The Old Man and the Water


Many years ago, in a cold and ancient land, a wandering bard undertook a long journey north. His name was Talus, and this is one of his tales:

Once, there was an old man who walked across a desert to fetch water for his family.

He journeyed for many days over dunes of yellow sand and lakes of white salt. He did battle with venomous snakes and ravenous wolves. Finally, he reached a deep hole filled with pure, clear water.

The old man filled his watersacks and made the return trip, which was just as perilous as the journey out had been.

Eventually the old man came home. But, when he went up to his wife and children, he found they could not see him. When he spoke to them, he found they did not hear. When he tried to give them the water he had brought, he found it had turned to sand.

Then the old man saw his own body lying on a funeral pyre. As the flames carried his spirit away to the afterdream, the last thing he saw was the tears his family were shedding, and he understood that water had come to them after all.

Talus and the Frozen King will be published by Solaris Books on March 26th 2014

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