cause to start burning
Clearly there had to be something for the sparks to
ignite, some kind of tinder or kindling—but what?
a feeling of annoyance
He settled back on his haunches in
exasperation, looking at the pitiful clump of grass and twigs.
a grouping of a number of similar things
He settled back on his haunches in exasperation, looking at the pitiful
clump of grass and twigs.
walk impeded by some physical injury
He put the hatchet back in his belt and went out of the shelter,
limping on his sore leg.
enter into someone's consciousness
Not twenty feet to his right, leaning out over the water were birches and he stood looking at them for a full half-minute before they
registered on his mind.
pull lightly but sharply
plucked some of them loose, rolled them in his fingers.
flammable, dry and nearly powdery.
characterized by extreme care and great effort
painstaking work, slow work, and he stayed with it for over two hours.
the concept that something has a magnitude
quantity, there were plenty of sparks, but they needed more.
make happy or satisfied
Working as fast as he could he carefully placed the dried grass and wood pieces he had tried at first on top of the bark and was
gratified to see them take.
sit on one's heels
These he threw in die shelter, went back for more, threw those in, and
squatted to break and feed the hungry flames.
inside and toward a center
It was so precious to him, so close and sweet a thing, the yellow and red flames brightening the dark
interior of the shelter, the happy crackle of the dry wood as it burned, that he could not leave it.
a supply of something available for future use
And so he sat through a long part of the day, keeping the flames even, eating from his
stock of raspberries, leaving to drink from the lake when he was thirsty.
a miniature whirlpool or whirlwind
When he was in the shade of the trees breaking limbs the mosquitos swarmed on him, as usual, but when he came to the fire, or just near the shelter where die smoke
eddied and swirled, the insects were gone.
a definite length of time marked off by two instants
He had to be sure to try and sleep in short
intervals so he could keep die fire going, and he tried to think of a way to regulate his sleep but it made him sleepy to think about it and he was just going under again when he heard the sound outside.
request urgently and forcefully
His stomach tightened and rolled and made noise as he looked at the eggs, as if his stomach belonged to somebody else or had seen die eggs with its own eyes and was
inactive but capable of becoming active
The hunger, always there, had been somewhat controlled and
dormant when there was nothing to eat but with the eggs came the scream to eat.
have an appetite or great desire for
His whole body
craved food with such an intensity that it quickened his breath.
exacting especially about details
As his stomach moved toward his backbone he became less and less
an indigenous person who was born in a particular place
natives in the world ate grasshoppers and ants and if they could do that he could get a raw egg down.
contract involuntarily, as in a spasm
His throat tried to throw it back up, his whole body seemed to
convulse with it, but his stomach took it, held it, and demanded more.
so surprisingly impressive as to stun or overwhelm
He had decided to always have enough on hand for three days and after spending one night with the fire for a friend he knew what a
staggering amount of wood it would take.
take to be the case or to be true
There was no pain there so he
assumed that had taken care of itself.
the place where something begins
He would swing and look at it—a breaking twig, a movement of air—and know die sound as if he somehow could move his mind back down the wave of sound to the
include or contain; have as a component
He moved to the top of the rock ridge that
comprised the bluff over his shelter and was pleased to find a large, flat stone area.
at the beginning
Initially he had thought of making a signal fire every day but he couldn’t—he would never be able to keep die wood supply going.
have a view of something from above
At the last trip to the top of the stone bluff with wood he stopped, sat on the point
overlooking die lake, and rested.
old and twisted and covered in lines
At die other end of the bottom of the L there was another large rock sticking out over die water and on top of the rock a snag- gly pine had somehow found food and grown, bent and
come out into view, as from concealment
emerged a split part of a second later.
provoke someone to do something through persuasion
He had no hooks or string but if he could somehow
lure them into the shallows—and make a spear, a small fish spear—he might be able to strike fast enough to get one.
the property of a shape that narrows toward a point
Then, propping die hatchet in a crack in the rock wall, he had pulled the head of his spear against it, carving a thin piece off each time, until the thick end
tapered down to a needle point.
producing or capable of producing an intended result
It was crude, but it looked
effective and seemed to have good balance when he stood outside die shelter and hefted the spear.
causing or able to cause motion
He needed something to spring the spear forward, some way to make it move faster than the fish—some
characteristic of an earlier ancestral type
Maybe that was how it really happened, way back when—some
primitive man tried to spear fish and it didn’t work and he “invented” the bow and arrow.
turn on a pivot
He put all of his life into his legs, jumped logs and moved through brush like a light ghost,
swiveling and running, his lungs filling and blowing and now the sound was louder, coming in his direction.