Stone Fortune


The wind set in around the island of Crete—whipping white foam edges on the crests of waves, pulling strands of hair from hairbands and blowing serviettes and paper notes into the air.

As I spear olives from a Greek salad, I amuse myself with an old childhood rhyme—a seemingly female orientated superstition, as a means to guess the status of a potential, marital partner:


Tinker Taylor Soldier Sailor —

Rich Man — Poor Man — Beggar Man — Thief


Spoken with a lilt, as I count the olive stones neatly arranged in a row on the side of my plate—this time I have eaten five. Although not in need of a ‘Rich man,’ the outcome would be desirable—I smile. A charming superstition, but of course no one wants to tempt fate, sp I generally do make sure that I eat more than one olive and if necessary, I will continue to eat more than six olives—silly eh? … And luckily—I love olives.

I’m sure this ritual would be greeted by puzzled looks from the Greeks, if I were to share it with them. They are more fatalistic by nature. To them life is what it is and you take the rough with the smooth—no point complaining—get on with it, or turn it around so that it fits the way you want.

When it comes to being ‘rich’, there are so many other facets to riches than monetary ones. I have only to look around me at the beautiful island on which I am privileged to find myself—Crete—and that is quite enough.



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