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to say that you’ve done quite a good job of this, in some

places very finely done indeed, absolutely extraordinary for

an uneducated person, I would call that a compliment,

wouldn’t you call that a compliment from me, Kolbeinn?,

he raised his voice, looked over at the skipper, who said

nothing, displayed no reaction; absolutely right, muttered

Gísli, you’re not here, what a wonderful talent to be able to

vanish like that, a rare talent, you should give me lessons. I

didn’t hear it, the compliment, I mean, said the boy

apologetically, I just saw that you’d marked up everything,

thought that it was no good. Is that so, did you think that?

Yes. But what was that smile of yours supposed to mean,

then? I was just thinking. Thinking about what, what was

so amusing? Well, said the boy, embarrassed, that it would

be fun to stuff the pages down your throat, at which

Kolbeinn laughed, or at least emitted a noise like an old,

grouchy dog that finds something amusing, entirely

unexpectedly: a nice piece of meat, an extinguished sex


And the boy reads these pages, had managed to rewrite

them in time, followed Gísli’s suggestions, corrections, for

the most part, reads them as the rain pounds the world,

pounds the house, pounds the horses and the wind tears up

the sea. He reads and tries to forget that right now the sea

is breaching the embankments, flooding the earth in heavy

torrents, and to top it off there’s this gale, as if to punish us

for having enjoyed the light, the gentleness of summer.