The Primrose Way
For a moment it seemed that I had been transported to another place and time, an ancient, mythical place.
The cove was awash in mist, and on the opposite shore, atop a great rock monolith that jutted up out of the
haze, knelt the likeness of a primitive god. His face was turned up toward the pale eastern horizon, and to his
lips he held a wooden flute. From that simple instrument came the ethereal melody that had wrapped itself
around me like a spell. Indeed, I began to wonder if I was witnessing an enchantment, for as I stared, the sky
at the horizon grew brighter and the mist slowly swirled into a brilliant ball, then drew away, leaving the bright
face of the sun shining down on the figure that knelt on the rock. He rose up on his feet, took the flute in both
hands, and held it aloft as if offering it to the sun
.
He stood that way for a long time, his face upturned, and I realized that he was not a god but a man at prayer.
This, then, I realized with a little tremor of trepidation, was a savage. I felt more fascination, though, than fear,
and I was glad to have the chance to observe him unobserved. His skin was not red, as I had been led to
expect, but rather a warm, tawny color, not unlike that of an Englishman who labors on the sea or the soil. He
was broad of shoulder and well muscled, taller than most men I knew. By way of clothing, he wore nothing,
short of a thin belt with a square of cloth hanging over it front and back - as indeed it brought a flush to my
face to observe, for I had never before seen more of a man's body unclothed than a wrist or an ankle. He was
young and his profile was handsome, a strong brow, high cheekbones, a wide, straight nose, and a
well-chiseled jaw. His smooth black hair hung to his shoulders, with one lock longer than the others. This lock
was caught up at the crown and adorned with two large feathers. Two more feathers hung from a bracelet that
encircled his upper arm, and several strings of beads encircled his neck.
As I watched, he carefully lowered the flute in his outstretched hands, bowed his head briefly, then slowly
turned and stared directly into my eyes.
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