Tinker Page 7

You are a traveling tinker, leading your pack mule through the forest. Branches criss-cross the path so much that you walk continuously in shade. Ferns and moss carpet the forest floor. The day is peaceful.

You are half a day from Bobeck village. You've traveled this route many times, to Frankfurt and back to Dresden again.

2) Take the left path to a meadow.
3) Take the right path to a creek.

You enjoy your lunch by a babbling creek, watching little fish dart in a calm bit of water. You gradually notice the croaking of toads has joined the sound of running water. One, two, three, you count the toads as you locate them. Eight, nine, it's funny how many you can find once you look carefully.

When you reach twelve it is a king among toads, easily four times the size of the others. It hops forward as you watch until it is directly in front of you. It croaks and drops a golden ring from its mouth, not two inches from the toe of your boot.

6) Pick up the golden ring.
7) Leave the ring where it is.

The toad observes you silently for minutes. Finally it croaks again and drops a second ring at your feet. Where the first ring was plain, this ring is circled by etchings of leaves.

When you continue to sit quietly, a third ring falls to the ground. In addition to etchings, it is adorned with a small golden rose. The fourth ring has a simply cut diamond in the middle of the rose.

14) Wait for a fifth ring.
15) Offer a trade.