Anthem (Rand)/Chapter 4
Many days passed before we could speak to the Golden One again. But then came the day when the sky turned white, as if the sun had burst and spread its flame in the air, and the fields lay still without breath, and the dust of the road was white in the glow. So the women of the field were weary, and they tarried over their work, and they were far from the road when we came. But the Golden One stood alone at the hedge, waiting. We stopped and we saw that their eyes, so hard and scornful to the world, were looking at us as if they would obey any word we might speak.
And we said:
"We have given you a name in our thoughts, Liberty 5-3000."
"What is our name?" they asked.
"The Golden One."
"Nor do we call you Equality 7-2521 when we think of you."
"What name have you given us?"
They looked straight into our eyes and they held their head high and they answered:
For a long time we could not speak. Then we said:
"Such thoughts as these are forbidden, Golden One."
"But you think such thoughts as these and you wish us to think them."
We looked into their eyes and we could not lie.
"Yes," we whispered, and they smiled, and then we said: "Our dearest one, do not obey us."
They stepped back, and their eyes were wide and still.
"Speak these words again," they whispered.
"Which words?" we asked. But they did not answer, and we knew it.
"Our dearest one," we whispered.
Never have men said this to women.
The head of the Golden One bowed slowly, and they stood still before us, their arms at their sides, the palms of their hands turned to us, as if their body were delivered in submission to our eyes. And we could not speak.
Then they raised their head, and they spoke simply and gently, as if they wished us to forget some anxiety of their own.
"The day is hot," they said, "and you have worked for many hours and you must be weary."
"No," we answered.
"It is cooler in the fields," they said, "and there is water to drink. Are you?"
"Yes," we answered, "but we cannot cross the hedge."
"We shall bring the water to you," they said.
Then they knelt by the moat, they gathered water in their two hands, they rose and they held the water out to our lips.
We do not know if we drank that water. We only knew suddenly that their hands were empty, but we were still holding our lips to their hands, and that they knew it, but did not move.
We raised our head and stepped back. For we did not understand what had made us do this, and we were afraid to understand it.
And the Golden One stepped back, and stood looking upon their hands in wonder. Then the Golden One moved away, even though no others were coming, and they moved stepping back, as if they could not turn from us, their arms bent before them, as if they could not lower their hands.