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Chapter 20. my little Gypsy prince, born to be a King...

    I woke up to a delicious aroma, caressing my nostrils.
Three proud looking boys with beaming faces entered my bedroom and climbed onto our waterbed.
They carried a tray; filled with plates, a pile of toast, a pan with something steaming that looked like greenish scrambled eggs, three glasses of milk, and a pot of coffee.
Wow! They had really outdone themselves.

    John desperately tried to keep the tray horizontal over the wobbling bed, warning:

    "Look out, Davey! No, Harry, don't move so much..."

    Some milk spilled, but who cares?
We all took a plate, and smeared a slice of buttered toast with what looked like another creation of our little cookie's specialty.
I didn't know what was in it, but it tasted wonderful.
Slightly out of the ordinary, with a hint of parsley and something indefinable but absolutely delicious.

    Eating dogs don't bark... and so, all of us were eating in silence, savoring our tasty meal.
It felt really good, to sit together like this.
Would it be the last time, supposing little Harry's people would take their little Prince home?

    Too soon, all the toast was gone, and John and Davey scraped the pan for the last crumbs.
The boys sipped their milk, while I savored my second cup of coffee.
Little Harry looked at me with beaming eyes, making me think he brewed my coffee...
    I ruffled his hair, and complimented him:

    "I didn't know you could brew coffee. This tastes better than when I make it myself."

    He beamed even more at the well-deserved compliment, smiling from ear to ear.

    Suddenly, my alarm clock went off; reminding us of the forthcoming visit around ten o'clock.
John pushed the knob to silence it; and we jumped out of bed in a sudden hurry.
We dressed and went downstairs, while John helpfully carried the tray.

    Davey helped John do the dishes and put everything away.
In the meantime, little Harry put his mask on, using the sticky substance and again a little help.
Obviously, he was as nervous as I was!

    We all sat down, in anticipation of our upcoming visit...
I started to feel more and more nervous.
What if little Harry's Romany Gypsies would try to take their little Prince with them?
How would little Harry react, if they asked him to go with them to his own country and live there again?
Would he refuse to follow them and decide to stay here, with his friends and me?
Of course, he against his own people would be five to one (not counting John and Davey), and they would easily overrule all his possible objections...
I shuddered at the unwelcome thought, took a deep breath, and hoped for the best.

    At quarter to ten, a huge van arrived in front of our house and parked along the driveway.
Its doors opened; and three men and two women exited one by one, dressed in beautiful foreign clothes with dazzling colors.
A smaller car parked behind the van, and our lawyer jumped out and hurried to our front door.
The foreigners looked around curiously, before following our lawyer...

    Both little Harry and John jumped up and hurried to the front door.
Davey and I heard them open the door, and enthusiastically welcome our guests.
A woman spoke a couple of foreign sounding words in little Harry's language...
Little Harry answered her, choked up, and started to cry heartbreakingly.

    John returned to the living room; followed by our lawyer.
Behind them, three ornately dressed Gypsy men appeared, looking around the room curiously.
A young woman entered the room, staring at Davey and me with piercing eyes, looking directly into our souls.
Davey looked at her, got goose bumps all over, and tried to hide behind me...
I felt vulnerable and exposed; as if she knew exactly who I was and wasn't impressed at all...
She stepped aside, and waited.

    Finally, an older woman made her appearance, displaying a powerful aura of Aristocracy.
She carried a sobbing little Harry in her arms.
He clamped himself around her neck, as if he didn't ever want to let her go.
Striding towards the circle of chairs, she looked at me with curious but warm-hearted eyes...

    I was sure I had to greet her first, and approached her with a deep bow:

    "Welcome to our humble home. Please, sit down, and may I offer you a drink?"

    One of the men stepped forward, and translated my words in their language.
Obviously, he was the interpreter they promised to bring.
The woman listened to his words, nodded, stretched her hand out, and touched mine.
She told me her full name; but I only understood the last part of it, sounding like 'Romani'...
She went to a chair and sat down, tenderly lifting little Harry onto her lap.

