Golden Lilies

It was the smell which woke me up, insinuating itself between the planks of my coffin: cooked meat mingling with the sweet odour of aromatic rice, and the tangy hint of fruit and spices — a powerful summoning if there ever was one.

I sat up instinctively, saliva flooding my withered mouth; and it was only after a while that I realised my head had gone through the pine wood. I felt — light, empty, as if something had been torn out of me — more insubstantial than flesh and bones and muscles.

Gradually, I made out stumbling words, coming from outside my grave: “I pray that you will come and be present; that you will grant to your posterity that they may be prosperous and blessed by good fortune. Reverently I present the fivefold sacrifice . . .”

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