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The last trade

A golden coin rested over each of the men's eyes. He was wearing his favourite clothes, his favourite pair of boots and his favourite weapon lied on his chest. Two bags of coins were emptied in the cart.   "Those are his repayments," said mam. "Cossta didn't steal so much in his life, so that is surely enough."   When everything was ready, the animals carried the cart away; I didn't know how that scene would be common in my life.  
--excerpt from A life on the road


The last trade is a funeral ritual of the hadakin people. It symbolizes their stronger principle: the balance of everything.   The body of the dead person is put on a vehicle, such as a cart or a boat, with an amount of goods that "pay" for everything that the dead person aquired in life without giving the proper exchange. That includes specially stolen goods or unfair trades.   Since this ritual represents a trade, the goods necessarily have to be useful for the ones they are given. For example, if a cart will be released near a town or village, it will probably be found by people, and thus money can be the item. By other side, if a boat was left to drift on the sea, meat or any other food can be put in it, destined to feed the sea creatures.   The decision of what to put with the dead is very important, since the objective is to make a complete trade. The decision is made by the whole group (hadakin usually travel in caravans) and they believe that, if the trade is incomplete in a given time, they will have to pay for it until the balance is reached.   Since it's hard to know where the cart or boat will end up, deciding what to put in it can be a tricky matter, and several days can pass until everything is ready.   Besides these items, personal objects may also be put in the vehicle. A member of the group can redeem it, but only paying the right price. Stealing from the dead is a serious crime.

Components and tools

The two main components of the rite are: 1. A vehicle; 2. Goods of any sort, in the correct amount.


The rite is observed whenever a person dies. Since the hadakin are travelers, it usually happens on the road.

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