brethren are the popular musicians.' But our earliest account of actual Gypsy folk-tales occurs in vol. iv. p. 431 of Popular Tales of the West Highlands, by J. F. Campbell of Islay (4 vols. Edinburgh, 1860-62). That eminent collector 'picked up two gipsy tinkers in London--William and Soloman Johns. [*1] They came to the office after hours, and were treated to beer and tobacco. Present, the author of Norse Tales [Sir George Dasent]. They were rather hard to start, but, when once set agoing, they were fluent. One brother was very proud of the other, who plays the fiddle by ear, and is commonly sent for to wakes, where he entertains the company with stories. He gave us: (1) A ghost, which appeared to himself. Finding that he was on the wrong track, told him a popular tale which I had got from another tinker in London, "The Cutler and Tinker." Got (2) "The Lad and the Dancing Pigs." This is the same as the "Mouse and Bee," and has something of "Hacon Grizzlebeard." A version of it was told to me by Donald MacPhie in South Uist. It is one of the few indecent stories which I have heard in the Highlands. There are adventures with a horse, a lion, and a fox, which the London tinker had not got. It savours of the wit which is to be found in Straparola. (No. 3) A sailor and others by the help of a magic blackthorn stick, go to three underground castles

[p. xlvi]

of copper, silver, and gold, and win three princesses. Same as "The King of Lochlin's Daughters" [i. 236] and "The Knight of Grianaig" [iii. 1], and several stories in Norse Tales and Grimm. (No. 4) "The Five Hunchbacks." This story was quite new to both of us, but a version of it was subsequently found in a book of Cruikshank's. The tinker's version was much better. (No. 5) A long and very well told story of a Jew, in which there figured a magic strap, hat, etc. Same as "Big and Little Peter," "Eoghan Tuarach" [ii. 235], a story in Straparola, etc. [cf. my [*No. 68]]. (No. 6) "The Art of Doctoring"--dirty wit. (No. 7) Poor student and black man travel, dig up dead woman, make fire in church, steal sheep, clerk and parson take black man for fiend and bolt. Very well told. See "Goosey Grizzle" and several Gaelic versions. (No. 8) Poor student, parson, and man with cat, which was the fiend in disguise. Well told; new to both of us. The men said that they knew a great many more; that they could neither read nor write; that they picked these up at wakes and other meetings, where such tales are commonly told in England now.'

I hoped that the Campbell MSS. in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh, might yield some further notes on these eight folk-tales; but a search, instituted in 1888 through the kindness of Mr. Clark, the librarian, proved ineffectual. Of all unlikely places in the world for a professional story-teller, London seems the unlikeliest; the heroine, it may be remembered, of Mr. Hardy's Hand of Ethelberta prides herself on the absolute novelty of the notion. What is almost more surprising is that two folklorists like Campbell and Dasent should have struck so precious a vein, and not followed it up. Whatever the source of these stories, Gypsy, Irish, or English, they were distinctly valuable, and their value was enhanced by the meagreness forty years ago of the folk-tales collected in England. [*1] But it is quite possible that one or other of the two brothers may still be living (he need not be seventy). At least any folklorist could probably find this out at the Potteries, Notting Hill, on Mitcham Common, or in some other of the Gypsyries in or round London.

Again in vol. i. p. xlvii., Campbell tells how in February 1860 he

[p. xlvii]

