heroes to every corner of the great world, and finally one day out into the stars. This is our dream,
Speaker, and you tell me now that you want us to lose it like wind in the sky."
It was a powerful speech. None of the others offered Ender any suggestions about what to say in
answer. Human had half-convinced them.
"You dream is a good one," said Ender. "It's the dream of every living creature. The desire that is
the very root of life itself: To grow until all the space you can see is part of you, under your control.
It's the desire for greatness. There are two ways, though, to fulfil it. One way is to kill anything that
is not yourself, to swallow it up or destroy it, until nothing is left to oppose you. But that way is
evil. You say to all the universe, Only I will be great, and to make room for me the rest of you must
give up even what you already have, and become nothing. Do you understand, Human, that if we
humans felt this way, acted this way, we could kill every piggy in Lusitania and make this place our
home. How much of your dream would be left, if we were evil?"
Human was trying hard to understand. "I see that you gave us great gifts, when you could have
taken from us even the little that we had. But why did you give us the gifts, if we can't use them to
"We want you to grow, to travel among the stars. Here on Lusitania we want you to be strong and
powerful, with hundreds and thousands of brothers and wives. We want to teach you to grow many
kinds of plants and raise many different animals. Ela and Novinha, these two women, will work all
the days of their lives to develop more plants that can live here in Lusitania, and every good thing
that they make, they'll give to you. So you can grow. But why does a single piggy in any other
forest have to die, just so you can have these gifts? And why would it hurt you in any way, if we
also gave the same gifts to them?"
"If they become just as strong as we are, then what have we gained?"
What am I expecting this brother to do, thought Ender. His people have always measured
themselves against the other tribes. Their forest isn't fifty hectares or five hundred-- it's either larger
or smaller than the forest of the tribe to the west or the south. What I have to do now is the work of
a generation: I have to teach him a new way of conceiving the stature of his own people. "Is Rooter
great?" asked Ender.
"I say he is," said Human. "He's my father. His tree isn't the oldest or thickest, but no father that
we remember has ever had so many children so quickly after he was planted."
"So in a way, all the children that he fathered are still part of him. The more children he fathers,
the greater he becomes." Human nodded slowly. "And the more you accomplish in your life, the
greater you make your father, is that true?"
"If his children do well, then yes, it's a great honor to the fathertree."
"Do you have to kill all the other great trees in order for your father to be great?"
"That's different," said Human. "All the other great trees are fathers of the tribe. And the lesser
trees are still brothers." Yet Ender could see that Human was uncertain now. He was resisting
Ender's ideas because they were strange, not because they were wrong or incomprehensible. He
was beginning to understand.
"Look at the wives," said Ender. "They have no children. They can never be great the way that
your father is great."
"Speaker, you know that they're the greatest of all. The whole tribe obeys them. When they rule us
well, the tribe prospers; when the tribe becomes many, then the wives are also made strong--"
"Even though not a single one of you is their own child."
"How could we be?" asked Human.
"And yet you add to their greatness. Even though they aren't your mother or your father, they still
grow when you grow."
"We're all the same tribe."
"But why are you the same tribe? You have different fathers, different mothers."
"Because we are the tribe! We live here in the forest, we--"
"If another piggy came here from another tribe, and asked you to let him stay and be a brother--"
"We would never make him a fathertree!"
"But you tried to make Pipo and Libo fathertrees."
Human was breathing heavily. "I see," he said. "They were part of the tribe. From the sky, but we
made them brothers and tried to make them fathers. The tribe is whatever we believe it is. If we say
the tribe is all the Little Ones in the forest, and all the trees, then that is what the tribe is. Even
though some of the oldest trees here came from warriors of two different tribes, fallen in battle. We
become one tribe because we say we're one tribe."
Ender marveled at his mind, this small raman. How few humans were able to grasp this idea, or let
it extend beyond the narrow confines of their tribe, their family, their nation.
Human walked behind Ender, leaned against him, the weight of the young piggy pressed against
his back. Ender felt Human's breath on his cheek, and then their cheeks were pressed together, both
of them looking in the same direction. All at once Ender understood: "You see what I see," said
"You humans grow by making us part of you, humans and piggies and buggers, ramen together.
Then we are one tribe, and our greatness is your greatness, and yours is ours." Ender could feel
Human's body trembling with the strength of the idea. "You say to us, we must see all other tribes
the same way. As one tribe, our tribe all together, so that we grow by making them grow."
"You could send teachers," said Ender. "Brothers to the other tribes, who could pass into their
third life in the other forests and have children there."
"This is a strange and difficult thing to ask of the wives," said Human. "Maybe an impossible
thing. Their minds don't work the way a brother's mind works. A brother can think of many
different things. But a wife thinks of only one thing: what is good for the tribe, and at the root of
that, what is good for the children and the little mothers."
"Can you make them understand this?" asked Ender.
"Better than you could," said Human. "But probably not. Probably I'll fail."
"I don't think you'll fail," said Ender.
"You came here tonight to make a covenant between us, the piggies of this tribe, and you, the
humans who live on this world. The humans outside Lusitania won't care about our covenant, and
the piggies outside ths forest won't care about it."
"We want to make the same covenant with all of them."
"And in this covenant, you humans promise to teach us everything."
"As quickly as you can understand it."
"Any question we ask."
"If we know the answer."
"When! If! These aren't words in a covenant! Give me straight answers now, Speaker for the
Dead." Human stood up, pushed away from Ender, walked around in front of him, bent down a
little to look at Ender from above. "Promise to teach us everything that you know!"
"We promise that."
"And you also promise to restore the hive queen to help us."
"I'll restore the hive queen. You'll have to make your own covenant with her. She doesn't obey
"You promise to restore the hive queen, whether she helps us or not."
