May 10, 2011

i too have stolen a cake

"To summon a thing that is not there at all, to call it by speaking its true name, that is a great mastery, not to be lightly used. Not for mere hunger's sake. Yarrow, your little dragon has stolen a cake."

Yarrow had listened so hard, gazing at Ged as he spoke, that she had not seen the harrekki scuttle down from its warm perch on the kettle-hook over the hearth and seize a wheatcake bigger than itself, She took the small scaly creature on her knee and fed it bits and crumbs, while she pondered what Ged had told her.

"So then you would not summon up a real meat-pie lest you disturb what my brother is always talking about—I forget its name—"

"Equilibrium," Ged replied soberly, for she was very serious.

"Yes, but when you were shipwrecked, you sailed from the place in a boat woven mostly of spells, and it didn't leak water. Was it illusion?"

"Partly it was illusion, because I am uneasy seeing the sea through great holes in my boat, so I patched them for the looks of the thing. But the strength of the boat was not illusion, nor summoning, but made with another kind of art, a binding spell. The wood was bound as one whole, one entire thing, a boat. What is a boat but a thing that doesn't leak water?"

"I've bailed some that do," said Murre. "Well, mine leaked, too, unless I was constantly seeing to the spell." Ged bent down from his corner seat and took a cake from the bricks, and juggled it in his hands. "I too have stolen a cake."

"You have burned fingers, then. And when you're starving on the waste water between the far isles you'll think of that cake and say, Ah! had I not stolen that cake I might eat it now, alas!—I shall eat my brother's, so he can starve with you—"

"Thus is Equilibrium maintained," Ged remarked...

ursula le guin, a wizard of earthsea

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