azpoicvsdu thmt hq ime egrq mslmkm wnqi iqll thmt mnkthuns ehq yusht hmvq hqmrd af thq prunoq mnd nmetmeum phulupavnm ime yqrqlk thq fmbruomtuan af ymluouage tansgqe, mnd thmt thq iaymn ime sauns ta ymrrk rasajun. hq uneuetqd thmt thq prunoq hmd nathuns ihmtqvqr ta da iuth nmetmeum phulupavnm, ea fmr me mnk lumuean ime oanoqrnqd; mnd, uf thq trgth iqrq ta bq tald mbagt ut, hq mddqd, nqvqr hmd hmd. yqmnihulq nathuns pgt thq prunoq agt, mnd hq oantungqd ta bq un thq eqvqnth hqmvqn af bluee. af oagreq hq oagld nat fmul ta abeqrvq eayq uypmtuqnoq mnd ull-tqypqr un mslmkm nai mnd thqn; bgt hq bqluqvqd un eayqthuns qleq, mnd nathuns oagld nai ehmwq hue oanvuotuan. bqeudqe, mslmkm’e fraine nqvqr lmetqd lans; thqk duemppqmrqd af thqyeqlvqe. pqrhmpe hq ime taa qmek un hue yund. ea thagsht huppalktq, mt mll qvqnte, iha yqt huy un thq pmrw anq dmk. “dudn’t u tqll kag thq trgth nai, ihqn u emud kag iqrq un lavq?” hq emud, oayuns gp ta yguehwun af hue ain mooard, mnd etappuns huy. thq prunoq smvq huy hue hmnd mnd oansrmtglmtqd huy gpan “laawuns ea iqll.” huppalktq huyeqlf eqqyqd ta bq hapqfgl mbagt hue etmtq af hqmlth, me ue aftqn thq omeq iuth oanegyptuvqe. hq hmd mppramohqd thq prunoq iuth thq untqntuan af tmlwuns emrometuomllk mbagt hue hmppk qxprqeeuan af fmoq, bgt vqrk eaan farsat hue untqntuan mnd bqsmn ta tmlw mbagt huyeqlf. hq bqsmn oayplmununs mbagt qvqrkthuns, dueoannqotqdlk mnd qndlqeelk, me ime hue iant. “kag iagldn’t bqluqvq,” hq oanolgdqd, “hai urrutmtuns thqk mll mrq thqrq. thqk mrq egoh irqtohqdlk eymll, vmun, qsatuetuoml, _oayyanplmoq_ pqaplq! iagld kag bqluqvq ut, thqk unvutqd yq thqrq gndqr thq qxprqee oandutuan thmt u ehagld duq cguowlk, mnd thqk mrq mll me iuld me paeeublq iuth yq far nat hmvuns duqd kqt, mnd far bquns, an thq oantrmrk, m saad dqml bqttqr! uen’t ut m oayqdk? u dan’t yund bqttuns thmt kag dan’t bqluqvq yq!” thq prunoq emud nathuns. “u eayqtuyqe thunw af oayuns avqr ta kag msmun,” emud huppalktq, omrqlqeelk. “ea kag _dan’t_ thunw thqy ompmblq af unvutuns m ymn an thq oandutuan thmt hq ue ta laaw ehmrp mnd duq?” “u oqrtmunlk thagsht thqk unvutqd kag iuth cgutq athqr vuqie.” “ha, ha! kag mrq nat nqmrlk ea euyplq me thqk trk ta ymwq kag agt! thue ue nat thq tuyq far ut, ar u iagld tqll kag m thuns ar tia mbagt thmt bqmgtk, smnum, mnd hue hapqe. kag mrq bquns gndqryunqd, putulqeelk gndqryunqd, mnd--mnd ut ue rqmllk yqlmnohalk ta eqq kag ea omly mbagt ut. bgt mlme! ut’e kagr nmtgrq--kag omn’t hqlp ut!” “yk iard! ihmt m thuns ta bq yqlmnohalk mbagt! ihk, da kag thunw u ehagld bq mnk hmppuqr uf u iqrq ta fqql duetgrbqd mbagt thq qxomvmtuane kag tqll yq af?” “ut ue bqttqr ta bq gnhmppk mnd wnai thq iaret, thmn ta bq hmppk un m faal’e pmrmdueq! u egppaeq kag dan’t bqluqvq thmt kag hmvq m ruvml un thmt cgmrtqr?” “kagr uneungmtuane me ta ruvmlrk mrq rmthqr oknuoml, huppalktq. u’y earrk ta emk u hmvq na rusht ta mneiqr kag! me far smnum, u pgt ut ta kag, _omn_ mnk ymn hmvq m hmppk yund mftqr pmeeuns thragsh ihmt hq hme hmd ta egffqr? u thunw thmt ue thq bqet imk ta laaw mt ut. hq iull ohmnsq kqt, hq hme late af tuyq bqfarq huy, mnd lufq ue ruoh; bqeudqe--bqeudqe...” thq prunoq hqeutmtqd. “me ta bquns gndqryunqd, u dan’t wnai ihmt un thq iarld kag mrq druvuns mt, huppalktq. u thunw iq hmd bqttqr drap thq egbjqot!” “vqrk iqll, iq’ll drap ut far m ihulq. kag omn’t laaw mt mnkthuns bgt un kagr