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DIANA WYNNE JONES HOWLS MOVING CASTLE PDF

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(Howl's Moving Castle By: Diana Wynne JonesChapter 1 ) Description: Howl's Moving Castle is a fantasy novel by British author Diana Wynne Jones, first published in by Greenwillow Books of . Download PDF. Castle in the air / by Diana Wynne Jones, p. cm. . DOWNLOAD PDF He recalled that he had seen the man's lips move both times but had not heard all In this stunning sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones has again. Read “Howl's Moving Castle”, by Diana Wynne Jones online on Bookmate – Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to.


Diana Wynne Jones Howls Moving Castle Pdf

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Read Howl's Moving Castle PDF - by Diana Wynne Jones Blue Sky Press | Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three. mplete Howl's Moving Castle Series (PDF). An extraordinary young-adult fantasy series by Diana Wynne Jones, which is loved by readers and hailed by critics. Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she.

The stick had wedged itself between two branches onthe hedge so that the dog could barely move. As a girl, Sophie was scared of all dogs.

The dog was very wild. It flinched away from her and growled. ButSophie sawed bravely on. In fact, I think someone has tried to throttle youalready. Maybe that accounts for your wildness. It took a lot of sawing before the rope partedand the dog was able to drag itself out from under the stick.

Butthe dog growled at her, forced its way out through the opposite side ofthe hedge, and slunk away. Sophie finished her bread and cheese and set offwalking again.

The lane became steeper and steeper and she foundthe stick a great help. It was also something to talk to. Sophiethumped along with a will, chatting to her stick. After all, old peopleoften talk to themselves. In fact, Iinsist on one. I wonder what it will be. A countrymancame whistling down the lane toward her. A shepherd, Sophiethought, going home after seeing to his sheep. He was a well-set-upyoung fellow of forty or so.

Where are you off to? She stood in the road and thoughtabout it. He had now edgedhimself downhill of Sophie and seemed to feel better for it. Sophie stared after him indignantly. She had half a mind to scare the shepherd byshouting nasty things after him, but that seemed a little unkind. Sheplugged on uphill, mumbling. Shortly, the hedges gave way to barebanks and the land beyond became heathery upland, with a lot ofsteepness beyond that covered with yellow, rattling grass.

Sophie keptgrimly on. By now her knobby old feet ached, and her back, and herknees.

She became too tired to mumble and simply plugged on,panting, until the sun was quite low. And all at once it became quiteclear to Sophie that she could not walk a step further. She collapsed onto a stone by the wayside, wondering what she woulddo now. The stone proved to be on a sort of headland, which gave Sophie amagnificent view of the way she had come. There was most of thevalley spread out beneath her in the setting sun, all fields and wallsand hedges, the winding of the river, and the fine mansions of richpeople glowing our from clumps of trees, right down to blue.

Just below her was Market Chipping. Sophie could look down into its well-known streets. She could have tossed a stone down the chimneypots of the house next to the hat shop. An unpleasant windblew whichever way Sophie turned to avoid it. Now it no longerseemed so unimportant that she would be out on the hills during thenight. She found herself thinking more and more of a comfortablechair and a fireside, and also of darkness and wild animals.

But if shewent back to Market Chipping, it would be the middle of the nightbefore she got there. She might just as well go on. She sighed andstood up, creaking. She ached all over. Imust be far too dry and tough. The wind was also sharper. She looked up blurrily. Black smoke was blowing up in clouds from behind itsblack battlements. It looked tall and thin and heavy and ugly and verysinister indeed.

Sophie leaned on her stick and watched it. She wasnot particularly frightened. She wondered how it moved. But the mainthing in her mind was that all that smoke must mean a large firesidesomewhere inside those tall black walls. He only takes young girls. The castle obediently came to a rumbling, grinding halt about fiftyfeet uphill from her. Sophie felt rather gratified as she hobbled towardit.

The castle was uglier that ever close to. It was far too tall for its height and not a veryregular shape. As far as Sophie could see in the growing darkness, itas built of huge black blocks, like coal, and, like coal, these blockswere all different shapes and sizes.

Chill breathed off these blocks asshe got closer, but that failed to frighten Sophie at all. She justthought of chairs and firesides and stretched her hand out eagerly tothe door. Her hand could not come near it. Some invisible wall stopped herhand about a foot from the door. Sophie prodded at it with an irritablefinger. When that made no difference, she prodded with her stick.

The wall seemed to be all over the door from as high as her stickcould reach, and right down to the heather sticking out from underthe doorstep.

That made no difference to the wall. But she could not get around the corner. Theinvisible wall stopped her again as soon as she was level with theirregular black cornerstones. There was no barrier there. She turned that.

There was a barrier over that door too. Sophie glowered at it. Black smoke blew down form the battlements in clouds. Now she was angry. She was old, frail, chilly, and aching allover. Night was coming on and the castle just sat and blew smoke ather.

There was not barrier there-evidently you had to goaround the castle clockwise-but there, bit sideways in the next wall,was a third door. This one was much smaller and shabbier. The castle started to move again as Sophie got near the back door.

The ground shook. The wall shuddered and creaked, and the doorstarted to travel sideways from her. She ran after the door and hit itviolently with her stick. The door sprang open inward, still moving sideways. Sophie, byhobbling furiously, managed to get one foot up on its doorstep.

