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who should be writing him a letter, his mother sent him

eleven letters, he has all of them, the twelfth never came. It

might be from Reverend Kjartan, he said nonchalantly, and

absurdly, of course; why should Reverend Kjartan send him

a letter, why should such an educated, intelligent man, the

owner of large numbers of books, show such an interest in

his existence? Might be from Reverend Kjartan, he said,

having just come into the café after an English lesson with

Hulda, two English lessons behind him, singular, plural, the

definite and indefinite articles, a table, tables, an apple,

apples. Have you tasted an apple?, asked the boy as he

wrote down the word for this spherical, exotic fruit, as far

from our everyday existence as Jupiter. No, said Hulda

curtly, telling a lie. Teitur sometimes gets apples from

foreign sailors who’ve come here often and might be called

acquaintances of his, but it’s easier to say no; it’s safer, no is

a fort protecting her. No, she says, and you can’t get any

closer. No, said Hulda, glancing at the boy through the

battlements, and he said, unable to refrain from doing so, is

there a plural form of love in every language? A love, she

said, loves. With a “v”? Yes, “v,” but you shouldn’t write it

down, it’s not in the curriculum. Love isn’t in the

curriculum? No, just apples, she replied, glancing down to

hide her smile.

Reverend Kjartan?, asked Andrea. He’s in Vík, remember,

Jens and I stayed there our second night, his wife’s name is

Anna, and she’s nearly blind. Yes, no, the letter’s hardly

from him, it’s from a woman, or at least a woman has