Perhaps people began to be suspicious when they came upon the outsiders in their camp, or perhaps that anxiety had already begun the moment the child disappeared, a whisper of doubt that had grown as the men from town walked through the fields of snow. Now it was suggested out loud that it was a strange coincidence for the child to be missing so soon after the horse traders had appeared. The wayfarers agreed to have their wagons searched. The men from Blackwell were not as careful as they’d been when looking through their own neighbors’ homes. Blankets, clothes, pots and pans, sleeping pallets stuffed with hay, all of it was tossed into heaps in the snow. The horse traders stood together, speaking in a language no one else understood. The women and children were quiet around the bonfire; even the sleepy babies had been brought out. Mary saw Sonia, who came to their house every day to clean and cook. Three children held on to Sonia’s legs. Mary was surprised. She hadn’t thought about Sonia having children. She went to sit beside Sonia on a bench that had been fashioned from an oak tree. There were two or three dogs around and some puppies in a crate, nesting in some old clothes.

“I’m sorry about your sister,” Sonia said. “But they won’t find her with us.”

When Mary glanced over to the wagons, the young man with the dog was staring at her.

“That’s my brother,” Sonia told her. “He can help you.”

His name was Yaron, and his dog could find anything and anyone. All the collie needed was a scrap of the missing person’s clothing. Once the dog picked up a scent there was no stopping him.

“Should we tell them?” Mary nodded to the men from town.

“Would they believe us?” Sonia shrugged.

They decided to search on their own. Sonia left the children with another woman and accompanied Mary and Yaron through the field with the dog, whose name was Birdie. The collie was sable and cream colored with flowing hair and a long sensitive nose. He and his owner looked alike, except that Yaron’s hair was dark. They both seemed standoffish, as though they had other things on their mind. Yaron had his chin lifted, as if expecting to be engaged in a fight at any time. No one spoke as they walked along, the dog trotting before them. Mary was shivering so badly she’d begun to shake. The snowy June, the dark sky, the outsiders beside her—all of it made her feel disoriented, even though they had soon enough reached town, and then her street, and then the house where she had lived her whole life long. Every lamp was glowing and the Museum loomed hugely. For some reason Mary was embarrassed in front of Sonia and Yaron to have been granted so much. She wanted to say, None of it means anything to me. Only the people inside matter. Instead she asked if those were Birdie’s puppies in the box in the settlement.

Sonia and Yaron exchanged an amused look. Yaron looked a little less cross. He said something to his sister that Mary didn’t understand.

“He said he hopes so,” Sonia told Mary. “Since Birdie is the only male dog in the camp.”

They left the collie in the yard, stomped the snow from their boots, then went inside. Rebecca Starr and Mary’s sister Olive were in the parlor, by the fire. When they heard footsteps, they leapt up.


“Where is she?” Rebecca said.

“They haven’t found her yet,” Mary told her mother. “But this man’s dog can find her.”

When the dog’s talent was explained, Olive ran for one of Amy’s dresses.

“Do you have the cards?” Rebecca asked her housemaid. She’d become obsessed with knowing the future, and she begged for another reading.

Sonia looked at her brother, who shook his head and said, “Na.” Sonia laid out the cards for Rebecca. She was a mother herself and understood the need for a glimmer of hope. She turned over the first card. The Queen of Hearts.

“Your daughter,” Sonia said.

She turned over another. The Queen of Diamonds. Sonia stopped.

“And that one?” Rebecca wanted to know.

Sonia paused. “Your other daughter,” she told Rebecca.

They all turned to Mary.

“That means I’ll find her,” Mary said.

Olive had returned with Amy’s best dress, blue muslin with ribbon smocking. Mary took it and nodded to Yaron and they turned to go.

“Kaj dajas?” Sonia called to her brother, but he didn’t bother to call back an answer and Sonia didn’t need one. She knew they were going to try to find the little girl; she wouldn’t have expected less, even though it would probably be wiser for the travelers to pack up and leave before they were blamed for whatever happened. Mary and Yaron went through the kitchen, outside to where the dog was waiting. Yaron got on one knee and let the dog smell the dress. The dog did so, then barked excitedly.

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