Rag Man

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Once upon a time, there was a man, tall, strong and healthy. Adolescent boy stumbled across him one day.

"Rags! Old for new! I'll take your old, used rags and give you new ones," he cried, pulling a cart full of bright, new clothing.

The boy followed him, curiously, wondering what the Rag man's purpose was. For awhile, the boy trailed him secretly as the man walked around the heart of the city, calling for people's old rags.

After a while, the pair came across a women, hunched over sobbing into an old handkerchief, surrounded by broken toys and furniture. The women's shoulders were slumped and she was kneeling on the floor of an old, beat up house.

The Rag man walked up to her.

"Give me your old rags, and I'll give you my new ones," he commanded steadily.

The woman reluctantly handed him her stained, dirty handkerchief. He took it, then wiped away her tears, then handed her a pristine, white, new one. She took it, holding it closer to her chest.

He walked back to his cart, then put the dirty handkerchief to his face. As soon as it touched him, his shoulders slumped and he broke into heavy sobs. The woman on the porch now stood straight and tall, no longer sad or crying.

The boy stood baffled, as the man took on the woman's sadness. The rag man continued on.

"R-rags! Old for new!" The man cried, voice cracking.

The boy followed behind again, needing to know the man's story. Not long later, they two walked across a girl.

She sat on the curb, eyes vacant with a thick bandage wrapped around her skull and blood running down her cheek. The Rag man stopped, going over to her.

"Give me your old rag and I'll give you a new one," he claimed, looking into the girl's vacant eyes.

She said nothing in reply and gazed unseeing lay forward. The Rag man began unwrapping the bandage from the girl's skull. Nothing was there!

No injury, or scar! He then replaced the bandage with a beautiful, yellow hat. The Rag man then wrapped the bandage around his own head.

The girl's eyes cleared, and she raised her hand to touch her skull, wondering where her wound had gone. Then the rag man started bleeding from behind his bandage.

He limped unsteadily away, back to his cart. He walked with more urgency now, and the boy struggled to keep up with them. Next, they found a drunk man laying unconscious under a park bench.

The Rag man took his old, worn at blanket and replaced it with a new one, then wrapped the old one around himself. As soon as he did, he began to stumble around drunkenly.

But still, he cried

"Rags! O-old rags for new ones!"

On he went, and so did the boy, running to keep up. They found a man at a light post.

"Why aren't you at work?" The rag man asked.

"Are you blind?" Sneered the stranger.

It was then that the boy noticed that one of the man's sleeves laid limp. The stranger had only one arm.

"Give me your coat, and I'll give you mine," demanded the rag man, in a voice not to be argued with.

Hesitantly, the man took off his coat and gave it to him. The rag man gave the stranger his coat, and the adorned the old one. As soon as the stranger put it on, he had two, strong arms.

While the rag man now missed one. After that, the rag man hurried away, running to get to his destination. The boy tried to keep up, and would ache inside when he saw the rag man, fall or stumble.

The once tall, strong man had given all he was, and now would fall over and over again, only to get up weaker and weaker each time. The pair finally made it to an old junk yard, full of trash and unwanted items.

The Rag man went to the top of the hill, then laid out all his old rags, and laid his head upon them. Then, he closed his eyes and died. The adolescent boy felt his heart break.

The Rag man represented the hope! He gave all he had for anyone who asked it. Now, he is dead. Is the Rag man is dead, then so is the hope in this world. The young man cried, collapsing to the ground.

Then, he slept. Through Friday, and Saturday, but on Sunday he was awoken. A bright light shined in his eyes, forcing them to open. Once his eyes adjusted, he was able to see what created such luminous.

It was the Rag man! There he stood, in perfect health. No blood, no tears, and fully limbed. The boy felt tears come to his eyes, and he knew what he had to do.

Slowly, he walked up to the Rag man.

"Rags. Old rags for new," he croaked, voice full of longing.

And the Rag man smiled, looking at him with eyes full of compassion and love.

Then he took the boy's old rags and gave him pristine, white, pure, new ones.

This has always been one of my favorite stories, and in the car, I couldn't help but think of it. That's the way a king should be. It shouldn't matter who the person is, if they're one of your people you should love them. I looked again over at Maddox. What kind of King would he be? Would he be kind like the rag man? Or a dictator? I turned back around to my window. I guess I don't know him well enough to say. Even though, he did force me here, he has shown me every kindness imaginable. When the car pulled up to a stop, I waited for my door to be opened to step out. The sight awaiting was baffling.

"Welcome to The Orphanage of Laban. This is where kids whose parents die or disease or war go," Maddox said, then smiled as dozens of kids burst out the brick building.
"Prince!" They cried, running to them. I watched, shocked as they all crowded him with happy faces.
"Hello munchkins. I brought your goodies," he grinned. They cheered. He then pulled a few back packs from the trunk. He started handing out teddy bears, candy and clothes. It was the first time I had ever saw this side of him. It made me have hope. It warned me inside as well, to see him actually go out of his way for these kids.
Maybe he isn't so bad. Maybe he'll change our world. A voice inside me thought. I blanched, then cleared my mind. I looked around and noticed a lot of the kids staring at me.
"Prince?" Asked a little girl.
"Whose the pretty lady?"

Maddox laughed.
"This everyone," he began
"Is Rebecca White. One day, she may be my bride," he smiled. The kids all cheered and I blushed. Wife? This man is crazy. But still, being married to someone like this wouldn't be so bad. There are much worse of fates. After that, I grabbed some toys and assisted Maddox with handing them out. Maybe I could give him a chance.

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Hey guys! Just a little present for you guys, thought I'd make the chappie a bit longer than usual.

Just an FYI, the Rag Man is a story I didn't create. Someone else did, but I just love the story too much, so I decided to add it in.

Comment, like vote! Love you guys!

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