The English Gipsies and Their Language eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 247 pages of information about The English Gipsies and Their Language.
grotesque fancy, with such an entire incapacity to appreciate either humour or “poetry” as expressed in the ordinary language of culture.  The metre and rhyme of the simplest ballad made it unintelligible to him, and I was obliged to repeat such poetry several times before he could comprehend it.  Yet he would, while I was otherwise occupied than with him, address to his favourite wooden image of a little bear on the chimneypiece, grotesque soliloquies which would have delighted a Hoffman, or conduct with it dialogues which often startled me.  With more education, he would have become a Rommany Bid-pai; and since India is the fatherland of the fable, he may have derived his peculiar faculty for turning morals and adorning tales legitimately from that source.

I may state that those stories, which were made entirely; as a few were; or in part, by my assistant and myself, were afterwards received with approbation by ordinary Gipsies as being thoroughly Rommany.  As to the language of the stories, it is all literally and faithfully that of a Gipsy, word by word, written down as he uttered it, when, after we had got a gudlo into shape, he told it finally over, which he invariably did with great eagerness, ending with an improvised moral.

GUDLO I. HOW A GIPSY SAVED A CHILD’S LIFE BY BREAKING A WINDOW.

‘Pre yeck divvus (or yeckorus) a Rommany chal was kairin’ pyass with the koshters, an’ he wussered a kosh ‘pre the hev of a boro ker an’ poggered it.  Welled the prastramengro and penned, “Tu must pooker (or pessur) for the glass.”  But when they jawed adree the ker, they lastered the kosh had mullered a divio juckal that was jawan’ to dant the chavo.  So the rani del the Rommany chal a sonnakai ora an’ a fino gry.

But yeck koshter that poggers a hev doesn’t muller a juckal.

TRANSLATION.

On a day (or once) a Gipsy was playing at cockshy, and he threw a stick through the window of a great house and broke the glass.  Came the policeman and said, “You must answer (or pay) for the glass.”  But when they went into the house, they found the stick had killed a mad dog that was going to bite the child (boy).  So the lady gave the Gipsy a gold watch and a good horse.

But every stick that breaks a window does not kill a dog.

GUDLO II.  THE GIPSY STORY OF THE BIRD AND THE HEDGEHOG.

’Pre yeck divvus a hotchewitchi dicked a chillico adree the puv, and the chillico pukkered lesco, “Mor jal pauli by the kushto wastus, or the hunters’ graias will chiv tute adree the chick, mullo; an’ if you jal the waver rikk by the bongo wast, dovo’s a Rommany tan adoi, and the Rommany chals will haw tute.”  Penned the hotchewitchi, “I’d rather jal with the Rommany chals, an’ be hawed by foki that kaum mandy, than be pirraben apre by chals that dick kaulo apre mandy.”

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The English Gipsies and Their Language from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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