knock on wood, a hiss from the dark, the two of them stagger out of the
wagon into the crisp night. Malchickís white shirt flutters some
fifteen feet in front of them, so they follow it running as hard as they
can, panting, struggling for breath, breaking shrubs and young trees
like spooked cattle.
town is close, smells of the sea, cobbled alleys echo, slapped by bare
feet. Malchick is fast, runs in a series of disjointed stumbles and
falls. Then, all of a sudden, the dwarf disappears through a hole in a
wall, quick as a cat, nimble as a mouse, or vice versa. The two of them
canít follow him there, stop in their tracks. Even looks at the wall
like itís its fault. Odd looks at Even like itís his fault. They
hear Barnabasí voice. From a distance it sounds like a seagull call.
The sun comes up that very instant, round and orange like a pumpkin. The
gates of the big house fly asunder. A carriage rolls out, pulled by two
dapple-gray mares, containing one fat judge.
Alarmed, the horses prop on their hind legs before Even and Odd. Silver-shoed hoofs fly next to the two heads before the horrified coachman jumps down from his seat. The Judge stumbles out, puffed up, ill tempered, as large as Zeus.