کتاب سوم - فصل 10-02

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کتاب سوم - فصل 10-02

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Then Gandalf laughed. The fantasy vanished like a puff of smoke.

“Saruman, Saruman!” said Gandalf still laughing. “Saruman, you missed your path in life. You should have been the king’s jester and earned your bread, and stripes too, by mimicking his counsellors. Ah me!” he paused, getting the better of his mirth. “Understand one another? I fear I am beyond your comprehension. But you, Saruman, I understand now too well. I keep a clearer memory of your arguments, and deeds, than you suppose. When last I visited you, you were the jailor of Mordor, and there I was to be sent. Nay, the guest who has escaped from the roof, will think twice before he comes back in by the door. Nay, I do not think I will come up. But listen, Saruman, for the last time! Will you not come down? Isengard has proved less strong than your hope and fancy made it. So may other things in which you still have trust. Would it not be well to leave it for a while? To turn to new things, perhaps? Think well, Saruman! Will you not come down?”

A shadow passed over Saruman’s face; then it went deathly white. Before he could conceal it, they saw through the mask the anguish of a mind in doubt, loathing to stay and dreading to leave its refuge. For a second he hesitated, and no one breathed. Then he spoke, and his voice was shrill and cold. Pride and hate were conquering him.

“Will I come down?” he mocked. “Does an unarmed man come down to speak with robbers out of doors? I can hear you w ell enough here. I am no fool, and I do not trust you, Gandalf. They do not stand openly on my stairs, but I know where the wild wood-demons are lurking, at your command.”

“The treacherous are ever distrustful,” answered Gandalf wearily. “But you need not fear for your skin. I do not wish to kill you, or hurt you, as you would know, if you really understood me. And I have the power to protect you. I am giving you a last chance. You can leave Orthanc, free - if you choose.”

“That sounds well,” sneered Saruman. “Very much in the manner of Gandalf the Grey: so condescending, and so very kind. I do not doubt that you would find Orthanc commodious, and my departure convenient. But why should I wish to leave? And what do you mean by”free’? There are conditions, I presume?”

“Reasons for leaving you can see from your windows.” answered Gandalf. “Others will occur to your thought. Your servants are destroyed and scattered; your neighbours you have made your enemies; and you have cheated your new master. or tried to do so. When his eye turns hither, it will be the red eye of wrath. But when I say”free’, I mean”free’: free from bond, of chain or command: to go where you will, even, even to Mordor, Saruman, if you desire. But you will first surrender to me the Key of Orthanc, and your staff. They shall be pledges of your conduct, to be returned later, if you merit them.”

Saruman’s face grew livid, twisted with rage, and a red light was kindled in his eyes. He laughed wildly. “Later!” he cried, and his voice rose to a scream. “Later! Yes, when you also have the Keys of Barad-dûr itself, I suppose; and the crowns of seven kings. and the rods of the Five Wizards, and have purchased yourself a pair of boots many sizes larger than those that you wear now. A modest plan. Hardly one in which my help is needed! I have other things to do. Do not be a fool. If you wish to treat with me, while you have a chance, go away, and come back when you are sober! And leave behind these cut-throats and small rag-tag that dangle at your tail! Good day!” He turned and left the balcony.

“Come back, Saruman!” said Gandalf in a commanding voice. To the amazement of the others, Saruman turned again. and as if dragged against his will, he came slowly back to the iron rail, leaning on it, breathing hard. His face was lined and shrunken. His hand clutched his heavy black staff like a claw.

“I did not give you leave to go,” said Gandalf sternly. “I have not finished. You have become a fool, Saruman, and yet pitiable. You might still have turned away from folly and evil, and have been of service. But you choose to stay and gnaw the ends of your old plots. Stay then! But I warn you. you will not easily come out again. Not unless the dark hands of the East stretch out to take you. Saruman!” he cried, and his voice grew in power and authority. “Behold, I am not Gandalf the Grey, whom you betrayed. I am Gandalf the White, who has returned from death. You have no colour now, and I cast you from the order and from the Council.”

