Chapter 3. Gypsies


We were born with wheels; therefore, we wander. We speak a different language, so wherever we go we are not asked to stay. But who would want to stay where people are slaves? I’d rather be ostracized and wander in the mountains.


We’re different, which doesn’t make us criminals. We know we must use our wits, and take whatever work we’re offered. Yes, we are more talented, more full of life than the common people whom we entertain. Music, dance, fortune telling, we do these things, but they are also exaggerated in their myths about us.

Romantic myths

As though we were more dramatic, we are featured in Carmen by Bizet, and when Carmen appeals to José to follow her into the mountains to find the open sky, the wandering life, the whole world his domain, and for law only his own free will, I’m thinking that sounds pretty good.


I can play the violin because my family put it in my hands and wouldn’t let me stop. They’d dance and I had to keep up. Why not a saxophone? No one explained; they just gave me the violin and bow. Do other children chose their own families?