"You promise to obey our law when you come into our forest. And you agree that the prairie land
that we need will also be under our law."
"And you will go to war against all the other humans in all the stars of the sky to protect us and let
us also travel in the stars?"
"We already have."
Human relaxed, stepped back, squatted in his old position. He drew with his finger in the dirt.
"Now, what you want from us," said Human. "We will obey human law in your city, and also in the
prairie land that you need."
"Yes," said Ender.
"And you don't want us to go to war," said Human.
"And that's all?"
"One more thing," said Ender.
"What you ask is already impossible," said Human. "You might as well ask more."
"The third life," said Ender. "When does it begin? When you kill a piggy and he grows into a tree,
is that right?"
"The first life is within the mothertree, where we never see the light, and where we eat blindly the
meat of our mother's body and the sap of the mothertree. The second life is when we live in the
shade of the forest, the half-light, running and walking and climbing, seeing and singing and
talking, making with our hands. The third life is when we reach and drink from the sun, in the full
light at last, never moving except in the wind; only to think, and on those certain days when the
brothers drum on your trunk, to speak to them. Yes, that's the third life."
"Humans don't have the third life."
Human looked at him, puzzled.
"When we die, even if you plant us, nothing grows. There's no tree. We never drink from the sun.
When we die, we're dead."
Human looked at Ouanda. "But the other book you gave us. It talked all the time about living after
death and being born again."
"Not as a tree," said Ender. "Not as anything you can touch or feel. Or talk to. Or get answers
"I don't believe you," said Human. "If that's true, why did Pipo and Libo make us plant them?"
Novinha knelt down beside Ender, touching him-- no, leaning on him-- so she could hear more
"How did they make you plant them?" said Ender.
"They made the great gift, won the great honor. The human and the piggy together. Pipo and
Mandachuva. Libo and Leaf-eater. Mandachuva and Leaf-eater both thought that they would win
the third life, but each time, Pipo and Libo would not. They insisted on keeping the gift for
themselves. Why would they do that, if humans have no third life?"
Novinha's voice came then, husky and emotional. "What did they have to do, to give the third life
to Mandachuva or Leaf-eater?"
"Plant them, of course," said Human. "The same as today."
"The same as what today?" asked Ender.
"You and me," said Human. "Human and the Speaker for the Dead. If we make this covenant so
that the wives and the humans agree together, then this is a great, a noble day. So either you will
give me the third life, or I will give it to you."
"With my own hand?"
"Of course," said Human. "If you won't give me the honor, then I must give it to you."
Ender remembered the picture he had first seen only two weeks ago, of Pipo dismembered and
disemboweled, his body parts stretched and spread. Planted. "Human," said Ender, "the worst crime
that a human being can commit is murder. And one of the worst ways to do it is to take a living
person and cut him and hurt him so badly that he dies."
Again Human squatted for a while, trying to make sense of this. "Speaker," he said at last, "my
mind keeps seeing this two ways. If humans don't have a third life, then planting is killing, forever.
In our eyes, Libo and Pipo were keeping the honor to themselves, and leaving Mandachuva and
Leaf-eater as you see them, to die without honor for their accomplishments. In our eyes, you
humans came out of the fence to the hillside and tore them from the ground before their roots could
grow. In our eyes, it was you who committed murder, when you carried Pipo and Libo away. But
now I see it another way. Pipo and Libo wouldn't take Mandachuva and Leaf-eater into the third
life, because to them it would be murder. So they willingly allowed their own death, just so they
wouldn't have to kill any of us."
"Yes," said Novinha.
"But if that's so, then when you humans saw them on the hillside, why didn't you come into the
forest and kill us all? Why didn't you make a great fire and consume all our fathers, and the great
Leaf-eater cried out from the edge of the forest, a terrible keening cry, an unbearable grief.
"If you had cut one of our trees," said Human. "If you had murdered a single tree, we would have
come upon you in the night and killed you, every one of you. And even if some of you survived,
our messengers would have told the story to every other tribe, and none of you would ever have left
this land alive. Why didn't you kill us, for murdering Pipo and Libo?"
Mandachuva suddenly appeared behind Human, panting heavily. He flung himself to the ground,
his hands outstretched toward Ender. "I cut him with these hands," he cried. "I tried to honor him,
and I killed his tree forever!"
"No," said Ender. He took Mandachuva's hands, held them. "You both thought you were saving
each other's life. He hurt you, and you-- hurt him, yes, killed him, but you both believed you were
doing good. That's enough, until now. Now you know the truth, and so do we. We know that you
didn't mean murder. And you know that when you take a knife to a human being, we die forever.
That's the last term in the covenant, Human. Never take another human being to the third life,
because we don't know how to go."
"When I tell this story to the wives," said Human, "you'll hear grief so terrible that it will sound
like the breaking of trees in a thunderstorm."
He turned and stood before Shouter, and spoke to her for a few moments. Then he returned to
Ender. "Go now," he said.
"We have no covenant yet," said Ender.
"I have to speak to all the wives. They'll never do that while you're here, in the shade of the
mothertree, with no one to protect the little ones. Arrow will lead you back out of the forest. Wait
for me on the hillside, where Rooter keeps watch over the gate. Sleep if you can. I'll present the
covenant to the wives and try to make them understand that we must deal as kindly with the other
tribes as you have dealt with us."
Impulsively, Human reached out a hand and touched Ender firmly on the belly. "I make my own
covenant," he said to Ender. "I will honor you forever, but I will never kill you."
Ender put out his hand and laid his palm against Human's warm abdomen. The protuberances
under his hand were hot to the touch. "I will also honor you forever," said Ender.
"And if we make this convenant between your tribe and ours," said Human, "will you give me the
honor of the third life? Will you let me rise up and drink the light?"
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