Book of the New Sun (Fantasy Masterworks 02) (Vol 1) by Gene Wolfe

By Gene Wolfe

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He said, "We are to bind them in sheaves to dry," and without the least hesitation drew a length of common string from his pocket. "I see," the volunteer said. It was plain he did not. Roche and I edged nearer the gate. Drotte actually stepped back from it. "If you won't let us gather the herbs, we'd better go. " "No you don't. " "All right," Drotte said reluctantly, and we stepped through, the volunteers following. Certain mystes aver that the real world has been constructed by the human mind, since our ways are governed by the artificial categories into which we place essentially undifferentiated things, things weaker than our words for them.

It was cold and damp there even in summer, under its vaulted ceiling beside the circular pool of endlessly deep, dark water. But it was hardly worse in winter, and it had the supreme advantage of being forbidden, so we could slip down to it with delicious stealth when we were assumed to be elsewhere, and not kindle our torches until we had closed the barred hatch behind us. Then, when the flames shot up from the burning pitch, how our shadows danced up those clammy walls! As I have already mentioned, our other swimming place was in Gyoll, which winds through Nessus like a great, weary snake.

Every rattling chain and whistling wind, every sight, smell, and taste, remains changeless in my mind, and though I know it is not so with everyone, I cannot imagine what it can mean to be otherwise, as if one had slept when in fact an experience is merely remote. Those few steps we took upon the whited path rise before me now: It was cold and growing colder; we had no light, and fog had begun to roll in from Gyoll in earnest. A few birds had come to roost in the pines and cypresses, and flapped uneasily from tree to tree.

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