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When the King Loses His Head and Other Stories

Leonid Andreyev

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .y whirled in a breathless dance; ran about raising aloft their bloodstained rags, and scattered over the city, shouting, roaring and laughing incontinently and strangely. Some attempted to sing, but songs were too slow, too harmonious and rhythmical, and they again resumed their wild laughing and shouting. They started toward the national assembly intending to thank the deputies for ridding the land of the tyrant, but on the way they were deflected from their goal by the pursuit of a traitor who shouted: "The King is dead, long live the King! Long live the Twenty-first!" And then they dispersed—after having hanged someone.

Many of those who secretly continued to be loyal to the King could not bear the thought of his execution and lost their minds; many others, though they were cowards, committed suicide. Until the very last moment they waited for something, hoped for something, and had faith in the efficacy of their prayers. But when the execution had taken. . . Read More