Thenshe hopped and scrambled and hopped again, while the great blackblocks round the door jolted and crunched as the castle gatheredspeed over the uneven hillside. Sophie did not wonder the castle had alopsided look. The marvel was that it did not fall apart on the spot. She had to drop her stick and hang on to the opendoor in order not to be jolted straight out again. When she began to get her breath, she realized there was a personstanding in front of her, holding the door too.

He was a head tallerthan Sophie, but she could see he was the merest child, only a littleolder than Martha. And he seemed to be trying to shut the door on herand push her out of the warm, lamplit, low-beamed room beyond him,into the night again. Therewere a number of probably wizardly things hanging from the beams-strings of onions, bunches of herbs, and bundles of strange roots. There were also definitely wizardly things, like leather books, crookedbottles, and an old, brown, grinning human skull.

On the other side ofthe boy was a fireplace with a small fire burning in the grate. It was amuch smaller fire than all the smoke outside suggested, but then thiswas obviously only a back room in the castle. Much more importantto Sophie, this fire had reached the glowing rosy stage, with little blueflames dancing on the logs, and placed beside it in the warmestposition was a low chair with a cushion on it.

Sophie pushed the boy aside and dived for that chair. It was bliss. The fire warmed her aches and the chair supported her back and sheknew that if anyone wanted to turn her out now, they were going tohave to use extreme and violent magic to do it. The boy shut the door. Sophie realized that there was nowno sign at all that the castle was moving across the hillside: How odd! Can I help you instead? It was probablytrue too. He hovered over her a little helplessly. To make it plain to him thatshe had no intention of being turned out by a mere boy apprentice,Sophie closed her eyes and pretended to go to sleep.

Since thiswas exactly what Sophie wanted, she pretended not to hear. In fact,she almost certainly fell into a swift doze. She was so tired from allthat walking. After a moment Michael gave her up and went back tothe work he was doing at the workbench where the lamp stood.

Since Howl was such awicked man, it probably served him right to be imposed upon. Butshe intended to be well away from here by the time Howl came backand raised objections.

She looked sleepily and slyly across at theapprentice. It rather surprised her to find him such a nice, polite boy. After all, she had forced her way in quite rudely and Michael had notcomplained at all. Perhaps Howl kept him in abject servility. ButMichael did not look servile. He was a tall, dark boy with a pleasant,open sort of face, and he was most respectably dressed.

In fact, ifSophie had not seen him at that moment carefully pouring green fluidout of a crooked flask onto black powder in a bent glass jar, she wouldhave taken him for the son of a prosperous farmer. Still, things were bound to be odd where wizards were concerned,Sophie thought. And this kitchen, or workshop, was beautifully cozyand very peaceful.

Sophie went properly to sleep and snored. She didnot wake up when there came a flash and a muted bang form theworkbench, followed by a hurriedly bitten-off swear word fromMichael. She did not wake when Michael, sucking his burned fingers,put the spell aside for the night and fetched bread and cheese out ofthe closet.

Then he put a log on the fire with equal politeness and went away tobed somewhere overhead. In the middle of the night Sophie was woken by someone snoring. She jumped upright, rather irritated to discover that she was the onewho had been snoring. It seemed to her that she had only dropped offfor a second or so, but Michael seemed to have vanished in thoseseconds, taking the light with him. And he had left thefire very low. It was giving out irritating hissings and poppings.

She shivered and cranked her stiff old neck around, but there was onlydarkness behind her. Her cracked voice seemed to make no more noise than the cracklingof the fire. Sophie was surprised. She had expected it to echo throughthe vaults of the castle. Still, there was a basket of logs beside her. Shestretched out a creaking arm and heaved a log on the fire, which senta spray of green and blue sparks flying through the chimney.

Sheheaved on a second log and sat back, not without a nervous look or sobehind her, where the blue-purple light form the fire was dancing overthe polished brown bone of the skull. The room was quite small. There was no one in it but Sophie and the skull. She turned back to the fire, which was now flaring up intoblue and green flames.

She settled herself more comfortably, putting her knobbyfeet on the fender and her head into a corner of the chair, where shecould stare into the colored flames, and began dreamily consideringwhat she ought to do in the morning. But she was sidetracked a littleby imagining a face in the flames. But those curlygreen flames on top are most definitely your hair. Wizards can lift spells, I suppose. And thosepurple flames near the bottom make the mouth- you have savageteeth, my friend. It was definitely the fire that spoke.

Sophie saw its purple mouthmove as the words came.

Its voice was nearly as cracked as her own,full of the spitting and whining of burning wood. It had a distinctlycunning look as it made this proposal. Everything she had readshowed the extreme danger of making a bargain with a demon.

Andthere was no doubt that this one did look extraordinarily evil. Thoselong purple teeth. That spell had shortened your life by about sixtyyears, if I am any judge of such things. This was a nasty thought, and one which Sophie had tried not to thinkabout up to now. It made quite a difference. Its voice took on a bit of a whine again. I have to maintainthe castle and keep it moving and do all the special effects that scarepeople off, as well as anything else Howl wants.

On the otherhand, the demon was probably quite as wicked. She thought of herself making hats for Fanny while Fannywent gadding. How do I break it? The orange eyes glinted at her and looked away. Part of thecontract is that neither the Wizard nor I can say what the main clauseis. She opened her mouth to tellthe demon that it could sit in the fireplace until Doomsday in thatcase. The demon realized she was going to. Iimplore you to try. And I do keep my word. Sophieagain felt a great deal of sympathy.

