”Do not worry about anything, my Great Lord. After all, I, your faithful servant, could never fail to comply with your request. It is impossible. It is totally impossible for me not to give maximum effort to get whatever you ask of me. If I did not have it in stock, I would send requests to trading houses in other kingdoms, and even if I still did not obtain it, I would order my men to create it with their own hands. It is my duty, obligation, and task to give you everything you ask for, and I will never fail to do so. Not when every day, while I work, travel, or sleep, I think of you”
”No, no, no. Please don’t look at me like that, for my thoughts have nothing impure in them. I would kill myself if they were. I only do it because I know how important your actions are. My father, when I was a baby, would tell me every night at bedtime about your heroic deeds, the ones my grandfather narrated to him. All our family believes in your great power. All of it is devoted to your magnificence since we know that your efforts and sacrifices are due to the great desire to improve this dirty kingdom, so we are proud to be at your side from the beginning”
”Oh, I beg your pardon, Great Lord, as that sounded so arrogant of me. It is clear to me that next to you, we are just insignificant beings, and I also know that without your help, we would be nobody. Perhaps, we would not even be alive. Meanwhile, you, with your great power and dignity, could easily have obtained countless providers who would bow down to kiss your immaculate feet. With all my heart, I thank you, our family is grateful to you, and even my subordinates behind me are also thankful to you, for it is only because of your grace that they can bring their daily bread to their homes”
”Okay, I understand. I can understand why hostility is felt coming from your beautiful creations, as they must think that a vain apology, without actions, is not enough to forgive the act of pure arrogance that I showed before. So, in order for them, but more importantly, for you to forgive me, please allow me to give them a demonstration of my faith, for even though I sin with gravity, the respect and adoration I expressed were not false words. I, your servant who always thinks and cares about what you need, have not forgotten that it has been several months since you ordered me to bring a variety of condiments. I have never forgotten, and that is why I dared to infer that the last shipment has run out, but that is not a problem”
”Great Lord, with my hand on my chest, I bow before you with the desire to ask your permission for my men to approach this place so that I can show you what we have brought you today, on this sunny day”
”Thank you. I thank you for nodding at such a whim. Thank you very much indeed. O future king of everything and everyone! I pray to the heavens that these little mundane things will be helpful to you. I hope that what I have brought you will not disappoint you, but if it does, then I am more than willing to accept any punishment that you, with your exalted will, may impose on me”
After performing such a performance of total servitude, that man dressed in a brown suit turned around to indicate to his followers, who until then were hiding behind the trees, to approach the place where he was. Meanwhile, they, seeing their chief’s signal, lifted the heavy wooden boxes on their shoulders and, with cautious steps, carefully observing the giants in front of them, walked towards him.
Arriving at their destination, they quietly and carefully lowered the loads to the ground. So great were their efforts to keep the atmosphere calm that the veins in their arms stood out as they performed such delicate work. Then, using their thick, calloused fingers, they opened the interior of the boxes, showing the world what these contained.
At the moment when all this was being carried out, the talkative man’s mouth was finally closed, while it stretched into an affable smile on his face, while his eyes were fixed on the figure of the old man whom he had praised so much.
Once all the boxes were fully opened, the burly men went back into hiding, and trading continued when the older man moved to check if the contents he had ordered were correct.
Rigorously he advanced, checking the aspect of each object. When he took them out, levitating in the air, he lifted them to his eye level so that he could observe every detail of them, and in some cases, he even uncovered them without using his hands to smell their contents. Slowly, this whole process continued until the last of the boxes were checked, and it was then that, apparently satisfied with the products he had received, the old man returned to his previous position to indicate to the giants behind him to take the boxes and carry them into the cave.
With the quality check completed, the merchant unexpectedly burst into tears.
Discreet tears trickled down his cheeks to his chin, but before they fell to the floor, the man, after taking out a handkerchief that he kept in his pocket in the left breast pocket of his shirt, began to wipe his eyes, while in a broken voice, he spoke again.
”I’m so glad. I am so happy that I did not fail you. After all, although I do not fear any punishment you would impose on me, as I know I would deserve it, disappointing you would break my heart into a thousand pieces. I could not bear the thought of not living up to your expectations”
”… I see that they dislike the sight of me crying”
Said the man in the suit while, with his eyes, he pointed at the giants, who, with their offspring, began to growl at him, indicating that their patience was wearing thin.
”I get it. They are real men, and there is no doubt about that. I understand that since they are so manly, seeing a show of weakness like mine must irritate them. All right, boys, for the sake of our friendship, I will appease this immense happiness and gratitude that I feel so as not to make them uncomfortable”
At the end of those words, the merchant pulled aside the handkerchief that covered the upper half of his face, revealing his white eyes, without any sign that, until recently, they had been crying. Then, after unnecessarily arranging his suit, for it was neat, he continued speaking.
”O Great Lord, please excuse me, for the time has come for me to speak of what I am most ashamed of in this life, that moment which is always the master of my nightmares. I don’t want to. I swear I don’t want to say it, but it is due to those ungrateful people who force me to do it. You know it, Lord. You know it because from the first moment we met, I, as a fool, could not maintain order and formality, so I thank you for not killing me on the spot for my past actions. Anyway, when I saw you, I knew right then and there that I had found someone I could serve with my heart and soul. Yes, my grandfather and father may have approached you for convenience, but I am not like that. I am different from them. I am truly different, and that is why it hurts me so much. It hurts me as if the fire of hypocrites and traitors burns me when I ask you for money”
”Dirty, crude money. Indeed, I do not want it, nor do I need it, for all that he has given us for generations is more than enough for me. However, I must ask for it even though shame and guilt torment me, for if I did not, those wretches would suspect me. If that happens… I shudder at the thought. Oh! Of course, none of that would be a problem for you, but still-…”
”Stop it. Today’s act is enough”
Fed up with the man’s seemingly endless chatter, the old man interrupted him and then pointed to the armored giant beside him.
”You, go call the old woman to take care of the following”
After that, his wrinkled finger wagged toward the merchant before continuing to speak.
”And you, man without face or dignity, you’d better come up with something better than this next time, as these antics are becoming too annoying to listen to”
”All right, Sir. I will see to devising something to please you next time we meet”
”Hum. I hope so, jester. Do your job well, or you will pay dearly”
At the end of the first genuine conversation that occurred on the site, the old man, leaning on his luxuriously ornamented cane, returned to the cave from which he came while the edge of his garments continued to drag on the floor.
By the time the figure of that individual disappeared, the merchant’s smile still had not left his face, but on the contrary, for the first time, it had moved beyond his mouth, advancing until it also twisted the corner of his eyes.