By Herman Simrose – Moose Jaw, Sask.
My sister, Ruth, who was four years older than me, was a great storyteller. She would gather us younger siblings together and tell us stories.
There was heavy bush on the road west of our farm and she told us that if we were ever to walk into that bush we would sink out of sight and never be seen again!
I believed this tale until we were chasing cattle along this road and they ran right through this bush and nothing happened to them!
She had another story about ‘gypsies’. She said that they would stop their vehicle under a hill and then kidnap little children.
Indeed, we did have a ‘gypsy’ story that happened to my father. He had a team of broncos hitched up to a grain wagon hauling grain to our local town of Darmody, Sask.
While there, a woman jumped up on the wagon wheel and asked him if he would change some money for her. When he pulled $5 out of his pocket she snatched it and took off.
Having a couple of broncos at the end of his lines, he was helpless to do anything about it.
In my mind, $5 was a lot of money. I was perhaps seven years old. My sister, Anne, was two years younger.
South of our farm on the east-west road that went by our place was a quarter section of virgin prairie land. I don’t know what my sister Anne and I were doing there, but it was an interesting place to be.
In this pasture, there were all kinds of wild flowers and gophers and birds’ nests. We were perhaps a quarter-mile from home. To the west of our place on the road was a small hill.
When a car came along and stopped under this hill, I yelled “Gypsies!” and we took off running for home as fast as we could go.
In the meantime, the car, I think perhaps a Model-A Ford, had started up. It turned into our yard and I left my sister behind!
Anne followed the car into the yard while I ran in front of it to find father who was working in the yard.
He said to me, “Be careful of those people, they are gypsies!”
The car didn’t stay long. I never did get a look at the people in it. I realized later that they weren’t gypsies at all. They must have had a little motor trouble on the road.
More than 80 years later, I’ve never met one of these interesting so-called ‘gypsies’.
I would think that through the years, they’ve had enough trouble just surviving without adding to their troubles by kidnapping little kids!