PIECES OF PERIAN 21

It was almost dark, and the rain had turned to sleet, when a young girl in search of a stray sheep came across a huddled mass of something lying in the wet grass at the top of the cliff. It moaned, and she looked more closely. She saw a tangle of human limbs, and turned and ran into the night. Soon she was hammering at the door of the nearest house, and help was quickly on its way. Before midnight the people of Sebrid had carried Perian and Ilo, bound carefully onto hurdles, to warm beds in a hospitable cottage. Two women volunteered to sit up through the long winter night.

Towards dawn, Perian stirred sluggishly in his nest of thick sheepskins and rough-woven blankets. He made a faint noise, and his attendant leaned over to watch his face. His movements became stronger, his head rolled on the pillow, and as the nurse reached out to comfort him he said distinctly,

“Anna!”

Then he said,

“Alauda!”

And then.

“Mother!”

ISLANDER

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