Saved by A Gipsy by Unknown
The late Archduke Joseph of Austria was fond of telling a story of how
he bad been saved from disaster by a gipsy soldier.
It happened during the war with Prussia, in 1866, when the camp was
pitched near a Bohemian village. A little before dawn the Duke was
awakened by the sentry's challenge, 'Halt! who goes there?' and directly
afterwards an adjutant came in to say that a gipsy was outside, and
insisting on speaking to him in private.
The gipsy was a soldier, and on his being admitted, the Archduke asked
him what he had to say.
'The enemy is stealing on us, and wishes to surprise us,' was the man's
'But the outposts have seen nothing suspicious,' said the Archduke.
'No, your Highness,' said the gipsy, 'because the enemy is still far
off; but he will soon be here, and then we are undone.'
'Well! but how do you know this?'
'Will your Highness step to the window?' said the soldier respectfully.
'Do you see the number of birds flying out of the woods to the south?'
'I see them—but what then?' said the Duke.
'What then?' repeated the gipsy, looking full at the Archduke; 'do not
birds sleep at night as well as men? They would not be on the wing if
there was peace in the forest. The enemy is certainly coming through the
woods, and that is what has scared the birds.'
So the Archduke gave orders to strengthen the outposts and to rouse the
camp, and when the foe arrived, they found—not a sleeping camp, as they
had expected, but an enemy well prepared to give them a warm welcome.
The camp had been saved by the intelligence of the gipsy soldier.