- I am a Gypsy Prince -
by Harry AnderS, Dutch psychotherapist and writer of 'books with a message'

( Book 1 - Heir to the Throne )

Greetings from Little Harry; and from me, Big Harry, his adopted Dad!
After the enormous success of my series of books 'Born to be a King';
(please, buy my books, or read them again, by clicking on the link below),
I am now helping my 'adopted son' rewrite his own story of growing up...
Have fun; and, please, send us an email if you appreciate our stories!

For sending your email, please, go to our homepage!


10. Washing; swimming; gadjo stories; and what is 'money'.

    After some time, many grown-ups went inside their caravans, without saying a word.
Soon, they returned; clad in their 'birthday suits', and carrying baskets filled with yellow lumps.
They beckoned us over; and we followed them through the surrounding bushes towards our huge clearing!
Of course, I was very curious about what the yellow lumps were for, and what we were going to do in our woods.
I didn't have the faintest idea...

    Our darkening woods looked a bit spooky, since the sun was setting and the shadows became longer.
We stopped in our huge clearing; and waited until everybody else had shown up, just like we always did...
What were we doing here, at this time of the day; and why were our grown-ups naked?
I wanted to ask my Dad or my Mom, and looked around; but I couldn't find them among all the others.

    At last, I saw Misha; and I went to him and whispered:

    "Misha? Do you know where we are going, and what are these yellow lumps for?"

    Misha chuckled at my questioning face, and teasingly told me:

    "Don't worry about it, and just wait... You will see soon enough."

    "Yeah, well... Thank you, my friend; you are of great help!"

    I turned away from Misha; and looked around again, until I finally found my Dad.
However, before I was able to ask him my question, we were again on our way into the woods...
Now, I saw that we followed the winding path towards our waterfall.
Were we again going to swim in our lake, this time accompanied by the grown-ups?
This could be fun!

    Soon, we reached our beautiful waterfall, which now looked quite different in the approaching dusk.
This time, a couple of grown-ups helped the smallest kids descend the steep ridges.
Of course, I refused any help, and just hopped down from boulder to boulder, until I reached the bottom of the ravine all by myself.
I was a natural trapper, and didn't need any help with such an easy descent...
The grown-ups looked a bit surprised, but didn't comment.

    A moment later, everybody had gathered in our ravine, unharmed.
Now, we raced to our waterfall, and threw ourselves under the cold-water streams!
Again, we jumped up and down and panted; until our bodies were used to the cold and we were able to breathe again.

    All the kids frolicked and splashed even more water at each other, until the grown-ups called us over.
Now, I finally saw why our grown-ups were carrying their baskets of yellow lumps...
To my delight, we were going to wash and scrub each other under our waterfall.
Wow. This was a very good idea; and it certainly was a lot better than showering in our tiny caravan stalls!

    All the kids went searching for a nice grown-up, to be washed with the yellow soap lumps.
I looked around until I found my Dad, stormed towards him, and enthusiastically leaned into his broad stomach.
From the corners of my eyes, I saw that Biny went to my Mom, because her parents guarded our camp during our absence.
Within a moment, all the kids had found a helpful grown-up; and they were lathered up and washed thoroughly.
My Dad washed me from head to toe; still looking proud at his young trapper son, who had caught a huge pig and killed it using only one blow!

    Now that all of us were looking like small soapy clouds of lather, we stormed back to our splashing waterfall.
Immediately, we were in a huge play-fight wiping and splashing each other, until we were spotlessly clean.
We rinsed the soap out of each other's hair, and painstakingly checked every nook and cranny of each other's bodies for any remains of yellow soap.
Then, we returned to our patiently waiting grown-ups.

    This time, all our grown-ups sat down; while all the kids started to lather them up and wash them with our yellow soap lumps!
Every single kid went from grown-up to grown-up, washing and scrubbing them from head to toe, until they all were spotlessly clean.
Now, all our grown-ups rose from their boulders and went to our waterfall to be rinsed; frolicking like little children.
Of course, we kids tried to tease them, and splash them with as much extra water as we could muster!

