The Primrose Way
For a moment it seemed that I had been transported to another place and time,
an ancient, mythical place. The cove was awash in mist, and on the opposite
shore, atop a great rock monolith that jutted up out of the haze, knelt the likeness
of a primitive god. His face was turned up toward the pale eastern horizon, and
to his lips he held a wooden flute. From that simple instrument came the
ethereal melody that had wrapped itself around me like a spell. Indeed, I began
to wonder if I was witnessing an enchantment, for as I stared, the sky at the
horizon grew brighter and the mist slowly swirled into a brilliant ball, then drew
away, leaving the bright face of the sun shining down on the figure that knelt on
the rock.
He rose up on his feet, took the flute in both hands, and held it aloft as if offering it to the sun. He stood
that way for a long time, his face upturned, and I realized that he was not a god but a man at prayer. This,
then, I realized with a little tremor of trepidation, was a savage. I felt more fascination, though, than fear,
and I was glad to have the chance to observe him unobserved. His skin was not red, as I had been led to
expect, but rather a warm, tawny color, not unlike that of an Englishman who labors on the sea or the
soil. He was broad of shoulder and well muscled, taller than most men I knew. By way of clothing, he
wore nothing, short of a thin belt with a square of cloth hanging over it front and back - as indeed it
brought a flush to my face to observe, for I had never before seen more of a man's body unclothed than a
wrist or an ankle. He was young and his profile was handsome, a strong brow, high cheekbones, a
wide, straight nose, and a well-chiseled jaw. His smooth black hair hung to his shoulders, with one lock
longer than the others. This lock was caught up at the crown and adorned with two large feathers. Two
more feathers hung from a bracelet that encircled his upper arm, and several strings of beads encircled
his neck.
As I watched, he carefully lowered the flute in his outstretched hands, bowed his head briefly, then
slowly turned and stared directly into my eyes.