What hands have held this old tome, how many minds were touched by its story?
If there was a monster inside, how many monsters were imagined? If the monster had wings, were they scaly or feathered or rigid like a plane’s? What light flashed in its eyes? If the devil had horns, were they long or short?
Even if the author supplied the details, each reader saw the monster and the other characters differently. Each moment of the story struck each reader at a different level for a different reason. It could be no other way: We each bring our own set of experiences to the table, at this unique point in our lives.
It looks like one, innocent book, lovingly or carelessly or recklessly handled by dozens or hundreds of readers, but it is as many books as hands and minds that have touched it and been touched by it.