I wanted to be a Gypsy boy

Katerina SidonovaPrague
When I was a little girl, my father used to come to my room every night as I was about to go to sleep and tell me a bedtime story.
He told me stories about Janosik, a robber from Slovak mountains who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. He told me about the life of Jesus. Sometimes he made up a story of his own. And there were also times when he took a book and read fairy-tales.
My favorite was about a Gypsy boy whose name was Kalo Mitrash.
Kalo Mitrash was the youngest son of a Gypsy king. His older brothers left home, and in a far-away country they served in the army. They were very brave soldiers, and the king of the country married older daughters to them.
The king did not like Gypsies, so the bridegrooms could not tell who they really were.
But it so happened that they mentioned that they had a small brother who was the same age as king’s youngest daughter Vera. The king ordered them to bring the boy along to marry Vera.
The brothers were afraid that the truth would be discovered because Kalo Mitrash was very dark. [Kalo means dark in the Romany language.] Still, they were afraid not to follow the order, and they persuaded their father to let Kalo Mitrash go with them. "There is a princess waiting for him,” they said.
As they were approaching the city of their father-in-law, they realized it was dangerous to bring their brother to the castle. He would not understand that he had to keep his origin secret. Kalo Mitrash was proud to be a Gypsy, and was no liar.
So the brothers decided to get rid of him, and threw him into a ditch where the king’s lions were kept. Luckily the lions were tame and did not hurt the little boy.
When Vera came to see her beloved animals in the morning, she found him and took him to her room.
There he spent several years, hiding from the king and his brothers. Of course he told Vera everything, but she did not want to make her sisters sad and kept silent.
One day the king came to Vera’s room and discovered Kalo Mitrash. He was very angry but Vera pleaded with him to let Kalo Mitrash live in the castle.
He became a servant.
Soon he met his brothers, though he did not let on that he recognized them.
The brothers were scared and decided to kill him. They wanted to poison his meal, but did not have the heart to do it. So they only put some sleeping powder into his dinner.
That evening Vera came discreetly to Kalo Mitrash’ s hut and brought him some sweets, Kalo Mitrash insisted that he would not eat it if Vera didn’t take some of his meal. So she did, and they both fell asleep.
When the brothers saw that, they ran to the king and said: “Oh, dear king, you should see who is in bed with your servant.” Seeing that it was his own daughter, the king commanded that the bed with the sleeping pair be thrown into the river.
Kalo Mitrash and Vera fled to a distant land. They found a deep forest, and in the middle of the forest they came to a house. As soon as they stepped on its threshold a big golden sword fell down from the wall and almost killed them.
In the room there was a very old womansitting on a wooden stool. The children asked her for food. The woman pointed to the stove where they found some soup. When they were no longer hungry, they thanked the woman and asked if there was anything they could do for her. She said: “I am very old and I have been sitting on this stool for my whole life. There is a city hidden in the stool. If you cut my head off, the city would be saved.” She pointed at the big sword. “It’s a pity that you are only children and do not have enough strength to raise this magic sword.”
The children did not want to kill her, but the old woman persuaded them. Kalo Mitrash and Vera raised the sword and cut the woman’s head off. Suddenly the house and the forest disappeared and a beautiful city appeared in their place.
Kalo Mitrash and Vera became the king and the queen of the country, and when they grew up they wanted to get married. Vera sent messengers to her father and invited him and his family to the wedding.
Nobody recognized Vera and Mitrash.
In the middle of the feast Vera asked the king to tell her something about his family. The king became very sad, and he told her about his long- lost daughter. He was sorry that he had been blinded by anger and was sure that Vera had died.
Vera was moved and started to weep, telling the king that she was his lost daughter and that her husband was the Gypsy boy.
All of a sudden Kalo Mitrash’s brothers raised their swords. But Kalo Mitrash was no longer a boy. He took his big golden sword and knocked the weapons out of his brothers’ hands. They saw that he was powerful and begged him for forgiveness. Kalo Mitrash said he had already forgiven them.
They all lived happily until they died.
That was the story I liked the best when I was three or four. I loved Kalo Mitrash. And when my daddy switched off the light and left me alone I turned into Kalo Mitrash and went through all his adventures, until I fell asleep.
Since then I have always been fascinated by Roma, and feel closely related to them.
Now that I am an adult Kalo Mitrash has come back. He lives in the dreams of my three children.

No Responses to “I wanted to be a Gypsy boy”

  1. Hello, My name is Michael. I am half
    Romany and I have been deep in my
    heritage. I love all things about my
    people. Your stories I like very much
    because they give hope to Romanies
    everywhere that there is better than
    what they have: to strive for more is
    not only wanted but required.

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