Agastye slowed down as he neared the small narrow cobbled street just outside the market place, taking in the familiar sights and sounds that were his companion on his solitary walk back home from school. Every afternoon he would stop as the smell of the freshly baked breads and cookies would greet him, calling him to them. He didn’t wait today though. No, today was Friday.
And Fridays meant only one thing: the ancient gypsy with a thousand wrinkles, beetel leaf stained crooked teeth and her raspy voice. Her cart was full of the exotic, and the mysterious she had picked up during her adventures. For Agastye this cart was a doorway to other worlds, worlds beckoning him. The gypsy would tell him one story (one and no more, my little man, she would say shaking her crooked little finger) about any one the souvenirs he would pick up Agastye dreamed that the task this time would be like the heroic deeds he often heard in her stories.
He ran the last few meters, impatient to listen to a new story As he reached her small cart, his eyes fell on a pair of big, worn out old red leather boots. He paused, breathless, and bent down to look closely at them. “Ah, I see you have found the red boots. Ah yes, I remember these. “ Heldenstiefel”, as he was famous in Germany. Ah yes, he did some great deeds the shoes….,” said the old gypsy. “A pair of shoes did heroic deeds?”, he asked his voice full of curiosity, awe and disbelief. “Ah, you don’t believe me, my little man? You don’t? ,” she cackled, “Then sit down,” she continued, “ and let me tell you the wonderful story of the “Heldenstiefel”. Once upon a time or as they said in Germany “ es war einmal…”