Once a month the clan of Box Collectors gather on certain street corners. They dress for the occasion. Comfortable shoes, with casual shirts and pants. They’re sprinkled with a hint of dust dragon, that reminds any passers-by of antiquated libraries and the deepest corners of long-neglected wardrobes.
What they do is a time honoured ritual. Into a shop they go, and head straight for the crate of empty boxes. Back on the street they nod companionably to other Box Collectors as they juggle their collection of boxes, and weave their way home.
Even when they aren’t collecting boxes that month, Box Collectors always acknowledge those of their clan who are. A wry smile is exchanged, perhaps a few words of sympathy or encouragement, sometimes about the weather, sometimes about the iniquities of having to pack the empty boxes with their possessions for their move, because as we all know Box Collectors are a transient lot.
“A box without hinges, keys, or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid” – J.R.R. Tolkien – from the riddle game Bilbo and Gollum play when they first meet. What was the answer, and who gave it?