    Next, the young woman approached me, and told me her name.
She held my hand and stared into my eyes, making me shiver again with the intensity of her gaze.
Her stare made me think of my little soul mate!
Only, her dark eyes were much stronger and held a lot more magic...
Who was she?
Could she be a female shaman?
She took a chair and sat down at the opposite side of the room.

    One by one, all three noblemen approached me and performed a deep bow.
They told me their names and shook my hand; and each of them took a chair and sat down.
With anticipating eyes, they looked at me...

    I didn't know what I was supposed to do, so I decided to introduce the boys and myself:

    "Thank you, for visiting my humble home. All of you are very welcome here. I am Harry AnderS; and I am trying to help my little friend over here, your Prince Harold...
"The boy next to me is John, my houseguest; who is Harold's big brother since two years ago.
"The other boy is Davey, our neighbor and best friend. He helps us today..."

    The interpreter translated my words into the foreign language.
Then, all the guests smiled at both boys, and stretched their hands out towards them.
Suddenly reacting rather shy, John and Davey hesitantly stretched their hands out towards our guests, to greet them back.
They disappeared hastily into the kitchen, to fetch a couple of drinks...

    One of our guests started to chuckle, and told the others a couple of words in their language.
The others smiled, and answered some words back.
    Immediately, the interpreter translated their words, talking with a heavy accent:

    "Boys are boys, and they same all over world. Look as good friends Harold, are helpy..."

    "You mean 'helpFUL'..." little Harry corrected him with a smile.

    The older woman bent over to him, and whispered a couple of words into his ear.
Little Harry nodded, and respectfully kissed her cheek.
Then, he hopped off her lap, went to me, and climbed onto my lap!
He took my arms; and draped them around his small frame, folding my hands together.

    At the same moment, I felt reassured and heaved a deep sigh of relief.
This had to be a very good sign.
They were NOT planning to take my little soul mate from me!

    I kissed my son's head, and all the people nodded at us and smiled warmly.
Without using any words, they told me they knew he was mine, and that they accepted our bond...

    Then, the older woman turned towards me, and told me something in her own language.
I looked at the interpreter for a translation, but he shook his head and pointed at little Harry...
    The little imp looked up at me, and grinned:

    "Please, may I use your handkerchief first? I don't see any tissues around, and my nose is running..."

    I worked my handkerchief out of my pocket, and he wiped his eyes and blew his nose in it.
Next, he dropped it onto the floor, without looking where it went.

    Well, I wasn't mad at him; but, as long as he lived here, he still had to follow OUR rules!
I decided to have a talk with him, after we would be alone again...
    Little Harry turned towards me with a shy smile, as if he read my thoughts:

    "Thank you, Dad. And, please, don't be mad at me. I didn't want you to have your pocket full of my snot, and I will put your handkerchief into the hamper later on."

    I stared at him open-mouthed, not knowing what to think of this...
He REALLY was reading my mind!
    Little Harry chuckled at my surprised face, and started to introduce our visitors:

    "The woman over here is my Grandma, the mother of my father. She is our Queen now, as long as I am not married and too young to reign.
"She asks me to tell you she blesses you, and she is very grateful for you looking after me and helping me grow up!
"This man is my uncle, the youngest brother of my father. He is our temporary King and visits everybody outside our clans, as long as I am not old enough to do it for myself.
"Our other temporary King is Michail, the man who phoned you. He isn't able to be here, because he has to reign while my Grandma is away; but I am sure you will soon meet and befriend him.
"The other man is our photographer, and I think he wants to take a lot of pictures to show them to my people back home.
"This man is our interpreter. He studied in a foreign country for a few years, and he will try to help us by translating our words as well as he can.
"The other woman is... We call her our 'Wise Woman'; and she can see your soul and tell who you really are. She talks to our Ancestors, and also advices our people if necessary."

    The interpreter translated little Harry's words into his own language.
All the people nodded their consent, again smiling at me.

    Then, the door opened, and John and Davey entered our living room.
They proudly put their filled tray onto the table, and told our guests to have a drink.
Soon, everybody was drinking coffee or tea, and savoring the special cookies little Harry had chosen for them.
Now and then, one of them smiled at their little Prince, and I could see and feel their respect and love...

