Merchant’s Log: Tenth Entry

September 6th, 2009

Merchant’s Log www.thetreasuremerchants.com
Tenth Entry
Evening

I just couldn’t believe my eyes! All was calm and tranquil but moments before, and now suddenly, the world was upside down!
As I stood there in inertia, surveying the extent of the damage, Ms. Van Buren peeked her head in through the open door.

I supposed that her expression exactly reflected what I was feeling at that moment, for she was indeed horrified as she looked first around the shoppe, then back to me.
After an eternity of dumbfounded silence, she finally spoke. “Are you….unharmed?”

I gathered myself to speak. “I….I …was not here when it happened. I was… just …around the corner…” I threw up my hands in a helpless gesture.
“But” I sighed, “I assure you I am well”. There is no real damage that I can ascertain, but just a few stolen items. Among them..that package I spoke to you about”.

“Oh no” her hand went to her mouth in horror. The implications of the seriousness of this turn of events struck her and she looked at me in wide eyed silence.
We were both thinking the same thoughts. To think of what might happen, should the mysterious stranger return suddenly and demand his parcel that had been so covertly entrusted into my care, and now was just as covertly taken.

After a few moments, Ms. Van Buren laid a kind hand on my shoulder, “don’t fret love,” we shall call upon Joseph to use his fine sleuthing skills to help us find our culprit, and recover what has been stolen.
Joseph, the town Constable, is a clever sort, and was always one to put his mind to a puzzle like no else I ever knew. I felt confident that his wily skills of detection would bring us a swiftly delivered resolution.

Calmed by Ms. Van Buren’s demeanor and sense of purpose, (and now that we had some sort of plan) I made my way to where the pillow coverings littered the floor in an odd sense of elegant, sparkling contradiction to the chaos about them.

As I bent to examine them, I noticed that some sort of strange imprints had been left on the fine fabrics. I caught a faint whiff of chocolate, and bent to sniff them. Yes, definitely chocolate, and green tea! I saw that there were crumbs and seeds everywhere, apparently from the green tea bars and chocolate that I had laid out for my customers earlier.

Well, I thought to myself, I certainly hope our robber quite got his fill of the delicacies so conveniently provided for him!

I imagined a cloaked figure lying in wait as he saw me leave the shoppe and walk down the path around the back to the garden.
The door was unlocked, and probably not even closed all the way, so all was to his advantage as he casually strolled in. I saw with my mind’s eye, how he looked about the room in a slow, and calculated study of where the most valuable goods might be kept.
I shuddered.

As he looked about the room, he spied the bricks of chocolate and the green tea bars lying on the table and helped himself quite happily (and messily) to them all.
I supposed he even took the time to properly pour himself a glass of ice cold Licorice drink to slake his thirst.
I spied no glass, so it bears to reason that he drank directly from the pitcher. I shuddered again.

As I looked at the crumbs on the floor, I noticed that there seemed to be a trail leading past the pillow coverings, and handmade table cloths, around the display tables and over to the open window.
Hmm, so, my thief, still licking his fingers, thumbed through the pillow coverings, knocking them to the floor, then casually trampled them as he made his way past, then….. paused to admire the view from the open window?

I went to the window and looked out and around. Nothing. All was quiet and peaceful, not an ornery thief in site.

“Well, it seems this thief was proud of his handiwork, he left his calling card,” Ms. Van Buren was holding up a beautifully full, perfectly formed white Feather. “Where did you find that?” I asked. “It was lying atop where your crystal jewels were displayed before they were taken.” She gestured to the now empty display.

Ah, the rest of the picture came to me. After taking in the view, our thief then ransacked the rest of the shoppe, grabbed some coin, the jewels, (and the precious package of rare, dark chocolate), and breezed out the front door.
Not before pausing, however, to casually take a feather from his cap and lay it in the very place of the now stolen jewels. (No doubt with a self satisfied smirk on his face).

“Must have been a uniquely satisfying experience for him” I muttered to myself, “he left with his arms and belly full! Ms. Van Buren heard that last and looked to me in question.

I pointed out all my observations to her, and my imagined sequence of events. “He ate all the chocolate?” She chuckled wryly for a moment. When I questioned what she was thinking, she described a very different view of our thief, with a penchant for sweets, lumbering unsteadily out the door with the rush of all that sugar coursing through his veins.

I thought it best not to disturb the clues so blatantly and arrogantly left for us, so sunset saw us making our way down the main thoroughfare, over to the “Copper Penny”
to find us a cold drink and a certain Constable.

Joseph was known to frequent the tavern most every night to catch up on all the latest tall tales and spin a few of his own in his ornery way.
To be sure, a tale told in the tavern at night, was gospel to the town folk come morning, and Joseph had apprehended many a mischievous soul by way of entrapment.
He often laughed uproariously in the telling of his latest carefully woven ensnarement, and had the whole tavern in stitches over it.

Though everyone enjoyed Joseph’s stories, no one wanted to be the focus of them, which meant there was often more than one nervous laugh to be heard among his captive audience of a night at the tavern.

Fishmongers and tradesmen alike crowded into the dark, cramped tavern for a Penny Pint and a hot bowl of Amanda’s famous Clam Chowder.
Tonight was no exception, and as my eyes slowly adjusted to the dark of the lantern lit room, I saw all manner of sea folk and travelers crammed along the walls and at every table.

Tankards were being sloshed about in enthusiastic exaggerations of the day’s adventures, and bowl upon bowl of hot steaming soup was being passed from one person to the next in the long line of hungry patrons.

