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THE LABYRINTH

returned with wood and tiles, then he took a ladder that was leaning against a wall, where another man was sitting on a sill painting a window frame. The painter did not complain that his ladder had been stolen from under him. The man climbed up to the roof and began his work. Throughout the morning, various passers by moved the ladder from the roof to the window sill and back again and once, a woman filled his bucket with tiles and nails, which he hoisted up without a word and continued with his work. The painter finished one coat of paint and left it to dry. After an hour or so, the tiler left his roof and climbed up to the windowsill, where he began to paint the second coat. Before he was done, another man arrived, left some bread and cheese in the street and took the ladder to carry on with the tiling. When the painter had finished the second coat, he refreshed himself with the bread and cheese, then wandered off and never finished the roof repairs, which were completed by a third man. I must say, there was nothing shoddy about the workmanship but I know of nowhere else where jobs are completed in this way.” “At first, we helped ourselves to what we wanted, even saving extra for the future, but the crew was growing bored and restless, so I sent them off to work with the islanders. I felt that the only way we could join the community was to contribute to it. Nobody ever asked us what we were doing or where we had come from. You can imagine that for us, this was a great relief and initially we thanked our good fortune.” “I tried to get to know the inhabitants better but never had much success. People were willing to talk but they had a habit of wandering away in the middle of a sentence and you were unlikely to find them again. No one seemed to live in the same place for long; although there was no shortage of corridor-like rooms in which to sleep. Since there were no street names or house 5

L is for Labyrinth  
L is for Labyrinth  

L is for Labyrinth is a short story which is part of the book an a-z of possible worlds