I cannot now find it, but james_nicoll at one point made a post saying something like:
“Dear fantasy writer,
The word “gypsy” refers to an actual, reality-based ethnic group. Having gypsies appear on your imaginary world without explanation is roughly equivalent to having the 1982 cast of The Mikado appear on your imaginary world without explanation.”
I think he was talking about a recent book, so I guess this has happened more than once.
Arrow’s Flight page 258:
“The gypsy family who died of snow-sickness two months ago—the ones in the Domesday Book report; wasn’t there a child left living?” she asked, her eyes still a little glazed.
Talia gives the baby to a woman who went mad after her own baby died, and it cures her and they live happily ever after, and it turns out the baby is her son reincarnated. I don’t think these apparent gypsies ever show up again, so I guess they just popped into Valdemar to have the baby and die. That was thoughtful of them.
I don’t know what the Domesday Book was doing in Valdemar, either – it’s not mentioned again after this page, so I guess it went home.