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A Tent in the Wind Extra...
The Legend of Tchen and Gan

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.'

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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 counsel 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 same well.'

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 stars.

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