    Soaping and washing each other, without any restrictions, was a really nice feeling!
I was sure that our soaping ritual brought our people even closer to each other, by bonding us together very effectively.
This way, we never had any secrets; and we always were totally at ease about our bodies and all our bodily functions!
'Bodily shame', or 'indecent behavior', were things our happy kids never knew about, and we didn't even have any words for them...

    Finally, we followed the streaming water rapids towards our lake, to have a quick swim before we went home.
Of course, all the kids plunged immediately into the inviting water, followed by our grown-ups at a bit slower pace.
    I cannonballed into the lake, turned around, and teasingly splashed a handful of water at my surprised Dad:

    "Come on, lazy slug! I want to dunk you before we go home! Or, are you afraid of me?"

    My Dad was stunned to see I was already able to swim on my own, and stammered:

    "Who taught you to swim? I had planned to teach you, but I can see you are already a real water rat..."

    "Misha taught me, this afternoon. And look, I can dive under water, and hold my breath for a very long time!"

    "Misha, I can see you did an excellent job! Thank you very much, for looking after my son and teaching him how to swim."

    Misha started to blush at the compliment, and cannonballed himself into the water next to me.
I dived under the surface, saw Misha at my side, teasingly took hold of one of his legs, and tried to pull him down...
Of course, he started to kick around to get rid of me, but I held on to his leg with all my might!
Suddenly, he let himself sink down, towards the bottom, and waited until I had to resurface for fresh air...
That was something I had not expected; and, of course, my lungs were way smaller than his!
After a couple of seconds, I had to let him go; and I popped up next to him, panting and wheezing.

    Misha chuckled and tried to catch me, but I escaped from his wrath and dived under the surface again.
I swam around him; and popped up behind his back, teasingly splashing more handfuls of water at him and at my grinning Dad.
Now, they both swam after me, trying to catch me, while threatening to punish me for my audacity!
This time, I stuck out my tongue, before I tried to escape.

    Of course, they caught me in no time, and got hold of my arms before I disappeared under the surface again.
Working together, they lifted me out of the water, and suddenly threw me as far across the lake as they could!
For a moment, I felt disorientated, flailed my arms and legs, and yelped from the sudden shock...
Then, I hit the water surface, went under, popped up, and immediately swam back to be thrown again.

    Since that first time, I LOVED the ageless water game of dunking each other and being thrown far away!
I could never get enough of these splashing games; and they also vastly perfected my diving skills.
After some time, my Dad became too tired, and told us he wanted to have some rest.
Of course, Misha and I teased him about becoming too old, but we left him alone and joined the other kids.

    After some time, while teasing and challenging my friends, I detected something important...
Being such a small runt was not always a disadvantage, as I had thought.
Now and then, besides being the smallest kid, I could also be the fastest swimmer!
Thanks to being so small, I was able to wriggle myself through almost impossible escape routes...

    To our disappointment, the grown-ups told us we had to go home, because the air became too chilly.
Reluctantly, we left our lake and climbed up the ridges, with a bit of help from the grown-ups.
We raced back to our clearing, crossed our bushes, and gathered around our campfire to warm our goose bumps.
Fortunately, the other grown-ups had guarded our camp and their sleeping kids during our absence.
They had raked the fire and put more logs onto it, so that we could warm ourselves in the nicely radiating glow.

    All of us kids went to a nice and cozy lap, to sit on and feel safe and loved.
I crawled onto my Dad's lap, next to my Mom; feeling a bit tired, but wonderful.
Misha sat opposite us on Michail's lap; looking at my Dad and me with beaming eyes!
I knew that Misha had lost his own Dad a couple of years ago, in a nasty caravan accident...
Therefore, I was delighted to see that Michail and Misha were becoming such good friends!