Ms. Van Buren and I struggled past the crowded entryway, through the bar and dining area, and on to the smoking room. A fire was ablaze in the giant fireplace, and many a pipe’s plume of smoke was rising from the tables, where feet were propped, and chairs were reclined.

They were merchants, fishermen, and travelers all, and they were gathered in silence, broken only by appreciative grunts as they listened to a recitation by a familiar voice.

Pete the Poet, known as the town Bard, had just finished the performance of his most beloved masterpiece entitled “Henry, the Harrier” and was deep into his latest composition.
The room was his.

We squeezed our way through elbows and feet and managed to tuck ourselves into a small alcove. Oddly, there was even a table here, so we gratefully sat ourselves quickly down.
I looked around to see if I could see Joseph, but as the tavern was especially full tonight it seemed, I had no hopes of finding him in this crowd of cloaked travelers and bustling activity.

Ah well, I tried to relax and turn my mind and attention to Pete and his eloquent delivery. After a few phrases, I realized that he had composed an ode to the Pirate, Captain Moon.
I found it both interesting and rather brazen that he should try to discover the heart of a pirate, and the events of her life that had shaped her.

Indeed, as his poem went on, and the supposed agonizing events of her life unfolded, the grunts in the room escalated into snickers. I thought with some measure of compassion on the plight of a poor girl forced to become a pirate out of untoward circumstances.
Apparently not many others in the room thought to consider this, but rather enjoyed the thought of Captain Moon enduring some misery, For the derision only increased at her expense.

And still, Pete the Poet went thoughtfully and bravely on…..

“…and what is a pirate’s treasure?
Is it the bounty that is so quickly gone, or is the act
of taking something, not their own?

Some things have no reason or rhyme,
but one can’t help wondering why they choose a life of crime.

Like this Captain Moon, I’ve heard the merchants speak of.
Has she ever known kindness? Has she ever been in….love……?”

As I listened, I must have looked away in thought, for all of a sudden, Pete’s voice was silenced, as was the room. No doubt affected by his own words, he must have swallowed past a lump in his throat on that last word.

I looked around and back at Pete, and there, standing behind him, a cloaked figure was pressing a shiny blade to Poor Pete’s throat.

There was a collective drawing in of breath as one by one, all eyes were turned toward Pete.
I gasped and grabbed Ms. Van Buren as next to us a cloaked figure threw off her mantle.
She brandished her sword in a stylish embellishment of movement, and with a tumbling cascade of sable mane and a flash of shiny boots, she leaped onto our table and loudly proclaimed “I think we’ve heard just about enough! Arrrggh!”

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Merchant’s Log: Ninth Entry

July 22nd, 2009

Merchant’s Log www.thetreasuremerchants.com
Ninth entry
Morning

After my friend Pete had left, I busied myself arranging my newest acquisitions that I had acquired at the Great Market.

Among the Bells, the Tropical Fruits, and the Soapnuts, I had also acquired many pieces of colorful fabrics and accessories used for Belly Dance. I hung the hip scarves in a glittering, tinkling row above the accessories and musical instruments. They caught the sunlight shining through the open window and swayed lightly with the ocean breezes that found their way to our cliff top.

Next, I brought out all the beautiful table coverings, and pillow coverings I had acquired, and was amazed once again, at the workmanship of these sparkling treasures. The colors were vibrant and rich jewel tones that added such a luxurious feel to the corner as I displayed them.

I made a pitcher of ice cold Licorice drink and placed it on the table along with some Chocolates and Green Tea bars as snacks for my customers. I tried the drink and it was surprisingly refreshing!

I was just getting to the crystal pieces when my customers started to arrive…..

A lovely lady that had come in before to purchase the licorice drink came again. Helen, I believe her name was. As she approached, I thanked her for coming in again and offered her a glass. She purchased more of the drink for the hot summer days ahead.

My good customer Debra came today. She had been by a few days before to choose a Lavender table covering and was back for a table runner and pillow coverings. She was such a delight to spend time with! I showed her the Tropical Fruits bath items I had just acquired and she walked happily out with a Coconut and Banana soap tucked into her bag.

I met a really nice lady today, who purchased an Aladdin’s Lamp for her good friends. It seems that they had received some sad news lately, and she was searching for something to cheer them.

I wrapped it in my best gift wrap, tucked in a note from her, and sent it with her, (along with my own three wishes and prayers) for her friends. I knew that they would find comfort in her thoughtfulness.

Another Aladdin’s lamp went to a kind lady from Hawaii. English Rose Room Fragrance to Monroe, and a candle lamp to a lovely lady named Paige.

So many wonderful faces and stories, in meeting so many people, I found that the day flew by before I knew it.

In the late afternoon, I met a lady and her daughter that were in need of a crystal accessory for their dresses. They chose the Queen’s Crystal Cross in the Lavender color, and I must say that it was the perfect choice. The incoming sunlight caused them to sparkle and glitter, throwing a rainbow of colors on the walls wherever they went throughout the shoppe!

I wrapped up a couple of Baby Sweet Potato Ocarinas for a kind lady, and she seemed very grateful and pleased. I thanked her for her kind words and walked her to the door.

As I opened the door, I inhaled deeply the fragrant scent of Lavender coming from the planters beneath the front windows.
I bent and pulled a few weeds that were pushing their way up through the soil. It brought to mind the garden round back, and as I had no customers at the moment, I closed the door and walked around to where the pathway started beneath the giant Camphor, up to the rose covered arbored gate, and on through to the back.

The path I was on led me through the fragrant herb garden I had recently planted, to where the roses grew in clusters on each side of the stone walkway, leading to the Arbor my father had built. Inside was a swing and two small tables.

