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Skogsholmen to see whether he could find something to

make the new rib with. Felix nodded. It should really be

pine, Lars said, but juniper would do. Felix looked over to

the window where snow lay on the bars and asked what the

weather was like. Lars said it was good. Felix blinked. Lars

went down to the boathouse and rowed off in the old

færing. It was still leaking, so he had to take breaks and

bale out, but in an inlet he found the cleft in the rock and

moored the boat to the bolt Hans had fixed there, climbed

the rock armed with an axe and saw and began searching.

By then day was breaking.

He searched until it was light.

Then it turned dark again as a snow shower passed

overhead. It was soundless and heavy. The sea still looked

like tar. When it got light again he found an old, crooked

juniper tree, used the axe to expose the biggest roots in the

frozen slope, cursing as he blunted the blade, chopped the

roots off one by one and sawed off the trunk roughly a

metre above the roots, it was as thick as an arm, a young

man’s arm.

He walked back to the boat, baled out and rowed home. As

he rounded the island of Moltholmen he saw Barbro

waiting. Lars asked what she was doing there. She asked if

he had been fishing. He said no and enquired after Felix.

‘Very well,’ Barbro said.