The Legend of Tchen and Gan
A Tent in the Wind...EXTRA
Long ago, when the Romany lived on the banks of the Ganges, a love even greater than any
before shook the earth and rent us from the heavens. It was in those days our chief was a
powerful man, whose voice was heard all over the land and whose judgments were final. He had
but one son whose name was Tchen.
Nearby, in the land of the Hind, there ruled a powerful king whose beloved wife had given him
an only child, a daughter, whom he named Gan. One night, not long after these children were
born, a sorcerer, robed in raven and cobalt silk, gazed upon the shimmering firmament with his
milky eyes and witnessed a horrible vision.
Well known and trusted for the truth of his fortune telling, this magician appeared before the
king of the Hind and was warmly welcomed. But the happy face of the king at the magician's
arrival soon turned grim, as the sorcerer warned him of a coming invader determined to destroy
the country and make himself master over the people of Hind.
Angered, the king was prepared to do battle with this foe, but the sorcerer told him this invader
was invincible on the battlefield. Leaning in closer to the king, the sorcerer curled the end of his
long, pointed beard around his withered finger and decreed, 'The invader bears an enchanted
stone in the breast plate of his armor that shields him from any harm. He shall ride untouched, like a
phantom, through the land and lay waste to the royal family, conquer the army, and take the throne.'
Fearful for his precious infant daughter, the king pleaded with the sorcerer to offer him some
solace. 'Tell me wise one, is there nothing that can be done to hinder this coming villain?'
'The invader has but one weakness,' the old man confided. 'It is written that he shall perish, if he
raises his hand in violence against a gypsy.'
The next night, out of fear for his treasured daughter's life, the king called on the chief of the
gypsies, who was also his friend, and asked that he take the princess and raise her as his own.
After hearing of the sorcerer's warning, Tchen's father agreed that the king's daughter should
come to his tent and be raised as his own child.
Three days later, Tchen's father announced to his people that his wife had born him a daughter
and so it was that Tchen and Gan came to grow up in the same tent. As the years passed, Tchen
became bewitched by the princess's beauty and fell desperately in love. When the time came for
Tchen to choose a bride, all the most desirable daughters of the tribe were asked to dance for
their future chief and capture his fancy. But no matter how they tried to tempt him, he would
have none of them.
His father begged him to choose a wife soon, but he wanted no one but Gan. Finally, he
threatened to kill himself for loving his own sister. Fearing for her son's sanity, his mother told
him the truth about Gan. Relieved to learn that Gan was the daughter of the king, Tchen was free
to love her and soon after, he took her for his bride. But their union divided the people into two
factions - one who rejoiced in the love of the couple and believed everything Tchen did must be
right and the other who saw only shame and sin in a brother marrying his sister.
It was not long after their wedding that the invader the old sorcerer had foretold swept through
the land. Ashes and dust were made of the Hind's country. The king and all his wives were killed
and the invader took his place as ruler.
Among ourselves, civil war had broken out. The people could not agree that what Tchen had
done was right and, for fear of the invader, no one could be told the truth about Gan's real
family. Hoping to end the division caused by Tchen's marriage, a gypsy lad decided to seek the
judgment of the new king on the matter of a man marrying his sister.
Offended by the beggar's trivial request, the invader-king answered with a fatal blow across the
boy's head. Having defied the enchantment that protected him, the invader crumpled like a clay
bowl shattered against a mountain and the wind blew his dust into the desert; thereby leaving the
Hind without a king and the gypsies without an end to their dissention.
In one last attempt to mend the chasm between his people, Tchen sought the council of another
sorcerer, who offered him no advice and only cursed the young chief saying, 'You will forever
wander over the face of the earth, never sleep twice in the same place, never drink water twice from the
And so it has been for the Romany for centuries. The love between Tchen and Gan left the
people broken and scattered. And ever since then, they have wandered over the face of the earth
suffering the curse the sorcerer placed on Tchen; awaiting the day when they could return to the