One Upon A Time: The Trader

Gourds Français : Cucurbitacées: potirons, gou...
Gourds Français : Cucurbitacées: potirons, gourdes, patissons, etc. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once upon a time there was a trader. He worked the spice route, years after Marco Polo. On his travels he met bandits, sandstorms, and all manner of peculiar folk.
One day he was traveling a desolate area when he met an old woman with a basket of dried gourds.

“What are those gourds?”
“They are dreaming gourds,” she replied, and named a price far in excess of anything he would pay.
“I could buy a carpet for that price!” said the man.
“Try a piece,” said the old woman.
The trader took a tiny piece upon his tongue and instantly he was transported to a jungle world full of water and sound. He dismounted his horse to jump in the clear, cool water. But someone was slapping his face. A moment later the trader was back in the desert with the old woman.
“I’ll pay your price,” said the trader. “But I want all the gourds.”
“I will give you all but two for that price,” said the old woman.
The trader took the gourds and returned to his home country. The gourds, sold in tiny pieces, made him rich beyond measure. But eventually the gourds ran out. Suspecting he was hoarding more gourds, other powerful people threatened the trader. One royal family decided he would produce more gourds or die trying.
So the trader set out again on the spice route. He traveled for two years, back and forth, looking for the old woman. His wealth did him little good out in the wastes, and he nearly died several times.
At long last the trader found the old woman and asked to buy more gourds. She showed him that she only had the two left. In despair, he collapsed.
“Eat one,” said the old woman. The trader had never had more than a tiny piece. Together he and the old woman each ate an entire gourd. What happens next is up to your dreams and theirs.


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