Books > Old Books > The Island Of Light (1962)


Page 7

THE SEVEN RUSSET
SHEAVES OF WHEAT

There were seven of them amongst the three hundred sheaves of wheat spread out to dry in the sun. Seven of them, at the far end of the island of Oleron, near the big lighthouse. Beyond that field there was nothing that belonged to man : nothing but rocks, seaweed, sand and the salt spray from the sea. Except for the tip of Brittany that juts out into the ocean, there was not another cornfield between this one and the green fields of England.
As I said, there were seven of them : seven russet-coloured sheaves of wheat amongst three hundred golden ones.

Page 8

THE SEVEN RUSSET
SHEAVES OF WHEAT

They should not have been that colour; people said that it was a bad sign. I don't know why they thought it was a bad sign, but they did, and that's all there is to it. The sheaves were russet, perhaps from the salt because they were the nearest to the sea, or perhaps from the iodine, or maybe it was due to some strange chemical that we don't know about.
Be that as it may, these three hundred sheaves of wheat were lying there, drying in the sun and wondering what the future held in store.
One day they heard a rumour that they were to be gathered up, taken away and threshed.
One of the seven russet sheaves, the darkest and scruffiest, jumped up and cried :
" Come on, sisters, we can gather ourselves up, we're not weaklings ! We're not going to be taken away, not by the farmer,

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