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The tales of this book, as Ursula K. Le Guin writes in her introduction, explore or extend the world established by her first four Earthsea novels. Yet each stands on its own."The Finder," a novella set a few hundred years before A Wizard of Earthsea, presents a dark and troubled Archipelago and shows how some of its customs and institutions came to be. "The Bones of the Earth" features the wizards who taught the wizard who first taught Ged and demonstrates how humility, if great enough, can contend with an earthquake. "Darkrose and Diamond" is a delightful story of young courtship showing that wizards sometimes pursue alternative careers. "On the High Marsh" tells of the love of power-and of the power of love. "Dragonfly" shows how a determined woman can break the glass ceiling of male magedom. Concluding with an account of Earthsea's history, people, languages, literature, and magic, this collection also features two new maps of Earthsea.
Ursula K. Le Guin was born in 1929 in Berkeley, California. She has written more than a hundred short stories. Among her honors are a National Book Award, five Hugo and five Nebula awards, the Kafka Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
Table of Contents
|The Finder||p. 1|
|Darkrose and Diamond||p. 107|
|The Bones of the Earth||p. 143|
|On the High Marsh||p. 163|
|A Description of Earthsea||p. 267|
|Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.|
The FinderI. In the Dark TimeThis is the first page of the Book of the Dark, written some six hundred years ago in Berila, on Enlad:"After Elfarran and Morred perished and the Isle of Sol"a sank beneath the sea, the Council of the Wise governed for the child Serriadh until he took the throne. His reign was bright but brief. The kings who followed him in Enlad were seven, and their realm increased in peace and wealth. Then the dragons came to raid among the western lands, and wizards went out in vain against them. King Akambar moved the court from Berila in Enlad to the City of Havnor, whence he sent out his fleet against invaders from the Kargad Lands and drove them back into the East. But still they sent raiding ships even as far as the Inmost Sea. Of the fourteen Kings of Havnor the last was Maharion, who made peace both with the dragons and the Kargs, but at great cost. And after the Ring of the Runes was broken, and Erreth-Akbe died with the great dragon, and Maharion the Brave was killed by treachery, it seemed that no good thing happened in the Archipelago."Many claimed Maharion's throne, but none could keep it, and the quarrels of the claimants divided all loyalties. No commonwealth was left and no justice, only the will of the wealthy. Men of noble houses, merchants, and pirates, any who could hire soldiers and wizards called himself a lord, claiming lands and cities as his property. The warlords made those they conquered slaves, and those they hired were in truth slaves, having only their masters to safeguard them from rival warlords seizing the lands, and sea-pirates raiding the ports, and bands and hordes of lawless, miserable men dispossessed of their living, driven by hunger to raid and rob."The Book of the Dark, written late in the time it tells of, is a compilation of self-contradictory histories, partial biographies, and garbled legends. But it's the best of the records that survived the dark years. Wanting praise, not history, the warlords burnt the books in which the poor and powerless might learn what power is.But when the lore-books of a wizard came into a warlord's hands he was likely to treat them with caution, locking them away to keep them harmless or giving them to a wizard in his hire to do with as he wished. In the margins of the spells and word lists and in the endpapers of these books of lore a wizard or his prentice might record a plague, a famine, a raid, a change of masters, along with the spells worked in such events and their success or unsuccess. Such random records reveal a clear moment here and there, though all between those moments is darkness. They are like glimpses of a lighted ship far out at sea, in darkness, in the rain.And there are songs, old lays and ballads from small islands and from the quiet uplands of Havnor, that tell the story of those years.Havnor Great Port is the city at the heart of the world, white-towered above its bay; on the tallest tower the sword of Erreth-Akbe catches
Excerpted from Tales from Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
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