On one occasion, a troop of Abdaller, a wandering ethnic group rather like gypsies, came to Sakaltutan and camped on the meadow for about three days, selling and repairing sieves -which are much used by villagers for a variety of purposes.
Elbashï was blessed with a number of general shops. Of these about four seemed to be permanent businesses and another half a dozen to be intermittent. A man who happens to have or manages to obtain credit may buy a small stock of retail goods and sell them off, spending the money as he goes along. At the end of the period he has no means of replacing the stock, and the shop closes. These short-lived enterprises may sell only a few lines; fruit in season is common. The more permanent shops stock salt, sugar, sweets, soap, matches, cigarettes, paraffin (kerosene), notebooks, cloth, especially white cloth for making shrouds for the dead, sewing cotton, buttons, combs and so - on the typical stock of a village shop. Much of the business is done for grain, and much of it on credit. It is the difficulty of refusing a neighbour credit in the first place, and of collecting debts in the second, which sinks many intermittent shops.
When I first went to live in Sakaltutan it had no shop at all, though one or two had existed. One man borrowed the capital from me to buy a small stock of apples and helva, a sweet made