    After our break, little Harry's uncle started to tell us their side of the story, this time translated by little Harry himself:

    His uncle told us how, two years ago, a detachment of police officers raided their camp and searched every caravan.
They were looking for their Leader and his blond-haired little son, falsely accusing them of robbing and murdering a gadjo.
Working together, everybody distracted the officers, while their Leader and his family headed for a caravan, already attached to a car in the woods.
The Leader promised to return after everything calmed down, and he would cross the border to an adjacent country and wait there...
They were sure their Leader was innocent, and that he hadn't done anything to deserve this treatment.  
He only resembled a dark-haired murderer, seen in the company of a light-haired boy; but the gadjo's wanted a scapegoat...

    After a couple of months, their Wise Woman sorrowfully told them she had seen the spirits of their Leader and his Wife, who both departed this life.
However, she didn't see their little son, the six-year-old Heir to the Throne, Prince Harold Janovski Romani.
She was sure he was still alive, but didn't know what had happened to him or where he lived...
Everybody mourned their beloved King and Queen; and prayed for their little Prince, asking for him to be able to find his way home soon.
Their strict laws forbade them to crown another Leader, as long as their Heir to the Throne was still alive.
That is why their deputy Leader and little Harold's godfather, Michail, temporarily took over; until they were sure what had happened to their beloved little Prince.
For two long years, they searched everywhere, sending out many delegations, and asking around in all their Gypsy camps...

    Soon, they found one camp where their Leader and his family had been for a short time; and little Harold had even made a couple of friends and taught them how to cook properly.
Unfortunately, nobody could tell them what had happened afterwards, or where their little Prince Harold was living now.
Yesterday, totally unexpectedly, a foreign lawyer faxed them and asked them about an eight-year-old Gypsy Prince, named 'Harold Romani', and his deceased parents...
Michail immediately went to a kindly hotel, phoned us, and had a long conversation with the boy; to be sure he really was their own little Prince.
He returned crying his heart out, and they immediately congregated to decide what to do.
Half an hour later, their delegation took off to our country; with the first private aircraft they were able to charter.

    Little Harry translated his uncle's last words nearly whispering.
Then, silence fell over the room...
One by one, little Prince Harold looked into the eyes of his own people, shuddering from sudden emotion.
They all looked back at their beloved little Prince with love and tears in their eyes...

    Suddenly, he buried his head in my chest, sniffling:

    "Sniff... I didn't know that they loved me THAT much!"

    He started to cry earnestly, clamping onto me with all his might.
The interpreter translated his words, and many people started to sniffle as well.

    John went to the kitchen, and returned carrying a few packets of tissues.
He handed one to me; and offered the rest to little Harry's people, who accepted them gratefully.
Next, he beckoned Davey to help him fetch the next round of tea and coffee.
He grabbed my wet handkerchief off the floor, and helped Davey putting the empty cups onto the tray.
Walking shoulder to shoulder, they disappeared into the kitchen.

    Five minutes later, they were back, and put the filled tray onto the small table.
We all took a cup of coffee or tea, and added milk and sugar as preferred.
John offered little Harry the cookie jar; and our sobbing friend immediately forgot his tears and started to look for the tastiest cookie!
Sometimes, it is very easy to distract little children, even when they are of Royal Heritage...
I dried the remains of his tears, while he leaned into me and contentedly nibbled on his cookie.

    After our drinks, the Wise Woman turned towards me and intensely stared into my eyes.
She pierced into my very soul, looking for the bare essence of my inner self!
I felt totally unprotected, and knew it would be absolutely impossible to hide anything from her.
Vague images passed by, of huge mountains with glowing snow-clad tops; and a beautiful waterfall, sparkling in the bright sunlight...
Was I really seeing little Harry's own country?

    Suddenly, the Wise Woman spoke to me:

    "We greet you, Beloved Leader; and all of us offer you our sincere loyalty."

    The interpreter translated her words to my suddenly shocked ears.