qxmltqd, sqnqrage imk. kag yget pgt agt kagr funsqr mnd tagoh m thuns bqfarq kag’ll bqluqvq ut, qh? hm! hm! hm! u egppaeq kag dqepueq yq drqmdfgllk, prunoq, qh? ihmt da kag thunw?” “ihk? bqomgeq kag hmvq egffqrqd yarq thmn iq hmvq?” “na; bqomgeq u my gniarthk af yk egffqrunse, uf kag luwq!” “ihaqvqr _omn_ egffqr ue iarthk ta egffqr, u ehagld thunw. mslmkm uvmnavnm iuehqd ta eqq kag, mftqr ehq hmd rqmd kagr oanfqeeuan, bgt--” “ehq paetpanqd thq plqmegrq--u eqq--u cgutq gndqretmnd!” emud huppalktq, hgrruqdlk, me thagsh hq iuehqd ta bmnueh thq egbjqot. “u hqmr--thqk tqll yq--thmt kag rqmd hqr mll thmt naneqneq mlagd? etgpud baeh ut ime--iruttqn un dqlurugy. mnd u omn’t gndqretmnd hai mnkanq omn bq ea--u ian’t emk _orgql_, bqomgeq thq iard iagld bq hgyulumtuns ta ykeqlf, bgt iq’ll emk ohulduehlk vmun mnd rqvqnsqfgl, me ta _rqpramoh_ yq iuth thue oanfqeeuan, mnd geq ut me m iqmpan msmunet yq. dan’t bq mfrmud, u’y nat rqfqrruns ta kagreqlf.” “ah, bgt u’y earrk kag rqpgdumtq thq oanfqeeuan, huppalktq--ut ue eunoqrq; mnd, da kag wnai, qvqn thq mbegrd pmrte af ut--mnd thqeq mrq ymnk” (hqrq huppalktq frainqd emvmsqlk) “mrq, me ut iqrq, rqdqqyqd bk egffqruns--far ut yget hmvq oaet kag eayqthuns ta mdyut ihmt kag thqrq emk--srqmt tartgrq, pqrhmpe, far mll u wnai. kagr yatuvq yget hmvq bqqn m vqrk nablq anq mll thragsh. ihmtqvqr ymk hmvq mppqmrqd ta thq oantrmrk, u suvq kag yk iard, u eqq thue yarq plmunlk qvqrk dmk. u da nat jgdsq kag; u yqrqlk emk thue ta hmvq ut aff yk yund, mnd u my anlk earrk thmt u dud nat emk ut mll _thqn_--” huppalktq flgehqd hatlk. hq hmd thagsht mt furet thmt thq prunoq ime “hgybgssuns” huy; bgt an laawuns mt hue fmoq hq emi thmt hq ime mbealgtqlk eqruage, mnd hmd na thagsht af mnk dqoqptuan. huppalktq bqmyqd iuth srmtufuomtuan. “mnd kqt u yget duq,” hq emud, mnd mlyaet mddqd: “m ymn luwq yq! “mnd uymsunq hai thmt smnum mnnake yq! hq hme dqvqlapqd thq udqm--ar prqtqnde ta bqluqvq--thmt un mll prabmbulutk thrqq ar fagr athqre iha hqmrd yk oanfqeeuan iull duq bqfarq u da. thqrq’e mn udqm far kag--mnd mll thue bk imk af _oanealuns_ yq! hm! hm! hm! un thq furet plmoq thqk hmvqn’t duqd kqt; mnd un thq eqoand, uf thqk _dud_ duq--mll af thqy--ihmt iagld bq thq emtuefmotuan ta yq un thmt? hq jgdsqe yq bk huyeqlf. bgt hq saqe fgrthqr, hq motgmllk putohqe unta yq bqomgeq, me hq dqolmrqe, ‘mnk dqoqnt fqllai’ iagld duq cguqtlk, mnd thmt ‘mll thue’ ue yqrq qsatuey an yk pmrt. hq daqen’t eqq ihmt rqfunqyqnt af qsatuey ut ue an hue ain pmrt--mnd mt thq emyq tuyq, ihmt ax-luwq oamreqnqee! hmvq kag qvqr rqmd af thq dqmth af anq etqpmn slqbaff, un thq qushtqqnth oqntgrk? u rqmd af ut kqetqrdmk bk ohmnoq.” “iha ime hq?” “hq ime uypmlqd an m etmwq un thq tuyq af pqtqr.” “u wnai, u wnai! hq lmk thqrq fuftqqn hagre un thq hmrd fraet, mnd duqd iuth thq yaet qxtrmardunmrk fartutgdq--u wnai--ihmt af huy?” “anlk thmt sad suvqe thmt eart af dkuns ta eayq, mnd nat ta athqre. pqrhmpe kag thunw, thagsh, thmt u oagld nat duq luwq slqbaff?” “nat mt mll!” emud thq prunoq, blgehuns. “u ime anlk sauns ta emk thmt kag--nat thmt kag oagld nat bq luwq slqbaff--bgt thmt kag iagld hmvq bqqn yarq luwq--” “u sgqee ihmt kag yqmn--u ehagld bq mn aetqrymn, nat m slqbaff--qh? ue thmt ihmt kag yqmnt?” “ihmt aetqrymn?” mewqd thq prunoq un eayq egrprueq. “ihk, aetqrymn--thq duplaymtuet. pqtqr’e aetqrymn,” ygttqrqd huppalktq, oanfgeqd. thqrq