The dried bunches of herbs that hung from the thatch were almost all gone by the time winter neared its end. Ketty used a forked stick to bring down the last one, though she wondered if it had any flavor left in it other than smoke. But as she lifted it from its hook, another item was revealed behind it. It looked to be a small pouch, hanging from its drawstring.
Putting the bundle of herbs aside on the table, she used her forked stick again, to fetch the pouch. It was heavier than she expected. Full of curiosity, she took it in her hand, and at once she heard the clink of coins. She put down the stick and hurried to the door.
It was a gloomy day, with frost still crunching on the ground, but it was light enough that she could see the sparkle of gold and silver when she peered into the pouch. She forgot to breathe as she poked her fingers at the coins. There were many different sizes and colors, most that she’d never seen before. But she’d seen a silver tarling once, one of the wedding gifts when her cousin was married. That alone had been enough to buy a new plough horse, and she saw at least two silver tarlings in the pouch, and they were not the grandest coins.
“Ah, Smoke,” she breathed in wonder. “You did not tell me we were rich.”
She ran across the meadow and through the woods, to the little clearing where Smoke was scraping a deer hide. “Oh, you found the purse,” he said when she showed the pouch to him. “I forgot I had that.”
“You forgot?” she asked, incredulous.