Barnett had never seen anything like it. He stared at the small party before him: two reedlike women dressed in the finest silk, their hats stuffed with ostrich plumes and a pot bellied man, in a purple suit and top hat. The man was called Giles and he begged Barnett to help them out.
“Our wagon wheel is loose and Helios needs new shoes,” he said.
It hurt Barnett to look at the glittering ride, it was like trying to sneak a peek a the sun behind a thin cloud. And the horse was a massive gentle beast, silver coated and shiny. Helios eyed him, the whites of his eyes were milky white while his pupils were green.
Barnett patted the beast. “I can shoe him, but you’d be better getting Mr. Daube to look at that wheel. ”
He turned to get his tools, spat a wad of tobacco on the ground to the horror of the ladies. “I can get my boy to fetch him.”
The rotund man labored to catch up to him. “Oh, no, no. That’s not necessary.”
“It would be quicker,” Barnett said. His son James met him at the door.
“Son, could you go get Daube for me?”
James swallowed, sniffed his nose. The strange party nodded respectfully to him. James had heard tales about the Caravan in the Great Books, but never in his life did he think he’d meet them.
“Dad, I can go get Dr.–”
“No son, get Daube.” Barnett patted him on the back, like he did when James was a child. “Be a good boy.”
The three stared after him as he ran to Daube’s shop. James panted, and knocked on his door.
“What is it?”
“There’s, there’s a golden wagon at Dad’s smithy!”
Mr. Daube stared down at the frightened boy and dropped his tools. “Hurry boy!”
Barnett began to shoe the patient steed. When he finished, Helios tossed his magnificant head and rubbed it against him.
When he turned to the party, he clutched his chest.
“Are you alright sir,” Giles asked.
“Yes, I just get these fits every now and then.”
One of the woman opened the wagon. “It’s hot out, here, come sit down a minute.”
Barnet waved her off, “it’s no trouble my lady.” He staggered, and the woman caught him under his arms and the man Giles hauled his legs up into the golden wheelhouse.
“Ohh. Oh, my boy,” Barnett whimpered.
James and the tall lanky form of Mr. Daube came around the corner just as the wagon’s door shut.
Helios knickered and lunged forward, causing the duo to spring out of his path.
“DAD! DAD?!” James cried.
Mr. Daube and James watched as the glittering Caravan began to ascend into the bright summer sky. James tried to give chase, but the older man held his quivering form back.
“He’s gone to the Gods now,” Mr. Daube said, patting the boy’s shoulder.