But the caption is perhaps even more interesting than the photo:
On the day of the fair, besides the merchants of cattle, sellers from all Cantabria came to Potes. There was everyone there, from the Hungarian with his dancing bear through the pickpockets and showmen to the peasants, cheese makers and water carriers… A colorful array of crafts in every feast and market which sometimes lasted several days.
A Hungarian bear-leader between the Cantabrian mountains, three thousand kilometers from the homeland of the Hungarian bears in the Carpathians? Unfortunately there was no photo about him. So we publish here our dancing bear collection, perhaps he also figures in one of the pictures.
Judging from the dress, he can be also that:
Do not be fooled by the English caption. This engraving was widespread in several countries, more than one language. Who knows where the original drawing was produced.
Potes still has its fairs, but the Hungarian with his bear no longer comes there. Bear-leading is forbidden in the European Union. Even the Romanian and Bulgarian ursars had to give their bears to the zoo and look for another job when these two countries joined the EU. Dumneazu in his blog wrote a beautiful farewell to their ancient craft.
|Ezra Pound: The Gypsy *|
“Est-ce que vous avez vu des autres
—des camarades—avec des singes ou des ours?”
A Stray Gipsy—A.D. 1912
That was the top of the walk, when he said:
“Have you seen any others, any of our lot,
With apes or bears?”
— A brown upstanding fellow
Not like the half-castes,
up on the wet road near Clermont.
The wind came, and the rain,
And mist clotted about the trees in the valley,
And I’d the long ways behind me,
gray Arles and Biaucaire,
And he said, “Have you seen any of our lot?”
I’d seen a lot of his lot…
ever since Rhodez,
Coming down from the fair
of St. John,
With caravans, but never an ape or a bear.
In Potes only the black cat is waiting faithfully for the Hungarian bear who has yet to come.