    I couldn't believe what I heard, and just stared at her...
Then, I shook my head in denial.
I was sure the interpreter didn't translate her words correctly, or he misunderstood her, or I misinterpreted his heavy accent.
Or, she spoke of my little soul mate, who would be their Beloved Leader in a couple of years...
She certainly couldn't be speaking of ME!

    I asked the interpreter to question the Wise Woman for clarification...
He turned towards her, but she shook her head and spoke again:

    "Once, you were our Beloved Leader, in one of your past lives. After your death, your oldest son, Nikki, became our new Leader.
"When Nikki died, his oldest son, Janov, took over; and Janov is Harold's father...
"You certainly are one of us! You are Prince Harold's Great Grandfather, and we all greet you and offer you our sincere loyalty."

    All the Gypsy people rose from their chairs, and respectfully pointed their fingers towards me.
Then, they performed a deep bow and touched the floor, thus confirming their loyalty to me, once their Beloved Leader...

    I was totally speechless, and forgot to bow back.
Of course, I didn't believe a word of what this Wise Woman tried to tell me!
I was sure she was making a tremendous mistake, and would soon regret it.
I was nothing but a retired psychotherapist who wanted to be left alone in peace; and certainly not a Gypsy King...

    The Wise Woman stared into my eyes intently, clearly reading my thoughts...
Did she understand them?
Did people think in an international language, without any language barriers?
It seemed to be, because she started to smile and nodded.

    She beckoned me to her chair, and told me to kneel down and bow my head.
To my utmost surprise, I knew exactly what to do!
Only, don't ask me how I knew....
Little Harry seemed to know what he had to do as well, because he hopped off my lap and climbed onto John's lap without saying a word.

    I went to the Wise Woman, sank onto my knees, and bowed my head.
The Wise Woman put one hand over my eyes, and the other at the back of my head.
Then, she started to hum monotonously...

    At the same moment, I felt totally calm and at ease, while a powerful energy started to engulf me.
I was sure I had used this same energy myself many times before, to help people remember their past lives.
Maybe, I had once been a Wise Man myself?
I closed my eyes, and let myself go.
The humming intensified, and every conscious thought became a vague blur.
My consciousness waned, as if I fell asleep; and I started to travel back along my timeline...

    Suddenly, I recognized my past life as a trapper, having little Harry as my dear son and John as our best friend.
Now, I knew that my strange dreams had been true!

    All the time, the Wise Woman kept her energy around me; keeping me awake and looking at what I was doing.
I knew how she did it, because I remembered being a powerful shaman myself, using the same energies to help others remember their lives.
I also knew I NEEDED her energy, to keep me awake and guide me from the outside.
Without her help and thorough knowledge, I would fall asleep immediately.

    After a moment, her humming changed, and I left my trapper life and traveled further back along my timeline.
Another life showed up, sometime in the dark Middle Ages, loaded with all sorts of heathen beliefs.
I was sure I hunted witches, catching them and burning them on stakes to save their souls and earn my place in Heaven...
Shuddering from disgust, I begged the Wise Woman to push me to another life!
I felt her sympathy, and her humming changed again.

    After a moment of vagueness, my consciousness stopped in another past life.
This time, I recognized the glowing mountains and the Gypsy caravans around a campfire.
I was the uncrowned King, the absolute Leader, sitting amidst my own beloved people and talking to them.
At the same time, I seemed to look at myself from a distance...

    I saw a huge and impressive man with dark hair and black eyes, having a small boy of around seven or eight years old on his knee.
Another boy, of around ten years old, proudly leaned against his side, throwing an arm around his neck and playfully tickling his ear.
Next to him, three nice looking girls were teasing each other and playfully fighting to have a seat on his wife's lap...
All the children were naked and browned by the sun, having beautiful golden tans.

    Suddenly, I almost woke up from my trance... JOSHIE?
I was sure the small boy, sitting on my knee, was my little brother in my present life!
Joshie once was my own son!
He was reborn as Jack; and now our spirit guide, little Harry's Big Friend, and John's real father...
I never thought this could be true.

    Another small boy clambered onto my other knee and melted into me... JOHN?
I was sure this boy was John in my present life!
Once, John and Jack had been best friends!
And now, in our present lives, they were father and son...