met two tinkers in St James's Street, with black faces and a pan of burning coals each. They were followed by a wife, and preceded by a mangy terrier with a stiff tail. I joined the party, and one told me a version of "The Man who travelled to learn what Shivering meant," while we walked together through the park to Westminster. It was clearly the popular tale which exists in Norse, and German, and Gaelic, and it bore the stamp of the class, and of the man, who told it in his own peculiar dialect, and who dressed the actors in his own ideas. A cutler and a tinker travel together, and sleep in an empty house for a reward. They are beset by ghosts and spirits of murdered ladies and gentlemen; and the inferior, the tinker, shows most courage, and is the hero. "He went into the cellar to draw beer, and there he found a little chap a-sittin' on a barrel with a red cap on 'is 'ed; and sez he, sez he, 'Buzz.' 'Wot's buzz?' sez the tinker. 'Never you mind wot's buzz,' sez he. 'That's mine; don't you go for to touch it,'" etc. etc. etc.' [Cf. my [*No. 57], 'Ashypelt,' and [*No. 74], The Tale of the Soldier.' [*1]] In vol. ii. p. 285, Campbell adds that he was never able again to find this London tinker, who 'could not read the card which I gave him, with a promise of payment if he would come and repeat his stock of stories. His female companion, indeed, could both read the card and speak French. The whole lot seemed to suspect some evil design on my part; and I have never seen the one who told the story or the woman since, though I met their comrade afterwards.'

In enumerating the sources of his Gaelic stories (i. p. xxiv.), Campbell gives (a) a West Country fisherman; (b) an old dame of seventy; (c) a pretty lass; or (d) 'it is an old wandering vagabond of a tinker who has no roof but the tattered covering of his tent. . . . There he lies, an old man past eighty, who has been a soldier, and "has never seen a school"; too proud to beg, too old to work; surrounded by boxes and horn spoons; with shaggy hair and naked feet, as perfect a nomad as the wildest Lapp or Arab in the whole world.' etc. Campbell gives four stories of tinker origin, our Nos. 73-76. To them and to their tellers I shall revert in my Introduction.


^xlv:1 Query, Solomon Jones? Jones I know for a real Gypsy surname.

^xlvi:1 I take some little pride in having myself been a means of preserving two of our best--I had almost said, our only two really good--English folk-tales. These are 'Cap o' Rushes' and 'Tom Tit Tot,' which were told by an old Suffolk servant to Miss Lois Fison when a child, and which she communicated to Nos. 23 and 43 of a series of 'Suffolk Notes and Queries,' edited by me for the Ipswich journal in 1876-77. Thence my friend, Mr. Clodd, unearthed them a dozen years afterwards; and on the latter he has just issued a masterly monograph.

^xlvii:1 The London tinker's story, however, seems more closely to resemble 'The Claricaune' in Crofton Croker's Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland (ed. by Thos. Wright, N.D. pp. 98-112).

Dr. F. Muller.

In Beitrage zur Kenntniss der Rom-Sprache (Vienna, 1869), Dr. Friedrich Muller, the 'leading representative of linguistic ethnology,' published five Hungarian-Gypsy stories in the original Romani, with an interlinear German translation.

[p. xlviii]

