Teatime Story: The Tea Peddler
Something about tea captures the imagination and inspires contemplation. What better to go with a cup of tea than a tea-inspired story?
Brew up a cup of your favorite tea and enjoy this story, written by our staff member Jordan:
There was once a mute tea peddler who traveled all over Europe to buy and sell tea. The belly of his tea carriage folded out into a ramp and the sides were draped in violet silk. Inside was a little table and two chairs. The tea peddler would gesture onlookers to come in and sit down, and he would make a slow show of pouring from his plain ceramic teapot into each of their small cups.
Guests would each drink, he would pour again, and they would drink again, and he would pour a third time, so that the whole act was extended and felt like a ceremony. The strangest thing was that neither talked during this whole process; the peddler because he couldn’t, and the guest because he had no one to talk to.
Eventually the tea peddler grew a reputation, and sometimes whole crowds would come for a chance to have tea with him and to watch as others had tea. Those unfamiliar with the peddler were surprised and enchanted by the sight, seeing a crowd staring in rapt attention at two completely silent people sitting down, their only movement raising small cups to their mouths and taking sips.
Once a small boy, sent to buy turnips for his family, saw the crowd and the carriage and squeezed to the front to take a look. He was mesmerized by the movements of the peddler, gracefully and carefully pouring tea like it was the most sacred act in the world, and not a drop could be spilled. Completely forgetting about the turnips, he watched as ten more people were served. Finally the crowd dispersed and the peddler began closing his carriage.
“Let me travel with you,” the boy said. The tea peddler looked at the boy and shook his head slowly, and continued closing his carriage.
The boy, pretending to leave, then hid behind the carriage and stowed away on the back as it rode off. In the next town, after the peddler performed and donations were given, the boy showed himself again.
“Let me travel with you,” the boy said. The tea peddler looked at the boy a long time and then gestured into the carriage to one of the small chairs.
The boy sat down and the peddler began making tea in the same way as he always did. He carefully poured each of them a cup and sat down himself to drink with the boy. The boy drank the first cup and almost immediately felt relaxed and clear headed. For the first time he really looked around the carriage. It was very clean, and there were many labeled jars of dry leaves strapped to shelves on the inside walls.
After the second cup, the boy started to wonder who the peddler was, and where he had come from. He watched the peddler pour the third cup like he was watching a dancer whose graceful practiced movement demanded full attention.
At drinking this third cup, the boy suddenly smiled, like he understood something clearly for the first time.
“Thank you for the tea,” the boy said. “I must be going. I need to buy turnips for my family and I’m running very late.” The peddler nodded, and as the boy left gave him a small pouch of tea leaves as a gift.
The peddler closed his carriage and continued on to the next town. The boy started home, looking forward to the long walk.
Jordan Shofner is part of the Fusion Teas TEAm in McKinney, Texas. He has long had a love for writing, only surpassed by his love for tea. His favorite tea is Fusion’s Matcha, straight and pure!