    I also recognized my three daughters.
My youngest daughter was reborn as Mary, Davey's mother.
My middle daughter became Maria, little Harry's late mother, coming from a Northern country.
My oldest daughter became Trudy, John's mother.
In our present lives, all of us were brought together, to meet again...

    A tall man approached us, with sparkling eyes and a big smile on his face.
He embraced me, and proudly ruffled his small son's hair... LITTLE HARRY!
I recognized my soul mate immediately, and my heart leapt up in my chest with joy!
Here, in our Gypsy camp, he was of my age, my secondary leader, and my very best friend.

    My secondary leader also was the proud father of the little boy who would once be reborn as our best friend John!
Little Harry had once been John's father!
Who had ever thought this could be true...

    Another tall man came up to us, smiled warmly, and embraced us... DAVEY!
Again, such a pleasant discovery...
Davey had once been little Harry's younger brother!
No wonder they immediately befriended...

    Now, I was curious about my oldest son, our Heir to the Throne.
He leaned proudly against my side; with an arm around my neck and playfully tickling my ear...
Would I be able to recognize him too?
Immediately, his name popped up in my mind: 'Nikki Romani'.
I was sure I would meet him soon; and he would bring us a lot of joy and be a real asset in our small family.

    The humming faded away, and my past life became a vague blur.
Slowly, my consciousness returned, while my body woke up from its trance.
I started to tremble all over, shivering from a sudden chill...
Then, I found myself back in our living room, sitting on my knees, with my head slumped down onto the floor.

    I took a couple of deep breaths, trying to wake up completely.
The chill disappeared slowly, and I lifted my head and squinted around.
Little Harry sat on his knees next to me, wiping my sweaty forehead with a tissue.
    He took a glass of water from John and handed it to me, looking a bit worried:

    "Feeling better now, Dad?"

    I could only nod, choking up and unable to utter any sound.
My little soul mate had once been my trusted Deputy King, Davey's older brother, and John's father...
No wonder we recognized each other immediately!

    Still trembling, I took a couple of sips.
That helped, and I returned to my normal self within a few seconds.
Feeling grateful, I rose to my feet and took my little soul mate into my arms.
I went to our Queen, and politely sat him onto her lap.

    I wanted to have some time for myself, and went to the bathroom.
Then, I went to the kitchen, to wash my face and drink some more water.
For a long time, I stared out the window, looking at the playful sparrows that again chased each other across the bushes.
Never could I have anticipated that all of us were related to each other in one way or the other.
Yet, it felt absolutely normal to assume we all had an agreement, to help each other with our joined tasks on earth...

    I thought about the dark life I loathed, being a witch hunter and burning witches on stakes.
That way, I wanted to save their souls, and thus earn a better place for myself in Heaven...
Was that why all these burn victims crossed my path in my present life?
Was this something to do with the so-called 'Law of Karma'?
Or, with 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth'; intended to develop more compassion for your victims?
When would it be my turn to be burnt and undergo what I once did to these innocent witches?
I shuddered involuntarily, and slowly sauntered back to the living room.

    Little Harry still sat on his Grandma's lap, talking in two different languages with ease.
He asked the Wise Woman a question, and translated her answer to John and Davey.
Chuckling, he told them about their past lives, when he and John were father and son and Davey was his younger brother.
    Suddenly, he smiled, and told John with a smug face:

    "John, I expect you to be a good son, and do exactly what I tell you! Please, go to the kitchen, and get us another drink and some more cookies..."

    The interpreter translated his words, and everybody started to laugh.
John and Davey left their chairs and went to the kitchen; acting as a good son and an obedient younger brother...
Soon, they returned with steaming tea, nicely smelling coffee, and a freshly filled cookie jar.
Immediately, our little Gypsy Prince dived for the cookies and took a tasty one.

    Sipping his tea and nibbling his own cookie, John thought aloud:

    "It is unbelievable, to think that all of us are related to each other..."

    Little Harry nodded at John, slowly taking another sip of his drink.
He reached for the cookie jar, and carefully searched for another of his favorites.
    With a pensive look on his face, he answered John:

    "Maybe, that is why people call each other 'soul mates'... I think that our souls remember that we once were mates!"

