Nation Chapter 10 Summary
How It All Goes Down
Believing is Seeing
- Into the cave of the Grandfathers we go.
- The dark cave, lit only by hand-held lamplight.
- The scary cave.
- Mau comforts Daphne (and us) by saying "there would probably be bones […] Bones didn't try to kill you" (10.1). Um, try telling that to special effects guru Ray Harryhausen.
- Inside the cave is a row of sitting skeletons. It's the Grandfathers. Dead, honored warriors. Thousands of them.
- Despite the fact that they're literally surrounded by creepy skeletons, Mau, Daphne, and Ataba travel deeper and deeper into the cave.
- Mau and Ataba bicker about the gods (or lack of them) the entire way.
- If we were in Daphne's shoes (she's not wearing shoes anymore, but you know what we mean), we would roll back the stone and leave them in there.
- At the end of the tunnel, they find a giant golden door. Their multicolored lamplight flickers off it, "red, yellow, and green" (10.67) like a traffic light. Should they stop or should they go?
- Duh. They go, opening the door and descending into the sea cave behind it. The steps are god stones that lead them to a giant statue of the gods.
- Daphne sees something incredible, but Mau and Ataba are too busy arguing to notice.
- Being underground for so long is affecting Ataba's breathing, so Mau urges Daphne to leave, even though she's trying to show them what she sees.
- Mau's shout to leave causes one of the Grandfathers to fall over, then another, then another, "like a trick with dominoes" (10.128). We've heard of dominoes being called bones, but never knew it could be literal. It's like this, except with skeletons.
- The centuries-old skeletons crumble into dust, a choking cloud that chases the three out of the cave.
- After a long run, they reach outside, and fresh air. The cloud of dead Grandfathers escapes into the air.
- As their eyes adjust to the bright light, a foreign voice speaks to them: the voice of Mr. Foxlip, one of the mutineers from the Sweet Judy.
- He and his buddy, Mr. Polegrave, have arrived on the island, and oh boy do they look like trouble.
- Daphne thinks fast, trying to save herself and the island people. She tells them that her father will pay them if they bring her safely to Port Mercia.
- It almost works, until Ataba charges at them, railing about the gods in his native tongue.
- Ataba grabs a spear and brandishes it at Foxlip, who shoots him dead.
- Well, gee. We didn't exactly like him, but still: not cool, Foxlip.