Return of the Magic Egg Peddler
By Valerie L. Egar
A long time ago, a well-dressed peddler in a handsome donkey cart sold the townspeople of Dolton a wagon full of coconuts, saying they were ‘magic wishing eggs.’ “These eggs will grant whatever you desire, if handled properly,” he’d told them. Though the peddler intended the shipment for Dundershine, the townspeople of Dolton would not be outdone and offered the peddler ten times what the Dundershiners offered to pay. He took their money and hightailed it out of town.
Though the Dolton villagers never expected to see him again, a year later his red cart wheeled into town on market day, just like the year before. His donkey was fatter and the peddler, who was tall with a well-trimmed beard, had added a few inches to his girth. Like the year before, the cart was full of coconuts.
Word spread that the scoundrel who cheated them was back in town. An angry crowd quickly gathered. The peddler stood. “Good citizens of Dolton, how happy I am to see to you!”
“We want our money back!” shouted one man.
“You’re a fraud,” yelled a woman.
The peddler frowned. “Did the magic eggs not work?”
The crowd roared. “Not one of ‘em!”
The peddler held up his hands. “I am on my way to Dundershine, since they missed their shipment last year and I always keep my promises. Would I drive through Dolton if I cheated you? No! You’d never see me again.”
A few people in the crowd nodded. That they would never see him again if he were a cheater seemed logical.
“I guarantee my products. I told you that last year. If you used the eggs properly, I stand ready to give each and every one of you your money back.” He took a fat wallet from his pocket and placed it on the cart seat. “Now step right up and tell me why you were dissatisfied.”
A gruff man walked to the front. “’Cause it didn’t work! I held it like you said and asked for a pretty wife, a house and a good horse. Nothing happened.
The peddler shook his head. “How many people here made more than one wish?”
Most raised their hands.
The peddler sighed. “Do two or three chicks come out of one egg? No. One egg, one wish. More than that is greedy.”
The people who had made lots of wishes felt embarrassed. One egg, one wish made sense. They’d done it wrong.
“I need money. I held the magic egg and imagined gold,” a woman said, “and I don’t have a drop of it.”
The peddler considered and shook his head. “I notice your dress is gold color.”
“Like mustard!” the woman cackled. The crowd laughed.
“And I’ll bet you got the dress after you made the wish.”
“Yes, I did,” she said.
“You visualized the color,” the peddler said, “and a dress that color came to you. I’m afraid the magic egg worked, but you weren’t specific enough.”
The woman looked confused.
“Next time visualize coins, gold coins. Piles of them. That will work.”
Fewer people were grumbling, more convinced than ever they’d used the magic eggs incorrectly.
A young boy stepped forward. “But the eggs don’t work!” he cried. “I wished for a dog and nothing happened.”
The peddler pointed to the dog standing next to the boy. “Is that your dog?”
The boy nodded. “I bought him from a farmer when the egg didn’t work.”
The peddler smiled. “Then the egg DID work. You wished for a dog and got a dog. You didn’t think it was going to hatch from the magic egg did you?”
The boy reddened. “I guess not.”
“Anyone else?” the peddler asked.
The town lawyer came to the cart and shook the peddler’s hand, smiling. “I was angry the eggs didn’t work and wished I’d see you again to give you a piece of my mind and here you are!”
“No better proof the eggs work than that!” said the peddler.
The lawyer agreed. “Tell me, why are you wasting the magic eggs on Dundershine when we’d be happy to buy them?”
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Copyright 2018 by Valerie L. Egar. May not be copied, reproduced or distributed without permission from the author.
Published June 10, 2018 Journal Tribune Sunday (Biddeford, ME).