    The interpreter translated his words, and they looked at their little Prince in wonder.
Didn't they expect him to be this wise?
Of course, he had been only six years old when he left them...
Since then, he had been growing a lot; in body, in mind, and in soul!

    His uncle turned towards him and asked him, translated by the interpreter:

    "Please, Harold, don't feel offended, and you know that we love you very much and are very happy to see you back in good health.
"Yet, we want to ask you something we don't understand. Your lawyer faxed us that you are burnt all over your body and face...
"We can see your burnt arms, but how come your face shows no signs of it?"

    Little Harry hopped off his grandma's lap, and returned to his own folding chair.
He sat down; and looked at his people, now displaying his powerful aura of aristocracy.
Slowly and deliberately, he peeled his rubber mask off his face...

    Mouths opened and closed, eyes bulged, and breaths halted in sudden shock!
None of them expected to see their beloved little Prince with such a terribly devastated face...
His Grandma started to cry, and many others choked up and got tears in their eyes.
Immediately, John and Davey offered our guests some more tissues.

    Little Harry decided to tell his people everything that had happened; speaking in his own language, translated to us by the interpreter:

    He told them how their caravan was set ablaze in the middle of the night.
Only he escaped, because he slept next to the door; while his parents couldn't find the exit and died.
Fortunately, a nice gadjo man, Jack, reduced the impact of the fire by rolling him around in the wet grass.
Jack paid for his many operations, taught him the new language, and finally took him into his house.
Outside, everybody called him a 'freak' and an 'alien'; except for all his friends, who helped him with everything and protected him from the other kids.
After two years, Jack suddenly died!
For two months, he missed his Big Friend terribly, wanted to die too, and cried his heart out...
Then, a stranger started to live in Jack's former house; and, two days later, they were the best of friends!
Now, he lives with the stranger, calls him 'Dad', and loves him dearly.
'Dad' bought him his mask, and will soon take him to a very expensive transplant clinic, to get a new skin on his face and body.

    My little soul mate looked tired, and slumped down onto his chair.
However, everybody sat upright in unison, and started to talk at the same time.
They all wanted to have a closer look at their little Prince's devastated face and his terribly burnt body...

    Without any shame, little Harry climbed onto his chair, shucked his clothes, and showed them all his scars.
Everybody touched him everywhere, asking him lots of questions in their own language.
Our brave boy answered their questions patiently and politely, until they finally were satisfied and sat down again.

    Slowly, my little soul mate put his clothes back on.
He left the room and went to the kitchen, to clean his mask and dry it.
Soon, he returned into the living room, and took the green model from my desk.
He draped his mask onto it, and put it onto the table in plain sight.

    He went to me and crawled onto my lap, wanting to be held and comforted.
I could clearly feel his silent sobs, but he tried not to show them to his own people...
Only John sensed them, and stealthily put a tissue into his trembling hand.
My precious young friend, with his golden heart, always ready to help his little brother...

    After a moment of silence, little Harry's Grandmother rose from her chair.
She strode towards me and bowed gracefully, touching my knees with her fingertips.
Then, she started to speak, translated by the interpreter...

    She told me that their clan was very poor, and they certainly couldn't afford any expensive operations or skin grafts to help their little Prince.
That is why they decided to ask ME to be Prince Harold's guardian, and take him under my wings until he would be old enough to take care of himself.
They had already asked my lawyer for all the relevant data, and bribed a Rumanian official to prepare all the necessary papers.
They proudly offered to grant me full custody over their little Prince Harold Janovski Romani, allowing me to adopt him officially as my own son...

    The secretary rose from his chair, bowed, and handed little Harry's Grandmother a bundle of papers.
She thanked him politely, and took the bundle in both hands.
Again performing a deep bow, she ceremoniously offered me the papers...

    What should I do now?
I didn't know anything about Romany decorum...
First, I kissed little Harry's head, lifted him off my lap, and sat him onto his own chair.
Then, I performed a deep bow towards his Grandmother, hoping I wasn't misapplying their protocols too much.
Carefully, I took the bundle of papers out of her hands...