Now find an excuse. It thought aloud, in a little crackling, flickering murmur, whichreminded Sophie rather of the way she had talked to her stick whenshe walked here. And it blazed while it thought with such a gladpowerful roaring that she dozed again. She thought the demon didmake a few suggestions. The demon at length fell to singing a gentle,flickering little song.

Sophie fell into a deepsleep, with a slight suspicion that she was being bewitched now, aswell as beguiled, but it did not bother her particularly. She would befree of the spell soon….. Since Sophie remembered no windows a t all in the castle, her first notion was that she had fallen asleep trimming hatsand dreamed of leaving home. The fire in front of her had sunk to rosycharcoal and white ash, which convinced her that she had certainlydreamed there was a fire demon.

But her very first movements toldher that there were some things she had not dreamed. There weresharp cracks from all over her body. She put her knobby hands to her face and feltwrinkles. At that, she discovered she had been in a state of shock allyesterday. She was very angry indeed with the Witch of the Waste fordoing this to her, hugely, enormously angry. It was above the workbench. To her utter astonishment, the view from it was a view of a docksidetown.

She could see a sloping, unpaved street, lined with small, ratherpoor-looking houses, and masts sticking up beyond the roofs. Beyondthe masts she caught a glimmer of the sea, which was something shehad never seen in her life before. It was quite a small room, with heavy black beams in the ceiling.

Bydaylight it was amazingly dirty. The stones of the floor were stainedand greasy, ash was piled within the fender, and cobwebs hung industy droops from the beams. There was a layer of dust on the skull. Sophie absently wiped it off as she went to peer into the sink besidethe workbench.

She shuddered at the pink-and-gray slime in it andthe white slime dripping from the pump above it. Howl obviously didnot care what squalor his servants lived in. The rest of the castle seemed to be beyond one or the other of thefour low black doors around the room. Sophie opened the nearest, inthe end wall beyond the bench.

There was a large bathroom beyondit. In some ways it was a bathroom you might find normally only in apalace, full of luxuries such as an indoor toilet, a shower stall, animmense bath with clawed feet, and mirrors on every wall. But it waseven dirtier than the other room. Sophie winced form the toilet,flinched at the color of the bath, recoiled form the green weedgrowing in the shower, and quite easily avoided looking at hershriveled shape in the mirrors because the glass was plastered withblobs and runnels of nameless substances.

The nameless substancesthemselves were crowded onto a very large shelf over the bath. Theywere in jars, boxes, tubes, and hundreds of tattered brown packetsand paper bags. The biggest jar had a name. Sophie was not sure whether there shouldbe a D in that or not. She picked up a packet at random. It had SKINscrawled on it, and she put it back hurriedly. Another jar said EYES inthe same scrawl. Water ran into the basin when she turned a blue-greenknob that might have been brass and washed some of the decay away.

She dried the water with her skirt and then set off to the next blackdoor. That one opened onto a flight of rickety wooden stairs, Sophie heardsomeone move up there and shut the door hurriedly.

It seemed only tolead to a sort of loft anyway. She hobbled to the next door. By now shewas moving quite easily. She was a hale old woman, as she discoveredyesterday. The third door opened onto a poky backyard with high brick walls.

Hm... Are You a Human?

Itcontained a big stack of logs, and higgledy-piggledy heaps of what. Sophie shut that door too,rather puzzled, because it did not seem to match the castle at all. There was no castle to be seen above the brick walls. They ended atthe sky. Sophie could only think that this part was the round sidewhere the invisible wall had stopped her the night before.

She opened the fourth door and it was just a broom cupboard, withtwo fine but dusty velvet cloaks hanging on the brooms. Sophie shut itagain, slowly. The only other door was in the wall with the window,and that was the door she had come in by last night. She hobbled overand cautiously opened that. She stood for a moment looking out at a slowly moving view of thehills, watching heather slide past underneath the door, feeling thewind blow her wispy hair, and listening to the rumble and grind of thebig black stones as the castle moved.

Then she shut the door andwent to the window. And there was the seaport town again. It was nopicture. A woman had opened a door opposite and was sweeping dustinto the street. Behind that house a grayish canvas sail was going up amast in brisk jerks, disturbing a flock of seagulls into flying round andround against the glimmering sea. Then, because thefire looked almost out, she went and put on a couple of logs and rakedaway some of the ash. Green flames climbed between the logs, small and curly, and shot upinto a long blue face with flaming green hair.

Sophie was not much given to crying, butshe said in the chair for quite a while staring at a blurred and slidingfire demon, and did not pay much attention to the sounds of Michaelgetting up, until she found him standing beside her, lookingembarrassed and a little exasperated. But it was just as the Witch had said and the fire demon had guessed. Would youlike some breakfast? Sophie discovered she was a very hale old woman indeed. After onlybread and cheese at lunchtime yesterday, she was ravenous.

What about a hot drink as well? He flickered back at herwickedly. Bend down your head. Sophie slapped slices of bacon into the pan.

It was good and hot. Thebacon sizzled, and she had to wrap her skirt round her hand to holdthe handle. The door opened, but she did not notice because of thesizzling. Sophie turned round at that, rather hurriedly. She stared. The tallyoung fellow in a flamboyant blue-and-silver suit who had just comein stopped in the act of leaning a guitar in the corner. He brushed thefair hair from his rather curious glass-green eyes and stared back.

