From Lena

As Lena's mother approached the gypsy camp, all activity there stopped. They stared at her as suspiciously as the villagers had stared at the gypsy woman who intruded into their territory.

"Who is it that has the child?" Lena's mother asked.

A woman appeared holding an infant in her arms.

"You would do this for me?" the gypsy woman asked incredulously.

"Of course," said Lena's mother. "This baby is God's own creation and he belongs to God more than to you or to the tribe."

The two women embraced – the gypsy men dared not interfere – and a small ceremony was conducted by which the baby was consecrated to God and given his name.

The gypsy woman turned to Lena's mother and said, "I know you will not take coins or ornaments for this honor that you have paid me, but I must give you a gift, and I know what it must be. I cannot give you the gift of second sight. That must be done before a child is born. But you will bear a girl-child and she will have the gift." The gypsy paused as if looking through the mists of years to come. "But I know already that it will bring her little solace in this life. Her life will be hard. She will live far from here and she will work hard all her life. Her children will be broken. I do not know how, but I can see that they will be broken. Your daughter will have much sorrow in this life and much peace and joy in the next life."

When the gypsy woman concluded her reverie, they embraced again and Lena's mother walked back toward her home, half believing and half denying what she had just been told. Less than a year later, Lena was born.


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