The Secret Sellers

Once upon a time an old woman foretold a world where monsters ruled. And they did. The fairy tales from history seemed to foretell the mutations of the future. Forests grew large and dark and within them, creatures thrived. Avis Eldred is one of the few surviving humans; she should be grateful for that. But she's not grateful for killing in order to survive. Now she faces a choice - take a leap of faith and defy everything she ever knew, or keep being a murderer and a coward.


13. The Skeleton Man



The Skeleton Man

Even the weakest man can someday become strong if he just believes. The Gods like the test people, not for their own enjoyment but as a way to make people understand that the power of belief is astronomical. This fact can be told in the story of the Skeleton Man.

The Skeleton Man was a poor beggar man, who lived in a tiny cave deep within the woods. Every morning he would walk into the village, going through the woods and down a long winding road. He was nothing but skin and bones wobbling more than walking which caused the children to call him ‘The Skeleton Man’ while they danced around his feet. The man did not care because he was happy even though he had nothing. He was also selfless; if he saw anything, animal or man, that needed help, he would not hesitate to offer it. If he saw an animal caught in a trap; he would grant it freedom, even though the hunters would beat him for it. If he saw women and peasants out in the fields cutting at the barley with their sickles he would stop, take the tool out of their hands, and carry out the task in order to give them a break – this was although he was weak and hungry, and exposed to the scorching sun. When he went into the village to beg for coins or food, even though he was kind people would spit at him and call him names, in hope of driving him away. Their efforts did not work however, and the man did not stop nor hate or blame them.

One day when he was walking down the road into the village, he saw smoke billows and heard screaming. A small army had invade the village, and they setting the homes on fire and capturing some of the villagers while killing the rest. The beggar immediately thought about all the people he had helped in his life, the peasants in the field, the children running around in circles in the village, the animals and all of the other innocents. So he ran into the village, even though his legs were weak and he had no skills in which he could fight or defend himself. He was able to gather a small group of men, women and children and hide them from the army. As he was running from house to house, trying to save as many as he could, he heard a women screaming. He found one of the men attacking a man, woman and child in their home. The beggar recognized the child from one that would always dance around him while chanting his given name. The woman was a worker on the fields, who he would always take her sickle from, cutting the barley in the scorching sun. He even recognized the man; he was one who called him names and spat at him. But standing there, watching the soldier strike the family he knew that he couldn’t simply stand and watch and do nothing. The beggar man ran at the soldier, screaming louder than he had in any other time in his life, and even though he was nothing but skin and bones – a skeleton man – the soldier was so surprised by the attack that he fell and dropped his sword. However, the soldier was strong with years of training and fitness under his belt. The two of them fought, rolling over until the beggar was pinned to the floor. The soldier started to strike the man, until the beggar lay still. While they were fighting the man from the village had grabbed the sword that the soldier had dropped, and the soldier rose to his feet in notice of this deed. The beggar knew that even though the villager had the sword, the soldier was a better fighter and would take it from his opponent easily who he would then kill.

Using the last of his strength, the beggar man rose shakenly to his feet and attacked the solder once more, he screamed for the man to take his chance and the villager drove the sword deep within the soldiers back. It was so deep that it pierced the beggar man himself; in consequence the two lay there, the beggar man and the soldier, while their blood pooled into one. The beggar man could see Death coming towards the house to take him, but before his soul would depart the beggar man smiled and told the villager that it was okay, that he forgave him. Because he had been there, he had saved that family, and they now gained the gift of safety and freedom. Even though, the beggar man knew he had given his life for it to come, he didn’t care. He had protected and saved lives and that is all he had ever wanted in life.

Death and the Skeleton Man departed as equals in that instance.

But the Gods had been watching the beggar man for all of his life, and they had seen the selflessness and the honesty and the purity that he had. So when he died, and his spirt went into the other world the Gods were there to meet him. They presented him with a feast in his honour and a Goddess asked the man to stand by her side, and in her honour protect others as he had done for that family in the village. The beggar eagerly agreed and just as the Goddess was going to ascend him to being a God himself he paused. The beggar felt like his time on the earth was not quite done. There were many things that the Earth could still teach him about himself and others. The Goddess understood and told him so. She told him that she would send his soul down to be born anew, but also asked him if she could in return keep a small piece of him with her. She explained that at that moment, that he could still help a great deal of people, and that she could take a piece of his soul, in a way of creating a replica of him. The beggar knew if there was a way he would help others who could not protect themselves he would always do it, so he accepted. The goddess then reached within his body and plucked out a golden glowing orb which then transformed to reveal a twin of the beggar man. The goddess promised that together they would save many in their lifetimes and she sent down the Skeleton Man to be born once again. The man was born again twice, each time another piece of his soul replicated for some heroic deed that he had done and in the end his replicas became a myth among the people on Earth. They called him – or them, rather, the three immortal sleeping warriors. And whenever a man of pure intentions called on the warriors, they would appear to help him and grant him the gifts of safety and freedom. 

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