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Gypsy Folk Tales, by Francis Hindes Groome, [1899], at

No. 19.--The Two Children

Somewhere there was a hunter's son, a soldier; and there was also a shoemaker's daughter. She had a dream that if he took her to wife, and if she fell pregnant by him, she would bring forth twins--the boy with a golden star upon his breast, and the girl with a golden star upon the brow. And he presently took her to wife. And she was poor, that shoemaker's daughter; and he was rich. So his parents did not like her for a daughter-in-law. She became with child to him; and he went off to serve as a soldier. Within a year she brought forth. When that befell, she had twins exactly as she had said. She bore a boy and a girl; the boy had a golden star upon his breast, and the girl had a golden star upon her brow. But his parents threw the twins into diamond chests, wrote a label for each of them, and put it in the chest. Then they let them swim away down the Vah river. 1

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Then my God so ordered it, that there were two fishers, catching fish. They saw those chests come swimming down the river; they laid hold of both of them. When they had done so, they opened the chests, and there were the children alive, and on each was the label with writing. The fishers took them up, and went straight to the church to baptize them.

So those children lived to their eighth year, and went already to school. And the fishers had also children of their own, and used to beat them, those foundlings. He, the boy, was called Jankos; and she, Marishka:

And Marishka said to Jankos, 'Let us go, Jankos mine, somewhere into the world.'

Then they went into a forest, there spent the night. There they made a fire, and Marishka fell into a slumber, whilst he, Jankos, kept up the fire. There came a very old stranger to him, and he says to him, says that stranger, 'Come with me, Jankos, I will give you plenty of money.'

He brought him into a vault; there a stone door opened before him; the vault was full, brim full of money. Jankos took two armfuls of money. It was my God who was there with him, and showed him the money. He took as much as he could carry, then returned to Marishka. Marishka was up already and awake; she was weeping--'Where, then, is Jankos?'

Jankos calls to her, 'Fear not, I am here; I am bringing you plenty of money.'

My God had told him to take as much money as he wants; the door will always be open to him. Then they, Jankos and Marishka, went to a city; he bought clothes for himself and for her, and bought himself a fine house. Then he bought also horses and a small carriage. Then he went to the vault for that money, and helped himself again. With the shovel he flung it on the carriage; then he returned home with so much money that he didn't know what to do with it.

Then he ordered a band to play music, and arranged for a ball. Then he invited all the gentry in that country, invited all of them; and his parents too came. This he did that he might find out who were his parents. Right enough they came; and he, Jankos, at once knew his mother--my

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[paragraph continues] God had ordained it, that he at once should know her. Then he asks his mother, 1 does Jankos, what a man deserved who ruins two souls, and is himself alive.

And she says, the old lady, 'Such a one deserves nothing better than to have light set to the fagot-pile, and himself pitched into the fire.'

That was just what they did to them, pitched them into the fire; and he remained there with Marishka. And the gentleman cried then, 'Hurrah! bravo! that's capital.'


72:1 Slov. Vah, Ger. Waag, a river of Northern Hungary.

74:1 By rights this question should be put to the grand-parents.

Next: No. 20.--Mare's Son