    The grown-ups started to recall very interesting stories; and I listened open-mouthed...
They told us about some difficult winters, when nearly all the animals were far away or in hibernation.
Day after day, our kids returned from their traps empty-handed and hungry, unable to find anything edible.
The grown-ups tried to find some work in what they called the 'gadjo' world, being the mysterious world outside our mountains.
There, the people were living in 'houses', being huge two-story or even three-story caravans without any wheels attached...

    In this strange gadjo world, even the smallest children had to wear some kind of garment during the whole day, without any exceptions!
They had to wear some clothing even in mid-summer, when it was way too hot for anybody in our camp to wear anything...
Silently, I wondered why even the smallest gadjo kids had to be so inhibited.
What a strange world that was, where being naked seemed to be a sin...
Now, I was very happy to live here, in our own camp!

    After our grown-ups had done some work in the gadjo world, they were 'paid' for the amount of work they did.
However, they didn't get any food or useful things for their work; but they got small pieces of paper with little signs on them, called 'money'.
With this 'money', they were able to 'buy' fresh food and warm clothes, in certain gadjo places called 'markets' or 'shops'...

    Of course, now I had zillions of questions about that strange 'gadjo' money!
Why should you work for any gadjo, when they didn't give you anything in return but only some small pieces of paper?
Nobody in our camp had ever been able to eat and digest any paper, or sew any usable warm clothes out of little paper flaps...
Obviously, this strange 'money' forced us to go back to that gadjo world, to buy THEIR food and clothes!
Couldn't there be an easier way to 'buy' something?
    After a moment of heavy thinking, I blurted:

    "Why do you have to work, only to get those small pieces of paper? Isn't it much easier to fabricate that 'money' yourself?"

    For a moment, everybody fell silent, while they stared at me with shocked faces...
Then, they all started to laugh, guffawing and slapping their knees!

    I felt frustrated, colored a deep red, and stared at our glowing campfire.
Why were they laughing at me?
Had I asked them such a stupid question?
Ultimately, I was only four years old; and I had never heard of these strange gadjo habits before...

    My Dad seemed to feel my frustration; because he kissed my head and ruffled my hair.
Fortunately, he didn't think he had some stupid duffer on his lap...
    Still chuckling with the others, he told me:

    "My little Harry... Of course, you are a bit too young to fully understand our grown-up world, because you have never left our secluded place.
"Gadjo money is made of a very special paper; while the colored signs on it are almost impossible to copy and surely would cost you even more money!
"If you try to duplicate money, and the gadjo's are able to catch you, they will send you to 'prison' and lock you up in a 'cell' for a long time, as punishment!"

    Michail smiled at me, rummaged in his pocket, and handed a crumpled piece of colored paper to Misha.
Misha hopped off his lap, came over to us, and handed the piece of paper to me, while performing a playful bow.
I took the piece of money in my hands, carefully smoothed its crumples, and stared at it in amazement.
For the first time, I looked at a piece of gadjo 'money', being used in the strange gadjo world to buy things...
    My Dad had taught me to read, so I was able to decipher what was written on the piece of paper:

    '1 0 0 0 0   L E I'

    "Dad? A one followed by four zero's, is that a lot? And, what is the meaning of that silly word 'LEI'?"

    "Yes, my son; ten-thousand could be quite a lot, but not for this money... And, 'LEI' is what the gadjo people call it."

    Ten-thousand? That had to be thousand plus thousand plus thousand plus...
And, thousand was hundred plus hundred plus hundred plus...
And, hundred was ten fingers plus ten toes plus...
For a moment, I squinted from trying to figure out how much ten-thousand fingers and toes would be...

    Then, I had my next question ready:

    "Dad? You said 'this money'; so I suppose there will be other kinds of money as well?"

    "Yes, my son; you are very clever! Every country in our world has its own kind of money. This is the Rumanian money, from our own country."

    I looked again at the enormous number, ten times thousand, and started to think again...
How could I ever imagine ten-thousand pieces of anything?
This enormous number was way too much to count, even if all our people put all their fingers and toes together...
In vain, I tried to picture ten-thousand caravans, placed around our campfire...
    Almost feeling dizzy from the impossibility, I exclaimed:

    "You can really buy ten-thousand caravans, by using this little piece of paper in the gadjo world?"

