The baskets of bitumen are carried down to the river bank where a fire has been started under a large clay tank. The inside of the tank is already thickly covered in bitumen and the contents of the baskets are tipped in. Slowly the bitumen melts and starts to bubble. Ladles are used to carry the melted bitumen over to the reed boats. It's hard work, and your father will be pleased you have learnt an important skill. He will, however, expect you to choose another merchant to join so that you can learn more about travelling and trading.