Though Vardo became a spirit-talker in early childhood, it's not something he ever intended to make into a career, but rather something he did for fun, to learn about other worlds. He always planned to work for his family's wagon-building company, and that's just what he did. However, he did make a single contribution to the O'Gas, which related a conversation he had with a spirit friend of his, detailing how he (would soon) invent a type of wagon called a caravan. The entry is dated 23 Sp'mo', LY 598. It reads as follows:
So last night, after work, I called out, "Hey, Gus," inviting my pal to join me for a convo.
He soon appeared and said, "'Sup, Vardy?"
"This lady came into the shop today, all excited about this idea she had after readin' some book. Said she ran a circus, and wanted me to build her a special wagon for transportin' wild animals, like lions or somethin'. Like, a zoo cage built onto a flat-bed wagon, maybe without a regular canvas cover. I mean, a cage instead of a cover. I told her I reckoned we- I mean the whole team- could do that in a few weeks. She said her circus was only scheduled to be in town for two weeks, but they could extend their stay for an extra week or so. So, that's what we're gonna be workin' on. But after she left, I got to thinkin', I prob'ly coulda gone my whole life just buildin' things that were invented centuries ago, and it never woulda occurred to me to build anythin' else. But the idea of buildin' a kind of wagon that no one else had ever built before got me kind of excited, myself-"
Gus interjected, "No one on The Land, you mean. They have such things on other worlds. Or did. Centuries before the Land was even created, Earth had lots of different kinds of wagons."
"Yeah, I know. Like, 'Conestoga' is a Terran word, what was also taught to a spirit-talker like me. And that's the point I was gettin' to. I was wonderin' if you could give me some ideas about other kinds of wagons I might build."
"Hmmm. You know, I don't really know anything about building wagons-"
"Yeah, but you could at least give me ideas."
"Right, well... I am suddenly sort of picturing wagons used by snake oil salesmen, and such-"
"Snake oil? What on the Land is that?"
"Nothing, on the Land. But on Earth, it referred to... like, elixirs that were supposed to cure various ailments, but were basically just scams. These salesmen would travel around putting on 'medicine shows,' and selling snake oil to gullible customers. But the shows were fun, and the wagons they used were kind of neat. Like, they... you know, I don't remember exactly, but I think they had like these sort of display windows, or whatever. They didn't have canvases, either, they were more like wagon-sized carriages, you know, with a full body of wood. And the windows would open up to reveal racks with the products they were selling."
"So, what, they were like mobile kiosks, or somethin'?"
"Pretty much. And they would be decorated, with colorful paint and text and all sorts of flourishes. Come to think of it, it wasn't just snake oil salesmen, but any sort of peddlers or showmen or whatever could use wagons like that. Probably there were lots of variations, including some used by circuses, like your new client."
"Sounds neat. Yeah, I like this idea. Okay, I think I can design... well, several different kinds of wagon, for different types of vendor, or for puttin' on little shows... maybe puppet shows, or somethin'. Ooh! Why even limit it to display windows? I could even make one where the whole side, or sides open up, to reveal a little stage, to be used by, like, a storyteller, or a band. I'll have to pitch this idea to my folks, and if they like it, I could pitch it to the circus lady. But this could open up a whole new market for all kinds of customers." I paused and thought a centhour, then said, "But, I've been tryin' to think just now of a subword for such wagons, and nothin' came to mind. You got any idea what them wagons were called on Earth?"
Gus shook his head. "Not really. I'd probably just say something like 'showman's wagon' or 'peddler's wagon,' or something. But I could pop over to Earth and check the 'net. Or maybe I could ask my friend Zeph, I bet he'd know..."
"Well, whatever you're gonna do, please do it. I don't wanna sound impatient, but... okay, I'm impatient."
So he popped out and about half an hour later popped back in with a big grin on his face. "Vardo," he said.
I waited a few beats, but he said no more. "Gus?" I prompted.
"I read about wagons called 'Vardos.' They were used by a Terran culture called the Romani, and they came in various types, and they may or may not be exactly what I was thinking of, but they were close."
"Well ain't that a crazy coinkydink? So I can just name the wagons I design after myself?"
"Well... I dunno. I mean, maybe, but I'd be just a bit worried that it might constitute cultural appropriation."
"But Landians have been doin' that with all sorts of alien cultures for centuries. That's kind of the whole point of even talkin' to spirits."
"And we won't even have direct contact with Earth for many centuries to come, at least. I'm sure my wagons will be a thing of the ancient past, by then, so either Terrans would never find out they existed, or it would be too late for them care."
"Besides which, it's not like I'd be stealin' the name. It's my own damned name!"
"Yeah, but still."
I seethed for a bit, then calmed down and said, "Fine. What, then, do you suggest I call them?"
"Another word I found was 'caravan,' and that totally made me slap my forehead. Like, I don't even know how that failed to occur to me."
"Caravan? But... that's like a convoy, or whatever. A whole group of wagons travelin' together, not just one."
"It has more than one meaning. Go 'head and check your subword sense." I did so, and after a moment realized he was right, so I nodded. He continued, "Not that that is exactly what I was thinking of, either. I really don't get the sense that there is a name for the specific thing I was thinking of, but 'caravan' probably comes as close as anything. I still might say something like 'peddler's caravan' or 'showman's caravan,' but... since there aren't any other wagons using that name on the Land, you might as well just call yours caravans, and leave it at that. Though if you want to come up with different names for the different varieties you design, that's your call."
"Okay, well, we'll see. It's too early to say about all that, and I'm exhausted just thinkin' about it. Time for bed, anyway. So... thanks for all your help, and good night, my friend."
"Night, Vardy." And once again, he vanished. And I went to bed.
Over the next few weeks, Vardo's company constructed the cage-wagon that his client, Lyta, had requested, and also mentioned his plans to design caravans. She found it interesting, and would later purchase a couple of them for her circus. In the following years, just as Vardo had predicted, his company's caravans became popular with various travelers, including other circuses, traders, bands, and other types of entertainers.