The Left Hand of Darkness
by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Left Hand of Darkness Chapter 4 Summary
The Nineteenth Day
- Once again, we find ourselves reading a story within a story. This time, we're going to get some information on the Foretellers.
- Some dude named Lord Berosty rim ir Ipe asks the Foretellers when he will die. The Foretellers answer: Odstreth, the 19th day, any month.
- As is the case with most prophecies, no more information is available, and Berosty freaks out every 19th day of every month afterward. Wouldn't you?
- His kemmering (life partner), Herbor, goes to the Foretellers to get more information. He offers his life as the payment.
- The Foretellers agree, and Herbor asks, "How long will Ashe Berosty rem ir Ipe live?" The answer, "Longer than Herbor of Geganner!" (4.16).
- So, yay…kind of.
- Herbor goes home to bells Berosty with the good—well, goodish—news. But Berosty is enraged at Herbor for not asking a better question.
- In a Hulk-like rage, he smashes a table of red stone over his lovers head. Yikes.
- Herbor dies, obviously. Well, he did offer his life as payment.
- Berosty is really bummed out by what he's done. We're talking really bummed. In fact, he goes crazy and eventually hangs himself on the nineteenth day, thus fulfilling the prophecy.
- Look, guys, if we've learned anything from Oedipus, it's that prophecies are always bad news.
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