Sabattaras searched the Berenice streets for twenty-two days and nights. He listened and slyly questioned. The marketplaces were thick with dialects of Arabic and Indian, Greek and Hebrew language. Highly educated, Sabattaras communicated with peoples of every tongue. “Yes, a fantastic pearl of great value carried by a mysterious caravan through arid deserts,” imagined the Arab, “Ominous indeed, as a mirage, it appears and disappears.” The Indian laughed sharply and continued to charm his slippery companion. “Where might one find such a pearl?” philosophized the Greek, “In the house of the great gods? In the eyes of a woman? Ah, for sure, it is not a real thing, this pearl….” “You should seek things of greater value than pearls!” scolded the Jew. Nevertheless, Sabattaras, the Macedonian searched on.
His eyes and ears led him to the small house of a merchant nearer the Red Sea shore. The little shop under the merchant’s home smelled of fine spices. Ceramic vessels sat upon shelves that covered the shop walls, floor to ceiling. At first, Sabattaras enjoyed the aromas until his eyes began to water… .but, he pressed on. Nearing the back of the store where an old Arab sat upon a large cushion tallying his sales receipts, Sabattaras bowed and waited for a response. The old man, not moving a muscle, peered up through two slits of eyelid. He continued tallying. “Yeeeeees” he crooned. Sabattaras stood, “I am Sabattaras the Macedonia and I have come to inquire of your pearl.”
The Arab halted his work immediately and his eyes darted about the shop. He hopped up and forward in an instant and bounded to the front of the store swiftly bolting doors and windows and declaring his shop closed with a sign. When he was certain of no intruding ears, he whispered, “You have come to inquire of what?” Now Sabattaras was certain he had come to the right place. He leaned towards the old Arab and whispered back, “Your pearl.”
The old Arab looked puzzled and shrugged. No one had ever inquired of the pearl. All rumors on the street were that it did not really exist and here, under there noses it dwelt with no one desirous enough to discover it! Suddenly the Arab became suspicious. “Show me all that is beneath your cloak!” he insisted. Not at all offended by the suggestion of weaponry and thievery, Sabattaras removed all of his outer garments to satisfy the merchants concern. Of course, this also exposed the large sack of coins that Sabattaras had worn discreetly under his clothing for these twenty-two days in hope of an exchange.
The Arab’s eyes enlarged upon seeing the purse. “Ahhhh…” he breathed out, “You have come to purchase my pearl I see.” “Yes,” Sabattaras bowed humbly, “If you are willing to make a sale.” From this point, there was little else to say. The Arab did not need the pearl. It was lovely, but, he had five wives, and, to which would he give the pearl? However, with five wives and eighteen children, he could use the money and he could use a larger house! He simply had not advertised to sell his pearl for fear that it would be stolen and cost him his very life.
The Arab opened the tiny unimpressive vessel that housed the pearl and Sabattaras beheld his prize. “I will take aaallll that you have for it!” declared the Arab. Sabattaras, expecting to relinquish nothing less, removed for himself only the coin needed for the return trip home and handed ALL that he had remaining to the old Arab while collecting the desire of his heart. Sabattaras left the merchant shop of spices with well-watered eyes, a tingling nose and a renewed sense of destiny…
Honestly, who knows why Sabattaras sought out one magnificent pearl so diligently? Who could discern the true depth of his desire or the motives of his heart? All that is known is that he sought it until he found it and he gave in exchange for it all that he had. This rumor, for which no one else would labor an ounce, was worth ALL to Sabattaras….