The terrain was monotonousa never-ending expanse of dazzling
snow, occasionally relieved by a clump of stunted firsso
the knights first thought, when he spotted something so
out-of-place, lying directly in his path, was that he had lost
his mind, and was seeing something that was not there.
Whoa, Greymist, he commanded, bringing his horse
to a stop.
The knight dismounted, and inspected the incongruous object.
Strange, he muttered.
It was a pretty carpet bag, such as a fine lady might carry
The knight raised his visor, and scanned the snowy ground.
The only tracks in sight were his own, yet the snow was at least
a week old, andfrom the condition of the woollen tapestry
and the fine, leather handleshe did not think the bag
had been lying in the open for more than a few days. He set
down his lance and, unsheathing his sword, poked the bag gingerlyfearing,
perhaps, that its Faery owner might suddenly appear to scold
The knight slipped the point of his sword through the handles
and lifted the bag.
It was so light, he was sure it must be empty, but he pulled
off his gauntlet and felt inside, and his bare fingers found
something cold and hard; he pulled out a brass oil lamp.
It was an exquisite thing, lavishly decorated with leaves of
a deep, red-orange enamel, and set with acorns carved from bright
yellow amber, and the knight, who had seen nothing beautiful
in a very long time, regarded it wistfully.
Its owner will want this back, he thought.
But then it came to him that, when he reached the next town,
he might sell the lamp for a healthy sum and, with the money,
buy himself food and shelter andmore importantlyinformation...
And that made up his mind.
He dropped the carpet bag, stowed the lamp in his own travelling
pack, and continued on his way.