The Gamin and the Goatherd

Once upon a time, there was a city. And in that city were the rich, and the poor. Among the rich were the people who worked the market, wherein could be found the innumerable marvels and mysterious odds and ends that accumulated in the city from the ends of the earth. Among the poor were those who visited the market, but could not afford its greatest treasures.

The gamin was one such creature. Although she possessed a pale white coat and carried herself with as much dignity as her upbringing permitted, she was not wealthy. Her father was a priest at the temple, and a stern but kind man. Nevertheless priests are not wealthy, for the gods provide only prosperity and good fortune, but the market provides food and weapons and jeweled accessories which grace the neck or finger. And so the gamin visited the market from curiosity, but did not buy.

Within the market she would sometimes notice a goatherd. Three times they spoke, and she laughed each time because the poor boy called her a princess and she knew that she was no such thing. But she took her leave of the strange boy and his fancies, for she knew from vague recollection that he would sit for hours by the gates of the market and stare at the passersby.

In time the gamin grew to adulthood, and she married well, for she was very beautiful, and men would regard her in the same way as they regarded the jeweled accessories of the market. Because she was perceptive and wise as well as beautiful, this fact did not escape her notice, and it sometimes caused her to remember her days at the market. She gave no special thought to the goatherd. For he had been a very strange boy, and had he wished to speak to her more he would have done so. He was perhaps too interested in the passing crowds to pay her much heed, and so he passed gradually from her memory.