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…’But you said the other day that he was red-haired.’
‘I couldn’t have. Make him black-haired of course. You’ve no imagination.’
Seeing that I had just discovered the entire general principles on which the half-memory falsely called imagination is based, I felt entitled to laugh, but forbore, for the sake of the tale.
‘You’re right. You’re the chap with imagination. A black-haired chap in a decked ship.’
‘No, an open ship, like a big boat.’…


This is from “The Finest Story in the World”, in Many Inventions.

The narrator has a friend, Charlie Mears, a young bank clerk, who is an aspiring writer. As they discuss a tale they are writing together, Charlie starts to recall in dreams and imaginings fragments of tales of sea-faring hundreds of years ago.

The young man thinks he is making it up, but the narrator realises that in reality Charlie is recalling his past lives on a Viking longship, and an ancient Greek galley.