Mulos give us advice

Lucie HrdlickovaSeptember 2000Prague
I heard this story from Emil Cína, a Romany poet, about two years ago. Emil is fifty-odd years old and comes from eastern Slovakia. He lives in Prague but goes back to Slovakia now and then. He told me about something that happened during one of those visits. Like any other Romany, Emil believes in "mulos,” souls of the dead that sometimes appear to the living.
A few years ago Emil went to see some relatives in Slovakia and arrived there just at the time of “odpusk,” the Marian procession. Crowds of Roma were streaming to a shrine on the hill to pay homage to the Blessed Virgin. At the beginning everything ran smoothly, normally, so to speak. But there was trouble ahead.
When the procession was passing the cemetery some wretched Rom became blasphemous. Right in front of a large cross he started slandering Christ and God the Father. Other Roma, Emil included, entreated him to stop. First they pleaded with him, then they threatened him. Neither approach worked. That Rom just went on with his blasphemous talk. But he was soon to pay for it.
As the blasphemer prattled on, a big white bird – probably an owl – appeared out of the blue and pecked the man’s head so hard that he fainted.
Emil says that the incident was no coincidence. He considers it a warning given to the Rom, a sign that he had overstepped the mark. According to Emil, the bird was a “mulo.” It appeared in order to admonish the man for going too far in his diatribe. The Roma believe that the function of “mulos” is to give us advice: to draw our attention to certain things and to warn us away from others.
One thing is sure: ever since, that Rom has been very careful about what he says.

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