Friday, 31 October 2008

Folk Poem: The Gipsy and the Gorgio

The "Gipsy's" banter is actually lifted from the repartee of Irish Travellers. This one has a smattering of Romani ("Cushti bog"), but he's basically a Tinker, or Pavee.

- "Good day to you, sir - or, as we say, 'Cushti bog'!
What brings you here this fine morning?
- "Oh, I just happened by, while walking the dog."
- "Then take heed to a Gipsy's warning.

"But first, have you a pound - a pound you can spare -
A pound to buy milk and bread?"
- "I've not got a pound for you, so there!"
Was all that the gorgio said.

- "Then show me your hand, and I'll tell you your luck,
Before you go on your way."
- "No, no, my friend, you just want a fast buck,"
Was all that the gorgio did say.

- "Well, I think it but fair to warn you,
For I saw it the moment you met;
Ever since the day you were born, you
Have had all the worst luck you could get!"

- "Don't curse me, I beg you, old tinker;
Let me go on my way as I came!"
- "I'm not cursing - what makes you think a
Man like me would play that game?

"You were born with the bad luck upon you;
Let me take it away,
For - how much have you on you?
A fiver, let's say?"

- "Oh, come off it, now, really!
I'm not such a soft touch.
And can you say you, sincerely,
Believe it yourself all that much?"

- "Tis the bad luck you're having, believe me,
Of that I'm extremely sure;
Let me take it away now - 'twould grieve me
If you had to endure any more.

"For I see you've a heartful of sorrows
And a headful of troubles galore;
You've mortgaged away your tomorrows
And banished good luck from your door."

And the gorgio, he felt a stirring
Inside, at the old man's words;
And his heart rose with the whirring
Wings of the dickie birds.

- "Very well, then, five pounds - and what'll you do?
- "Make three wishes at the well when you're gone.
Health, wealth and happiness shall be coming to you -
God bless you, sir, 'twill be done!

"Now I'll bet you've a fine singing voice, have you not?
Will you sing for us on this fine morning?
I'll bet it's the fine singing voice that you've got
Will stop my wife from her yawning!"

So the gorgio sang and the Travellers grinned
As they made up the fire that day.
They passed him a cup of tea as the wind
Caught the smoke and blew it away.

- "Come along, sir, take this and drink up,
And then I'll be able to tell
Your fortune, sir, from the leaves in the cup,
Before I go to the well!

"By the way, that's a fine pair of boots you're wearing!
Would you be parting with those boots by any chance?"
The Pavee and his wife couldn't stop staring
As he kicked the boots off and started to dance.

Barefoot and penniless, he bade them good day,
And the last word went to the old Pavee;
- "I have changed his luck, by taking away
The burdens that stopped him being happy and free!"

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