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outside of it. Indeed, a true vogue for experimentation had

swept that part of Tórshavn right before World War I. The

trees had grown quickly, and the beautiful crowns with

their conspicuous light green leaves provided pleasure to

almost five generations of west city inhabitants, not to

mention to the countless starlings and sparrows that had

sat and whistled or chirped in the branches throughout the

years. Now the trees had stopped growing, that much was

obvious from the uppermost branches, which were leafless,

barkless, and broke off easily. Light green and reddish

carpets of moss grew up the trunks, and when the sun was

shining, golden beams of light seeped through the loosely

woven crowns. Actually, the trees were coming to resemble

the people over which they watched. And there was nothing

strange about that. The roots, after all, had long been

imbibing bodily fluids; eventually, one becomes what one


The gravel crunched under the soles of his boots, and when

Eigil reached the graves of the nameless children, he

stopped like he always did. He knew nothing of their

history. Presumably, they were stillborns or newborns taken

by some sudden, devastating death. The graves looked

exactly like the zinc tubs in which women used to wash

clothes. However, they had no bottoms. They also had no

cross at their heads, and the tubs were upturned on the

grass. In the months of June and July, buttercups and

orchids grew out of the holes in the tubs; their stalks waved

yellow and reddish-blue summer flags.