What was in Gitano's hand when Jody walked into his room in The Red Pony?

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Gitano is holding a rapier when Jody enters his room.

Gitano is an old man who comes to Jody’s farm because he misses the mountains.  His family used to own the land Jody’s parents own now.  He asks to stay there until he dies, but Jody’s parents refuse.  They do allow him to stat to dinner. 

Gitano stays in the bunkhouse.  Jody is fascinated with Gitano’s sword, as any young boy would be.  He walks in on Gitano looking at it, and the old man tries to hide it, but it’s too late.  Jody has seen it.

Jody stood overwhelmed by the thing in Gitano’s hand, a lean and lovely rapier with a golden basket hilt.  The blade was like a thin ray of dark light.  The hilt was pierced and intricately carved. (Ch. 2)

Gitano is resentful that Jody has invaded his private moment.  When Jody asks to hold it, he shakes his head.  When Jody asks where he got it, he says his father gave it to him.  When Jody asks where his father got it, he says he does not know.

The sword represents very different things to Jody and Gitano.  To Jody it is a cool toy or a dangerous weapon.  The Gitano it is a connection to the past.  The rapier is a window back to a life when Gitano’s family reigned supreme.  It is a connection to his father.  At the end of his life, Gitano is trying to get back to his roots.

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