I always felt comforted coming here. My father and I had planted the rose garden together, several years back, and we would often come here to sit in companionable silence and enjoy the fragrant air.

I sat on the swing for a moment and looked around. To my left, beyond the roses and trees, I could see the blue from the ocean peeking through. My eyes were always drawn there for many reasons, as they were now. Searching the horizon…..

I longed to be out there, with my father on our ship, “The Explorer”, heading to some uncharted land in search of adventure. Pursuing dreams.

I sighed a sigh of deep longing and loneliness…
Well, this would never do! I had best be heading back to close up the shoppe for the day.

As I rose from the swing and took one last gaze out at the blue of the horizon, I caught a glimpse of Purple and Gold through the trees. It looked like sails!

I quickly ran back up the path to the front of the shoppe so I could get a better view. As I arrived around the front, I saw that the door of the shoppe was standing wide open.

I realized that I had been around back for longer than intended and looked around for signs of any customers I might have missed in the interim.

I didn’t see anyone, but all thoughts of the sails on the horizon were gone as I walked inside.

I had the sudden feeling that something was wrong. I looked around, and to my dismay, I saw that some of the small tables had been overturned. Crumbs from the snacks were scattered everywhere, Items on the wall were askew.

Some of the beautiful pillow coverings had been tossed to the floor and trampled on in what looked like a frantic search for something. I went to the crystal and found that, sure enough, some of the necklaces with the larger stones were missing.

I just couldn’t believe my eyes! As the dismay and frustration in me rose, I glanced to the shelf and literally cried out loud…”Oh No! The package is gone!”……….

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Merchant’s Log: Eighth Entry

June 24th, 2009

Merchant’s Log www.thetreasuremerchants.com
Eighth Entry
Morning

As I turned to go, it occurred to me, that I had completely forgotten to ask Captain Bryson about the package that he had delivered, and for whom I was holding it. I gave myself a mental kick as I realized I might have to wait for weeks or even months now, before I learned the truth of it.

I decided to go back down to speak to the night watch before he left for the day…….

“I didn’t get a name. He was with the lad who rescued Capn’ Bryson from the pirates. He asked the Capn’ to pass it on to the merchant up at the shop. He gave it to me when he came ashore with instructions to keep it safe and to pass it on to you and that’s what I did. I don’t know anything more.”

“Are you sure?” I pressed, “Is that all?” “That’s all miss” He turned to go. “Oh, now that you mention it, he did say that it was most precious, and that he would see it retrieved very soon.” And with that last, he shuffled off with a yawn, no doubt in search of breakfast and his bed.

I pondered his words in my head as I retraced my steps back up the cliff face to the landing above. I had some time yet, and wanted to find out more about these pirates I’d been hearing about, and knew just who to see about it.

“Female Pirates?” I gasped.
“Can you believe it”? Kym pressed, her eyes wide and sparkling as she warmed to the tale. “and wait till you hear…” my mind’s eye was riveted and my imagination took over as my friend related all the hearsay of the last few days.

Captain Moon was a female pirate who had apparently heard rumors of the comings and goings of our port’s treasure ships, even from far across the world.
A statuesque, sable haired beauty with sea green eyes, she captured many a Captain’s heart just before she captured him! With many notches in her belt, a full crew and a ship to boot, she was making quite a name for herself on her way to our part of the world.

Kym’s four children slowly gathered at her feet as she wove the tales of the many adventures of Captain Moon and her ship “The Sea Cat”.

I couldn’t doubt that Kym’s source was accurate, as her own love was a Norwegian Sea Captain, and had gotten the tale first hand. Who knew what to expect from her next? Her landing was imminent it seemed.

I suddenly noticed the time, and made my hurried goodbyes to them all. I would need to rush now to make it to the shoppe in time to open.

As I approached the shoppe, I spied my poet friend sitting beneath the giant Camphor that gave shade to the shoppe and the garden in back.

He grinned as I approached, and held up his parchment in a familiar gesture of the prolific pen. I invited him in for tea, and later, after the shoppe was prepared, and the door opened to the cool morning breezes, we sat together in poetic dreaming over our cups.

“That was just lovely Pete” I said, as the last of his poem was gently and quietly spoken. I felt honored.

We sipped our tea in silence, and then I just couldn’t help myself. I relayed to him all I’d heard of Captain Moon and her ilk, and sent Pete the Poet on his merry way with more fodder for his poetry.

I knew that when next we met, he would most likely be carrying a currier pouch with which to hold his many poetic adventures, and I had best be prepared with more than just tea for sustenance!

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Merchant’s Log: Seventh Entry

June 9th, 2009

Merchant’s Log www.thetreasuremerchants.com
7th Entry
Morning

The morning dawned cloudy and grey. There was a brisk wind blowing off the sea as my young friend and I made our way down to the docks.
Breakfast had been a rather simple affair of hot grains and toast, washed down with grateful gulps of Morning Glory Fair-trade Coffee.

I doubted that either of us had slept a wink, being much occupied with our own expectations of how the day would turn out. Indeed we spoke very little to each other, even as we made our way down the zig zag stairs to the bottom.

I could practically hear the young boy’s voice in his head, speaking aloud of his well thought out plans, so intense was his inward gaze. In fact, he seemed startled to learn that we had arrived already, and could see the crew readying the ship to sail.

The giant merchant brig was stilled moored, a silent, watchful guardian. Little waves bubbled and slapped up against it’s monstrous sides, the barnacles piled on top of one another like so many years of travel.

The bellowing of the relays across the docks transported me once again to my childhood days and adventures at sea with my father.
Those very adventures shaped my young heart’s dreams.

