Only Abilene's grandmother spoke to him as Abilene did, as one equal to another. Pellegrina was very old. She had a large, sharp nose and bright, black eyes that shone like dark stars. It was Pellegrina who was responsible for Edward's existence. It was she who had commissioned his making, she who had ordered his silk suits and his pocket watch, his jaunty hats and his bendable ears, his fine leather shoes and his jointed arms and legs, all from a master craftsman in her native France. It was Pellegrina who had given him as a gift to Abilene on her seventh birthday.
And it was Pellegrina who came each night to tuck Abilene into her bed and Edward into his.
"Will you tell us a story, Pellegrina?" Abilene asked her grandmother each night.
"Not tonight, lady," said Pellegrina.
"When?" asked Abilene. "What night?"
"Soon," said Pellegrina. "Soon there will be a story."
And then she turned off the light, and Edward and Abilene lay in the dark of the bedroom.
"I love you, Edward," Abilene said each night after Pellegrina had left. She said those words and then she waited, almost as if she expected Edward to say something in return.
Edward said nothing. He said nothing because, of course, he could not speak. He lay in his small bed next to Abilene's large one. He stared up at the ceiling and listened to the sound of her breath entering and leaving her body, knowing that soon she would be asleep. Because Edward's eyes were painted on and he could not close them, he was always awake.
Sometimes, if Abilene put him into his bed on his side instead of on his back, he could see through the cracks in the curtains and out into the dark night. On clear nights, the stars shone, and their pinprick light comforted Edward in a way that he could not quite understand. Often, he stared at the stars all night until the dark finally gave way to dawn.
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. Text copyright © 2006 by Kate DiCamillo. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.
Blood at the Root
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