“My mother,” said Natasha.
Vadoma, nodded her head, yes of course.
“Move closer,” said Mala.
Natasha moved closer. Vadoma gently took her hands and looked at them, palms and back and then back to the palms, tracing the lines. It was as if she were looking at a story that only she could understand and bring to light, to solve a mystery that others were unaware of.
“Baxt, vai datha… stovandre!” said the old woman. O Mala listened, “She speaks of fate, of things meant to be, uhmmm… many paths, travelers, far distance.”
“Staver… dariav, chavvie se feen se beng.”
“She says water, sea, boy is man is devil,” said Mala. Natasha wanted to cry, she wanted to be away from here. Why did her mother bring her to this place?
“Shebari, feen. Bravios, taibhsear, chavvie, chavvie… barban, jostumai.”
“Madame Vadoma says bride and man. She speaks of a noma dic people, a wild people and a seer or a shaman. Uhmmm, she talks of a boy. Of wind…and, I think she spoke of an enemy, someone who wishes the boy harm.”
The old woman stopped and closed her eyes. Natasha was crying. Olga squeezed her daughter’s hand and Mala gently stroked her hair.
“Shhh, little one, do not cry. I know it all sounds frightening but that does not necessarily mean it is so. Come dry your face an let us give Madame Vadoma a few moments to gather her thoughts.”
Natasha sniffed and nodded her head, comforted by her mother and Mala’s presence. Within a few minutes the old woman coughed and speaking in heavily accented stilted Russian addres sed her young visitor.
“I know you are frightened, you needn’t be child. You are very important to events yet to happen, they will not be possible without you. I told your mother before she was married she would have a girl child,” said Vadoma. Natasha looked at her Olga who nodded in affirmation. The old woman continued, “And when that child was past ten summers, she was to be brought to me so I could see her future, your future.”
“And what is my future Madame Vadoma?”
“You have a destiny. You will be a bride. You will have a son, who will grow to be an important man with whom a great many things will depend. The path to the future is a difficult one and it is easy to become discouraged but you must have faith. There will be much joy in your life as well as the sadness which accom panies it. Remember my dear young girl things are not always as they seem… remember…” with that the old woman drifted off to sleep and Mala escorted Olga and Natasha from the wagon.
At Mala’s request the two guests were given bread and tea and shown to a warm place by one of the fires burning in the camp. After their quick meal, Mala took them to a wagon. “Durriken will take you back to the village, you needn’t worry,” she said. She removed a hammered out silver cross from around her neck and gave it to Natasha. “Here little one, take this. I doubt I will ever see you again but it may give you strength in times of trouble and give you faith in what must be done. Take care of yourself.”
Once they were put onto the wagon, Durriken cracked his whip and they were on their way back to the village, back to their home. Natasha looked back at the strange camp they had just left and felt a touch of regret. No one had ever told her she was important.
Olga Novitch died in January of 1843. There were few to mourn her passing. Fedor Novitch left the village and was never heard from again. Natasha was sold to the family of a middle class merchant and put to work in the kitchen. The work was long and unpleasant, the tongue lashings of the merchant’s thin and sour faced wife were especially cruel, but throughout it all, Natasha remembered one thing…she had a destiny.