He raised his hand, and spoke slowly in a clear cold voice. “Saruman, your staff is broken.” There was a crack, and the staff split asunder in Saruman’s hand, and the head of it fell down at Gandalf’s feet. “Go!” said Gandalf. With a cry Saruman fell back and crawled away. At that moment a heavy shining thing came hurtling down from above. It glanced off the iron rail, even as Saruman left it, and passing close to Gandalf’s head, it smote the stair on which he stood. The rail rang and snapped. The stair cracked and splintered in glittering sparks. But the ball was unharmed: it rolled on down the steps, a globe of crystal, dark, but glowing with a heart of fire. As it bounded away towards a pool Pippin ran after it and picked it up.

“The murderous rogue!” cried Éomer. But Gandalf was unmoved. No, that was not thrown by Saruman, he said; nor even at his bidding, I think. It came from a window far above. A parting shot from Master Wormtongue, I fancy, but ill aimed.”

“The aim was poor, maybe, because he could not make up his mind which he hated more, you or Saruman,” said Aragorn.

“That may be so,” said Gandalf. “Small comfort will those two have in their companionship: they will gnaw one another with words. But the punishment is just. If Wormtongue ever comes out of Orthanc alive, it will be more than he deserves.

“Here, my lad, I’ll take that! I did not ask you to handle it,” he cried, turning sharply and seeing Pippin coming up the steps, slowly, as if he were bearing a great weight. He went down to meet him and hastily took the dark globe from the hobbit, wrapping it in the folds of his cloak. “I will take care of this,” he said. “It is not a thing, I guess, that Saruman would have chosen to cast away.”

“But he may have other things to cast,” said Gimli. “If that is the end of the debate, let us go out of stone’s throw, at least!”

“It is the end,” said Gandalf. “Let us go.”

They turned their backs on the doors of Orthanc, and went down. The riders hailed the king with joy, and saluted Gandalf. The spell of Saruman was broken: they had seen him come at call, and crawl away, dismissed.

“Well, that is done,” said Gandalf. “Now I must find Treebeard and tell him how things have gone.”

“He will have guessed, surely?” said Merry. “Were they likely to end any other way?”

“Not likely,” answered Gandalf,”though they came to the balance of a hair. But I had reasons for trying; some merciful and some less so. First Saruman was shown that the power of his voice was waning. He cannot be both tyrant and counsellor. When the plot is ripe it remains no longer secret. Yet he fell into the trap, and tried to deal with his victims piece-meal, while others listened. Then I gave him a last choice and a fair one: to renounce both Mordor and his private schemes, and make amends by helping us in our need. He knows our need, none better. Great service he could have rendered. But he has chosen to withhold it, and keep the power of Orthanc. He will not serve, only command. He lives now in terror of the shadow of Mordor, and yet he still dreams of riding the storm. Unhappy fool! He will be devoured, if the power of the East stretches out its arms to Isengard. We cannot destroy Orthanc from without, but Sauron - who knows what he can do?”

“And what if Sauron does not conquer? What will you do to him?” asked Pippin.

“I? Nothing!” said Gandalf. “I will do nothing to him. I do not wish for mastery. What will become of him? I cannot say. I grieve that so much that was good now festers in the tower. Still for us things have not gone badly. Strange are the turns of fortune! Often does hatred hurt itself! I guess that, even if we had entered in, we could have found few treasures in Orthanc more precious than the thing which Wormtongue threw down at us.”

A shrill shriek; suddenly cut off, came from an open window high above.

“It seems that Saruman thinks so too,” said Gandalf. “Let us leave them!”

They returned now to the ruins of the gate. Hardly had they passed out under the arch, when, from among the shadows of the piled stones where they had stood, Treebeard and a dozen other Ents came striding up. Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas gazed at them in wonder.

“Here are three of my companions, Treebeard,” said Gandalf. “I have spoken of them, but you have not yet seen them.” He named them one by one.