Hislong, angular face was perplexed. After all, Howl had onlymet her long enough to call her a mouse before, so it was almost true. Wizard Howl is only a child in his twenties, for all hiswickedness! It made such a difference to be old, she thought as sheturned the bacon over in the pan. And she would have died ratherthan let this overdressed boy know she was the girl he had pitied onMay Day.

Hearts and souls did not enter into it. Howl was not goingto know. He poppedhis guitar in the corner and came over to the hearth.

The smell ofhyacinths mixed with the smell of bacon as he shoved Sophie firmlyaside. It wasobvious after what she had seen of the castle. Michael was pullingthem out to sit on and pushing aside all the things on top of it tomake room for some knives and forks he had taken from the drawer inthe side of it.

Sophie went to help him. She had not expected Howl towelcome her, of course, but he had not even so far agreed to let herstay beyond breakfast. Since Michael did not seem to need help,Sophie shuffled over to her stick and put it slowly and showily in thebroom cupboard.

Calcifer sprang up with a roar of reliefand blazed high in the chimney. Sophie made another attempt to pin the Wizard down. I can only find this one room and thebathroom. It was not until they had almost finished breakfast that Sophiediscovered what made them laugh.

Howl was not only hard to pindown. He seemed to dislike answering any questions at all. Sophiegave up asking him and asked Michael instead. Howl and Michael laughed again. What do you mean by having this great, ugly castle rushingabout the hills and frightening everyone in Market Chipping todeath? And last year I offended someone very powerful and I need to keepout of their way. And she shortlydiscovered that the castle had other peculiarities.

They had finishedeating and Michael was piling the plates on the slimy sink beside thebench when there came a loud, hollow knocking at the door. Calcifer blazed up. There was a square wooden knob above the door, set into the lintel,with a dab of paint on each of its four sides.

At that moment, therewas a green blob on the side that was the bottom, but Howl turnedthe knob around so that it had a red blob downward before he openedthe door. Outside stood a personage wearing a stiff white wig and a wide hat ontop of that. He was clothed in scarlet and purple and gold, and heheld up a little staff decorated with ribbons like an infant maypole.

Scents of cloves and orange blossom blew into the room. Behind him Sophie had glimpses of a coach waiting in a street full ofsumptuous houses covered with painted carvings, and towers andspires and domes beyond that, of a splendor she had barely beforeimagined.

She was sorry it took so little time for the person at the doorto hand over a long, silken, chinking purse, and for Howl to take thepurse, bow back, and shut the door. Howl turned the square knobback so that the green blob was downward again and stowed the longpurse in his pocket.

Sophie could not restrain her curiosity. She tied an old rag round her wispy white hair, she rolled the sleeves up herskinny old arms and wrapped an old tablecloth from the broomcupboard round her as an apron.

It was rather a relief to think therewere only four rooms to clean instead of a whole castle. She grabbedup a bucket and besom and got to work.

Dust flew in clouds. In the midst of it there came another set of thumps at the door. Michael left the workbench and went to the door. Sophie peeredthrough the dust she was raising and saw that this time Michaelturned the square knob over the door so that the side with a blue blobof paint on it was downward.

Then he opened the door on the streetyou saw out of the window. A small girl stood there. While he was doing it, the. Howl may not like that. Sophie cackled to herself a little, quite unrepentant. Probably she hadlet the besom she was using put ideas into her head. But it mightpersuade Howl to let her stay if everyone thought she was working forhim. As a girl, Sophie would have shriveled with embarrassment at theway she was behaving.

As an old woman, she did not mind what shedid or said. She found that a great relief. No sense. Then she swept the floor allover again. She swept her way toward the door in order to have a lookat the square knob above it. The fourth side, which she had not seenused yet, had a blob of black paint on it. Wondering where that led to,Sophie began briskly sweeping the cobwebs off the beams. Michaelmoaned and Calcifer sneezed again.

Howl came out of the bathroom just then in a waft of steamy perfume. He looked marvelously spruce. Even the silver inlets and embroideryon his suit seemed to have become brighter.

He took one look and. Probably he had a wicked affinity with spiders, Sophie thought. Howl pretended not to hear. Michael looked meaningly at Calcifer, and sighed. Calcifer crackledwith malicious laughter. Since nobody explained where Howl had gone, Sophie conceded hewas off to hunt young girls again and got down to work with morerighteous vigor than ever. She did not dare harm any spiders afterwhat Howl had said.

Out of my way! Then of courseshe had to sweep the floor yet again. After that, she got down on herknees and scrubbed it. Howl did not come back again until late that night.

By that timeSophie had swept and scrubbed herself into a state when she couldhardly move. She was sitting hunched up in the chair, aching all over. Michael took hold of Howl by a trailing sleeve and towed him over tothe bathroom, where Sophie could hear him pouring out complaintsin a passionate mutter.

He aches made her irritable. What are they? All the girls whosehearts you ate? Michael sighed. He went into the broom cupboard and hunted untilhe found an old folding bed, a straw mattress, and some rugs, whichhe put into the arched space under the stairs. I was here six months before he seemed to notice I wasliving here and made me his apprentice.

I just thought I bed would bebetter than the chair. The bed wasindeed more comfortable than a chair and when Calcifer complainedhe was hungry in the night, it was an easy matter for Sophie to creakher way out and give him another log. In the days that followed, Sophie cleaned her way remorselesslythrough the castle.

