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

No. 39.--The Dog and the Maiden

There was once a poor Gypsy with a very beautiful daughter, whom he guarded like the apple of his eye, for he wanted to marry her to a chieftain. So he always kept her in the tent when the lads and lasses sat of an evening by the fire and told stories, or beguiled the time with play and dance. Only a dog was the constant companion of this poor maiden. No one knew whom the dog belonged to, or where he came from. He had joined the band once, and thenceforth continued the trusty companion of the poor beautiful maiden.

It befell once that her father must go to a far city, to sell there his besoms, baskets, spoons, and troughs. He left his daughter with the other women in the tents on the heath, and set out with the men for the city. This troubled the poor girl greatly, for no one would speak to her, as all the women envied her for her beauty and avoided her; in a word, they hated the sight of her. Only the dog remained true to her; and once, as she sat sorrowfully in front of the tent, he said, 'Come, let us go out on the heath; there I will tell you who I really am.' The girl was terrified, for she had never heard of a dog being able to speak like a man; but when the dog repeated his request, she got up and went with him out on the heath. There the dog said, 'Kiss me, and I shall become a man.' The girl kissed him,

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and lo! before her stood a man of wondrous beauty. He sat down beside her in the grass, and told how a fairy had turned him into a dog for trying to steal her golden apples, and how he could resume his human shape for but one night in the year, and only then if a girl had kissed him first. Much more had the two to tell, and they toyed in the long grass all the livelong night. When day dawned, the girl slipped back with the dog to her tent; and the two henceforth were the very best of friends.

The poor Gypsy came back from the city to the heath, merry because he had made a good bit of money. When again he must go to the city to sell his besoms and spoons, the girl remained behind with the dog in the camp, and one night she brought forth a little white puppy. In her terror and anguish she ran to the great river, and jumped into the water. When the people sought to draw her out of the water, they could not find her corpse; and the old Gypsy, her father, would have thrown himself in too, when a handsome strange gentleman came up, and said, 'I'll soon get you the body.' He took a bit of bread, kissed it, and threw it into the water. The dead girl straightway emerged from the water. The people drew the corpse to land, and bore it back to the tents, in three days' time to bury it. But the strange gentleman said, 'I will bring my sweetheart to life.' And he took the little white puppy, the dead girl's son, and laid it on the bosom of the corpse. The puppy began to suck, and when it had sucked its full, the dead girl awoke, and, on seeing the handsome man, started up and flew into his arms, for he was her lover who had lived with her as a white dog.

All greatly rejoiced when they heard this marvellous story, and nobody thought of the little white puppy, the son of the beautiful Gypsy girl. All of a sudden they heard a baby cry; and when they looked round, they saw a little child lying in the grass. Then was the joy great indeed. The little puppy had vanished and taken human shape. So they celebrated marriage and baptism together, and lived in wealth and prosperity till their happy end.

This finding a drowned body by casting one's bread on the waters has been practised in England by non-Gypsies not so many years ago. Gypsies may have brought the method with them from the Continent.

Next: No. 40.--Death the Sweetheart