Author's Note: I read the parable about Bango Vassili at

*** Kurt had been five when he first heard the story about Bango Vassili.

It had been at night after a whole day of feasting, dancing, and singing on Bango Vassili day when Margali called for everyone's attention around the main campfire.

The fur at the back of Kurt's neck had gone up slightly at how eerie his mother looked in the light of the fire. She looked like an evil witch from one of the fairy tales Gummi told him and his brother and sister before they went to bed.

Margali smiled and her eyes danced in the light of the fire as she spread a hand over the fire. The flames turned sky blue and shot up into the air, causing the young ones to flinch in surprise.

"The story of Bango Vassili dates back a long time ago, in a dark time when the [i]gadje[/i] made laws saying that any Romani men they found, they hanged on site for gold. They made laws harsh on the [i]gadje[/i] who helped the Romani, so there were not many who would help our people in those dark times.

"On this very day, Rom hunters were chasing a Romani man so that they could hang him and receive their payment from the king. They would have succeeded too if he had not met a shepherd named Vassil.

Now Vassil was a lame man, and that is why the Roma people called him [i]bango[/i].

Bango hid the Romani in his own house, endangering his own life should the hunters find the man there. They did not and when night came the man asked Bango what he would take as a reward for his kindness.

Bango said, "I want all Roma people to remember me and feast for me on this day!"

And that is why we celebrate Bango Vassili day."

Kurt had liked the story, his tiny tail wagging slightly as he thought about the lame shepherd helping the persecuted man. ***
Kurt grew up and he soon forgot about the story about Bango Vassili, but he did remember that the celebration on Bango Vassili was very important.

He was brought back to the story when he was seventeen and being chased down by angry villagers carrying torches and stakes.

He ran through the streets as best as he could, praying through gasps of breath that he would be able to get away from these people without having to fight.

When they chased him on top of a house and tried to burn it down; he saw no other solution but to fight them.

He dove down, howling like the demon they perceived him to be and he lashed out fang and claw, trying his best to beat them back.

The people soon overpowered him and he found himself at death's door when a man shouted for them to stop, and by some miracle, they did.

The man who had saved his life looked like an educated man, with piercing blue eyes. He spoke to Kurt kindly, asking him if he truly wished to learn.

Kurt had nodded, but he wasn't really paying any attention to what the man was saying.

It was the chair that had his attention.

A wheelchair... The man was lame in both legs.

Kurt suddenly remembered what tomorrow was, and his eyes grew wide in surprise and understanding.

Tomorrow was Bango Vassili Day.