She really enjoyed herself. Telling herself she waslooking for clues, she washed the window, she cleaned out the oozingsink, and she made Michael clear everything off the workbench andthe shelves so that she could scrub them. She had everything out ofthe cupboards and down from the beams and cleaned those too. Thehuman skull, she fancied, began to look as long suffering as Michael. It had been moved so often. Then she tacked an old sheet to thebeams nearest the fireplace and forced Calcifer to bend his head downwhile she swept the chimney.

Calcifer hated that. He crackled withmean laughter when Sophie discovered that soot had got all over theroom and she had to clean it all again. Shewas remorseless, but she lacked method. But there was a method toher remorselessness: Up the chimney, guarded by Calcifer,had struck her as a good hiding place.

But there was nothing therebut quantities of soot, which Sophie stored in bags in the yard. Theyard was high on her list of hiding places. Every time Howl came in, Michael and Calcifer complained loudlyabout Sophie.

But Howl did not seem to attend. Not did he seem tonotice the cleanliness. And nor did he notice that the food closetbecame very well stocked with cakes and jam and the occasionallettuce. For, as Michael had prophesied, word had gone round Porthaven. People came to the door to look at Sophie.

They called her Mrs. Witchin Porthaven and Madam Sorceress in Kingsbury. Though the peoplewho came to the Kingsbury door were better dressed than those inPorthaven, no one in either place liked to call on someone so powerfulwithout an excuse.

So Sophie was always having to pause in her workto nod and smile and take in a gift, or to get Michael to put up a quickspell for someone. Some of the gifts were nice things-pictures, stringsof shells, and useful aprons.

Sophie used the aprons daily and hungthe shells and pictures round her cubbyhole under the stairs, whichsoon began to look very homelike indeed. Sophie knew she would miss this when Howl turned her out. Shebecame more and more afraid that he would. Fannywould have a fit. This gray dress is quite suitable, but I shallneed my shawl and some food. Her joints creaked as she moved.

She had to walk bowed andslow. But she was relieved to discover that she was quite a hale oldwoman. She did not feel weak or ill, just stiff. She hobbled to collect her shawl, and wrapped it over her head and shoulders, as old womendid. Then she shuffled through into the house, where she collectedher purse with a few coins in it and a parcel or bread and cheese. Shelet herself out of the house, carefully hiding the key in the usual place,and hobbled away down the street, surprised at how calm she still felt.

She did wonder if she should say goodbye to Martha. But she did notlike the idea of Martha not knowing her. It was best just to go. Sophiedecided she would write to both her sisters when she got wherever shewas going, and shuffled on, though the field where the Fair had been,over the bridge, and on into the country lanes beyond. It was a warmspring day. Sophie discovered that being a crone did not stop herfrom enjoying the sight and smell of may in the hedgerows, thoughher sight was a little blurred.

Her back began to ache. She hobbledsturdily enough, but she needed a stick. She searched the hedges asshe went for a loose stake of some kind. Evidently, her eyes were not as good as they had been. She thoughtshe saw a stick, a mile or so on, but when she hauled on it, it provedto be the bottom end of an old scarecrow someone had thrown intothe hedge.

Sophie heaved the thing upright. It had a withered turnipfor a face. Sophie found she had some fellow feeling for it. Instead ofpulling it to pieces and taking the stick, she stuck it between twobranches of the hedge, so that it stood looming rakishly above themay, with the tattered sleeves on its stick arms fluttering over thehedge. But I wishyou luck anyway. Perhaps she was a little mad, butold women often were. She found a stick an hour or so later when she sat down on the bankto rest and eat her bread and cheese.

There were noises in the hedgebehind her: little strangled squeakings, followed by heavings thatshook may petals off the hedge. Sophie crawled on her bony knees topeer past leaves and flowers and thorns into the inside of the hedge, and discovered a thin gray dog in there. It was hopelessly trapped bya stout stick which had somehow got twisted into a rope that was tiedaround its neck.

The stick had wedged itself between two branches onthe hedge so that the dog could barely move. As a girl, Sophie was scared of all dogs. The dog was very wild. It flinched away from her and growled. ButSophie sawed bravely on. In fact, I think someone has tried to throttle youalready. Maybe that accounts for your wildness. It took a lot of sawing before the rope partedand the dog was able to drag itself out from under the stick.

Butthe dog growled at her, forced its way out through the opposite side ofthe hedge, and slunk away. Sophie finished her bread and cheese and set offwalking again. The lane became steeper and steeper and she foundthe stick a great help. It was also something to talk to. Sophiethumped along with a will, chatting to her stick.

After all, old peopleoften talk to themselves. In fact, Iinsist on one. I wonder what it will be.

A countrymancame whistling down the lane toward her. A shepherd, Sophiethought, going home after seeing to his sheep. He was a well-set-upyoung fellow of forty or so. Where are you off to? She stood in the road and thoughtabout it. He had now edgedhimself downhill of Sophie and seemed to feel better for it. Sophie stared after him indignantly. She had half a mind to scare the shepherd byshouting nasty things after him, but that seemed a little unkind. Sheplugged on uphill, mumbling.

