masks

That crack in the narrative I talked about blog before last….the story isn’t going where I thought it was. The story that take my imagination is the one about the man in the iron mask, not the story on Louis XIV’s struggle to outwit his superintendent of finance without starting a war. I just threw the man in the iron mask in as a fun poke at Alexandre Dumas and because it’s such a wonderful, juicy French myth, like our Johnny Appleseed or Paul Bunyan or maybe Bigfoot. And yet it has the strongest grip on the story.smallking

Legend has it that when the Bastille was stormed in 1789, a skeleton was found with an iron helmet locked onto his head to hide his face. That isn’t true. I’ve read that there was a mysterious prisoner during the time of Louis XIV who wore a small, silk mask who was treated withe exquisite politeness and whose identity was never determined, that there was never an iron mask.  However, the famous philosopher, historian, and writer Voltaire wrote to friends about a prisoner “of an extremely handsome and noble appearance” who wore an iron mask and died in 1703, no one ever knowing who he was. The stuff of legend, and it’s certainly taken my story.

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