The Waterstoneby Rebecca Rupp, Loren Long
The world is drying. Twelve-year-old Tad doesn't even notice it at first. Busy practicing with his new spear, arguing with his sister, Birdie, and living the normal life of a youngling of the Fisher Tribe, he thinks little of a stream slowed down to a trickle here, a pond that's lost some water there. But Tad begins to have strange flashbacks -- glimpses of the past… See more details below
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The world is drying. Twelve-year-old Tad doesn't even notice it at first. Busy practicing with his new spear, arguing with his sister, Birdie, and living the normal life of a youngling of the Fisher Tribe, he thinks little of a stream slowed down to a trickle here, a pond that's lost some water there. But Tad begins to have strange flashbacks -- glimpses of the past that he knows can't possibly be his own. With these memories gnawing at him, Tad begins an adventure with Birdie that is marked by great sorrow, fierce battles, and unbreakable friendships. An adventure in which Tad grows to know who he really is and what his destiny holds for him. For only he can restore the water and save the forests and animals and Tribes. Only he can retrieve the Waterstone.
- Candlewick Press
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.44(w) x 8.13(h) x 1.03(d)
- Age Range:
- 9 - 11 Years
Read an Excerpt
"I was not spying," Birdie said in an unpeaceful, offended sort of voice. "I don't spy." She pointed to a tangled heap of woven pea vines beside her in the grass. "I was mending the fishtrap net."
She bit her lip, studying Tad's red face.
"Spear throwing just takes practice," she said. "You have to be patient. It's like Father says: 'Berries don't ripen overnight.'"
So she was watching, Tad thought. It was nice of Birdie to try to be comforting. But he just wasn't in the mood right now to hear himself compared to a green berry. He was sick of being a green berry. He wanted to be brave and powerful and admired, like the heroes and warriors in Pondleweed's stories. Like Bog the Weaselkiller who wore a collar of gold nuggets and weasel claws and carried a spear made of blood-red agate that never missed a foe. Or like Frostwort the Winterborn who fought the White Fox of Far Mountain with nothing but a slingshot and a magic silver pebble.
"I'll be right back," he told Birdie gruffly. "I have to get my spear."
He turned and ran toward the pond, darting out along a half-submerged log at the water's edge. He hesitated for a moment, judging just where his spear had fallen in. Then, in one swift fluid motion, he dived. The clear green water of the pond closed over his head.
Tad was as at home in the water as a fish. Like all Fisher children, he had learned to swim even before he had learned to walk, first splashing in the shallows, then paddling in the deeper water with a floatstick to hang on to, and finally gliding smoothly through the deeps, sleek and slippery as a young otter or a slim brown minner. His green-brown hair flattened slickly to his head, and flaps of skin sealed his nostrils shut to keep the water from going up his nose. He kicked expertly, his wide brown feet with their long webbed toes sweeping strongly through the cool water. He turned a somersault and then began to paddle slowly back and forth, his eyes searching the pond bottom for the spear.
The underwater world gleamed. Ribbons of sunlight wove back and forth across the sandy bottom, tangling themselves together, then untangling themselves and swiftly sliding away again. Silky strands of eelweed brushed Tad's legs. A fat spotted rock bass - twice as long as Tad himself - poked a curious nose out from a cluster of water lily stems and goggled foolishly up at him. Its big bulging eyes were slightly crossed. It opened and closed its mouth twice, blew a bubble, and slowly withdrew, wiggling backward with a furl of fins and tail. Tad puffed his cheeks and blew a bubble back. Then, out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of red and black. It was the spear, resting neatly on a bed of mud and pebbles, looking somehow pleased with itself, as if it had never made a mistake in its life. He scowled at the spear resentfully and began to swim toward it, stretching out a hand to pick it up.
Then - suddenly - something about the pond felt different. Wrong.
At first it was only a nervous ripple and a creepy feeling between his shoulder blades. Then a thump of alarm. Tad twisted in the water, looking anxiously about him. Something was wrong. It was as if something malevolent - a watersnake? - had suddenly turned its head and looked directly at him. Watching with angry little eyes. But where was it? No danger was in sight, but the peaceful and familiar pond felt hostile. The stems and leaves of the water plants were frightening forests; the rocks, dark lairs of lurking terrors. His skin prickled, his heart began to pound, and the hair stood up on the back of his neck.
There were strange toadstools and funguses deep in the forest that sometimes shone at night with an eerie green light, standing out like ghostly fires from their dark surroundings. Glowmolds, Pondleweed called them. Tad, hanging fearfully in the water, felt just like that - like a glowmold, helplessly illuminated, caught in a puddle of light with no place to hide. He felt more and more frightened. Something was watching him. He could feel it. He turned his head desperately from side to side, but nothing was there. Nothing he could see.
Are you the One?
The voice, cool and clear as spring water, echoed inside his head. It was an inhuman, somehow empty voice, the sort of voice that the wind or the rain might have if it could speak. It seemed to come from no direction and from all directions at once. At first it reminded Tad of bell music and chimes; then it grew colder and harder until it sounded like breaking icicles or like frozen pebbles dropped on a silver plate.
Are you the One? Is it you?
Whoever it was meant him no good, Tad was sure of that. He wanted to run and hide, but there was nowhere to go, no way he could tear himself free. A confusing swirl of images filled his brain, like pictures from half-forgotten dreams: a strange silver-eyed face framed in a cloud of pale green hair; a blue-lit chamber paved with pearls and patterned tiles; then - where? - a blaze of flaming torches and a great stone mountain whose cliffs mysteriously moved and shifted; and over all a thundering tide of dark water through which ran the sound of voices, many voices, singing some high sweet song.
What's happening? he thought frantically. Who are you? And the voice, like an icy silver dagger, answered.
Do you not remember? I am Azabel.
THE WATERSTONE by Rebecca Rupp. Copyright (c) 2002 by Rebecca Rupp. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.
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