Shortly, the hedges gave way to barebanks and the land beyond became heathery upland, with a lot ofsteepness beyond that covered with yellow, rattling grass. Sophie keptgrimly on. By now her knobby old feet ached, and her back, and herknees. She became too tired to mumble and simply plugged on,panting, until the sun was quite low.

And all at once it became quiteclear to Sophie that she could not walk a step further. She collapsed onto a stone by the wayside, wondering what she woulddo now. The stone proved to be on a sort of headland, which gave Sophie amagnificent view of the way she had come. There was most of thevalley spread out beneath her in the setting sun, all fields and wallsand hedges, the winding of the river, and the fine mansions of richpeople glowing our from clumps of trees, right down to blue mountains in the far distance.

Just below her was Market Chipping. Sophie could look down into its well-known streets. She could have tossed a stone down the chimneypots of the house next to the hat shop. An unpleasant windblew whichever way Sophie turned to avoid it. Now it no longerseemed so unimportant that she would be out on the hills during thenight. She found herself thinking more and more of a comfortablechair and a fireside, and also of darkness and wild animals.

But if shewent back to Market Chipping, it would be the middle of the nightbefore she got there. She might just as well go on. She sighed andstood up, creaking. She ached all over. Imust be far too dry and tough. The wind was also sharper. She looked up blurrily. Black smoke was blowing up in clouds from behind itsblack battlements.

It looked tall and thin and heavy and ugly and verysinister indeed. Sophie leaned on her stick and watched it. She wasnot particularly frightened. She wondered how it moved. But the mainthing in her mind was that all that smoke must mean a large firesidesomewhere inside those tall black walls.

He only takes young girls. The castle obediently came to a rumbling, grinding halt about fiftyfeet uphill from her. Sophie felt rather gratified as she hobbled towardit. The castle was uglier that ever close to.

It was far too tall for its height and not a veryregular shape.

As far as Sophie could see in the growing darkness, itas built of huge black blocks, like coal, and, like coal, these blockswere all different shapes and sizes. Chill breathed off these blocks asshe got closer, but that failed to frighten Sophie at all.

She justthought of chairs and firesides and stretched her hand out eagerly tothe door. Her hand could not come near it. Some invisible wall stopped herhand about a foot from the door. Sophie prodded at it with an irritablefinger. When that made no difference, she prodded with her stick. The wall seemed to be all over the door from as high as her stickcould reach, and right down to the heather sticking out from underthe doorstep.

That made no difference to the wall. But she could not get around the corner. Theinvisible wall stopped her again as soon as she was level with theirregular black cornerstones. There was no barrier there. She turned that corner and came hobbling eagerly towards the second big black doorin the middle of that side of the castle. There was a barrier over that door too. Sophie glowered at it. Black smoke blew down form the battlements in clouds.

Now she was angry. She was old, frail, chilly, and aching allover. Night was coming on and the castle just sat and blew smoke ather. There was not barrier there-evidently you had to goaround the castle clockwise-but there, bit sideways in the next wall,was a third door.

This one was much smaller and shabbier. The castle started to move again as Sophie got near the back door. The ground shook. The wall shuddered and creaked, and the doorstarted to travel sideways from her. She ran after the door and hit itviolently with her stick. The door sprang open inward, still moving sideways. Sophie, byhobbling furiously, managed to get one foot up on its doorstep.

Thenshe hopped and scrambled and hopped again, while the great blackblocks round the door jolted and crunched as the castle gatheredspeed over the uneven hillside. Sophie did not wonder the castle had alopsided look. The marvel was that it did not fall apart on the spot. She had to drop her stick and hang on to the opendoor in order not to be jolted straight out again.

When she began to get her breath, she realized there was a personstanding in front of her, holding the door too.

He was a head tallerthan Sophie, but she could see he was the merest child, only a littleolder than Martha. And he seemed to be trying to shut the door on herand push her out of the warm, lamplit, low-beamed room beyond him,into the night again. Therewere a number of probably wizardly things hanging from the beams-strings of onions, bunches of herbs, and bundles of strange roots. There were also definitely wizardly things, like leather books, crookedbottles, and an old, brown, grinning human skull.

On the other side ofthe boy was a fireplace with a small fire burning in the grate. It was amuch smaller fire than all the smoke outside suggested, but then thiswas obviously only a back room in the castle. Much more importantto Sophie, this fire had reached the glowing rosy stage, with little blueflames dancing on the logs, and placed beside it in the warmestposition was a low chair with a cushion on it.

Sophie pushed the boy aside and dived for that chair. It was bliss. The fire warmed her aches and the chair supported her back and sheknew that if anyone wanted to turn her out now, they were going tohave to use extreme and violent magic to do it. The boy shut the door. Sophie realized that there was nowno sign at all that the castle was moving across the hillside: not eventhe ghost of a rumble or the tiniest shaking.

How odd! Can I help you instead? It was probablytrue too. He hovered over her a little helplessly. To make it plain to him thatshe had no intention of being turned out by a mere boy apprentice,Sophie closed her eyes and pretended to go to sleep.

Since thiswas exactly what Sophie wanted, she pretended not to hear. In fact,she almost certainly fell into a swift doze. She was so tired from allthat walking. After a moment Michael gave her up and went back tothe work he was doing at the workbench where the lamp stood. Since Howl was such awicked man, it probably served him right to be imposed upon.

