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Stories For Free
The Marble Trader Part 1

The Marble Trader Part 1 | 2


During the waning years of the Depression in a small south-eastern Idaho community, I used to stop by Brother Miller's roadside stand for farm-fresh produce as the season made it available. Food and money were still extremely scarce and bartering was used extensively.

One particular day, Brother Miller was bagging some early potatoes for me. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas. I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas.

(Read Related : Greetings SMS)

I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Brother Miller and the ragged boy next to me.

"Hello Barry, how are you today?"
"Hello, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank you. Just admiring the peas. They sure look good."
"They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?"
"Fine. Getting stronger all the time."
“Good. Anything I can help you with?"
"No, Sir. Just admiring the peas."
"Would you like to take some home?"
"No, Sir. Got nothing to pay for them."
"Well, what do you have to trade with me for some of those peas?"
"All I got is my prize marble here."
"Is that right? Let me see it."
"Here it is. She's a dandy."
"I can see that. Hmm, the only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?"
"Not exactly. But almost."
"Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and on your next trip, let me look at that red marble."
"Sure will. Thanks, Mr. Miller."


(Read Related : Real Life Story)

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me.
With a smile she said, "There are two other boys like him in our community. All three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, perhaps."

The Marble Trader Part 1 | 2


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