Words are dangerous.
Some words are everyday words. Your eyes will barely notice them where they lay on the newspaper, hiding in the margins of advertisements, crouching at the end of dull editorials. Turn over an old textbook, and you’ll find words sitting there looking surprised, like the life that goes scurrying for cover when you pry up a rock.
But some words are not everyday words. Some words are the kind of word that you only hear a couple of times in your life. Some words, if you wrote them down, are strong enough to tear themselves off the page, grab you by the neck and shake until you listen. Some words are strong enough to break people, make a people, tear down countries, raise up kings, and send armies to battle.
This is a story about words, words that grabbed one lonely, particular man and dragged him into a tale beyond his wildest vocabulary. So, of course, it is one of the hardest stories to tell.
But fortunately, I have the words that are just right for starting such dangerous tales.
Once upon a time…