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Книга Tehanu The Last Book of Earthsea. Содержание - Kalessin

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“My lord desires the honor,” said Re Albi. “But it would seem-” Gont Port began, and stopped, not liking to argue, but not ready to give in to the young man’s easy claim. He looked down at the dead man. “He must be buried nameless,” he said with regret and bitterness. ‘I walked all night, but came too late. A great loss made greater!”

The young wizard said nothing.

“His name was Aihal,” Tenar said. “His wish was to lie here, where he lies now.”

Both men looked at her. The young man, seeing a middle-aged village woman, simply turned away. The man from Gont Port stared a moment and said, “Who are you?”

“I’m called Flint’s widow, Goha,” she said. “Who I am is your business to know, I think. But not mine to say.

At this, the wizard of Re Albi found her worthy of a brief stare. “Take care, woman, how you speak to men of power!”

“Wait, wait,” said Gont Port, with a patting gesture, trying to calm Re Albi’s indignation, and still gazing at Tenar. “You were-You were his ward, once?”

“And friend,” Tenar said. Then she turned away her head and stood silent. She had heard the anger in her voice as she said that word, “friend.” She looked down at her friend, a corpse ready for the ground, lost and still. They stood over him, alive and full of power, offering no friendship, only contempt, rivalry, anger.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “It was a long night. I was with him when he died.”

“It is not-” the young wizard began, but unexpectedly old Aunty Moss interrupted him, saying loudly, “She was. Yes, she was. Nobody else but her. He sent for her. He sent young Townsend the sheep-dealer to tell her come, clear down round the mountain, and he waited his dying till she did come and was with him, and then he died, and he died where he would be buried, here.”

“And” said the older man, “-and he told you-?”

“His name.” Tenar looked at them, and do what she would, the incredulity on the older man’s face, the contempt on the other’s, brought out an answering disrespect in her. “I said that name,” she said. “Must I repeat it to you?”

To her consternation she saw from their expressions that in fact they had not heard the name, Ogion’s true name; they had not paid attention to her.

“Oh!” she said. “This is a bad time-a time when even such a name can go unheard, can fall like a stone! Is listening not power? Listen, then: his name was Aihal. His name in death is Aihal, In the songs he will be known as Aihal of Gont. If there are songs to be made any more. He was a silent man. Now he’s very silent. Maybe there will be no songs, only silence. I don’t know. I’m very tired. I’ve lost my father and dear friend.” Her voice failed; her throat closed on a sob. She turned to go. She saw on the forest path the little charm-bundle Aunty Moss had made. She picked it up, knelt down by the corpse, kissed the open palm of the left hand, and laid the bundle on it. There on her knees she looked up once more at the two men. She spoke quietly.

“Will you see to it,” she said, “that his grave is dug here, where he desired it?”

First the older man, then the younger, nodded. She got up, smoothing down her skirt, and started back across the meadow in the morning light.


“Wait,” Ogion, who was Aihal now, had said to her, just before the wind of death had shaken him and torn him loose from living. “Over-all changed,” he had whispered, and then, “Tenar, wait-” But he had not said what she should wait for. The change he had seen or known, perhaps; but what change? Was it his own death he meant, his own life that was over? He had spoken with joy, exulting. He had charged her to wait.

“What else have I to do?” she said to herself, sweeping the floor of his house. “What else have I ever done?” And, speaking to her memory of him, “Shall I wait here, in your house?”

“Yes,” said Aihal the Silent, silently, smiling.

So she swept out the house and cleaned the hearth and aired the mattresses. She threw out some chipped crockery and a leaky pan, but she handled them gently. She even put her cheek against a cracked plate as she took it out to the midden, for it was evidence of the old mage’s illness this past year. Austere he had been, living as plain as a poor farmer, but when his eyes were clear and his strength in him, he would never have used a broken plate or let a pan go unmended. These signs of his weakness grieved her, making her wish she had been with him to look after him.

“I would have liked that,” she said to her memory of him, but he said nothing. He never would have anybody to look after him but himself. Would he have said to her, “You have better things to do?” She did not know. He was silent. But that she did right to stay here in his house, now, she was certain.

Shandy and her old husband, Clearbrook, who had been at the farm in Middle Valley longer than she herself had, would look after the flocks and the orchard; the other couple on the farm, Tiff and Sis, would get the field crops in. The rest would have to take care of itself for a while. Her raspberry canes would be picked by the neighborhood children. That was too bad; she loved raspberries. Up here on the Overfell, with the sea wind always blowing, it was too cold to grow raspberries. But Ogion’s little old peach tree in the sheltered nook of the house wall facing south bore eighteen peaches, and Therru watched them like a mousing cat till the day she came in and said in her hoarse, unclear voice, “Two of the peaches are all red and yellow.”

“Ah,” said Tenar. They went together to the peach tree and picked the two first ripe peaches and ate them there, unpeeled. The juice ran down their chins. They licked their fingers.

“Can I plant it?” said Therru, looking at the wrinkled stone of her peach.

“Yes. This is a good place, near the old tree. But not too close. So they both have room for their roots and branches.”

The child chose a place and dug the tiny grave. She laid the stone in it and covered it over. Tenar watched her. In the few days they had been living here, Therru had changed, she thought. She was still unresponsive, without anger, without joy; but since they had been here her awful vigilance, her immobility, had almost imperceptibly relaxed. She had desired the peaches. She had thought of planting the stone, of increasing the number of peaches in the world. At Oak Farm she was unafraid of two people only, Tenar and Lark; but here she had taken quite easily to Heather, the goatherd of Re Albi, a bawling-voiced, gentle lackwit of twenty, who treated the child very much as another goat, a lame kid. That was all right. And Aunty Moss was all right too, no matter what she smelled like.

When Tenar had first lived in Re Albi, twenty-five years ago, Moss had not been an old witch but a young one. She had ducked and bowed and grinned at “the young lady,” “the White Lady,” Ogion’s ward and student, never speaking to her but with the utmost respect. Tenar had felt that respect to be false, a mask for an envy and dislike and distrust that were all too familiar to her from women over whom she had been placed in a position of superiority, women who saw themselves as common and her as uncommon, as privileged. Priestess of the Tombs of Atuan or foreign ward of the Mage of Gont, she was set apart, set above. Men had given her power, men had shared their power with her. Women looked at her from outside, sometimes rivalrous, often with a trace of ridicule.

She had felt herself the one left outside, shut out. She had fled from the Powers of the desert tombs, and then she had left the powers of learning and skill offered her by her guardian, Ogion. She had turned her back on all that, gone to the other side, the other room, where the women lived, to be one of them. A wife, a farmer’s wife, a mother, a householder, undertaking the power that a woman was born to, the authority allotted her by the arrangements of mankind.

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