Sister Mary and the Bird

Translations from Welsh and Yiddish revealing ornithomancy amongst the 19th century north Welsh and Jewish Lithuanians.

Fortune-telling budgies with organ-grinders in an unidentified location: Odessa? No idea how I came by the photo either.

Run like a gypsy

With Imanol Arias as El Lute, retired generaliser George Borrow, and walking and running style as social differentiators.

The Turks' gypsy hangman on the point of giving the Greek hero a new walking style in a scene from a Greek shadow puppet play (<a href=''>British Museum</a>). An Ottoman custom? A Barcelona cop tells me that his Algerian colleagues stamp on the ankles of bagsnatchers, making them easier to identify and capture next time.

Cameo appearance by George Borrow in Valle-Inclán novel

One of Spain’s greatest 20th century plagiarists intertextualisers was the novelist Valle-Inclán. His gypsies are substantially borrowed from George of that name, but as far as I know it is only in the following passage from La corte de los milagros, a novel set in the period when Borrow was in Spain, that he refers…

More iconoclasm in the Catalan pre-Pyrenees

Re yesterday’s post on the Santa Majestat in Caldes de Montbui, here’s some anti-Catholic propaganda from the time of George Borrow, taken from the The life of Ramon Monsalvatge: On the 8th of December, 1832, I was sent from the convent of Sabadell to that of my native town, Olot, to study philosophy. I continued…