I had a dream for every port we landed in, every island we discovered on our trade routes. I dreamed of speaking these exotic languages, of singing their traditional songs, and of living as one with the people and their cultures.
If only for a time…. then my dreams would take me on to the next sunset, through a night’s sparkling sky of charts, and on to the new day’s adventures.

At that moment I wondered if the boy really understood the feeling of being land locked. To feel the call of the sea, and not be able to answer. The sea is a mighty, demanding mistress, and not easily refused.
Not a day goes by that I don’t hear her. Like a siren’s call to the depths of my soul. Still, I resist…
“Which is what the boy will have to do” I told myself as I spied the Captain heading our way.

A handsome man, the Captain’s tall stately form was easily distinguished from the others as he strode with purpose toward us. I had a moment to study him as he approached and noticed the tufts of curly red/blonde hair escaping the confines of his Cap.
His blue eyes were kind but stern as he directed them at the boy.

The boy dropped his head, then looked at me in a silent plea. I cleared my throat and spoke in a firm tone. “Good day to you, Captain Bryson, I am…..

“I know who you are, you’re the Merchant “up top”, he indicated the top of the cliff face in the direction of my shoppe with a tilt of his head. I guess, with my father gone, I am The Merchant now. At least, until his return.

“I appreciate you watching out for the boy. Frankly, I’m surprised at you son” He directed this to the lad. You know the penalty for missing curfew. What were you about?”

The boy remained silent. I could see the worry lines on the Captain’s face, and wondered if he had lain awake through the night as well, wondering where the child was. But, of course, the nightwatch must have related to him the whereabouts of the boy, as he had been the one to direct the boy to my home. No, the captain had a host of other worries on his mind, let alone the responsiblity of a young child to care for.
Still, I felt ashamed that I had not relayed some message to the man regarding the child’s wellbeing. I must have been even more tired than I’d realized.

“I say, Captain Bryson, I must speak to you a moment. I am not here to return the child to you, but to seek your permission to care for him in your absence.” There, I said it, and the look on his face was worth a goodly sum of treasure. He was indeed surprised.

But I kept on, “I will see to his education, see that he has a roof over his head, and may possibly even have some work for him to do at the shoppe. It would be good for him to experience home and hearth. I understand the importance of Powder Monkeys but…”

“No. it’s not that, the boy is my ward”. He lifted his hat and ran his hand through his unruly curls. “He is my promise to an old friend”. The boy looked up at that last. “He is my responsibility, and I take that as seriously as my life.” He punctuated that remark with a firm push of his hat back atop his head.

“I understand” I interjected quickly, “and can appreciate the value of your loyal promise, and the protection you have provided, but surely you can appreciate what it is that I am offering?
You must see that he is of an age to begin his schooling, in truth, he is well past.
He is determined to be a Captain of his own ship, very soon I might add, and is ready to be about the business of learning how to become a responsible adult so that he may “Become somebody” as he put it.
I am afraid that you are the one who has instilled this in him, and this admirable desire must be pursued.”

I waited for an eternity while my words were considered. Then he spoke, “We are due to cast off in minutes. Although I know the truth of your words, I cannot make this decision without prayerful consideration in my own time.
I shall seriously consider your kind proposal, and will discuss it further with you when next we meet”.

He put his hand on the boy’s shoulder, not unkindly, “Go on son, get aboard now, there are duties to attend to.” I could see that the Captain did genuinely care for the boy, and felt relieved for the boy’s sake.

“Wait” I said, “Captain Bryson, I was aboard ship the first eight years of my life as well. I know what the boy is experiencing. Adventure, camaraderie, discovery, all of it is unforgettable, and irreplaceable.
Time passes though, and new horizons await us.
Please, think on this while you’re away, and I will await your decision upon your return.”

“I will, and thank you miss….. “Dalena, I told him. I am The Merchant’s daughter.”

“Dalena then, we shall see you again upon our return.” He turned quickly and left the boy and I standing silently. I saw a mixture of sadness and adventure in his eyes, and understood.
Ah yes, the call of the sea…..

I knelt and hugged him. “You know where I am” I pointed up at the shoppe. “Come to me when you return. There’s more corned beef and cabbage to be had than I care to eat!”

“I will ma’am. Thank you ma’am”. He turned and I grabbed his arm, “wait, I don’t even know your name!”

“Oh” he smiled, “it’s Daniel” and then he was gone.

I knew I would miss him, though I’d only known him for a short while. “Daniel, such a polite boy” I mused.

I watched them for awhile then turned to go. I still had some time before opening the shop, but I wanted to get there early to pick some herbs that were growing in the garden ‘round back.

I stood on the landing halfway up the stairs and waved to the tiny figure on the deck of the brig. He waved back to me then continued on with his duties. They were casting off now.

As I watched the brig gliding gracefully out upon the water, I knew that the weeks would pass quickly and then we would see what decision had been made.

In the meantime, there was someone I just had to see…….

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Merchant’s Log: Sixth Entry

April 16th, 2009

Merchant’s Log http://www.thetreasuremerchants.com
6th Entry

Evening

As I approached my doorway, the young boy jumped up from where he was sitting and ran to help me with my armful of items.

He looked tired and dirty. “I suppose you need a place for the night?” I asked him. “Yes, if you please”. So polite.
I gave him a long, hard look but waited to question him, and opened the door to get us both inside.

I supposed that he might have been used as a Powder Monkey onboard the ship, as so many orphan boys are. Although these are not warring frigates-these great ships used by the Merchant Captains- still, they were fitted with all the necessary accoutrements of defense at sea. These young boys are often picked up off the docks and given an occupation of fetching gun powder in times of battle, or other ship’s duties when not.

