The Three Travellers
by Edward D. Hoch
Page 2 of 6
Then he returned to the place where Melchior had erected their
tent. They had learned from past encampments to leave nothing of
value with the horses, and Gaspar immediately asked the location
of the gold.
"It is safe," Balthazar told him. "Hidden in the bottom of
this grain bag."
"Good. And the perfume?"
"With our regular supplies. No one would steal that."
Melchior chuckled. "If they did, we could smell out the
culprits quickly enough!"
And then Balthazar said, "There is gaming tonight, near the
"I know," Gaspar replied. "But it is not for us."
The fat man held out his hands in a gesture of innocence. "We
could but look," he said.
And Gaspar reluctantly agreed. "Very well."
Later, when the fire had been kindled and the people of Ziza
came forth from their tents to mingle, the three travellers
joined them. Almost at once Gaspar was sought out by a village
elder, a man with wrinkled skin and rotting teeth. "I am Dibon,"
he said, choosing a seat next to Gaspar. "Do you come from the
"Yes, from Persia."
"A long journey. What brings you this far?"
Gaspar did not wish to answer. Instead, he motioned towards a
group of men with small smooth stones before them. "What manner
of sport is this?"
"It is learned from the Egyptians, as are most things
sinful." Then the old man leaned closer, and Gaspar could smell
the foul odour of his breath. "Some say you are a magus."
"I have studied the teachings of Zoroaster, as have my
companions. In truth some would consider me a magus."
"Then you journey in search of Mazda?"
"In search of truth," Gaspar replied.
Page: 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6