Trading with Death is a short story, a time filler for annoying free time; the time created by others who can’t be bothered to be on time. There are lots of things going on in the story that will keep a reader’s mind occupied. Here are some thoughts that occupied mine.
Taka and Dalvar are two sisters walking through the woods. Where did these names come from? They sound great to say. I wanted to know what country they might be in and what language they might be speaking.
Taka, the older sister, is quite protective of Dalvar and worried about the steady deterioration of Dalvar’s health. There seems to be an acceptance by Taka that Dalvar is going to die, but Taka wants to help Dalvar face that prospect without fear and in as little pain as possible.
I think their ages are important. The ages are not initially explicitly given but there is a reference point from which the reader can figure it out. It’s a short story, so go on and figure it out. You have time.
The woods are important. The description of the forest takes up a major part of the story and creates a powerful image. Part of that is the absence of birds and other life that Taka is used to. They are in a forbidden part of the forest. Taka decided to use it as a shortcut to go home out of consideration for Dalvar’s health. Dalvar accepts this and is not afraid because Grandma told her it was safe.
Grandma might be a ghost. Or Grandma might be Death. Since Death is a certainty and real, I don’t think Grandma can be both. At any rate, it is only Dalvar that can see and communicate with Grandma. At least at first.
And that is the mystery of the story and what makes it worth reading. To comment further on the story would be a spoiler. It is a short, fun story full of description. You are invited to a walk in a somewhat enchanted forest.