It provides them with an occupation, a roof over their heads and food in their bellies for so long as they are at sea. “At least it keeps them off the streets for the time being,” I told myself doubtfully.

I wondered if he was just biding his time, until the ship was due to cast off again, poor soul. Probably hadn’t had a full meal in months.

I led him to the kitchen and lit the stove for the hot water.
I gave him a towel, (with one of the tropical fruit soaps tucked inside) orders to wash up, and as he shuffled off with grumblings under his breath about “taking a bath” I set about seeing to our dinner.

Only ten minutes later and my guest was gratefully seated at the table with a plate of hot steaming corned beef and cabbage, and freshly baked bread from the Market before him.

I admit, I was doubtful of the thoroughness of his bath in so short a time, but kept my own counsel. In any case, I could detect the tropical fragrance of Mango and Lime, and knew that possibly some soap had been utilized in the process.

After he’d eaten a goodly portion and the table was cleared, we settled back to a hot mug of African Nectar tea. The tea’s warm cinnamon notes were soothing, and with my cat curled up and purring on my lap, I put my questions to the young lad.

“And where is the merchant who brought you to shore? Did you say that he was your father?” The day was catching up with me and I’m afraid the details of his seemingly outlandish story were sketchy at best.

“No, he is not my father. My father trusted me into his care before he died and Capn’ Bryson has taken care of me since. He’s a good man and all…..and a good captain, but I do miss my father.”
The boy buried his face in his hot mug of tea.

I knew just how he felt, and experienced a sudden rush of true compassion for the boy and his plight. Although I knew that my father was alive, somewhere, I missed him beyond telling.

“Anyhow”, he continued, “seein’ as we’re casting off in the morning, I just needed a place to stay for the night. Capn’s sleepin’ aboard the “Ol’ Girl”, and I didn’t make it back to the docks in time to check in”.

I cocked my head at him in question. He shrugged, “Capn’s got a real strict rule about curfew, and if you don’t make it back to the ship in time, ya get locked out. I guess I was having too much fun at the Great Market” He hung his head sheepishly.

I felt badly for the boy, so much so, that something was gnawing at me. I could do some good here. Lord knows we all need a chance.

This boy was too young to spend all his days aboard a ship, underfed, and overworked, without a chance for education and learning. Without a chance to know what it is to have the comforts of hearth and home. Perhaps Captain Bryson was a fair man, surely he could see reason in this.

Without taking the time to really think it over, I found myself saying, “What if you could stay behind this trip? What if there was work to be had here, food every day, and you had a place to stay?
I mean, it wouldn’t be easy, you’d have to go to school, and there would be chores to do…….”

“You…you mean….I could stay with you?” His eyes were wide with delight, and I felt a little start of something burning in my own. That blasted wind was blowing something fierce on my way home, must have gotten sand in my eyes.

“I wouldn’t get in the way. I’ll do everything you say!” He almost whispered the last, as if he dared to hope.

I was a bit taken aback by his excitement. “But wouldn’t you miss the ship? Captain Bryson?”

“Of course! I would miss it all, but I want to be somebody! Capn’ says that I got to learn about other things beside’s just sailing if I’m to have my own ship someday. I’m almost nine years old now, and I’m running out of time!”

I felt a twitch at the corner of my mouth, and quickly recovered. It was rare to see such serious, youthful urgency, and a strong sense of awareness in one so young.

In so many ways, he reminded me of myself, and my youthful days of wild adventure aboard my father’s Merchant ship. Oh the times we had, but I wanted more….
I wanted to learn more than what my father could teach me.

He’d left me behind that first spring with a relative. I don’t know who was the sorrier, he or I, at his leaving. School was beginning, and I was to start my learning in truth. By the time he came back at the end of summer, I proudly related to him all I’d learned.

His look of pride positively set my heart to glowing. Yes. I could well understand this boy.

I came back to the moment. “Well, we’ll see. First I must speak with Captain Bryson and ask him for permission to have you stay”.
I felt a stab of fear that the Captain might not be able to do without the young lad at such short notice.

I could see the hope in his eyes, although heavy lidded. I knew I’d have to make up a bed for him, and set about it.

What a day! All thoughts of that long hot bath were now abandoned. I’d have to make a quick rinse of it and catch up on my book reading another night.

I was going to need my sleep if I was going to match wits with this Captain Bryson come morning……

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Merchant’s Log Fifth Entry

March 20th, 2009

Merchant’s Log www.thetreasuremerchants.com

5th Entry

Evening

“Hello” I replied, “may I help you?” I was staring into the warm brown eyes of a young boy, his sandy hair partially covering one of them.

“No thank you, I was just looking”. You seemed sad, so I thought I’d say hello.

“Oh, did I”? Well I suppose I was just lost in thought, would you like some refreshment?”

“Yes please” his eyes lit up. Polite boy.
I served him some cold tropical green tea and he practically had it down in one gulp.

He was eyeing the green tea bars too, and as I couldn’t ignore the hungry look in his eyes, I handed him one as I refilled his cup.

I noticed that he was dressed differently than the local folks, and wondered where he had come from.
He inquired about my sundial compass and I explained that while it was indeed a genuine compass, it was also used to gauge the hour of the day by using the sun’s light upon the needle. It was heavy in his small hands as he caressed the cold bronze. He seemed fascinated by it, and as we talked, I learned that he had arrived only a few nights before on the evening tide.

