‘Now the reason for having schools is that there is so much to learn, such a great store of knowledge in the world, that we cannot hope to just pick it all up from those around us.  In schools, the pupils learn from their teachers all about runes and writing, number and measuring, the busyness of the bees, what the stars are saying, music and song and story – and more besides.’  Dal-Nen refreshed himself with a draught of milk. ‘Here in IssKor, there are few schools and very few that are good – at least not to my way of thinking.  The Temple School is the biggest, run by the priests, who hold much of their knowledge to themselves so that their power may be greater.  It is forbidden by the edict of Jaren to teach girls and women.  All this is foolishness, to me. Here in the Southgate, at small schools like the one your young friends go to, boys are taught to think and to ask questions.  But even here we only dare to teach in secret if we teach our girls to read.  Bah!’

Kor-Sen sat enraptured, a cake growing sticky in one hand and a mug of milk wavering perilously in the other.   ‘Could I learn things too?  Could you teach me to read too?

Dal-Nen was startled.  ‘You cannot read, boy?  Why then of course I shall teach you!  You and Garnet shall start tomorrow.’

Aril the scribe


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