    This time, our caravan windows started to rattle, from all the grown-ups bellowing with laughter and slapping their knees!
Again, my people left me frustrated; while I in vain tried to understand where the fun could be...
What else could be the meaning of the enormous number on this strange piece of gadjo money...

    After everybody had calmed down again, my Dad explained that everything in the gadjo world has its own 'price' or 'value'.
When you want to buy something in their shops or markets, you have to pay its 'price' by summing up the values printed on their different money flaps.
After you have done some work for them, they will pay you the value of the amount of work you did, by counting out enough flaps of money.
Their police can punish you for not obeying their laws, by giving you a 'fine'; that is an amount of money you will have to pay to the 'state', as a punishment.
The money in other countries is basically the same, but it looks different and represents other 'values'.
For example, 10000 LEI in Rumania represents only 4 DOLLARS in a foreign part of the world, far away, called 'America'.

    I had to think about all this brand new information, and stared at our campfire...
The explanation my Dad had given me, sounded logical; but where was the catch?
Supposed, I was hungry while living in our huge forest, and I only had some piles of 10000 LEI gadjo money flaps...
How would I ever be able to get some food, using those little pieces of paper, in the middle of nowhere?
What would be the REAL 'value' of any gadjo money, if you weren't able to reach any shop or market to buy something?

    By using their money flaps, the gadjo's FORCED you to live near other gadjo people who were using that same kind of money!
If you were living on your own, or far away from other gadjo people, their money didn't represent any value at all...
Therefore, ultimately, using this gadjo 'money' did cost you your personal freedom!
There was the catch I had been looking for.
Or, did I overlook something important?

    I thought and thought, until I got a headache and couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.
My Mom saw me yawning, and offered to bring me to our caravan and put me to bed...
Feeling grateful, I put my small hand into hers; and, walking together, we went into the darkness surrounding our circle.
We had to feel around to find the steps to our caravan, because they almost disappeared into the spooky shadows from our campfire.
After we found them, we stumbled upstairs, and finally switched on our electric lights.

    Fortunately, our technical man, Pietro, had connected all our caravans to a huge pile of batteries he had put together in a spare caravan.
Now and then, he started an old, noisy, and stinking power generator, to recharge them for a couple of hours.
Then, we had enough electricity for the next couple of days, until the batteries were drained again.
Sometimes, I 'helped' him connect his electric wires, while he patiently answered my zillions of questions...

    My proud looking Mom put me under my blankets, kissed my forehead, and wished me goodnight.
I closed my eyes, and almost immediately disappeared into dreamland...

    Soon, I started to dream about the strange gadjo world, where people were living in huge two-story caravans without any wheels.
Their children were always clad in strange garments, huffing and panting from the excessive warmth.
They complained about being too hot; but their police gave them a fine for not obeying their anti-nudity law, while threatening to lock them up in a cell!

    After some time, my dream changed into a nightmare.
The gadjo police caught me without any clothes on; and they forced me to wear their too warm garments, making me sweat and feel like choking.
At the same time, they gave me an enormous fine, for being naked and disobeying their gadjo laws!
I had to work for huge piles of LEI, representing only the value of one old and wrecked caravan.
The moment I stopped working, I had to pay another huge fine to the gadjo police, which forced me to do even more sweaty work...

    Finally, I woke up, still thrashing around in my bed and feeling sweaty all over.
I bolted out of my den, and went to our small sink to drink some water and splash my face to cool off.
That helped, and my nightmare disappeared completely after I emptied my full bladder.
Still shivering, I crept in between my parents, to feel safe and protected from any more gadjo police officers...

    Soon, I disappeared into a sound and dreamless sleep, without any more nightmares.




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I wish you lots of Love in your life, and Profound Peace in your heart.

 Harry AnderS, Dutch psychotherapist and writer of 'books with a message'