[paragraph continues] Taken down by Herr Fialowski from the recitation of a Hungarian-Gypsy soldier, ###352###ipo###353### Jano###353###, quartered at Vienna, these stories are wholly void of literary merit. They are rambling and disconnected, sometimes all but unintelligible, and often excessively gross. At the same time they are genuine folk-tales; the soldier was trying to remember stories he had heard, not weaving them out of his own imagination. Four of them offer variants of Gypsy stories in other collections; and of these four I give summaries on pp. <page 19>, <page 34>, <page 48>, <page 174>, and <page 208>. The fifth, The Wallachian Gypsy,' after six most Rabelaisian pages, passes on to a Tannhauser episode. For the Gypsy, having murdered his father, plants on his grave the stick he killed him with. And that stick began to blossom. That son went about on his knees for four-and-twenty years, and carried water in his mouth. And every evening the tree blossomed, and every evening grew a red apple. . . . And once the king came that way, . . . and as he went to pluck an apple, "Stay," said the Gypsy, "don't seize it so, but shake the tree, and then they will all turn into doves." The king shook the tree, and all the apples then turned into doves. Up they flew, and the poor son's father arose.' The Gypsy then goes in quest of the Otter King (Vidrisko Kirali). A king gives him a filly that can speak. On the way he is fed by a swineherd (one pail of wine and a whole swine) and a neatherd (an ox and two pails); he then meets a shepherd, overcomes a wether, and stabs the shepherd at his own request. Come to the Otter King, he eats his grapes, empties the biggest barrel of wine, wrestles with the Otter King on the Golden Bridge, and turns him into stone. He inquires of the king's daughter, 'Where is thy father's strength?' 'My father's strength is underneath the bridge. There is a besom; draw out a twig; and if thou with this, if thou with this wilt strike all the stones, then they will all turn into men.' After trying once vainly to destroy him, the maiden pushes him into a fountain. But he ups with the fountain, and puts it and a tree under the window of a king, to whom he becomes turkey-keeper. A lady falls with child by him. He is caught, and there is a trial. She has had other lovers, and she is adjudged to him to whom she shall throw a red apple. She throws it to the Gypsy. So they marry and have children.--A nightmare kind of story this, which I can match from no other collection; still it offers numerous analogies, e.g. for the apple-tree, to Hahn, i. 70 and my [*No. 17]; for turning men into stone, to Hahn, i. 172 and ii. 47; for the besom, to Hahn, ii. 294; and for throwing the apple, to Hahn, i. 94, 104, and ii. 56; also Bernhard Schmidt's Griechische Marchen, pp. 85, 228, and Reinhold Kohler in Orient and Occident, ii. 304-6.

[p. xlix]

Dr. Paspati.

Alexander G. Paspati, M.D., who died at Athens in the Christmas week of 1891, practised long as a doctor at Constantinople, and was an eminent Byzantine antiquary. His Etudes sur les Tchinghianes ou Bohemiens de l'Empire Ottoman (Cont. 1870, 652 pp.), is one of the very best works that we have on the Romani language. It is largely based on Turkish-Gypsy folk-tales, of which Dr. Paspati seems to have made a huge collection, but six only of which are published by him as an appendix (pp. 594-629), in the original Romani with a French translation. Two of these six stories--'Baldpate,' [*No. 2], and The Riddle,' [*No. 3]--he got from a sedentary Gypsy, 'Leon Zafiri, middle-aged, by profession mower, musician, and story-teller. Gifted with a prodigious memory, this man has repeated to me a great number of folk-tales (contes fabuleux), portions of which I have inserted in the text of my vocabulary. To test his memory I have made him repeat some of these stories, and he has retold them word for word, making only very slight changes. During the long nights of winter his brother Gypsies invite him to tell his tales, which he also translates into Turkish with extreme facility. I have one whose recital would occupy two hours. These stories are very old. He has heard them from various members of his race, and has been able to retain them in his marvellous memory. I have written these stories at his dictation. I have several volumes of them among my papers. Several were told by his grandfather, long since dead, who was also a story-teller. In these stories, with their mixture of truth and fable, I have not hitherto met any token either of their Indian origin or of an ancient faith. I say that these stories are old, for one finds in them words such as manghin, shehi, etc., which to-day are quite forgotten by the Tchinghianes. This illiterate man is not only familiar with the dialect of the Sedentary Gypsies, but he knows also that of the Nomads, in whose midst he sings his songs and tells his stories. One is sorry to see a man of such intelligence, so superior to the mass of his race, dragging out a pitiful existence and clad in rags' (pp. 34-35).

