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The People of Sparks
by Jeanne DuPrau
p.95-96 “Special things first.” She bent over an open crate and rummaged around for a moment. When she stood up again, she was holding a blackened iron cooking pot, so big she had to use both hands to lift it. “What am I offered?” she cried.
“Half a bushel of dried apricots!”
“A bushel of peas!”
“Barrel of cornmeal!”
“The woman listened, cocking her head, her eyebrows raised. She waited until the offers stopped, then she pointed to a tall young woman with shiny black hair who had offered five loaves of apricot cornbread. “Done!” she said, and she lowered the pot into the young woman’s hands.
For the next special thing, the roamer reached into a big cardboard box. She brought out a smaller box colored blue and held it high. “Soap flakes!” she cried. “Twenty-four boxes of them!”
Dozens of people bid for these. They were all gone in minutes. Then came more cooking pans, two thick jackets of shiny material, rolls of rope, garden tools, books, a pair of scissors, some doorknobs, some nails. There were a few odd, useless things too. For half a dozen carrots, one woman bought a pair of faucets, one with an H and one with a C. “What will you do with them?” asked Lina. People got their water from long-handled pumps that stood at certain spots in the village. No one had indoor running water. “I’ll turn them upside down,” said the woman. “They’ll make good candle holders.”
When the roamer brought out a handful of jewels, Lina gasped. She had never seen such things--necklaces and bracelets made out of gleaming stones and silver chains. But only a few people seemed interested in them, and they bid hardly anything--one girl bid a couple of potatoes, but a man got them for a slightly used pair of sandals. “If my wife doesn’t want them,” he said, “I’ll use them to pretty up my oxen.”
NAMES: Sanazay, Torren