Classic Tales From India
A comprehensive A-to-Z reconstruction of the oral tradition of the Rom--gypsies--based on sources never before available in English
Presents the origin myths and magical traditions of the gypsies, including their legendary ties to Egypt, animal ancestors, and tree spirits
Examines the three major settings of gypsy folktales--the forest, the waters, and the mountain--and shows how their world is full of spirits
Shows how the religious concepts of the Rom testify to a profound syncretism of the pagan traditions and Christianity
Although their own myths and their common name point to Egyptian origins for the gypsies, the Rom, as they call themselves, originated in India, as evidenced by studies of their language. They arrived in Europe in the ninth century and spread across the continent from East to West, reaching England in the 15th century and Scandinavia by the end of the 16th century. A nomadic people, these wanderers were reviled by local populaces wherever they went and regarded as misfits, intruders, foreigners, and thieves.
Drawing on a number of sources never before available outside of Eastern Europe, Claude Lecouteux reconstructs the gypsy oral tradition to provide a comprehensive A-to-Z look at gypsy mythology, including their folktales, rites, songs, nursery rhymes, jokes, and magical traditions. Complete with rare illustrations and information from obscure sources appearing for the first time in English, this detailed reference work represents an excellent resource for scholars and those seeking to reconnect to their forgotten gypsy heritage.