How old Del created the first gypsy
The original account of this short tale with an etiological character was transcribed by New Zealander R.A.W. (Ron) Barnes in 1987 and included by Diane Tong in the volume Gipsy Folktales. Very similar verions are found in the oral traditions of the Manouches of Alsace and the Gitanos of Chile, as well as in the traditions of other non-Gypsy Mesoamerican, North American, and Asian civilizations.
Whoever said that old Del did not tire at all, in creating the great world? He got so tired, poor thing, running here and running there painting the sky blue and raising hills and mountains, that when it came his turn to create the first men he found himself holding whistles for flasks and fireflies for lanterns. And all this, mind you, happened not once but twice. The first time old Del, after kneading flour with water in a copper gan pot, and after shaping man's forms for good - so many figurines with one head, two arms, two legs and all the rest - he put them to bake on a merry fire in the heavenly oven. But tired as he was he became distracted, forgot about it, and went off on his own to attend to other matters he had left undone. By the time he remembered what he had stuffed into the oven, it was too late. For the first men came out of the heavenly oven so scorched - heads, arms, legs and all - that old Del sighed, scratched his head, and said, - Oh, well, I guess I'll just have to do it all over again! But in the meantime he let the scorched figurines take breath and life and begin to populate the great world: and that was how the black-skinned men were created. The second time old Del, after again kneading water and flour and sticking the figurines into the heavenly oven, told himself so many times that he should not get distracted and that he had to get them out before they were burnt that he made another mistake and pulled them out too soon. So that this time the figurines - heads, arms, legs and all - came out blank white and even a little mushy.- Oh no! - sighed old Del, scratching his head.- I guess I'll have to do it all over again.But in the meantime he let even the mushy, white-skinned figurines take breath and life and begin to populate the great world: and so it was that white-skinned men were created.The third time old Del was more prescient.He kneaded water and flour, made the right shapes and baked them.But before he lit the fire he sat in the shade of a tree, thought about it for a while and decided to invent time and the clock.And only when the tick-tock of the hands - tick-tock, tick-tock - alerted him that the time had come, he reopened the oven and brought out the cooked men. Cooked yes, but this time just right. Heads, arms, legs and all: with skin of a beautiful golden color, neither too light nor too dark. So it was that the first men made properly and as Del commands, the Gypsies, took breath and life and also began to populate the great world.