کتاب 03 - فصل 03

مجموعه: چهارگانه بخشنده / کتاب: پسر / فصل 35

کتاب 03 - فصل 03

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 6 دقیقه
  • سطح خیلی 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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Three

At first, his friends had helped him. But that time had passed. Now they were off fishing, playing ball, indulging in all the usual summer pastimes during this brief holiday from school. The excitement of Gabe’s project was short-lived, and their interest waned when they realized he was not just hammering together a primitive raft that they could paddle along the riverbank.

Gabe hummed to himself as he measured his boards. He had a vague picture in his mind of the way they should go together. But though the books he had borrowed from Jonas had shown boats of all kinds, from ones with billowy sails to long, narrow vessels with rows of seated men at oars, none had provided instructions for the building. His would be small, he knew. Just big enough for him and his supplies. It would have a paddle; he had already begun carving one, crouched in his little shed during rainy days.

“Any chance you’d like to go fishing?”

Gabe looked up at the sound of the voice. Nathaniel, tall and brown from the sun, was standing on the path, holding his gear. Often they had fished together, usually from a huge rock on the bank farther along. The river was easy to fish, slow moving and somewhat shallow there; the silvery, sinuous trout were eager for the bait, and made good eating later.

It was tempting. But Gabe shook his head. “Can’t. I’m behind. This is slower going than I thought it would be.”

“What’s that?” Nathaniel asked, pointing to the edge of the clearing where a leafy stack of thin poles waited.

Gabe looked over. “Bamboo.”

“You can’t build from that. You need real planks for a boat.”

Gabe laughed. “I know. I’m using cedar. But I need the bamboo for . . . Well, here; I’ll show you.” He wiped his sweaty hands on the hem of his shirt and then went and got the large book from the shed.

“Jonas let you bring it here?” Nathaniel asked in surprise.

Gabe nodded. “I had to promise to keep it clean and dry.” He set the book on a flat rock, squatted there, and turned the pages. “Look,” he said, pointing to a page.

Nathaniel looked at the picture of a large vessel with its many sails unfurled. The rigging was complicated, with countless lines and winches holding the billowing sails in place, and a large crew of men could be seen on deck. “You’re crazy,” Nathaniel said. “You can’t build that.” Gabe chuckled. “No, no. I just wanted to show you. It’s not for rivers anyway. They sailed them once on oceans. I think we learned about it in history class.” Nathaniel nodded. “There were pirates,” he recalled. “That’s the part I paid attention to.”

Gabe turned the pages slowly.

He smiled. “Here’s mine,” he said, and he rifled the pages until the book opened to a page near the end, a place that had clearly been opened to frequently. “Don’t laugh.” But Nathaniel did, when he leaned down to look at the picture. Gabe, watching his face, chuckled as well. The picture was of a tiny boat, with one lone man, huge waves surging around him, shark fins visible in the foam. There was endless sea and sky. The man looked terrified, and doomed.

“So you’re planning your own death? Where is this guy, anyway?”

“Ocean. But that’s far from here. I don’t need to think about ocean, just river. And I’m not going to end up like him. I’m just copying his boat, sort of. Mine’s smaller, and doesn’t have that cabin part. Mine will be little, and sturdy. That’s all I’ll need. It’ll be easy to build.” Gabe looked around at the piles of boards, the sawdust, the mess on the ground. “Well, I thought it would be easy.”

“How will you steer it?” Nathaniel asked, still peering at the picture of the lone man cowering in the boat as the waves approached.

“Paddle. Anyway, the river will carry it. I won’t need to steer much. Just to go ashore when I want to.”

“So what’s the bamboo for?”

“It’ll hold it together. I invented this system myself. Once I get the cedar all arranged in the right shape, I’ll use the bamboo—first I’ll wet it, so that when it dries, it tightens—it’ll be like rope.” Nathaniel looked around. The cedar planks were lying haphazardly about, a few of them hammered together. He could see that Gabe had been preparing the bamboo, peeling and slicing it thin. It was a huge task for a boy to do alone.

“Does anybody ever come and help you?”

Gabriel hesitated. “Not really. Some old woman comes and watches me, though.” He gestured toward the grove of pines. “She stands over there.”

“An old woman?”

“Yes. You’ve seen her. She’s all bent over and you can tell she has trouble walking. She sort of follows me. I don’t know why. Someday I’m going to yell at her to stop.” Nathaniel looked uneasy. He gave a nervous laugh. “You can’t yell at an old woman,” he said.

“I know. I was kidding. Maybe I’ll just growl, and scare her a little.” Gabe made a face and growled loudly, imitating a beast of some kind.

Both boys laughed.

“Sure you don’t want to go fishing?” Nathaniel asked.

Gabe shook his head and picked up the book to return it to the shed. “Can’t.”

His friend gathered his things and turned away. “Deirdre says she misses you,” he remarked with a sly grin. “You’re never around lately.”

Gabe sighed. He looked up the path as if he might see Nathaniel’s pretty sister there. “Will she come to the feast tomorrow night?”

Nathaniel nodded and shouldered his fishing pole. “Everyone will. My mother’s at the gathering place now, helping to get things ready.”

“Tell Deirdre I’ll see her there.” Gabe gave his friend a wave and turned again to his work as the other boy walked away.

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