“This gold. They have found it in large quantities?” The lanky teenage boy named Escubal Martinez poked a stick into the logs on the fire, moving them closer together. At the edge of the mountain valley, a coyote yipped. The Martinez clan’s flock of sheep shifted uneasily in the darkness beyond the firelight.
The Prussian-born traveler from Etown grinned. “Ja,” he said. “But it is hard work, the digging for gold.”
Escubal’s uncle Xavier grunted from the other side of the flames, where he was using a knife to carefully smooth out an uncomfortable bump on the grip of his walking staff. “Borregas y carneros.” He nodded at the boy. “That is wealth.”
Escubal scowled at the fire.
The traveler looked puzzled. “Carner?” he asked. “Meat is wealth?”
“No, Borregas y carneros,” Escubal said.”Ewes and rams.” He gestured impatiently toward the flock.
Xavier moved his staff in the firelight and ran his fingertips gently over the wood. “Carne y ropa,” he said meditatively. “Meat and clothes.”
“Ja,” the Prussian answered. “You are correct.”
Escubal scowled at the fire and the traveler smiled sympathetically. It was not easy to be young and impatient.
The boy poked at the fire again. It flared briefly, lighting the night, and the flock moved restlessly, waiting for morning.