The Legend

He put golden dust in his hair and in his lashes, and stood straight. He wore green waistcoats and green ribbons to tie back his hair. He played on pipes, and dreamed of playing on harps. He made a harp once, from a drowned girl lying on riverbank, but he couldn't play the harp; it left him and played on its own. He stole all the wisdom in the world from an old man, and learnt to play his pipes with magic in his breath. He called rats to him with his pipes, and led them into the river. He drank dragon's blood and learnt to speak all the languages in the world. But he grew tired of Ireland and Germany, and came to France.

He tied his hair in place with blue ribbons, and took on a new accent, and looked about himself on the streets to see what he could fashion into a legend. He saw the discontent, the poverty, and the misery, and chose that.

He put more dust in his hair, and painted his face pale with white lillies, and discarded the green waistcoat for a red one. He played his pipes for men instead, and they followed as closely as the rats.

He led his men with triumph and excitement fluttering in his chest, and fought against the Kings of all the worlds of all the times. He fought with scraps of Fionn and Siegfried in his carbine, and finally broke his pipes for ammunition. He stood before a firing squad and let them shoot him, for heroes and legends never escape death with their magic. He saw a thousand tales drip out with his blood.

He felt a soft disappointment, for it was clear he should not win his revolution, but he understood men must die to accomplish things, and he knew that he would inspire other men to complete his legend. He remembered how proud he had been when he made his harp, and when he walked through the ring of fire with his sword drawn, and he accepted that he couldn't do all things by himself.

He stood back to look at his beginning, and watch for the man or woman who would complete it, and frowned, for no one was remembering it. He wandered about Paris to see if anyone was taking notice, and no one was. He went back to the place where all his men died, and picked the pieces of his pipes out from among the bodies. He remade them, standing in that place, and shook his head in frustration to see that all the brave men he'd called with them were dying brave deaths for nothing.

Then he painted a sign, with gold and blue paint on birchwood, and hung it on the door of the café. He hung it so that only the proper hero could see it. Someone would find his sign and complete his legend, surely, but if no one did, he would not feel surprise. The men here were weak.

He was ill of France.

He changed his red waistcoat for a green jerkin, and placed a green cap with a single crimson feather on his golden head, and left in disgust for Old England. He darkened his face with oak, cut his hair short, and put away his pipes for a bow.

Chapter Two.
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