Shells, Beads, Banking…. Before Money (a story/ish)
Seda had always been the delicate child of her family. One who saw inward more than looking at the harsh realities of the world. So her family tended to shelter her from things like dealing with the animals or doing grunt work as much as they could.
She was often sent down to the green grocer to get their veg and fruit, even a few spices and herbs, if her mother didn’t have what she needed for a meal. She went back and forth a few times a day for those things.
It suited mama cuzz she didn’t have to interrupt her meal making. It suited Seda, cuzz she wasn’t housebound on a glorious day. And all she had had to do to get this job was prove she had a good memory and could add sums. Her older brother went with her the first few times to be sure she had things in hand. Then he let her do it. He had animals to tend to with their papa. And he didn’t much like the market. Too many people he didn’t want to talk to and carry out polite exchanges with.
But Seda was sunshine on legs. She loved to chatter when people let her. Or she was fine with her own thoughts if they didn’t. So most people liked her.
Some called her fanciful, some said she was a daydreamer. And she was. Though she did keep enough of a clear head to not get in danger and get her tasks done. And somehow, she was always dressed right for modesty and the weather.
But at the market…..
Seda wasn’t the 21st century little girl getting a few things for her mother. She was a trader coming to town on a caravan. Or in a giggling group of young ladies sent to dance for the town folk. And she would be brusk and business like in her transactions when there as the trader. Or giggle and tease as the dancing girl.
The shop keepers didn’t much mind. When they were busy they preferred the trader persona. When they had a few minutes, they asked Seda to dance for them.
Nobody at home knew this was going on. They were just happy to know she had gotten the things they needed. And made it back and forth safe. They didn’t ask for what had gone on at the shops.
On the few occasions Seda couldn’t go, her brother went. And he was quite pleased when the shop keepers asked after her and sent greetings. They often gave him a cookie and sent one back for Seda. So he never thought to ask why they cared. She was just a girl, getting goods for her family. Like so many others.
Years after, Seda had many fond memories of those shopping trips that she only had because she was a fanciful little girl. And so did the shop keepers.