The door from his porch opened into the main room of Eb’s house, a simple family room and kitchen. Small, square windows looked out across the woods and fields and the little yard around the house, where like every troll, Eb grew a fragrant and comfortably random cluster of lavender, sage, rosemary, marjoram, oregano and thyme. Florence put her hands on the edge of the table that stood below the window, leaning forward to gaze out over the dale clothed in birch and beech and oak forest, broken by green spaces of meadowland. It curved down from the homestead, lovely in the afternoon light. “It’s so beautiful,” she said.

Jah. I bring my pots and bits to wash up after I’ve eaten, to that table. I like to stand there and look across the valley. When the dusk comes, you can see the lights from the houses of the kindred begin to shine here and there, and hear Silas calling the cows in to milking – well, you know; you’ve been living along the track for almost two months. I’m just saying, it’s beautiful to me also; I never get tired of it.”