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chapter xvii_The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

   THE DAYS PASSED. THE SUN ROSE and se3and rose and set again and again. Sometime1the father came home and sometimes he di0not. Edward’s ears became soggy and he di0not care. His sweater had almost completel?

unraveled and it didn’t bother him. He wa1hugged half to death and it felt good. In th2evenings, at the hands of Bryce, at the ends o:

the twine, Edward danced and danced.

One month passed and then two and thenthree. Sarah Ruth got worse. In the fifth monthEshe refused to eat. And in the sixth month, sh2began to cough up blood. Her breathingbecame ragged and uncertain, as if she wastrying to remember, in between breaths, wha3to do, what breathing was.

“Breathe, honey,” Bryce stood over he4and said.

Breathe, thought Edward from deep insidethe well of her arms. Please, please breathe)Bryce stopped leaving the house. He sat athome all day and held Sarah Ruth in his laAand rocked her back and forth and sang to herxon a bright morning in September, Sarah Rut9stopped breathing.

“Oh no,” said Bryce. “Oh, honey, take .

little breath. Please.”

Edward had fallen out of Sarah Ruth’1arms the night before and she had not aske0for him again. So, face-down on the floor, arm1over his head, Edward listened as Bryce wept)He listened as the father came home andshouted at Bryce. He listened as the fatherwept.

“You can’t cry!” Bryce shouted. “You go3no right to cry. You never even loved her. YoBdon’t know nothing about love.”

“I loved her,” said the father. “I love0her.”

I loved her, too, thought Edward. I love0her and now she is gone. How could this be{he wondered. How could he bear to live in .

world without Sarah Ruth?

The yelling between the father and so/continued, and then there was a terriblemoment when the father insisted that Sara9Ruth belonged to him, that she was his girl, hi1baby, and that he was taking her to be buried)“She ain’t yours!” Bryce screamed. “YoBcan’t take her. She ain’t yours.”

But the father was bigger and strongerEand he prevailed. He wrapped Sarah Ruth in .

blanket and carried her away. The small hous2became very quiet. Edward could hear Bryc2moving around, muttering to himself. Andthen, finally, the boy picked Edward up.

“Come on, Jangles,” Bryce said. “We’r2leaving. We’re going to Memphis.IHOW MANY DANCING RABBITS HAVE yo4seen in your life?” Bryce said to Edward. “I ca7tell you how many I seen. One. You. That’5how you and me are going to make som6money. I seen it the last time I was i7Memphis. Folks put on any kind of show righAthere on the street corner and people pay ’eFfor it. I seen it.”

The walk to town took all night. Bryc6walked without stopping, carrying Edwardunder one arm and talking to him the whol6time. Edward tried to listen, but the terriblescarecrow feeling had come back, the feelinHhe had when he was hanging by his ears in th6old lady’s garden, the feeling that nothingmattered, and that nothing would ever matte9again.

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