I remembered that that was the evening that the mysterious package had arrived, and was surprised that I hadn’t thought of it at all today, or the person for whom that package was being held.

I asked him to tell me more about himself, and the merchant ship he had sailed in on. He related some wild tales about some far off islands, adventures at sea, and how, when dangerously close to our part of the world, they had been attacked by pirates.

It seems that just when all should have been lost, another ship came hard to and her crew was boarded before they knew it. The pirates were quickly vanquished, and all was set to rights.

I smiled privately to myself that the boy would have me believe all that he told me and that pirates were seen so close to our shores. Although incredibly detailed for one so young, I discounted his tale as nothing short of some young boy’s idle imaginings.

The boy left shortly after to take in the rest of the market and as the day wore on, I began to hear more of this same tale from the lips of some of the locals. Another merchant had verified the story it seems. I wondered I had not heard of it before now.

As I picked up snippets of conversation between other vendors,
I tried to find some correlation of the story to my mysterious stranger, but could find no hint of it. Certainly the night watch had said nothing to me of such a tale when he’d handed me the package, so covertly delivered.

At day’s end, when all was put away for the night, I said goodnight to the last of the Bazaar guests as they were leaving, and made my way past the now empty booths of the other vendors.

Spices and the scents of incense still clung to the air, mingled with the dying embers of the now empty hearths. I could still smell the aroma of freshly baked bread, and was glad I had been able to aquire a loaf earlier on. It was still warm in my arms.

The great tent was mostly quiet now as the last of the merchants busily packed away their belongings. They would be welcomed to take shelter here for the night, before moving on in the morning to the next market.

Some preferred to sleep out under the stars though, or in their wagons. I could see the campfires being readied, and smell the savory scents of exotic foods as I exited through the main door of the great tent and out into the night.

The wind had picked up, bringing a pleasant chill to the air from off the ocean. Indeed it felt wonderful and cooling as I walked down the main thoroughfare. I passed by my shoppe, the shutters closed tightly against the wind, climbed down the zig zag stairs to the bottom, and picked my way across the docks to the other side.

I waved to the night watch who waved back with a rather curious look on his face. I couldn’t make it out but that it looked as if he was laughing. I thought of what a sight I must be after a long day on my feet, and my arms full of some of the bread and the tropical fruit fragranced soaps from England. Truth be told, I couldn’t wait to try them out.

The first thing I would do when I got home would be to draw a hot bath, put water on for tea, and relax with my “Dragonstone” book (After a hot meal of course), My favorite way to celebrate the end of the day.

It was dark as I approached the cottage that my father and I used to share. The street lamp was burning brightly however, and it shown upon my front porch quite nicely.

There, with a sheepish grin on his face, sat the young boy from today.

I now knew why the night watch was smiling.

Ah well, it seems there will be two for tea tonight…….

Buzz: where can you find the products featured in the Bazaar?

Shop The Treasure Merchants at:
www.thetreasuremerchants.com

Copyright 2009, The Treasure Merchants, all rights reserved.

Merchant’s Log: Fourth entry

February 25th, 2009

Merchant’s Log February 24 http://www.thetreasuremerchants.com

4th entry

Evening,

There is something to be said for Market Day……..

Spending the day at the Bazaar was both exhausting and exhilarating. The sights, sounds and intoxicating aromas have so filled my senses that I know tonight, my dreams shall transport me once again to all the events and happenings of the day.

After making my purchases for the shop this morning, I rushed back to my tent to see a line of customers waiting to be let in. Sean had seen that they all had refreshments, and I shot him a grateful grin as I shuffled passed and into the back, with my arms loaded with treasures.

The day saw a myriad of cultures, some showing the very best of their wares, and others seeking to acquire them. Woven turbans and brightly colored robes flowed past me in shimmering elegance as dignitaries from some far off lands perused my offerings.

Small animals chirped from shoulders of others, pockets and pouches of spices were slung over arms or swinging from belts in a fragrant tour of the great tent. The sound of tinkling anklets and headdresses lent their musical embellishments to the atmosphere

I met many a kind person who lingered long over certain of my treasures, and soon the treasures were wrapped and packaged in tidy bundles for them to carry.

A lovely lady that had come to my shop for Moroccan tea glasses came by, and purchased several of my nutritious green tea mints and green tea bars. It was nice seeing her again. I gave her a sample of some tea for her to take home and enjoy with them.

An Indian Handmade Treasure Box went to it’s new owner, an Aladdin’s lamp Incense Burner, a Handmade Coin Purse from Peru, and a Baby Sweet Potato Ocarina all went to new homes rather early in the day.

Just as I was laying out more refreshments, a kind lady asked about the preserves. They are from “Armenia and considered the best”, I told her. She took the last of the Young Walnut and also some Blackberry. “How well they go with tea and toast”, I thought as my stomach rumbled in anticipation. I really do need to eat before these events. I reached for a green tea bar for sustenance.

I saw Ms. Van Buren again, For some reason I always feel so comforted when she is near. She spied the Shepherd Bells I had acquired and asked me about them. I excitedly related to her my personal history regarding the bells, and my discovery of this lot only today.

She asked to hear them, and I obliged. After one clear tone that rang through the noise of the marketplace, she knew why I loved them and had to have them as well. She purchased three of them in different sizes to hang together from her porch.

A merchant carrying a chest of jeweled and beaded garments approached to show me his wares. Indeed I have never seen such handiwork, utilizing beads, metal, bells and other fittings to dazzle the eye. And the colors!

I admit, I was smitten by their beauty and purchased almost all he carried, along with hand symbols and jewels for the body. I learned that all these were used in the art of Belly Dance, and was intrigued at the stories he told of the prowess of these elegant, nubile dancers.

