The Rag-and-Bone Man
- by Greymane
Everyone knows the Rag-and-Bone Man. He has been everywhere and visited nearly every place. His image, graven and painted, can be found in nearly every culture on the face of Creation. In appearance, he is quite spindly. Nothing more than a skeleton covered with a layer of dusty brown rag-cloth and his mouth covered by a long scarf. Wads of old glue and bent iron nails seem to be what keeps his joints together and the cloth attached to his body. He wears a necklace of more bones. They are not his own, but the discarded bones of food animals. Chicken bones, beef rib bones, dog toes; all scrubbed clean and dipped in colorful enamel.
The Rag-and-Bone Man wanders around with a hand drawn wooden cart, it's contents always covered by a tarp. He sings out "Rag and bone!" everywhere he goes, a call of greeting and warning alike. He comes to claim those things that people have no want or use for. He hauls off bodies that no one wants to bury, animal corpses, pieces of ruined buildings unfit for habitation, and other such treasures. Slipping them all into the back of his cart, without ever seeming to ruin out of room, he visits town after town to haul them all away. Many are curious as to what else might be hidden in his cart, but warnings liter his legacy against seeking such knowledge. Looking into the back of that cart always, without fail, drives mad whoever dares to do so - maybe not a lot, but at least a little. It's somewhere that no mortal or god was ever meant to look.
The Rag-and-Bone Man spends nearly all of his time wandering the world to collect it's unwanted scraps and only once a year, at Calibration, returns to where he comes from to unload his collection. His home is a manse made of bone and horse glue and iron, walled with rags and skin and hide. Sequestered away in his home, he spends all of Calibration working. Working on what, no one seems to know, but he has been working on it since the day the Primordials first loosed the gods into the world. Whatever his great project is, he makes other things as well. When he leaves his home after Calibration ends, he carries with him a huge rag-cloth sack over his back. As he travels, he passes out gifts from this sack. They are always strange things, artless and chaotic, and clearly made from bits of reused materials; bone and nails and broken glass. These talismans he makes can bring great fortune or bestow terrible curses and getting rid of them is all but impossible. Ridding oneself of them is a job even the most skilled of exorcists are wary to try. While legend paints the image of him blessing the poor and striking down the rich, there is a more secret rhyme and reason to whom he gives his gifts and a lesson to be found in each.
The Rag-and-Bone Man is known to have a great love of children. If a child gives him enough rags, then he will reach deep into his bag and pull out something truly wonderful. Something so wonderful, it would change that child's life for the better forever.
But, if a child was cruel or rude or insulting. If they threw stones or tried to put things into his cart or shoved sticks through the spokes of the wheels, then he would chase down the child - no matter how fast they ran - and stick the child into the back of the cart still alive. No one knew what became of those children, though rumors would persist that those few who had gone to his home had found it tended to by small constructs of skin and bones with tears pouring out of their empty skeletal eyes.
Creepy - BlackFlame