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The Gold Sickle; or, Hena the Virgin of the Isle of Sen. A Tale of Druid Gaul is the first part of Eugène Sue's The Mysteries of the People; or, History of a Proletarian Family Across the Ages, in which he intended to produce a comprehensive "universal history," dating from the beginning of the present era down to his own days. Sue's own socialist leanings made this history that of the "successive struggles of the successively ruled with the successively ruling classes". In the first volume we meet the Gallic chief Joel, whose descendants will typify the oppressed throughout the suite of novels. Joel and his son invite a traveller to share their supper one evening, curious as they are to hear his stories. When he refuses, they capture him; the exchange of stories around the hearth turns into a debate about freedom and what freedom is worth.
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