I met a few of the fair traders I had been hearing so much about. It seems that they really do not use women and children as slaves in manufacturing their wares, and even give the poor souls a fair wage and healthier work conditions.

I shook hands with them and purchased many types of beautiful, handcrafted bags of all shapes and sizes. There were also Woven Scarves from the Island of Cristabel, Silver Jewelry from the Surin Mountains of Thailand, and Hand-woven Baskets from Kenya.

It felt good to support their mission, and I couldn’t help but think that father would be proud. His trade routes had been taking him farther and farther out in search of new and undiscovered treasures.

After being gone for months at a time, he would return with stories of the conditions of some of the villages he’d visited. He was outraged at the treatment of the workers, and often would stay longer just to help build better shelters and work to improve their environment before leaving.

I’m sure his presence alone must have brought them hope and dreams of future commerce and prosperity for their villages.

Yes, he would be proud to know there was a change coming, and we could really be a part of it.
I found myself closing my eyes to breathe a silent prayer, “God, please keep my father safe until he is found”.

I opened my eyes and into another pair. “Hello”………

Buzz: where can you find the products featured in the Bazaar?

Shop The Treasure Merchants at:
www.thetreasuremerchants.com

Copyright 2009, The Treasure Merchants, all rights reserved.

Merchant’s Log: Third Entry

February 16th, 2009

Merchant’s Log February 16 http://www.thetreasuremerchants.com

3rd Entry

Morning

The morning dawned bright and beautiful. There was an excitement in the air today, as it is with every ”Market” day. Showing my wares at the Bazaar is especially enjoyable to me, as it gives me a chance to get out of the shoppe and meet new faces, and take in all the sights and sounds of the hustle and bustle atmosphere of the “Great Marketplace”.

Merchants and traders from exotic cultures near and far would be gathering to display their wares and to offer trade. The many caravans would arrive heavy laden with treasures, and I hoped to acquire some for my shoppe.

My steps were light and quick as I went by the shoppe to gather a few things, put the sign on the door “Meet me at the Bazaar” and headed down the main thoroughfare to where the “Great Marketplace” was being readied.

The main tent of the great Market was massive, as it held all the other smaller tents beneath it to shield the merchants and buyers from inclement weather and dust. Outside the main tent, brightly painted wagons were in place, opened in the back with an awning propped up for shade. Wares hanging, draped or stacked for best effect.

Inside, as I entered, such a myriad of heady scents tickled my nose. Incense braziers were puffing wafts of frankincense, myrrh and amber into the air. Baskets and barrels were being filled with grains, spices, and fruits. Freshly baked breads, pies and other delicacies filled the air with a warm “hearthy” goodness.

Tinkling bells and chimes lent a glittering sound to the ambience. Silken and velvet, beaded fabrics were artfully draped across tables and mannequins to show their fine workmanship.

My tent, or my” Bazaar”, as it is called. Is located beneath the main tent, in the corner of the “great marketplace”. I had asked Sean to bring my wagon on ahead this morning, and he was busily setting up the crates and barrels for display.

After everything was in place, there were a few minutes left before the throng of people gathering outside, would be allowed to enter. I took this opportunity to dash through the market to acquire the best pick of items for my shoppe.

I passed by a merchant with beautiful silken, mirrored and beaded pillow covers. They sparkled and glittered in their colorful arrangement. I learned that they were from India and were handmade. I could picture them all throughout my home as well as the shoppe, so I purchased some in every color.

Next, I came to a merchant selling fragrances for the bath and body in wonderful tropical fruit aromas.
I took a deep breath, imagined myself on a lush tropic island, and purchased some of each. As I carried them along, I felt my stomach ache in hunger for want of some real tropical fruit to eat!

And something curious… I came upon a merchant, placing some nuts in a bowl. The curious part was that he then poured a little water in the bowl, swirled it around a little, and foam and bubbles started to form!
“A natural soap from the earth that is grown on trees. Used since ancient times to cleanse the hair, body, and clothes without harmful additives.” he told me. They were called Soapnuts. I knew I must have them for my shoppe, as many of my customers have been asking me for something such as this to use. I made my purchase and turned to go back to my tent with my armload of treasures.

As I turned, I was surprised to see a merchant, selling, of all things, shepherd bells!
“Just like the one on my shoppe door” I mused. The hand hammered copper bells have such a true tone unlike any other bell. They say that the sound can be heard from one valley to the next.
I felt a pang of loss as I remembered my father, who had placed our bell atop the door the day we opened the new shoppe. Such a simple thing, but he beamed with pride every time that bell rang as another customer walked through our door. It signified the success that had made our move to a larger location imminent.

I roused myself from the memory and shook my head to clear it. “Well, he’ll come back, they’ll find him, I know it”. I had to continue to remain strong for him.
I lifted my chin, gave the man what I owed him, and took his entire collection of bells!
Perhaps this was my own way of assuring myself of success. Success in my merchant friends finding my father, presumed lost at sea these many months. Whatever the case, I now had shepherd bells in three sizes! Now it was my turn to beam with pride all the way back to my tent.

Oh, customers waiting!………………..

Buzz: where can you find the products featured in the Bazaar?

Shop The Treasure Merchants at:http://www.thetreasuremerchants.com

Copyright 2009, The Treasure Merchants, all rights reserved.

