The Peddler

In County Lincolnshire, in the village of Spilsby between the Lincolnshire Wolds and the Fenland, for centuries told there lived a peace-loving people. Spilsby has been and will always be a market town.  

Home to butchers, bakers, haberdashers, jewelers and farmers, four main roads radiate from the town center where each year the townspeople host its annual market. Known for fine wares and excellent harvests, people travel there to partake of its offerings. Because the market carries significance, Spilsby’s peace-loving folk work in harmony year-round to make the event a success. It can be said of its people that love of neighbor is their highest aim, their chief export. 

In this certain year, the village was particularly proud of its harvest. Measured against town lore and history, most felt this was the best they had known in their lifetime. No one could remember a better one.  

Now the time had come for its annual market, so the village made preparations. On market eve, while the sun passed solar noon, a peddler ambled into town in search of the market’s chief magistrate. Finding him, a deal was struck to sell his wares at market. 

Market day arrived and Spilsby filled with people. All came with something in mind to buy. Some noticed an odd sort who had not been there before selling his goods. 

Noticing a peculiar tool, the first buyer approached the peddler. “Please sir, tell me about this tool.” “It is a unique tool, multi-purposed. Once used, you will think all things a means to an end, even your neighbor.” The buyer responded, “I do not wish to think this way. No, thank you.” 

Then, another approached and noticed a puzzle. “Please, sir, tell me about this puzzle.” “The puzzle is unsolvable. Give it to your friends as a trick and they will learn to give up. Once tried, futility will be their life perspective.” The buyer thought. “I do not think this fun.” And he moved on. 

Another came eyeing a measuring rod. In need of one, he asked, “Sir, tell me about your ruler. Besides its utility, it has an enticing appearance. Its hue and patina are of interest to me.” “This measure has ancient origins. It is of a sort used by the Greeks. Once used, man’s measure will be how you measure all things.” Pausing in thought, he said, “I could never buy such an object. I’ll look elsewhere.” 

Hours passed and the peddler showed nothing for his efforts. The sun leaned west. The crowd thinned. Then, a young girl approached. 

“Hello, young lady.” “Hello. Can you tell me about your tulips? They’re beautiful.” “My dear lass, tulips of this variety are a symbol of forgiveness. Smelling their fragrance, you will understand forgiveness is a mere accommodation.”  With her eyes showing pause, she said, “Sir, forgiveness is an act of love. I will buy them.” With that, she turned and gave them to the peddler. 

The day ended. The peddler packed his wares and left Spilsby never to return. 

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