Pride of the Traveler
by Bryce Beattie
© 2012 Bryce Beattie
The thick curtains parted and the traveler entered the tent. An old woman was removing talismans, scarves and necklaces from ropes attached to the tent’s poles. It smelled of incense and wax. In the center of the tent was a rickety table and two stools.
“Come in and sit.” The old gypsy motioned to a worn stool in the center of the room. “I am Drabardi Fawe. Who are you?”
The man sat on the stool. “I’ve been called ‘Key’ since I was eight or so.”
The woman put the last of the scarves in a trunk and sat on the other stool. “Well, Key the traveler, if you arrived later one hour, I would be gone. But you’ve caught me. What can I do for you?”
“The man outside said you tell the future.”
She shook her pointer finger in the air. “No, no, no.” The deep lines on her face stretched as she smiled. “He said I tell fortunes, not that I see the future.”
Key smiled back. “Is there a difference?”
“Oh, yes.” She put her hand on the table. “Yes, indeed.”
“In that case, Drabardi Fawe, read me my fortune.”
“I’ll get some things. You wait.”
Key marveled at how swiftly and gracefully she moved as she left the tent. He was certain that this gypsy was by far the oldest woman in the little town, but she went with the energy of a child.
His eyes searched around the tent and he wondered what it looked like when the old woman had it fully decorated with her many wares. For now it was bare. And hot.
Before Key’s thoughts could wander too far, Drabardi Fawe returned with a bowl of water in one hand, and a rolled piece of parchment in the other. Now she wore a red bandanna on her head and quite a bit more jewelry on her neck and fingers.
“Why didn’t you just send your lover outside for all that?”