Merchant’s Log: Second Entry

February 11th, 2009

Merchant’s Log: February 10 http://www.thetreasuremerchants.com

Evening

Second Entry

A glorious day it was indeed! The merchant brig I had seen earlier on the horizon brought wonderful new treasures! It was like Christmas unwrapping each precious one and placing them, just so, around the shop.
I was visited by several neighbors today, out enjoying the spring like weather. They came into the shop laughing and smiling, and brought with them such an infectious mood that I found myself smiling incessantly back at them.

One dear lady, a lovely blonde woman, asked if I carried artisan teas. I had just the thing!
I had been brewing some Mighty Leaf vanilla bean tea, and offered her a cup. The delight on her kind face was such a pleasure to see. Her daughter was with her, and remarked that it was her birthday today. The kind lady sneaked a pack of Victorian era Scatter Garden flower seeds, and asked to purchase them when the young girl looked away.

I handed her the package covertly, “Thank you Ms. Van Buren, it was a pleasure”.
And indeed it was, as I saw her give the seeds to her just outside on the bench, and the young girl was delighted. “It’s nice to see young people interested in Gardening” I thought to myself, what a lovely, thoughtful gift.

A young couple stopped by the shop today, a fireman and his wife. They loved the Castelbel Home fragrance from Portugal. They were so in love with each other too, it was evident in their every movement! I recommended to them the chocolate and wine pairing set, as well, for the upcoming day of celebration of St. Valentine.

I met a young man who purchased a recording of music from Vietnam for his lovely wife, and another kind lady who purchased one for her daughter’s birthday. I gift wrapped it for her with love and attention, as that is my favorite occupation, and sent it off with her.

Let’s see, an African coil basket, a Chinese theatrical and Arabic music for a gentleman, olive oil soap and rose water for another couple, English Rose bath gel for a beautiful young lady, a set of Moroccan tea glasses, Venezuela dark chocolate, more English rose……….

Yes, I would say it was a glorious day!

I am just closing up shop now. The day flew by with so many interesting guests. It’s late, so I am taking the shorter route home. As I blow out the candle by the door, I look around in the fading light.
Sounds of laughter from the day remain, fragrances all mingled in a happy combination, and as I look, I spy the special package still on the shelf.

Hmm, the mysterious “Stranger” never arrived.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?…………………….

Buzz: Where can you find the products featured in the Treasure Merchants shop?

Shop The Treasure Merchants at: http://www.thetreasuremerchants.com

Copyright 2009, The Treasure Merchants, all rights reserved.

Merchant’s Log: First Entry

February 11th, 2009

Merchant’s Log: February10 http://www.thetreasuremerchants.com

Morning

First Entry.

The Storms must have raged through the night, for as I made my way across the docks through the early morning fog, I could see that the mooring lines had come loose from their fittings, driftwood and other debris had crowded up against the docksides.

I made a mental note to myself to help clean up the mess before the next merchant ship arrived,
But for now, a hot cup of coffee was calling me.

I climbed the wood plank, zig zag steps up to the first landing and paused to take a breath. I was carrying a special package today, one long awaited for, and did not want to risk dropping it.
As I carefully checked the bundle beneath my cape, I caught the faint whiff of deep dark chocolate escape the pouch.
Not just any chocolate. A rare variety from the Ivory Coast that had come on the evening tide, brought by a merchant ship rarely seen in these parts.
As my thoughts wandered to where he had come from, and what adventures had been his, I tucked the precious parcel back inside, and began the climb up the next set of stairs.

I could see the shutters to the shop first through the fog, followed by the quaint round front door, with it’s time ravaged bell fixed atop. I made another mental note to myself to get a new bell soon, though this one still rang true, and frankly, shepherd bells are hard to find these days.

I put my package down on the front bench, smelling the Lavender in the window boxes as I did so.
Ah, (deep breath) I will never tire of that fragrance!
I straightened the “Treasure Merchants” sign that had blown askew in the storm, broke off a few sprigs of rosemary and tucked it into my shirt pocket, and opened the door.

I made my way straight to the french coffee percolator. I measured out a few teaspoons of my favorite Blessed Bean coffee, (Sumatra, if you must know), and while it perked and dripped, I busied myself in readying the shop for opening.

I threw the shutters wide, and breathed in the ocean air. From here, overlooking the vast blue sea, we can see for miles in all directions. The air is crisp and clear up here and full of surprises.
(Sometimes I can smell the spices from the merchant ships from miles off).
On the horizon I could see a ship, a merchant brig whose colors I well knew. The gulls had already started to gather on the docks, and the longshoremen were busy at their preparations.

As the morning fog slowly burned away, I could see that the storm had indeed passed.
We were in for a gloriously sunny day.
The coffee’s aroma was filling the shop, and as I arranged the special fragrant soaps from England, and Portugal, straightened the spicy incense from India, and took in all the sparkling treasures that filled each nook and cranny, my thoughts went back to the chocolate.

I carefully opened the Pouch of fair trade chocolate (another plus, I thought) and inhaled the heady dark scent. A stamp in the brick read “Theo”.
Tucked inside the cambric fabric was a cryptic note that simply read “Hold for stranger”.

“Hold for stranger?” how odd, I thought. Virtually everyone in these parts is a stranger or traveler or some such. So many come and go in this “portal to the world” that I can barely keep track of all the visiting faces. This ship or that with it’s exotic passengers and colorful Sea Captains.
Oh well, I folded the cambric gently back around the brick of decadence, and put it on the shelf for safe keeping.

Whoever this “stranger” was, I would meet him soon enough…………………..

Buzz: Where can you find the products featured in the Treasure Merchants shop?

Shop The Treasure Merchants at:
http://www.thetreasuremerchants.com

Copyright by “The Treasure Merchants” 2009, all rights reserved.