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Once there was a King who betrayed all his people for love, and once there was a boy who never forgot. The King was Ulysses; the boy had no name, for he was not meant to ever need one.


It was whispered that the King wept bitterly for twelve days and twelve nights when his first child was born, for even the servants could see what a strong and laughing youth he would be, the fairest there ever had been in all the land of Colmar.


The Queen his mother had begged not to see or touch him, and the King took pity on his wife, and took the child away the moment he was born. They had spent many sad months preparing for this day, and the King fed and cared for the baby with his own hands. He dared not allow anyone else.


When the first fair day arrived (for it was in the rainy autumn-time when the child was born), the King mounted a donkey with his baby son held in a sling across his heart, and bid his Queen and his palace farewell. The Queen would rule Colmar until his return, and that would be many years away. In the meantime the babe was his only concern.


The King rode away to the cottage prepared for him, deep in the Wilds where none other dared go, on pain of death. And there they remained always. The young King turned his strength to growing food and he put away thoughts of sorrow, for they were forbidden here.


The child grew, and was as fair and merry as his midwives had thought, and in him the King found much joy. And each day the King took the boy by the hand, and led him through fields where the red clover grew, by a silvery stream that played over rocks, and under the leaves of the old oak trees that danced in the wind and the sun. And the little one smiled at these things that he saw, and hid them away in his heart.

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