Paspati was, obviously, no folklorist; the folk-tales to him were valuable solely as so much linguistic material. But every word almost of the above deserves the closest consideration. I have tried, but in vain hitherto, to recover some trace of those 'several volumes'; their destruction would be a grievous loss to the science of folklore. [*1]

[p. l]

[paragraph continues] Still, from passages cited in the vocabulary, one can guess at in some cases, and in others actually identify, a portion of their contents. Thus, when one finds, 'The Sun said to her, "Thou art pretty, and thou art good; thou art not as pretty as Maklitcha"' (p. 580), one may feel sure that the Tchinghianes must possess some such version of Grimm's 'Little Snow-white' (No. 53) as 'Marietta et la Sorciere, sa Maratre,' in Carnoy and Nicolaides' Traditions Populaires de l'Asie Mineure (p. 91), where the stepmother asks, not a mirror, but the Sun, 'Hast thou seen any woman fairer than I?' and the Sun answers, 'I am fair, thou art fair, but not so fair as Marietta.' Three passages point as clearly to Bernhard Schmidt's 'Die Schonste' (Griechische Marchen, p. 88), or some other version of 'Beauty and the Beast':--'In those days there was a man with three daughters. He said, "I am going to the city, I ask you what your souls desire me to bring you"' (p. 394); 'The eldest daughter said, "O father, bring me a thousand pieces of linen, to make dresses of"' (p. 410); and 'The middle daughter came, and she said, "Bring me, O father, the heaven with the stars, the sea with the fishes, the forest with the flowers"' (p. 535). 'My daughter, if your husband goes home, and one of his people kisses him, he will forget you, and you will remain in the forest' (p. 555) must be an excerpt from a 'Forsaken Bride' tale; and in 'He became a church, and the girl turned into a priest' (p. 580) one recognises a widespread episode, which recurs in our [*No. 34], 'Made over to the Devil,' and [*No. 50], 'The Witch.' Similarly, our , 'The Deluded Dragon,' a Bukowina-Gypsy version of 'The Valiant Little Tailor,' is foreshadowed by--'I am looking for the biggest mountain, to seize you, and fling you there, that not a bone of you may remain whole,' on which Paspati observes that 'this story relates the combat of a young man with a dragon, and the speaker here is the young man' (p. 576). 'She stuck a pin in her head; as soon as she had done so, the young girl turned into a pretty and beautiful bird' (p. 514), may be matched from India (infra, <page 271>); and 'He gave the old man a feather, and said to the old man, "Take it and carry it to the maiden. I will come when she burns it,"' is discussed on our <page 167>. The 'Beauty of the World' (pp. 347, 511, 569) is familiar through Hahn; and with Hahn i. p. 90, compare 'The mare was pregnant, and his wife, the queen, also was pregnant' (p. 195). 'The king said, "Come, my brother, and restore her to human shape" (a story of a woman punished by being turned into an ass),' on p. 351, must belong to a variant of our [*No. 25], 'The Hen that laid Diamonds'; and our [*No. 7], 'The Snake who became the King's Son-in-law,' is suggested by two passages on pp. 262, 266:

[p. li]

