The Twentieth Leaf


Still no sleep, but at least I was spared from the awkward meeting with the King that I have been anticipating. Through some strange bit of fortune the King was called off the island on business. I know not the King's schedule, but I was surprised by this trip as I had heard nothing of it. And the King left no further instructions for the completion of the garden. How strange. Was his trip planned hastily? Is it possible that he too needs an escape, a secret retreat from the yearnings of the day? I will write him a poem, and in this way reach out to him as I cannot here, in this day, in this time.

- Sorren


I wish that this man had fixed these fragments with a date of some kind. These ignorant people are hard to pin down when they do not even know what day it is. I cannot for a moment believe that he didn’t know the exact date as well as the year, because it was common even for uneducated men to know the date by the marking of holy days of obligation. This man does nothing. Even had he fixed these notes by the cycles of the Church calendar I would be happy. He says that he was surprised that the King did not leave instructions for the garden . . . so the King’s magical garden was not yet finished. This is interesting. And still I wonder that this man cannot seem to sleep during the long hours of the night, but that these fragments continue to keep him up. I must look for hidden clues between the words. I look forward to reading his poem.


I still do not understand Sorren’s reticence. Up until now there has been nothing in these pages to suggest that the King was anything but tolerant to the people for whom he served. In truth, he may have been the most tolerant King to have ruled for many years, for there is no talk of wars or uprising in any of the literature surrounding this man, and this simple servant has nothing but praise for him. King Sigmus is the man that has taught this simple servant how to read, so why would Sorren now fear retribution from the very man that has given him so much? The probability is great that I do not understand this relationship, this dynamic between the servant and the King. In truth, Sorren is not in fear of this man, far from it, he is in awe of this man, and that is why he is reticent . . . he fears that he will disappoint his mentor, and that is what is keeping him up at night. Sorren is hoping to make the King proud of him. Now this is only my conjecture, but I like it, and I think it is closer to the truth. Having made this conjecture, I believe that the poem that he has promised to the King will be quite different, and quite powerful.

Now the reference to the garden is quite interesting. The garden is an important part of the novel King Bartholomew, so it seems natural for it to be mentioned in these pages. What I don’t understand yet, is why M would think that this was important. Obviously M is fishing for something, but he does not describe it in his commentary. That is also natural, for he did not expect that this book would find its way into my hands.