Long, long ago, before I was a tormented artist, afflicted with longing yet incapable of forming durable attachments, long before this, I was a glorious ruler uniting all of a divided country—so I was told by the fortune teller who examined my palm. Great things, she said, are ahead of you, or perhaps behind you, it is difficult to be sure. And yet, she added, what is the difference? Right now you are a child holding hands with a fortune teller. All the rest is hypothesis and dream.