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Storyteller

I don’t have much to offer, said the man. But if you give me some bread, I will tell you a story.

The baker looked at the man sceptically. His clothes were torn and he had no shoes on his feet. His hair was long and ragged and every inch of exposed skin was covered with dirt and mud.

A story? The baker questioned. What good is a story to me? I have been up since before the cock crowed making this bread, why should I give it to you for nothing more than a story?

The man smiled. I understand your reluctance, he said. Before you stands nothing more than a beggar man, broken, dirty and alone. Without home nor hope. Yet I have a gift that I can share with you. I am a weaver of words, a teller of tales and a maker of dreams. In exchange for some bread, I will tell you a story that will set your heart on fire with love and excitement and fill your soul with warmth and joy. I will craft for you a narrative so magnificent you will be moved to close your shop, go home and make love to your wife.

The baker laughed. His apron straining against the ripple of his stomach. Hah, he scoffed. I hardly believe that.

It’s true, said the man. His eyes gleaming within the grime of his face.
The baker paused for a moment. Looked at the man before him and shrugged his shoulders. Prove it, said the baker.

The man took the bread, beckoned the baker to sit and began to speak.
The baker listened as the words escaped from the man’s mouth and flew around, lifting the baker atop a flying carpet of prose, out of the window and out into a world of enchantments, peril, courage and love. The world of imagination and magic grew around the baker, his blood raced and his skin pricked with fear, his eyes widened in amazement and finally, as the tears dried on his cheek, his heart began to swell with pride and love.

The man took a bite from the bread as the story ended and reality was
returned.

Without a word, the baker stood and walked out of the shop. The door swung ajar as the man watched. The baker grew smaller in the distance as his pace quickened before soon he was no longer in sight.

The man smiled as he closed the door as he too walked out into the street, pulling his tattered clothes tight against the rain that was now falling. At that moment the baker reached his house. His wife was washing clothes in a great wooden basin behind their small kitchen. She was surprised and worried to see her husband standing in the doorway, his chest heaving with a shortness of breath and his eyes moist. She stood up to speak but before she could he had taken her hand and lead her away to bed.

The man smiled as he walked, the faint sounds of ecstasy caressing his ears amongst the rain and the taste of bread dancing in his mouth.