Once upon a time in a Middle Eastern land, the ruler had two sons, the first still-born, so they said. The younger, a fat, thoughtful, sweet-natured boy was his heir. Far from the capital there are rumours of a creature, half boy, half beast, that roams the forests. A rich lonely prospector finds the creature, and brings him up as his son. The creature learns to talk after a fashion and to move almost normally. From his shady garden he looks longingly at the pretty girl, whose father keeps her in seclusion next door, and secretly she too spies on him. His own shameful secret is the extra limbs that seem to wave from his chest. When his protector dies, the boy is kidnapped and displayed in a travelling freak show, where his facial likeness to the young prince is remarked. Meanwhile, a platoon of deserters from Napoleon's army rides into the land, insinuating themselves into the ruler's good graces - the flashy, ultimately dangerous face of enlightenment thought in this far-off kingdom. One is a surgeon and conceives a devilish plan - to separate the freakish creature from the 'twin', whose alter ego seems to have dived into its chest (we all have guardian angels but some of them miss the mark-). With original poems embedded like gems in the text, this is a fable for all ages, full of shivers and delights, sadness and wonder.
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