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chores, takes lessons twice a week from Gísli, the most

educated man in the village, the county, even this quarter

of the country, the headmaster himself, has English lessons

twice a week with Hulda, occasionally arithmetic with

Helga, wakes up in the mornings, connects dreams and

reality with poems, reality where he’s encouraged to get an

education, what is distant has come to him, yet he asks,

why am I alive, where is life heading? And then the boy

receives a letter.

Is your heart still beating?

And if so, how?

It’s beating like that of a drowning man, a wingless bird,

how the hell should he answer this? But of course it’s

important to receive a letter, to have a person consider it

worthwhile enough to be willing to sit down and draw up

words and have you in mind the entire time it takes to

write the letter, to receive a letter indicates that you exist,

that you’re closer to being light than darkness. Admittedly,

not all letters are good, and some should perhaps never

have been sent, never have been opened, read, some are full

of hatred, accusations, they’re poison that will deprive you

of all your strength, they bring darkness and


There’s a letter for you, said Andrea, with something of a

sarcastic look. Letter?, he exclaimed in surprise, because