    Hoping not to make too many mistakes, I told her, with tears in my eyes:

    "I really don't know what to say... Thank you, all of you, for trusting me this much...
"I promise that I will take good care of our little Prince, and I will do everything I can to help him!
"You can always count on me, and ask me anything you want."

    What should I do next?
Maybe, little Harry knew the answer...
    I turned towards my little soul mate, and asked him:

    "Would it be impolite to hand the papers to my lawyer? What am I expected to do?"

    Little Harry laughed at my unsure face.
Unceremoniously, he took the papers out of my hands and handed them to my lawyer.
Case dismissed!

    My lawyer opened the bundle, glanced at the papers, and his eyes grew big:

    "This is unbelievable... They even translated everything into our language! Every paper we need is here, even the correct Rumanian seals from the authorities...
"Harold Janovski Romani IS already your adopted son, since yesterday afternoon; and he will remain under your guardianship until he is at least eighteen years old!"

    Little Harry jumped up at me, almost knocking me over.
He pushed himself onto my chest and tried to crush me; crying and laughing at the same time.
    Shouting at the top of his lungs, he exclaimed:

    "YIPPEE! Now, nobody can ever take me away from you! You and I will always be together!
"Daddy, I am sooo happy! Finally, I am your real son!"

    He left my chest and raced around the circle, embracing and kissing everybody; even John, Davey, and our lawyer who reacted a bit shy.
Then, he returned to me and crawled back onto my lap, smothering my face with kisses.
In no time, both of us were soaking wet with our mingled tears of joy...
Slowly, I realized that my dream had turned into reality.
I had a real son!

    Little Harry's people waited patiently; until my new son had calmed down.
Many of them had tears in their own beaming eyes, radiating love and happiness.

    Then, little Harry's Grandma spoke another couple of words.
This time, little Harry translated them for me:

    "Dad, my Grandma invites us to visit our camp in the Rumanian mountains, after I get my new face.
"We will have a big feast, and my people will perform a ceremony to adopt you as a Romany Gypsy.
"John and Davey are invited too; together with another small boy I don't know yet but his name sounds like 'Nikki'.
"You will have your own caravan in our clan, and you will be our Honorary King until I am old enough to be the new Leader.
"John, Davey, and the other boy will also be Honorary Gypsies for the remainder of their lives...
"When are we going?"

    All of us started to laugh at his sudden hurry.
When are we going?
Obviously, our little Prince wanted to go immediately!
The resilience of youth...

    We ordered pizzas without salty anchovy fishes, and our visitors liked them a lot.
Little Harry showed them how he always put his mask on, making it sticky and rubbing it until it sat in place.
The photographer wanted to take a couple of pictures in and around our house, to show them at home.
We even went into our backyard, and our little cookie proudly showed them his precious herb garden, surrounded by white cobblestones.

    Then, our visitors had to go home, because their airplane was waiting for them.
We all said our farewells, promising to meet again in their camp after their little Prince had his skin transplant and new face.
Then, we would have a big feast and an official ceremony...
In the meantime, we would keep in touch by email or by fax.

    Everybody embraced, even our lawyer who again acted a bit shy.
Little Harry told his Grandma to greet Michail, and give him a kiss and a big hug...
Then, the hired van arrived in front of our house, exactly on time.
Two minutes later, our lawyer and our Gypsy visitors were gone...

    All at once, our house felt very empty.
Still feeling under the spell of the recent events, we started to clean up the leftovers.
The boys put the folding chairs back into the hallway closet.
I stored our precious legal papers safely away.
We rearranged our furniture, and put our dining room table back into its place.
Then, we lit a couple of candles and some incense to feel good.

    Finally, all of us slumped down onto our couch; feeling tired but very happy.



Thank you again, for all your wonderful and stimulating emails!
I will still try to answer them all; unless I am getting too many of them.

Did you enjoy my story? Then, please, let me know, by sending me an email!
My email addres has changed, due to all the excessive spam! Please, email me ONLY from within my site.

You may read (and buy) all my stories and books from my site:

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'