Книга Tehanu The Last Book of Earthsea. Содержание - The Master

So the winter passed, till lambing season was on them, and the work got very heavy for a while as the days lengthened and grew bright. Then the swallows came from the isles under the sun, from the South Reach, where the star Gobardon shines in the constellation of Ending; but all the swallows’ talk with one another was about beginning.

The Master

Like the swallows, the ships began to fly among the islands with the return of spring, In the villages there was talk, secondhand from Valmouth, of the king’s ships harrying the harriers, driving well-established pirates to ruin, confiscating their ships and fortunes. Lord Heno himself sent out his three finest, fastest ships, captained by the sorcererseawolf Tally, who was feared by every merchantman from Solea to the Andrades; his fleet was to ambush the king’s ships off Oranea and destroy them. But it was one of the king’s ships that came into Valmouth Bay with Tally in chains aboard, and under orders to escort Lord Heno to Gont Port to be tried for piracy and murder. Heno barricaded himself in his stone manor house in the hills behind Valmouth, but neglected to light a fire, it being warm spring weather; so five or six of the king’s young soldiers dropped in on him by way of the chimney, and the whole troop walked him chained through the streets of Valmouth and carried him off to justice.

When he heard this, Ged said with love and pride, “All that a king can do, he will do well.”

Handy and Shag had been taken promptly off on the north road to Gont Port, and when his wounds healed enough Hake was carried there by ship, to be tried for murder at the king’s courts of law. The news of their sentence to the galleys caused much satisfaction and self-congratulation in Middle Valley, to which Tenar, and Therru beside her, listened in silence.

There came other ships bearing other men sent by the king, not all of them popular among the townsfolk and villagers of rude Gont: royal sheriffs, sent to report on the system of bailiffs and officers of the peace and to hear complaints and grievances from the common people; tax reporters and tax collectors; noble visitors to the little lords of Gont, inquiring politely as to their fealty to the Crown in Havnor; and wizardly men, who went here and there, seem-ing to do little and say less.

“I think they’re hunting for a new archmage after all,” said Tenar.

“Or looking for abuses of the art,” Ged said-’ "sorcery gone wrong."

Tenar was going to say, “Then they should look in the manor house of Re Albi!” but her tongue stumbled on the words. What was I going to say? she thought. Did I ever tell Ged about- I’m getting forgetful. What was it I was going to tell Ged? Oh, that we’d better mend the lower pasture gate before the cows get out.

There was always something, a dozen things, in the front of her mind, business of the farm. “Never one thing, for you,” Ogion had said. Even with Ged to help her, all her thoughts and days went into the business of the farm. He shared the housework with her as Flint had not; but Flint had been a farmer, and Ged was not. He learned fast, but there was a lot to learn. They worked. There was little time for talk, now. At the day’s end there was supper together, and bed together, and sleep, and wake at dawn and back to work, and so round and so round, like the wheel of a water mill, rising full and emptying, the days like the bright water falling.

“Hello, mother,” said the thin fellow at the farmyard gate. She thought it was Lark’s eldest and said, “What brings you by, lad?” Then she looked back at him across the clucking chickens and the parading geese.

“Spark!” she cried, and scattered the poultry, running to him.

“Well, well,” he said. “Don’t carry on."

He let her embrace him and stroke his face. He came in and sat down in the kitchen, at the table.

“Have you eaten? Did you see Apple?”

“I could eat.”

She rummaged in the well-stocked larder. “What ship are you on? Still the Gull?”

“No.” A pause. “My ship’s broke up."

She turned in horror-”Wrecked?”

“No.” He smiled without humor. “Crew’s broke up. King’s men took her over.”

“But-it wasn’t a pirate ship-”


“Then why-?”

“Said the captain was running some goods they wanted,” he said, unwillingly. He was as thin as ever, but looked older, tanned dark, lank-haired, with a long, narrow face like Flint’s but still narrower, harder.

“Where’s dad?” he said.

Tenar stood still.

“You didn’t stop by your sister’s.”

“No,” he said, indifferent.

“Flint died three years ago,” she said. “Of a stroke. In the fields-on the path up from the lambing pens. Clear-brook found him. It was three years ago.

There was a silence. He did not know what to say, or had nothing to say.

She put food before him. He began to eat so hungrily that she set out more at once.

“When did you eat last?”

He shrugged, and ate.

She sat down across the table from him. Late-spring sunshine poured in the low window across the table and shone on the brass fender in the hearth.

He pushed the plate away at last.

“So who’s been running the farm?” he asked.

“What’s that to you, son?” she asked him, gently but drily.

“It’s mine,” he said, in a rather similar tone.

After a minute Tenar got up and cleared his dishes away. “So it is.”

“You can stay, o’ course,” he said, very awkwardly, perhaps attempting to joke; but he was not a joking man. “Old Clearbrook still around?”

“They’re all still here. And a man called Hawk, and a child I keep. Here. In the house. You’ll have to sleep in the loft-room. I’ll put the ladder up.” She faced him again. “Are you here for a stay, then?”

“I might be.”

So Flint had answered her questions for twenty years, denying her right to ask them by never answering yes or no, maintaining a freedom based on her ignorance; a poor, narrow sort of freedom, she thought.

“Poor lad,” she said, “your crew broken up, and your father dead, and strangers in your house, all in a day. You’ll want some time to get used to it all. I’m sorry, my son. But I’m glad you’re here. I thought of you often, on the seas, in the storms, in winter.”

He said nothing. He had nothing to offer, and was unable to accept. He pushed back his chair and was about to get up when Therru came in. He stared, half-risen, "What happened to her?” he said.

“She was burned. Here’s my son I told you about, Therru, the sailor, Spark. Therru’s your sister, Spark.”


“By adoption.”

“Sister!” he said again, and looked around the kitchen as if for witness, and stared at his mother.

She stared back.

He went out, going wide of Therru, who stood motionless. He slammed the door behind him.

Tenar started to speak to Therru and could not.

“Don’t cry,” said the child who did not cry, coming to her, touching her arm. “Did he hurt you?”

“Oh Therru! Let me hold you!” She sat down at the table with Therru on her lap and in her arms, though the girl was getting big to be held, and had never learned how to do it easily. But Tenar held her and wept, and Therru bent her scarred face down against Tenar’s, till it was wet with tears.

Ged and Spark came in at dusk from opposite ends of the farm. Spark had evidently talked with Clearbrook and thought the situation over, and Ged was evidently trying to size it up. Very little was said at supper, and that cautiously. Spark made no complaint about not having his own room back, but ran up the ladder to the storage-loft like the sailor he was, and was apparently satisfied with the bed his mother had made him there, for he did not come back down till late in the morning.

He wanted breakfast then, and expected it to be served to him. His father had always been waited on by mother, wife, daughter. Was he less a man than his father? Was she to prove it to him? She served him his meal and cleared it away for him, and went back to the orchard where she and Therru and Shandy were burning off a plague of tent caterpillars that threatened to destroy the new-set fruit.

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