12 Oct 2014

“The Emperor of Plagues”

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Clarice Feldman strikes her lyre and proceeds to read an ancient scroll containing the record of a story that might sound strangely familiar.

The father of the Emperor was said to be a god from an ancient land across the sea who often imbibed too much mead and had many wives. Others whispered his real father was the pedophilic poet who lived on the other side of the island with his wife. These people said the Emperor’s mother made up the story about the father god. In any event, the Emperor never lived with either man. The man from across the sea sailed away soon after his birth. …

The Emperor’s education was also remarkably strange. True, he was sent to the island’s most expensive lyceum, but his free time was mostly spent with his grandfather and the island lowlifes. He smoked a lot of choom, the weed of strange dreams, and was educated to despise order and thrift, diligence and competence. Natural-born genius leaders of men have no need of such characteristics. His teachers and friends and family led him to believe that the people of his island were responsible for all the ills of the world, that want and disease were caused by the islanders’ greed.

Read the whole thing.


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