[paragraph continues] 'He said to his mother, "I want the king's daughter to wife "' and '"How am I to plant trees, and make them grow up, and gather their fruits?" (from a story in which, as the price of his daughter's hand, the father requires the suitor to plant trees in the morning and gather their fruits in the evening).' One can almost reconstruct a story out of 'We are forty cats; three are black, one is white' (p. 411), . . . "'Very early we go to the bath, and we strip ourselves naked, we take off our skins, and we become human beings" (a story of forty pretty women turned into cats),' (p. 367), and '"When we are in the bath take the skins and fling them in the fire"' (p. 368; cf. also p. 537). That story should belong to the husk-myth or swan-maiden type, as should also perhaps this passage on p. 381 "Why did you go off?" "There was a man." "There was no man: a stick fell from the tree" (a story in which a man surprises three maidens at the bath. Two go off, but the third, whom the man is in love with, remains behind, and she holds this discourse with her sisters as they go home).' Cats are pretty often referred to--e.g. 'The cat found a shop where they sold honey. She dipped her tail in it, and then rolled it in the ashes' (p. 344); 'The cat sat down near them; she sees they are flinging away the precious stone with the guts of the fish that had swallowed it' (p. 189); 'The queen said to the lame cat' (p. 195); and 'The lame cat said to the lad, "I'll give you a bit of advice"' (p. 245). To the same story--perhaps a version of the well-known 'Silly Women'--certainly belong 'His wife said, "Wait a bit till they put him in the coffin"' (p. 295) and 'They put him in the coffin; he rose up in the coffin; and his wife said, "Hold! my husband who was in the coffin, is alive"' (p. 227); and to the same story (? 'Ali Baba') doubtfully, these two passages: 'He packed the riches on his horses, and brought them at midnight to his house, and he became a rich man' (p. 349) and 'He sat down and sewed up the belly of his brother, whom the robbers had killed' (p. 422). Finally, some passages picked almost at random, to illustrate the wealth of Paspati's collections, are, on p. 472, 'He is the son of the King of the Serpents'; on p. 582, 'I pray you earnestly, O my wise king, have all the doors shut, and let no man come in, and none go out' (? 'Master Thief'); on p. 195, 'The King of India said, "I have no son"'; on p. 564, 'She went into the forest, she found a shepherd, and she changed clothes with the shepherd, and took the road: she went walking on a whole month'; on p. 505, 'One taper burnt at her head, the other at her feet' (? a 'Sleeping Beauty' story); on p. 170, 'I heard him, and I became a devil'; on p. 302, 'She took a sword and an arrow, and set off. She did

[p. lii]

not wish any one, even her sisters, to know of her departure'; on p. 250, 'The girl dressed herself, mounted her horse, and took her sword'; on p. 251, 'I become a bird for thee, O apple of my eyes'; on p. 291, 'I shall become a swallow, I shall sit on thy neck, to kiss the freckle upon thy cheek'; on p. 259, 'Said the lad, "Who has taken my black bird?"'; on p. 356, 'They lay down: the lad placed the sword between himself and the maiden' (cf. Grimm's No. 60, i. 262); on p. 421, 'The old man said, "I give you forty days to find me"'; on p. 310, 'The ass said, "All these years we have been with you, and to me you give bones to eat, and the dog has had to eat straw"' ; and on p. 362, ' The dead man goes last, the khodja goes in front.'

They are not very lively reading, these little scraps; still, they considerably extend our knowledge of Tchinghiane folk-tales. Of the six stories given in full by Paspati I have had to omit two. One of these, told by Christian nomads in the mixed style, is mixed indeed, more incoherent than the tale of the Great Panjandrum, as witness this sample:--'The godfather sees her with flowers on her head. Song, "The wolf will eat the lamb; The wolf will eat the turkey; The cat hit the bear; A stranger was alarmed."' The other story, told by one of the wild Zaparis, opens with a boon granted by an old man to the youngest of a king's five sons, to possess all the holes in the country. 'He went; in the forest he went; he found a hole. He stooped down over the hole. "Come out of the hole, whoever is inside." A woman came out; he asked her, "What are you doing down there?" "There are two wolves; I feed them." "Feed them well; God be with you." "And with you also." Again he went and went; he found a hole, and stooped down over that hole. "Come out of the hole." Out came a blackamoor,' etc. It is not a bad opening, but the story wanders off into drivel and obscenity. Even of the four tales I do give, one, the 'Story of the Bridge,' is valuable solely for its theme, of the master-builder Manoli and his wife; if it is as old as it is corrupt, it should be of hoary antiquity. But the three others are really good folk-tales, versions of 'The Grateful Dead,' 'Faithful John,' and Campbell of Islay's 'Knight of Riddles.' As always wherever possible, my translations are made direct from the original Romani.


^xlix:1 Since writing this, I have learned, through the kindness of Mr. Rufus B. Richardson of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, that 'nothing remains of Paspati's collections except a few notes, which will be brought out in a new edition of his works.'

Dr. Barbu Constantinescu.

