کتاب 01 - فصل 10

مجموعه: چهارگانه بخشنده / کتاب: پسر / فصل 10

کتاب 01 - فصل 10

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  • زمان مطالعه 4 دقیقه
  • سطح سخت

دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

این فصل را می‌توانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید

دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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Ten

Apparently the Ceremony of Twelve had concluded with a surprise. When the Hatchery workers returned at the end of the second day, they were murmuring about it.

The second day of the Ceremony was always a long day. New Twelves were called to the stage individually and their attributes described. It was the first time that the youngsters were singled out and attention paid to the accomplishments of their childhood. A boy might be praised for his scholarship, and the audience reminded of his special abilities in science. Or the Chief Elder might even call attention to an especially pretty face—it was always embarrassing when that happened, because in the community attractiveness was never considered an asset to be mentioned—and the Twelve thus described would blush, and the audience laugh. The community was always attentive and supportive; each adult had been through this experience and knew how important it was. But going one by one did make for a long time on the second day.

“The Chief Elder skipped one Twelve,” Rolf explained to Claire at the evening meal. “She went from Eighteen to Twenty.”

“We all cringed. We thought she’d made a mistake.” Edith straightened and tensed, demonstrating with her posture how nervous she and the others had been.

“Everybody thought so. Did you hear the murmur go through the Auditorium?” someone asked.

“And the boy she skipped? Number Nineteen? I could see him from where I was sitting. He was completely nonplussed!” A young man at the end of the table grinned.

“So what happened?” Claire asked.

“Well,” Rolf explained, “after she finished with the last one—”

“Number Fifty?”

“Yes. But of course she had only called up forty-nine to the stage. Then she apologized to the audience.”

“The Chief Elder apologized?” It was hard to believe.

Rolf nodded. “She laughed a little. She could see we were all sort of nervous. So she reassured us, and apologized for making us uncomfortable. Then she called the boy, number Nineteen, to the stage.” “He looked as if he was going to throw up,” Eric said, laughing.

“I don’t blame him,” Claire said. She found herself feeling sorry for the boy. It must have been an awful moment for him. “What did she say to him?”

“That he hadn’t been assigned—which we all knew, of course. But then—this was the surprise. She said he’d been ‘selected.’”

“Selected for what?” Claire had never heard of such a thing before.

Rolf raised an eyebrow and shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“Didn’t she say?”

“Yes, but I didn’t understand what she was talking about. Did any of you?” He looked around at his coworkers at the table.

“Not really,” Edith said. “It was important, though. It had to do with the Giver and the Receiver.”

“Whoever they are,” someone murmured.

“Yes, it sounded really important,” Eric agreed.

“Do you think the boy understood?”

They all shook their heads. “He looked completely confused,” Edith said. “I felt sorry for him.”

The cleanup buzzer sounded. They began to gather their plates and forks. “Who was he?” Claire asked. She was still fascinated by the idea of the selected boy.

“Never heard of him before. But we all know his name now, don’t we?” Eric said with a laugh.

“What do you mean?”

“The whole community called out his name. It was a kind of ceremonial . . . What would you call it? A recognition. We all shouted the name over and over. Jonas!”

Rolf, Edith, and some other workers joined in. “Jonas! Joooonas!”

People at all the other tables looked up. Some seemed amused, others a little worried. Then they too called the name. “JOOOONAS! JOOOONAS!”

The final buzzer sounded and they fell quiet. People looked around at each other in the sudden silence. Then they stood to leave the room. Dinner had ended.

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