The Old Ent looked at them long and searchingly, and spoke to them in turn. Last he turned to Legolas. “So you have come all the way from Mirkwood, my good Elf? A very great forest it used to be!”

“And still is,” said Legolas. “But not so great that we who dwell there ever tire of seeing new trees. I should dearly love to journey in Fangorn’s Wood. I scarcely passed beyond the eaves of it, and I did not wish to turn back.”

Treebeard’s eyes gleamed with pleasure. “I hope you may have your wish, ere the hills be much older,” he said.

“I will come, if I have the fortune,” said Legolas. “I have made a bargain with my friend that, if all goes well, we will visit Fangorn together - by your leave.”

“Any Elf that comes with you will be welcome,” said Treebeard.

“The friend I speak of is not an Elf,” said Legolas; “I mean Gimli, Glóin’s son here.” Gimli bowed low, and the axe slipped from his belt and clattered on the ground.

“Hoom, hm! Ah now,” said Treebeard, looking dark-eyed at him. “A dwarf and an axe-bearer! Hoom! I have good will to Elves; but you ask much. This is a strange friendship!” “Strange it may seem,” said Legolas;”but while Gimli lives I shall not come to Fangorn alone. His axe is not for trees, but for orc-necks, O Fangorn, Master of Fangorn’s Wood. Forty-two he hewed in the battle.”

“Hoo! Come now!” said Treebeard. “That is a better story! Well, well, things will go as they will; and there is no need to hurry to meet them. But now we must part for a while. Day is drawing to an end, yet Gandalf says you must go ere nightfall, and the Lord of the Mark is eager for his own house.”

“Yes, we must go, and go now,” said Gandalf. “I fear that I must take your gatekeepers from you. But you will manage well enough without them.”

“Maybe I shall,” said Treebeard. “But I shall miss them. We have become friends in so short a while that I think I must be getting hasty - growing backwards towards youth, perhaps. But there, they are the first new thing under Sun or Moon that I have seen for many a long, long day. I shall not forget them. I have put their names into the Long List. Ents will remember it.

Ents the earthborn, old as mountains,

the wide-walkers, water drinking;

and hungry as hunters, the Hobbit children,

the laughing-folk, the little people,

they shall remain friends as long as leaves are renewed.

Fare you well! But if you hear news up in your pleasant land, in the Shire, send me word! You know what I mean: word or sight of the Entwives. Come yourselves if you can!”

“We will!” said Merry and Pippin together, and they turned away hastily. Treebeard looked at them, and was silent for a while, shaking his head thoughtfully. Then he turned to Gandalf.

“So Saruman would not leave?” he said. “I did not think he would. His heart is as rotten as a black Huorn’s. Still, if I were overcome and all my trees destroyed, I would not come while I had one dark hole left to hide in.”

“No,” said Gandalf. “But you have not plotted to cover all the world with your trees and choke all other living things. But there it is, Saruman remains to nurse his hatred and weave again such webs as he can. He has the Key of Orthanc. But he must not be allowed to escape.”

“Indeed no! Ents will see to that,” said Treebeard. “Saruman shall not set foot beyond the rock, without my leave. Ents will watch over him.”

“Good!” said Gandalf. “That is what I hoped. Now I can go and turn to other matters with one care the less. But you must be wary. The waters have gone down. It will not be enough to put sentinels round the tower, I fear. I do not doubt that there were deep ways delved under Orthanc, and that Saruman hopes to go and come unmarked, before long. If you will undertake the labour, I beg you to pour in the waters again; and do so, until Isengard remains a standing pool, or you discover the outlets. When all the underground places are drowned, and the outlets blocked, then Saruman must stay upstairs and look out of the windows.”

“Leave it to the Ents!” said Treebeard. “We shall search the valley from head to foot and peer under every pebble. Trees are coming back to live here, old trees, wild trees. The Watchwood we will call it. Not a squirrel will go here, but I shall know of it. Leave it to Ents! Until seven times the years in which he tormented us have passed, we shall not tire of watching him.”

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