Probe de Limba si Literatura Taganilor din Romania, by Dr. Barbu Constantinescu (Bucharest, 1878; 112 pp.), is an admirable

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collection of seventy-five Roumanian-Gypsy songs and thirteen folk-tales, in the original Romani, with a Roumanian translation. The thirteen tales were got from thirteen different Gypsies, and naturally they vary in merit, the best to my thinking being 'The Red King and the Witch,' 'The Vampire,' and 'The Prince and the Wizard.' I have given eleven of them, with full annotations; of 'The Stolen Ox' and 'The Prince who ate Men' there are summaries on pp. 66 and 219. Dr. Barbu Constantinescu, who was latterly a professor at Crajova, is, I learn, dead; he must have known Romani thoroughly, and may have left large collections.


^lii:1 Cf. the Indian story of 'Prince Lionheart and his Three Friends' (F. A. Steel's Wide-awake Stories, p. 59):--'In front of the horse lies a heap of bones, and in front of the dog a heap of grass,' etc.


In part iv. of his great work, Ueber die Mundarten and die Wanderungen der Zigeuner Europa's (Vienna, 1874), Dr. Franz von Miklosich published fifteen Gypsy folk-tales and nine songs from the Bukowina, in the original Romani, with an interlinear Latin translation. They were collected by Professor Leo Kirilowicz, of Czernowicz, but when, where, or from whom is not told; and they, alone of Gypsy folk-tales, have been utilised by M. Emmanuel Cosquin to illustrate his admirable Contes de Lorraine (2 vols. 1886). I have given them all in full, except 'The Rivals,' part only of which is cited under [*No. 48], <page 181>. 'Tropsyn,' 'The Enchanted City,' and 'The Jealous Husband' are perhaps the best; the last has a special interest through its relation to Cymbeline. In his Beitrage zur Kenntniss der Zigeunermundarten (part iv., Vienna 1878), Miklosich published three more folk-tales, communicated by Professor Kirilowicz, Herr J. Kluch, and Dr. M. Gaster--the first a Lying Story from the Bukowina ([*No. 35]), the second, 'The Three Brothers,' from the Hungarian Carpathians ([*No. 31]), and the third, a mere fragment, from Roumania. This fragment is on the familiar theme of an emperor who till old age has had no heir; then his empress bears him a son; but just as the child is being shown to the people, two eagles carry it off. 'Men,' cries the empress, 'if you will find my boy, I will become your servant, to wait on you, to wash your feet, to drink the water they are washed in, to quit my greatness, to make you king in my stead, if only you will find my boy.' After which the story becomes hopeless nonsense, then suddenly stops--I fancy the Gypsy story-teller had got too drunk to continue.


Marchen and Sagen der Transilvanischen Zigeuner (Berlin, 1886, 157 pages), by Dr. Heinrich von Wlislocki, differs from all other Continental collections of Romani folk-tales in this, that its sixty-three stories are published for their intrinsic interest, not solely as linguistic curiosities. They are

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given in German only, not in the original. Hence they are open to a suspicion of having been here and there touched up, a suspicion somewhat confirmed in the rare cases where the original is appended in a footnote, as on <page 88>. They are interesting, but only as a 'restored' building may be interesting; one doubts, one can never feel quite sure of anything. At the same time, I believe that such 'improvements' apply solely to the language, not to the subject-matter, of these stories. Their general genuineness is attested by their occasional lacunae, as in 'Godfather Death,' which is closely identical with Grimm's No. 44, but lacks the entire episode of the sick princess. Besides, except that his work is dedicated to Liebrecht, Dr. von Wlislocki gives no indication of acquaintance with the subject of folk-tales, whilst he has approved himself a master of Romani by his Grammar of the Dialect of the Transylvanian Gypsies (Leipzig, 1884). He tells us in the preface to his Marchen that for several months of the summer of 1883 he wandered with a band of tented Gypsies through Transylvania and south-east Hungary, and that during his wanderings he collected these sixty-three stories, every one of which he was careful to verify from the lips of a second member of the race. His little work is easily accessible to every folklorist, so to the folklorists I leave the task of analysing its stories in detail, premising merely that, like their predecessors, they offer numerous analogies to non-Gypsy folk-tales, but that fourteen of them bear a distinctively Gypsy character, especially Nos. [*15], [*24], [*31], [*36], [*51], [*55]. Haltrich also gives some Transylvanian-Gypsy stories (Zur Volkskunde der siebenburgischen Sachsen, Vienna, 1885); and Vladislav Kornel, Ritter von Zielinski, contributed four Hungarian-Gypsy ones to the Gypsy Lore Journal for April 1890, pp. 65-73.

