Both MERCHANTS are of undetermined age... maybe
40-ish. They wear colorful robes, perhaps turbans, and
much jewelry.
A well-dressed gentleman.

In ACT I, he’s about 20.
In ACT II, he’s 40 and shows the years.
A Country Crossroads

Two MERCHANTS stand behind their tables, which are piled high with goods.

A TRAVELER (early 20s) comes along...

The Merchants offer to sell him Desire, Happiness, Luck, and Confidence, but the Traveler is glibly and smugly uninterested. He starts to walk away.... Then he's offered Power. And he comes back.

Now very interested in the wares on the Merchants’ tables, the Traveler starts to browse.

He rejects Mobility (a bowl), Belief (a gold ring), Health (a goblet), and Healing (a wooden box)...

He ultimately selects Power (a jeweled dagger), Wealth (a silver chain), Love (a glass paperweight), and Faith
(an amulet on a chain).

But to get the things he wants, he has to strike The Bargain. And these Merchants do not want money.
To make the Trade, they want the Traveler’s most precious possession. And he's to determine what that is.

He digs a button out of his pocket and claims this is his most precious possession.
The Merchants refuse, because they see it's not the Traveler’s most precious possession.

Finally, he realizes what he values above all other things - Himself. The Merchants agree to trade.

The Traveler hesitates, but another traveler approaches... What if he wants the same things?
Panicked that this other person will get the things he wants, the Traveler trades his Self for Power, Wealth, Love, and Faith.

The Merchants wish him success and happiness.
“Of course I'll be happy,” he tells them as he struts away. “I got what I wanted.”

The same country crossroads
20 years later.

The Traveler has lived with his Bargain for 20 years. He is not happy.

Now he stumbles upon the Merchants once more. And he wants to trade again...

Cary Pepper