Chapter 1

Helayflatonthebrown,pine-needledflooroftheforest,hischinonhisfoldedarms,andhighoverheadthewindblewinthetopsofthepinetrees.Themountainsideslopedgentlywherehelay;butbelowitwassteepandhecouldseethedarkoftheoiledroadwindingthroughthepass.Therewasastreamalongsidetheroadandfardownthepasshesawamillbesidethestreamandthefallingwaterofthedam,whiteinthesummersunlight.

“Isthatthemill?”heasked.

“Yes.”

“Idonotrememberit.”

“Itwasbuiltsinceyouwerehere.Theoldmillisfartherdown;muchbelowthepass.”

Hespreadthephotostatedmilitarymapoutontheforestfloorandlookedatitcarefully.Theoldmanlookedoverhisshoulder.Hewasashortandsolidoldmaninablackpeasant’ssmockandgrayiron-stifftrousersandheworerope-soledshoes.Hewasbreathingheavilyfromtheclimbandhishandrestedononeofthetwoheavypackstheyhadbeencarrying.

“Thenyoucannotseethebridgefromhere.”

“No,”theoldmansaid.“Thisistheeasycountryofthepasswherethestreamflowsgently.Below,wheretheroadturnsoutofsightinthetrees,itdropssuddenlyandthereisasteepgorge

“Iremember.”

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