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The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K LeGuin

The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K LeGuin

Author:Ursula K LeGuin [LeGuin, Ursula K]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Fantasy, Classics, Young Adult, Adventure, Science Fiction
ISBN: 9780606269070
Barnesnoble:
Goodreads: 13662
Publisher: Turtleback Books
Published: 1970-01-01T05:00:00+00:00


CHAPTER 7

THE GREAT TREASURE

NEVER HAD THE RITES AND duties of the day seemed so many, or so petty, or so long. The little girls with their pale faces and furtive ways, the restless novices, the priestesses whose looks were stern and cool but whose lives were all a secret brangle of jealousies and miseries and small ambitions and wasted passions—all these women, among whom she had always lived and who made up the human world to her, now appeared to her as both pitiable and boring.

But she who served great powers, she the priestess of grim Night, was free of that pettiness. She did not have to care about the grinding meanness of their common life, the days whose one delight was likely to be getting a bigger slop of lamb fat over your lentils than your neighbor got… . She was free of the days altogether. Underground, there were no days. There was always and only night.

And in that unending night, the prisoner: the dark man, practicer of dark arts, bound in iron and locked in stone, waiting for her to come or not to come, to bring him water and bread and life, or a knife and a butcher’s bowl and death, just as the whim took her.

She had told no one but Kossil about the man, and Kossil had not told anyone else. He had been in the Painted Room three nights and days now, and still she had not asked Arha about him. Perhaps she assumed that he was dead, and that Arha had had Manan carry the body to the Room of Bones. It was not like Kossil to take anything for granted; but Arha told herself that there was nothing strange about Kossil’s silence. Kossil wanted everything kept secret, and hated to have to ask questions. And besides, Arha had told her not to meddle in her business. Kossil was simply obeying.

However, if the man was supposed to be dead, Arha could not ask for food for him. So, aside from stealing some apples and dried onions from the cellars of the Big House, she did without food. She had her morning and evening meals sent to the Small House, pretending she wished to eat alone, and each night took the food down to the Painted Room in the Labyrinth, all but the soups. She was used to fasting for a day on up to four days at a time, and thought nothing about it. The fellow in the Labyrinth ate up her meager portions of bread and cheese and beans as a toad eats a fly: snap! it’s gone. Clearly he could have done so five or six times over; but he thanked her soberly, as if he were her guest and she his hostess at a table such as she had heard of in tales of feasts at the palace of the Godking, all set with roast meats and buttered loaves and wine in crystal. He was very strange.

“What is it like



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