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Lars went into the shed where Hans stored his materials

and found a few planks of knot-free spruce. He sawed off a

suitable piece, ripped out the broken board in the side of

the boat and used it as a template. Then he needed two

more bits, periodically he had to run out and in and

measure up, and saw and plane and run out and mark and

measure. But when he had finished he couldn’t bend the

board into position.

Barbro came and said he should take the board home with

him, wrap it in damp cloths and leave it in a tub under the

oven for a day or two, to make it more pliable. Lars asked if

she could do that, he didn’t want to be in the kitchen

listening to Felix’s crepitations, he didn’t even go there to

eat. Barbro said he would have to do it himself, she would

find him some old cloths.

Lars said in that case he wouldn’t bother.

‘No, no, no’, Barbro said. He would have to eat anyway.

He went in with her and did as she ordered and glanced at

Felix, who was lying on a couch and trembling and didn’t

notice that Lars was there. Lars went back to the shed and

searched for material to make a new rib. He couldn’t find

anything. There were two windows in the shed, one facing

north and one facing south. He stood for a moment looking

out of the north-facing one. The sea was black and smooth.

Like lead. Like tar.