Книга Tehanu The Last Book of Earthsea. Содержание - Bettering


He lay like the dead but was not dead. Where had he been? What had he come through? That night, in firelight, Tenar took the stained, worn, sweat-stiffened clothes off him. She washed him and let him lie naked between the linen sheet and the blanket of soft, heavy goat’s-wool. Though a short, slight-built man, he had been compact, vigorous; now he was thin as if worn down to the bone, worn away, fragile. Even the scars that ridged his shoulder and the left side of his face from temple to jaw seemed lessened, silvery. And his hair was grey.

I’m sick of mourning, Tenar thought. Sick of mourning, sick of grief. I will not grieve for him Didn’t he come to me riding the dragon? Once I meant to kill him, she thought. Now I’ll make him

live, if I can. She looked at him then with a challenge in her eye, and no pity.

“Which of us saved the other from the Labyrinth, Ged?”

Unhearing, unmoving, he slept. She was very tired. She bathed in the water she had heated to wash him with, and crept into bed beside the little, warm, silky silence that was Therru asleep. She slept, and her sleep opened out into a vast windy space hazy with rose and gold. She flew. Her voice called, “Kalessin!” A voice answered, calling from the gulfs of light.

When she woke, the birds were chirping in the fields and on the roof. Sitting up she saw the light of morning through the gnarled glass of the low window looking west. There was something in her, some seed or glimmer, too small to look at or think about, new. Therru was still asleep. Tenar sat by her looking out the small window at cloud and sunlight, thinking of her daughter Apple, trying to remember Apple as a baby. Only the faintest glimpse, vanishing as she turned to it-the small, fat body shaking with a laugh, the wispy, flying hair..., And the second baby, Spark he got called as a joke, because he’d been struck off Flint. She did not know his true name. He had been as sickly a child as Apple had been a sound one. Born early and very small, he had nearly died of the croup at two months, and for two years after that it had been like rearing a fledgling sparrow, you never knew if he would be alive in the morning. But he held on, the little spark wouldn’t go out. And growing, he became a wiry boy, endlessly active, driven; no use on the farm; no patience with animals, plants, people; using words for his needs only, never for pleasure and the give and take of love and knowledge.

Ogion had come by on his wanderings when Apple was thirteen and Spark eleven. Ogion had named Apple then, in the springs of the Kaheda at the valley’s head; beautiful she had walked in the green water, the woman-child, and he had given her her true name, Hayohe. He had stayed on at Oak Farm a day or two, and had asked the boy if he wanted to go wandering a little with him in the forests. Spark merely shook his head. “What would you do if you could?” the mage had asked him, and the boy said what he had never been able to say to father or mother: “Go to sea.

after Beech gave him his true name, three years later, he shipped as a sailor aboard a merchantman trading from Valmouth to Orane’a and North Havnor. From time to time he would come to the farm, but not often and never for long, though at his father’s death it would be his property. He was white-skinned like Tenar, but grew tall like Flint, with a narrow face. He had not told his parents his true name. There might never be anyone he told it to. Tenar had not seen him for three years now. He might or might not know of his father’s death. He might be dead himself, drowned, but she thought not. He would carry that spark his life over the waters, through the storms.

That was what it was like in her now, a spark; like the bodily certainty of a conception; a change, a new thing. What it was she would not ask. You did not ask. You did not ask a true name. It was given you, or not.

She got up and dressed. Early as it was, it was warm, and she built no fire. She sat in the doorway to drink a cup of milk and watch the shadow of Gont Mountain draw inward from the sea. There was as little wind as there could be on this air-swept shelf of rock, and the breeze had a midsummer feel, soft and rich, smelling of the meadows. There was a sweetness in the air, a change.

“All changed!” the old man had whispered, dying, joyful. Laying his hand on hers, giving her the gift, his name, giving it away.

“Aihal!” she whispered. For answer a couple of goats bleated, out behind the milking shed, waiting for Heather to come. “Be-eh,” one said, and the other, deeper, metallic, “Bla-ah! Bla-ah!” Trust a goat, Flint used to say, to spoil anything. Flint, a shepherd, had disliked goats. But Sparrowhawk had been a goatherd, here across the mountain, as a boy.

She went inside. She found Therru standing gazing at the sleeping man. She put her arm around the child, and though Therm usually shrank from or was passive to touch or caress, this time she accepted it and perhaps even leaned a little to Tenar.

Ged lay in the same exhausted, overwhelmed sleep. His face was turned to expose the four white scars that marked it.

“Was he burned?” Therru whispered.

Tenar did not answer at once. She did not know what those scars were. She had asked him long ago, in the Painted Room of the Labyrinth of Atuan, jeering: “A dragon?” And he had answered seriously, “Not a dragon. One of the kinship of the Nameless Ones; but I learned his name.... And that was all she knew. But she knew what “burned” meant to the child.

“Yes,” she said.

Therru continued to gaze at him. She had cocked her head to bring her one seeing eye to bear, which made her look like a little bird, a sparrow or a finch.

“Come along, finchling, birdlet, sleep’s what he needs, you need a peach. Is there a peach ripe this morning?”

Therru trotted out to see, and Tenar followed her.

Eating her peach, the child studied the place where she had planted the peach pit yesterday. She was evidently disappointed that no tree had grown there, but she said nothing.

“Water it,” said Tenar.

Aunty Moss arrived in the midmorning. One of her skills as a witch-handywoman was basket making, using the rushes of Overfell Marsh, and Tenar had asked her to teach her the art. As a child in Atuan, Tenar had learned how to learn. As a stranger in Gont, she had found that people

liked to teach. She had learned to be taught and so to be accepted, her foreignness forgiven.

Ogion had taught her his knowledge, and then Flint had taught her his. It was her habit of life, to learn. There seemed always to be a great deal to be learned, more than she would have believed when she was a prentice-priestess or the pupil of a mage.

The rushes had been soaking, and this morning they were to split them, an exacting but not a complicated business, leaving plenty of attention to spare.

“Aunty,” said Tenar as they sat on the doorstep with the bowl of soaking rushes between them and a mat before them to lay the split ones on, “how do you tell if a man’s a wizard or not?”

Moss’s reply was circuitous, beginning with the usual gnomics and obscurities. “Deep knows deep,” she said, deeply, and “What’s born will speak,” and she told a story about the ant that picked up a tiny end of hair from the floor of a palace and ran off to the ants’ nest with it, and in the night the nest glowed underground like a star, for the hair was from the head of the great mage Brost, But only the wise could see the glowing anthill. To common eyes it was all dark.

“One needs training, then,” said Tenar.

Maybe, maybe not, was the gist of Moss’s dark reply. “Some are born with that gift,” she said. “Even when they don’t know it, it will be there. Like the hair of the mage in the hole in the ground, it will shine.”

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