Butshe intended to be well away from here by the time Howl came backand raised objections. She looked sleepily and slyly across at theapprentice. It rather surprised her to find him such a nice, polite boy. After all, she had forced her way in quite rudely and Michael had notcomplained at all. Perhaps Howl kept him in abject servility. ButMichael did not look servile. He was a tall, dark boy with a pleasant,open sort of face, and he was most respectably dressed.

In fact, ifSophie had not seen him at that moment carefully pouring green fluidout of a crooked flask onto black powder in a bent glass jar, she wouldhave taken him for the son of a prosperous farmer.

Still, things were bound to be odd where wizards were concerned,Sophie thought. And this kitchen, or workshop, was beautifully cozyand very peaceful. Sophie went properly to sleep and snored. She didnot wake up when there came a flash and a muted bang form theworkbench, followed by a hurriedly bitten-off swear word fromMichael. She did not wake when Michael, sucking his burned fingers,put the spell aside for the night and fetched bread and cheese out ofthe closet.

Then he put a log on the fire with equal politeness and went away tobed somewhere overhead. In the middle of the night Sophie was woken by someone snoring. She jumped upright, rather irritated to discover that she was the onewho had been snoring.

It seemed to her that she had only dropped offfor a second or so, but Michael seemed to have vanished in thoseseconds, taking the light with him. And he had left thefire very low. It was giving out irritating hissings and poppings. She shivered and cranked her stiff old neck around, but there was onlydarkness behind her.

Her cracked voice seemed to make no more noise than the cracklingof the fire. Sophie was surprised. She had expected it to echo throughthe vaults of the castle. Still, there was a basket of logs beside her. Shestretched out a creaking arm and heaved a log on the fire, which senta spray of green and blue sparks flying through the chimney. Sheheaved on a second log and sat back, not without a nervous look or sobehind her, where the blue-purple light form the fire was dancing overthe polished brown bone of the skull.

The room was quite small. There was no one in it but Sophie and the skull. She turned back to the fire, which was now flaring up intoblue and green flames. She settled herself more comfortably, putting her knobbyfeet on the fender and her head into a corner of the chair, where shecould stare into the colored flames, and began dreamily consideringwhat she ought to do in the morning. But she was sidetracked a littleby imagining a face in the flames.

But those curlygreen flames on top are most definitely your hair. Wizards can lift spells, I suppose. And thosepurple flames near the bottom make the mouth- you have savageteeth, my friend. It was definitely the fire that spoke.

Sophie saw its purple mouthmove as the words came. Its voice was nearly as cracked as her own,full of the spitting and whining of burning wood. It had a distinctlycunning look as it made this proposal. Everything she had readshowed the extreme danger of making a bargain with a demon. Andthere was no doubt that this one did look extraordinarily evil. Thoselong purple teeth. That spell had shortened your life by about sixtyyears, if I am any judge of such things. It made quite a difference.

Its voice took on a bit of a whine again. I have to maintainthe castle and keep it moving and do all the special effects that scarepeople off, as well as anything else Howl wants. On the otherhand, the demon was probably quite as wicked.

She thought of herself making hats for Fanny while Fannywent gadding. How do I break it? The orange eyes glinted at her and looked away. Part of thecontract is that neither the Wizard nor I can say what the main clauseis. She opened her mouth to tellthe demon that it could sit in the fireplace until Doomsday in thatcase.

The demon realized she was going to. Iimplore you to try. And I do keep my word. Sophieagain felt a great deal of sympathy. Now find an excuse. It thought aloud, in a little crackling, flickering murmur, whichreminded Sophie rather of the way she had talked to her stick whenshe walked here.

And it blazed while it thought with such a gladpowerful roaring that she dozed again. She thought the demon didmake a few suggestions. The demon at length fell to singing a gentle,flickering little song.

Sophie fell into a deepsleep, with a slight suspicion that she was being bewitched now, aswell as beguiled, but it did not bother her particularly.

She would befree of the spell soon….. Since Sophie remembered no windows a t all in the castle, her first notion was that she had fallen asleep trimming hatsand dreamed of leaving home.

The fire in front of her had sunk to rosycharcoal and white ash, which convinced her that she had certainlydreamed there was a fire demon. But her very first movements toldher that there were some things she had not dreamed.

There weresharp cracks from all over her body. She put her knobby hands to her face and feltwrinkles. At that, she discovered she had been in a state of shock allyesterday. She was very angry indeed with the Witch of the Waste fordoing this to her, hugely, enormously angry.

It was above the workbench. To her utter astonishment, the view from it was a view of a docksidetown. She could see a sloping, unpaved street, lined with small, ratherpoor-looking houses, and masts sticking up beyond the roofs. Beyondthe masts she caught a glimmer of the sea, which was something shehad never seen in her life before. It was quite a small room, with heavy black beams in the ceiling.

Bydaylight it was amazingly dirty. The stones of the floor were stainedand greasy, ash was piled within the fender, and cobwebs hung industy droops from the beams. There was a layer of dust on the skull. Sophie absently wiped it off as she went to peer into the sink besidethe workbench. She shuddered at the pink-and-gray slime in it andthe white slime dripping from the pump above it. Howl obviously didnot care what squalor his servants lived in. The rest of the castle seemed to be beyond one or the other of thefour low black doors around the room.

Sophie opened the nearest, inthe end wall beyond the bench. There was a large bathroom beyondit. In some ways it was a bathroom you might find normally only in apalace, full of luxuries such as an indoor toilet, a shower stall, animmense bath with clawed feet, and mirrors on every wall.

