Dune by Frank Herbert Read Free Book Online

Book: Dune by Frank Herbert Read Free Book Online
Authors: Frank Herbert
Tags: Fiction, General, Science-Fiction
the spice and the
sandworms. You’ll stain your eyepits to reduce the sun glare. Shelter will mean
a hollow out of the wind and hidden from view. You’ll ride upon your own two
feet without ‘thopter or groundcar or mount.”
    And Paul had been caught more by her tone — singsong and wavering — than
by her words.
    “When you live upon Arrakis,” she had said, “khala, the land is empty. The
moons will be your friends, the sun your enemy.”
    Paul had sensed his mother come up beside him away from her post guarding
the door. She had looked at the Reverend Mother and asked: “Do you see no hope.
Your Reverence?”
    “Not for the father.” And the old woman had waved Jessica to silence, looked
down at Paul. “Grave this on your memory, lad: A world is supported by four
things . . . ” She held up four big-?knuckled fingers. “. . . the learning of the
wise, the justice of the great, the prayers of the righteous and the valor of
the brave. But all of these are as nothing . . . ” She closed her fingers into a
fist. “. . . without a ruler who knows the art of ruling. Make that the science
of your tradition!”
    A week had passed since that day with the Reverend Mother. Her words were
only now beginning to come into full register. Now, sitting in the training room
with Thufir Hawat, Paul felt a sharp pang of fear. He looked across at the
Mentat’s puzzled frown.
    “Where were you woolgathering that time?” Hawat asked.
    “Did you meet the Reverend Mother?”
    “That Truthsayer witch from the Imperium?” Hawat’s eyes quickened with
interest. “I met her.”
    “She . . . ” Paul hesitated, found that he couldn’t tell Hawat about the
ordeal. The inhibitions went deep.
    “Yes? What did she?”
    Paul took two deep breaths. “She said a thing.” He closed his eyes, calling
up the words, and when he spoke his voice unconsciously took on some of the old
woman’s tone: ” ‘You, Paul Atreides, descendant of kings, son of a Duke, you
must learn to rule. It’s something none of your ancestors learned.’ “ Paul
opened his eyes, said: ”That made me angry and I said my father rules an entire
planet. And she said, ‘He’s losing it.’ And I said my father was getting a
richer planet. And she said. ‘He’ll lose that one, too.’ And I wanted to run and
warn my father, but she said he’d already been warned — by you, by Mother, by
many people.“
    ”True enough,“ Hawat muttered.
    ”Then why’re we going?“ Paul demanded.
    ”Because the Emperor ordered it. And because there’s hope in spite of what
that witch-?spy said. What else spouted from this ancient fountain of wisdom?“
    Paul looked down at his right hand clenched into a fist beneath the table.
Slowly, he willed the muscles to relax. She put some kind of hold on me, he
thought. How?
    ”She asked me to tell her what it is to rule,“ Paul said. ”And I said that
one commands. And she said I had some unlearning to do.“
    She hit a mark there right enough, Hawat thought. He nodded for Paul to
    ”She said a ruler must learn to persuade and not to compel. She said he must
lay the best coffee hearth to attract the finest men.“
    ”How’d she figure your father attracted men like Duncan and Gurney?“ Hawat
    Paul shrugged. ”Then she said a good ruler has to learn his world’s
language, that it’s different for every world. And I thought she meant they
didn’t speak Galach on Arrakis, but she said that wasn’t it at all. She said she
meant the language of the rocks and growing things, the language you don’t hear
just with your ears. And I said that’s what Dr. Yueh calls the Mystery of Life.“
    Hawat chuckled. ”How’d that sit with her?“
    ”I think she got mad. She said the mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve,
but a reality to experience. So I quoted the First Law of Mentat at her: ‘A
process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move

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