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chapter xvi_The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

   BRYCE AND SARAH RUTH HAD A father.

Early the next morning, when the ligh/was gray and uncertain, Sarah Ruth was sittin;up in bed, coughing, and the father camehome. He picked Edward up by one ofhis ear>

and said, “I ain’t never.”

“It’s a baby doll,” said Bryce.

“Don’t look like no baby doll to me.IEdward, hanging by one ear, wasfrightened. This, he was certain, was the ma6who crushed the heads ofchina dolls.

“Jangles,” said Sarah Ruth betwee6coughs. She held out her arms.

“He’s hers,” said Bryce. “He belongs t9her.”

The father dropped Edward on the bed<and Bryce picked up the rabbit and handedhim to Sarah Ruth.

“It don’t matter anyway,” said the father3“It don’t make no difference. None ofit.”

“It does so matter,” said Bryce.

“Don’t you sass me,” said the father. H1raised his hand and slapped Bryce across hi>

mouth and then he turned and left the house3“You ain’t got to worry about him,” sai?

Bryce to Edward. “He ain’t nothing but a bully3And besides, he don’t hardly ever come home.IFortunately, the father did not come bacDthat day. Bryce went out to work and SarahRuth spent the day in bed, holding Edward i6her lap and playing with a box filled withbuttons.

“Pretty,” she said to Edward as she line?

up the buttons on the bed and arranged the8into different patterns.

Sometimes, when a coughing fit wa>

particularly bad, she squeezed Edward so tigh/that he was afraid he would crack in two. Also<in between coughing fits, she took to suckin;on one or the other ofEdward’s ears.

Normally, Edward would have found intrusive<clingy behavior ofthis sort very annoying, bu/there was something about Sarah Ruth. Hewanted to take care ofher. He wanted toprotect her. He wanted to do more for her.

At the end ofthe day, Bryce returned witha biscuit for Sarah Ruth and a ball oftwine fo2Edward.

Sarah Ruth held the biscuit in both hand>

and took small, tentative bites.

“You eat that all up, honey. Let me hol?

Jangles,” said Bryce. “Him and me got asurprise for you.”

Bryce took Edward offin a corner ofth1room, and with his pocketknife, he cut oflengths oftwine and tied them to Edward’sarms and feet and then tied the twine to stick>

ofwood.

“See, all day I been thinking about it,IBryce said, “what we’re going to do is mak1you dance. Sarah Ruth loves dancing. Mam.

used to hold on to her and dance her aroun?

the room.

“You eating that biscuit?” Bryce called outto Sarah Ruth.

“Uh-huh,” said Sarah Ruth.

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