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Recently, music producer for BigHit, PDogg, was asked what his favorite BTS song is and he answered “The Truth Untold,” sung by the four vocalists (live performance below). It seems there is a long, fascinating history behind it. I’ll try to make this short. (Check out these sites for details: The BTS Effect and the florist’s Flower Smeraldo stories.)

This poignant love song is based on an Italian folk tale about a 16th century hideously deformed recluse who devotes himself to his garden. A ragged girl sneaks in to steal flowers. He watches her first in anger but eventually falls in love as he learns she sells them to survive. Fearing his appearance will disgust her, he creates beautiful flowers for her and eventually wants to give her his most beautiful flower of all, the blue Smeraldo Flower, but she has disappeared. He disguises himself with a mask and goes looking for her only to learn she is dead.

Just before the BTS song came out a series of blog stories appeared, supposedly by a S. Korean florist who was about to open a Smeraldo Flower Shop. The stories tell about this flower, a 16th century poet named Ashbless, a set of Ashbless Playing Cards and the Mlle. Lenormand Flower card. The first flower order taken by the shop is for Kim Seokjin (a member of BTS) in his guise as the time-traveler in the BTS Universe saga that lies behind their first albums (in which Jin continually goes back in time to try and save his six friends from death and other teen tragedies.) After the song came out Jin posted a photo of himself with a Smeraldo flower.

Well, it turns out that William Ashbless is actually a 19th century fictional poet made up by two California college students in the early 1970s. They became the famous fantasy writers Tim Powers and James Blaylock, both of whom eventually wrote novels that included Ashbless as a character or poems by him, including Powers’ The Anubis Gates and Last Call, the latter being especially beloved by tarot aficionados. According to Powers and Blaylock, Ashbless never appeared in public because he was hideously deformed, and his poetry was deemed portentous and meaningless. (See this video recounting the creation of Ashbless).

Here is the song in a mix from multiple performances with English subtitles. The lyrics can also be read as a love song from BTS to their fans ARMY, in that they had been going through a very rough time being besieged by haters who issued death threats, called some members ugly, and said their songs were unoriginal trash. In a way it is a prelude to their later album Mask of the Soul: Persona, in which they explore the masks they assume as Idols. The best translation can be found on doolset’s website.

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Mary K. Greer has made tarot her life work. Check here for reports of goings-on in the world of tarot and cartomancy, articles on the history and practice of tarot, and materials on other cartomancy decks. Sorry, I no longer write reviews. Contact me HERE.

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