But it waseven dirtier than the other room. Sophie winced form the toilet,flinched at the color of the bath, recoiled form the green weedgrowing in the shower, and quite easily avoided looking at hershriveled shape in the mirrors because the glass was plastered withblobs and runnels of nameless substances. The nameless substancesthemselves were crowded onto a very large shelf over the bath.

Theywere in jars, boxes, tubes, and hundreds of tattered brown packetsand paper bags. The biggest jar had a name. Sophie was not sure whether there shouldbe a D in that or not. She picked up a packet at random. It had SKINscrawled on it, and she put it back hurriedly.

Diana Wynne Jones

Another jar said EYES inthe same scrawl. Water ran into the basin when she turned a blue-greenknob that might have been brass and washed some of the decay away.

She dried the water with her skirt and then set off to the next blackdoor. That one opened onto a flight of rickety wooden stairs, Sophie heardsomeone move up there and shut the door hurriedly. It seemed only tolead to a sort of loft anyway. She hobbled to the next door. By now shewas moving quite easily. She was a hale old woman, as she discoveredyesterday. The third door opened onto a poky backyard with high brick walls. Itcontained a big stack of logs, and higgledy-piggledy heaps of what seemed to be scrap iron, wheels, buckets, metal sheeting, wire,mounded almost to the tops of the walls.

Sophie shut that door too,rather puzzled, because it did not seem to match the castle at all. There was no castle to be seen above the brick walls. They ended atthe sky. Sophie could only think that this part was the round sidewhere the invisible wall had stopped her the night before.

She opened the fourth door and it was just a broom cupboard, withtwo fine but dusty velvet cloaks hanging on the brooms. Sophie shut itagain, slowly. The only other door was in the wall with the window,and that was the door she had come in by last night. She hobbled overand cautiously opened that. She stood for a moment looking out at a slowly moving view of thehills, watching heather slide past underneath the door, feeling thewind blow her wispy hair, and listening to the rumble and grind of thebig black stones as the castle moved.

Then she shut the door andwent to the window. And there was the seaport town again. It was nopicture. A woman had opened a door opposite and was sweeping dustinto the street.

Behind that house a grayish canvas sail was going up amast in brisk jerks, disturbing a flock of seagulls into flying round andround against the glimmering sea. Then, because thefire looked almost out, she went and put on a couple of logs and rakedaway some of the ash.

Green flames climbed between the logs, small and curly, and shot upinto a long blue face with flaming green hair. Sophie was not much given to crying, butshe said in the chair for quite a while staring at a blurred and slidingfire demon, and did not pay much attention to the sounds of Michaelgetting up, until she found him standing beside her, lookingembarrassed and a little exasperated. But it was just as the Witch had said and the fire demon had guessed. Would youlike some breakfast?

After onlybread and cheese at lunchtime yesterday, she was ravenous. What about a hot drink as well? He flickered back at herwickedly. Bend down your head. Sophie slapped slices of bacon into the pan. It was good and hot. Thebacon sizzled, and she had to wrap her skirt round her hand to holdthe handle. The door opened, but she did not notice because of thesizzling. Sophie turned round at that, rather hurriedly.

She stared. The tallyoung fellow in a flamboyant blue-and-silver suit who had just comein stopped in the act of leaning a guitar in the corner. He brushed thefair hair from his rather curious glass-green eyes and stared back. Hislong, angular face was perplexed. After all, Howl had onlymet her long enough to call her a mouse before, so it was almost true.

Wizard Howl is only a child in his twenties, for all hiswickedness! It made such a difference to be old, she thought as sheturned the bacon over in the pan. And she would have died ratherthan let this overdressed boy know she was the girl he had pitied onMay Day. Hearts and souls did not enter into it. Howl was not goingto know. He poppedhis guitar in the corner and came over to the hearth.

The smell ofhyacinths mixed with the smell of bacon as he shoved Sophie firmlyaside. It wasobvious after what she had seen of the castle. Michael was pullingthem out to sit on and pushing aside all the things on top of it tomake room for some knives and forks he had taken from the drawer inthe side of it.

Howl's Moving Castle, Vol. 4 (Howl's Moving Castle Film Comics, #4)

Sophie went to help him. She had not expected Howl towelcome her, of course, but he had not even so far agreed to let herstay beyond breakfast. Since Michael did not seem to need help,Sophie shuffled over to her stick and put it slowly and showily in thebroom cupboard. Calcifer sprang up with a roar of reliefand blazed high in the chimney. Sophie made another attempt to pin the Wizard down. I can only find this one room and thebathroom. It was not until they had almost finished breakfast that Sophiediscovered what made them laugh.

Howl was not only hard to pindown. He seemed to dislike answering any questions at all. Sophiegave up asking him and asked Michael instead.

Howl and Michael laughed again. What do you mean by having this great, ugly castle rushingabout the hills and frightening everyone in Market Chipping todeath? And last year I offended someone very powerful and I need to keepout of their way.The demon realized she was going to. There was Martha's tilt to Lettie's head, and Martha's way of clasping her hands round her knees with her thumbs twiddling. Sophie absently wiped it off as she went to peer into the sink besidethe workbench.

Her cracked voice seemed to make no more noise than the cracklingof the fire. Would you like some breakfast? Sophie had to fight her waythrough to the counter.