A Gypsy Mother and her Children at the Door of Their Crude Home, Rumania

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#15647 Keystone View Company

Always a land of contrasts, socially as well as historically and geographically, Rumania presents a peasant life that is widely varied though intensely interesting. If you have conjured in your mind a romantic picture of gypsy life as a gay and care-free adventure, you will perhaps be somewhat distressed at this scene before you, a gypsy home in the Danube delta country, for these gypsies in their rags and tatters offer no romantic appeal. The Rumanian gypsies have perhaps sunk to a lower depth of poverty and wretchedness than have any others. They live chiefly by horse trading, begging, telling fortunes and the repairing of pots and pans. They are also workers in metals and are especially noted for their wrought iron.

While great curiosity has existed as to the ethnical relations of the gypsies and a great amount of study has been expended on the subject, scholars are not yet agreed as to their origin. The valley of the Danube, however, seems to have been the starting point of the gypsies in their European wanderings and, so far as numbers are concerned, more than half of the European gypsies are to be found here.

"All things considered, we must regard the gypsies as the most singular and remarkable people to be found on the globe. Without history, or traditions, or religion, or literature, or written language; with nothing to bind them together but the indelible, unchangeable strain of their savage blood, they display a pertinacity of race that is unsurpassed." What was written about the gypsy more than fifty years ago is still true and today we know but little more about these Rumanian nomads.

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