Dr. R. von Sowa.

Die Mundart der Slovakischen Zigeuner (Gottingen, 1887), by Dr. Rudolf von Sowa, of Brunn, is based on nineteen Slovak-Gypsy stories which he collected at Teplicz in 1884-85, and nine of which are given in the original Romani without a translation. Dr. von Sowa also contributed four Gypsy folk-tales--Slovak and Moravian--to the Gypsy Lore Journal; and the Bohemian-Gypsy story of 'The Three Dragons' he sent me in manuscript. His stories have a high value for the purposes of comparison, but are inferior as stories to those of several other collections. I have given eight of them--Nos. [*12], [*19], [*22], [*41], [*42], [*43], [*44], [*60].

Dr. Kopernicki.

Isidore Kopernicki, M.D. (1825-91), published in 1872 a German monograph on Gypsy craniology, and, called from Bucharest to Cracow in 1870, collected thirty Polish- Gypsy folk-tales in 1875-77. A year or two before his death he

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put out a prospectus of a projected work on Romani stories and songs, with a French translation; but the work never found a publisher. Six, however, of his stories appeared in the Gypsy Lore Journal, and are reproduced here, Nos. [*45]-[*50]. They are one and all so admirable as stories and valuable as folklore that I cannot but hope some folklore society or some individual folklorist may purchase and publish the entire collection--Madame Kopernicki, I believe, is still a resident of Cracow.

John Roberts.

Twenty to thirty years ago I knew hundreds of Gypsies in most parts of England and Wales. But the Romani dialect was in those days my all-in-all; I would walk or ride thirty miles, and feel richly rewarded if I came back with two or three new words, such as mormussi, midwife, or taltorairo, crow. I knew little or nothing about folklore, and cared less; the few stray odds and ends of it that I picked up among the people are scattered mostly through my In Gypsy Tents (Edinb. 1880). At Virginia Water, in 1872, I remember old Matty Cooper telling me how the plaice went about calling out, 'I'm the King of the Fishes,' which was why her mouth was made crooked (cf. Grimm's No. 172, The Sole'); and from a Boswell in, I think, 1875, I got the lying story of 'Happy Boz'll,' which I give here, [*No. 36]. But my one great find was my lighting on the Welsh-Gypsy harper, John Roberts (1815-94), of Newtown in Montgomeryshire. In Gypsy Tents contains a great deal about him and by him (pp. 78-81, 94-99, 149-158, 197-216, 269-278, 290-294, 299-319, 372-377) here, then, it may suffice to say that, though not a full-blooded Gypsy, he could speak Romani, yes, and write Romani, as no other Gypsy I have ever met at home or on the Continent. I know, indeed, of no other instance where the teller of folk-tales has also been able himself to transcribe them. He wrote out for me the two long folk-tales reprinted here (Nos. 54 and 55), and he had a wealth of others: I fear that many of them have perished with him. He was one of the finest of Welsh harpers; he spoke Welsh, English, and Romani with equal fluency; and he was a man besides of rare intelligence. His tales, he would have it, were all derived from the Arabian Nights, 'leastwise if it was not from my poor old mother, or else from my grandmother, and she was a wonderful woman for telling stories.'

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