Burn after Reading
Among Gypsies, “there exist such individuals [chovihanis] who are possessed of great power through their special knowledge and ability to work magic.” (Trigg)
If you are one those people who is inclined to believe, as I do, that a bird in a house is a harbinger of imminent misfortune or something white on your feet makes you run faster or that there is a world out there full of omens, superstitions, prophecy, sorcery and other curious mysteries, then before you read further, I must warn you… what you are about to find out here is not only unnerving, but also hard to shake off.
Before I begin the story, I will add that my intention is not to perpetuate the stereotypes of ...view middle of the document...
The year was 1940.
Though Hungary, a kingless monarchy at the time, already entered the war, regrettably, as an ally of Germany, the dreadful sounds and vile stench of the war was far from the house. On this breezy, summer morning under the cloudless sky the family dog was fast asleep by the front entrance of the peasant house.
As my Grandmother with her little hands kept smoothing out the bellowing sheets, never deterring from the pressure of ensuring that the sheets dried without a single wrinkle, here and there she grunted. From behind the chicken coop, big enough to hide behind, a hefty Gypsy woman sneaked up to the clothesline.
According to my Grandmother, the woman had a face like some frightening vulture and moved erratically in her long, ruffled, rusty brown skirt.
I am uncertain as to what, but something the Roma woman did or said frightened my Grandmother who already heard hundreds if not thousands of horror stories about the people of gypsydom governed by their own Gypsy law.
In Hungary, as far as history has been recorded, since the first Gypsies, who appear to have left northern India between A.D. 1000 and 1025 (Hancock), arrived in Hungary, there has been a great tension...