Roma are at home all around the world

Eva RidajováPrague
When we were kids we loved to spend our summer vacation at our grandparents´ house in Slovakia. They lived right under the slopes of the Malá Fatra mountains in a beautiful little village called Malinová.
My grandpa was both very clever and very wise. Strangers might have considered him an ordinary Rom, but in fact he was an educated man. After the war he had gone to a secondary technical school and later, when he was already working, he earned his degree at the Mining Faculty.
Unfortunately, that degree was of service to him only for a short time. As a war invalid, poor grandpa soon had to give up work. On the other hand, that gave him plenty of time to spend with his grandchildren. Every evening or when the weather was too bad to go outside he told us all kinds of stories, tales and fables. I would like to tell you one of the stories that I still remember.
One day grandfather asked us the following question: "Do you know why there are Romanies all over the world?”
“No, we don’t,” all of us answered.
“Well, just listen and I will explain it to you,” said grandfather and started telling us this story.
“It all goes back to the very beginning of time when God had just created the world. There was the sun, and there were stars, mountains, rivers, and animals but somehow God still wasn’t content. Something was missing. He thought hard and then he finally realized what was wrong. He felt lonely, that was the problem. He needed company.
So God decided to create a man. He took some clay, modeled a human figure and put it into the oven. But it seemed to him to take too long, and he fell asleep. Some time later he was awakened by clouds of thick smoke coming out of the oven. Quickly, he opened it: “Ach! this man is black!” he exclaimed.
So he decided to give Africa to this man: he was already so black that its eternal sunshine wouldn’t hurt him. Then God went back to his work and made another man. This time he was so afraid of burning him that he pulled him out of the oven too soon. “Oh no, this one is too white!”
God was annoyed at himself. He decided to send this man to live in Europe.
So God started modeling yet another human and this time he was lucky. He took great pains to get everything right. He put the clay figure into the oven and kept a close eye on the time so as not to burn it. When he took this man out of the oven he cried: “Oh, aren’t you beautiful and nicely brown! I shall call you Romany, and neither cold nor heat will hurt you. You can roam freely all over the world. The whole world belongs to you from now on,” God concluded, content.
Since then Romanies have been at home just about everywhere, all around the world.

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