Chapter 4 Summary

Dennys wakes up surrounded by little brown people and fears that he is back in the terrible tent. He feels a hand smoothing his forehead and hears a voice calming him. He sees eyes belonging to two girls, and he realizes he is not back in the same tent. He then recognizes Japheth (“Jay”), who asks who has hurt him. Dennys is still feverish, perhaps with an infection picked up in the garbage pit and exacerbated by the scrapings of the sand as he crawled across the desert. Japheth does not want Dennys to drink too much wine, so he goes back to his Grandfather Lamech’s tent for some fig juice. He refuses to let Yalith go because of the increase in the numbers of thieves in the night around the town.

Dennys drifts in and out of consciousness, overhearing the conversations of Yalith and Oholibamah. It seems that Lamech has refused to move out of his tent into his son’s tent. As a result, his son (Yalith and her brothers’ father) does not speak to him. The girls hope that eventually the two will be reconciled; they feel anguished that old people are no longer revered. Dennys suffers under a very high fever. He thinks he is asleep and wishing that he could awaken and call for his mother.

In Grandfather Lamech’s tent, Sandy is still miserable. His burnt skin is beginning to itch, signifying healing. He knows that Dennys has been found and is safe in Japheth’s tent. Matred is astonished at the resemblance between the two giants, except for the severity of their burns. The seraph Adnarel returns to bring more herbs to add to the water that Higgaion bathes on Sandy’s skin. When it becomes apparent that Sandy is healing, Lamech takes him out into the night. Sandy is amazed at the brightness and profusion of stars—there are many more than at home. Off in the distance is a glow in the sky, which Japheth says is a volcano. He assumes that Sandy and Dennys have come from the other side of the mountain, where they have such odd things as snow.

Lamech says that El told him his days are numbered. He explains that the ground has been cursed, but El promised that Lamech’s son would bring relief to the land. Lamech says he is seven hundred and seventy-seven years old, not as old as his father, but older than his grandfather. He is not sure what is in store from him after death. After living so long, he knows he is ready for a rest. Sandy feels cold, so Lamech takes him back into the tent.