afterwards to check again for any dirt or burrs


The boy's other senses developed enormously from being relied on and used so extensively.His sense of smell was so acute that when the old woman learned that Bireli could also make money for her through the time-honored gypsy profession of horse-curing, it was also discovered that he could diagnose many of his patients by scent. Fully half of the horses he was able to cure, he determined the ailment having done little silver bracelets more than smell the animal's breath.

His sense of touch was, if anything, even more highly developed: over the whole of his body, but especially in his hands and feet. Whenever he was awake his hands were in motion, partly to inform him about his world, but also because his many chores ensured that he always had work to do from the moment he arose until he lay down to sleep.His feet told him more about where he was in relation to where he was going than any other organ or part of his body. silver cufflinks The feel of the earth from finest silky silt through various rockinesses, the textures of different kinds of plants as he walked upon them, changes in the ground's temperature or dampness all helped Bireli determine where he was and if he was straying from where he wished to be.

Only he knew how keen his hearing was. He had learned much of what he knew of treatments for horses from overhearing the conversations of other horse-curers as they talked around their campfires at night. As he grew older, he knew from silver earrings their whispering that the gypsy girls avoided him because they could see he would never amount to much and because they did not know how to flirt with someone who could not see their charms. And he listened to the wind and learned things from it whenever it spoke.Bireli loved to listen to the wind. He listened to the wind no matter how softly it blew, and as time went on he became increasingly proficient in its many languages. With his body and nose he could ascertain the wind's speed and direction and what weather was following behind it. But it was with his ears that he could understand what the wind blew through when it was near him: rushes or sedges or reeds; short or long grasses; pines, cedars, or larches; walnuts, olives or oaks; poplars, sycamores, or birches, and whether these leaves were dry or turning colors. When the breezes allowed, he knew the locations and types of all the trees around him. And when the wind blew with much steadiness, he could hear the very shape of the land he was in: where the hills lay, which way the valleys ran, and whether the land was much covered with trees.

The old woman's horse had decided shortly after he began taking care of her that she liked the boy. It wasn't long before she stopped leaning upon him while he cleaned her hooves and while he felt over and around her frogs to make sure he had missed no packed mud or stones. She enjoyed his thorough brushing of her coat and how he would stroke her face and neck and body afterwards to check again for any dirt or burrs that might cause the bridle or harness to rub her wrong. She never made him search for the rope or the tether stake to find her. As soon as he was near enough she would trot up to him with a whicker of greeting to blow in his silver key rings face and nuzzle his shirtfront.

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