Olga FecovaPragueAugust 2000
One day an old Romany village woman decided to get some shopping done in the nearby town. She got in the bus and a few minutes later she was downtown shopping. Excited by the traffic and lively atmosphere, she bought just about anything that attracted her attention.
After an hour’s shopping spree the old Romany suddenly found herself in a meat shop run by a young butcher. There she queued for half an hour amidst complaints about how long one has to wait for a few pounds of overpriced meat nowadays.
Finally it was her turn to order. The young butcher smiled as he served her. She stashed the meat into her “zajda” (bag) with her other purchases and left with the words: “God be with you.” The butcher answered with a jolly “Cheerio!”.
The Romany woman got on the bus to go home. But on the bus she started wondering what that strange “cheerio” word of the butcher’s might have meant.
When she had got off and was walking home she met a boy and asked him what “cheerio” meant, explaining why she needed to know. The youngster thought her story a great joke, and not wanting to spoil it he explained very gravely that the young butcher had in fact cursed her and all her family.
The Romany woman turned around and went back to the bus stop. A few minutes later she was on the bus heading back to town.
When she arrived at the shop the young butcher was just serving a new lot of customers, unaware of the trouble ahead. From far away the old woman shouted at him: “Hey, you! So you wish cheerio to me and my family ? I won’t have any of that, you can be sure! Now it’s cheerio to you and your family from me: cheerio and once again cheerio!”

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