The hot day was dying away and evening drew upon the city. In the caravanserai the travellers were completing their tasks. The tents were pitched and the fires lit.
In a moment of curiousity Marco visited some of the other travellers. One said, "Come sit, stranger." Then he handed him a cup full of a hot sable colored liquid, "Drink for a prosperous journey."
"What is this?", asked Marco.
"This? This is a drink given as a blessing to the folowers of the Prophet. But I have taken pity on you, infidel though you are, for your suffering under the weight of your wines and your meads and your ales."
Marco tasted, "Tis bitter", he said.
"Aye", came the reply, "But the drink of the Faithful is a potion to make to make the warrior strong in battle, the scholar wise in debate, and the trader shrewd in bargaining."
"There's no denying Saracen traders are 'shrewd'", remarked Marco.
"As far as that goes, I have had memories of Christian traders", came the reply.
"Maybe you shall have memories of me", grinned Marco.
"Maybe", came the reply. "But would you like to know the tale of how we came by this gift from Paradise?"
"Please", replied Marco.
"Tis said-and Allah alone knows if it's true-that long ago and far away there was a poor goatherd named Kaldi. At one time he was watching his flock on a sleepy night. He had worked hard and was drowsy. Then behold! One of his goats strayed and wandered into a strange bush full of a strange berry. When Kaldi came close the goats were dancing about in merriment. Seeing this he tried one of the berries himself. And behold! All of Kaldi's weariness was driven away. He showed this to all his tribe and is held in renown to this day. Then as time went on someone-Allah alone knows who-discovered how to roast the seeds of this bush into the magic brew which I now offer you."
"One question", asked Marco.
"Yes?", came the reply.
Marco then asked, "If I was Kaldi and saw my goats dancing with glee after eating a strange fruit, I would ask the physician to look at the fruit."
The answer was, "Maybe there weren't any physicians in his villiage. Have another sip of the brew of the Faithful."
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