Travelling people, to whom Theresia belongs, have been in Sweden for at least 500 years. When we find them in older stories, they are usually called gypsies. They lived on the fringes of society and many in the peasantry looked down on them. The travellers took on jobs that the farmers, for various reasons, did not want to do, such as castrating and slaughtering horses. Some travellers could be known for their medical knowledge and acted as the area's "wise old woman.” A common occupation was to travel between different markets to sell their own and others' goods.
There are several theories about who the traveling people are and even among themselves, the opinions differ. As usual when it comes to us humans, there is not just one truth. One theory is that there is a link between the traveling people and the Roma. They partially share language and traditions and there are family ties between the groups. Others believe that the traveling people are actually people who for various reasons have been displaced from the peasant society and therefore forced to go out on the roads to find other means of subsistence; that what really holds the group together is the way of life. The third theory is that they were originally soldiers with families who served in various armies and thus founded their way of life.