MAGPIE TALE: Fear of Gypsies
My father was never one to dispense advice or voice prejudice, but he frequently warned me about gypsies. He had few fears but chief among them were rattle snacks, tainted buttermilk and gypsies.
Mother, who could find reason to have empathy for even the most contentious individual, would point out that gypsies were the only Aryan victims of the Holocaust. A people without an official country and little political motivation.
Father also had a phobia about eating eggs, especially eggs that were not cooked well through to the yolk. A runny yolk was one of his greatest fears. "Eggs are one of the favorite ruses of the gypsies."
That statement was never expounded on, and it always mystified me. Years late while on holiday walking through a fashionable neighborhood of Milan, an egg mysterious fell from above and splattered all over my expensive leather jacket. While I looked above at the myriad of closed windows trying to find its source, a pleasant bypasser came to my aid and began to pat away the mess on my jacket with a large handkerchief he produced from his vest pocket. "Ah, how horrible. How could anyone do that to you? Oh, look there is some here on the back of your trousers. He produced another handkerchief and continued his helpful patting. Just as I was about to thank him, he excused himself saying he had to rush to his work since he was late. Freed of the egg yolk stain I decided to reach for my wallet where I had stored a small pocket map only to find...both were gone.
Distraught at my hotel where I related the story, the sympathetic night concierge sighed and said, "Ah, the work of gypsies. They work in pairs. They even steal the eggs from unsuspecting vendors. Sadly, Milan is full of them now. I'm surprised, you don't have the look of the typical victim."
My father was long gone by the time of this incident, and I never got the chance to ask him if he had a similar incident in his travels before he married my mother. I will never know, that Rosetta Stone to his psyche buried with him years ago.
Labels: Magpie Tales