He saw it there in front of him, one of many. This one had been there for some time, rotting. Rotten. It looked stuck fast in the wet, oily mud. One arm was twisted backwards and at the end the hand was claw-like, stiff, grasping for whatever it was it had been holding, something now long gone. Many things were now long gone from the scene, or so it seemed to him. They boiled the bones. Once the remaining flesh had been stripped off, hacked off, sliced off, bitten… they boiled down, boiled away, whatever was left. And the bones glistened. They sparkled. The cauldron hung from chains outside the barn. He saw his body now as bones, now as flesh, and wondered which one was him. Men came on horses and took them away. The bones were packed all together and tied up in an animal skin. It was quite a thing, to see the bones like that, to hear the bones like that, to hear them clatter while they were being rolled up tight. They left behind the man who had boiled the bones. They left him some money and a sword. He wrapped the sword again and again in cloth and put it under his bed, the only place he could think of. Later, on a sunny afternoon as he watched his house burning, he remembered it lying there, untouched since he had swaddled it. When the fire was almost finished and the other men had all gone, when the smouldering was all but done, he made his way through what was left, surprised at how easily what was once solid now crumbled. He found it, black where once it had shone. He banged the blade with his fist again and again, and slowly the gleaming blade was revealed.