We watched the shore for a while in the half-light. Dusk’s eyes glowed like a cat’s by a fire. Moving with the current, we only had to use our poles from time to time to steer clear of rocks and shoals. I asked him when he slept, since someone must always guide his boat. He pointed towards a figure I hadn’t noticed before, lying by some barrels.
“Why, I am sleeping right now, over there, and quite comfortably, my feet in some dream’s lap. If you look sharp though, you’ll probably find me pacing the deck as well; I am often plagued by insomnia.”
Dusk was speaking to me, yet at the same time he came walking towards us from the boat’s rear. “It’s no use,” he said, “I can’t get to sleep. I’ll take the other pole, Westerly, and you had best talk with that dream of yours. You’ll both be going ashore soon.”
When I left them, Dusk looked sidelong for an instant and nodded, as if some suspicion had been confirmed. As I walked away he was talking to himself about the weather.
I suddenly remembered my dream’s name; he was called Scoggin, and lifted his head when I spoke it.
“Lord, now there’s a name I’ve not heard in a while! I wouldn’t have thought any knew it now.”
He was whittling a chain of links from a piece of ivory, cutting very precisely and cleanly, with economic long strokes of a sharp knife.
“It’s for a child,” he said. “She’ll dream tonight that it was given to her, and find it in her hand when she wakes up. The road she’ll walk will lead to places the Fates mean her never to go.”
“Great Zeus Himself cannot defy the Fates, I’ve been told.”
“Nor can he, being Great Zeus. Dreams, however, are not wholly subject to the Fates. Drives them crazy, I shouldn’t wonder, especially the one with the shears”