Agatha Ann was the girl with the very loud outside voice. Her mother kept saying to her, “Agatha Ann! Agatha Ann! Please use your gentle inside voice. Your outside voice is too loud for indoors. Agatha Ann tried. She would speak next thought quietly. But after a while she would forget. “HEY!” She would shout when she was shopping with her mother. “CAN WE BUY SOME PRETZEL-TREATS? CAN I CARRY THE SHOPPING BASKET? ARE THERE ANY LONGBREADS FOR SUPPER?”
People covered their ears. Windows rattled. Vendors way on the other side of the Mercantile Exchange raised their eyebrows as if to say to one another, Yup. Agatha Ann is here again. Ya’ know. Da little girl wid da loud outside voice.
Agatha Ann’s mother would warn her, “Now, Agatha Ann, if you can’t use a gentle inside voice, I can’t take you with me to the Mercantile Exchange.”
And Agatha Ann would promise. She would use her gentle inside voice. Please take her. She would be good. She would remember. Agatha Ann loved the Mercantile Exchange. It was a wondrous bazaar in the middle of Bright City set up in a historic structure once called the Dagoda. Here tradesmen and women unfurled their canopies over their booths. Homegrown fruits and vegetables were piled on brightly-patterned cloths.
Free samples, apple slices, broken tidbits of crackers, and crumbled raisin cakes were given for testing. People traded what they didn’t want for what they did want……….