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CHAPTER ELEVEN 
Castle Rock 
In the short chill of dawn the four boys gathered round the 
black smudge where the fire had been, while Ralph knelt and blew. 
Grey, feathery ashes scurried hither and thither at his breath but 
no spark shone among them The twins watched anxiously and 
Piggy sat expressionless behind the luminous wall of his myopia. 
Ralph continued to blow till his ears were singing with the effort, but 
then the first breeze of dawn took the job off his hands and blinded 
him with ashes. He squatted back, swore, and rubbed water out of 
his eyes. 
"No use." 
Eric looked down at him through a mask of dried blood. Piggy 
peered in the general direction of Ralph. 
" 'Course it's no use, Ralph. Now we got no fire." 
Ralph brought his face within a couple of feet of Piggy`s. 
"Can you see me?" 
"A bit." 
Ralph allowed the swollen flap of his cheek to close his eye again. 
"They've got our fire." 
Rage shrilled his voice. 
"They stole it!" 
"That's them," said Piggy. They blinded me. See? That's Jack 
Merridew. You call an assembly, Ralph, we got to decide what to do." 
"An assembly for only us?" 
"It's all we got. Sam—let me hold on to you." 
They went toward the platform.


"Blow the conch," said Piggy. "Blow as loud as you can." 
The forest re-echoed; and birds lifted, crying out of the treetops, 
as on that first morning ages ago. Both ways the beach was 
deserted. Some littluns came from the shelters. Ralph sat down on 
the polished trunk and the three others stood before him. He nodded, 
and Samneric sat down on the right. Ralph pushed the conch into 
Piggy's hands. He held the shining tiling carefully and blinked at 
Ralph. 
"Go on, then." 
"I just take the conch to say this. I can't see no more and I got to 
get my glasses back. Awful things has been done on this island. I 
voted for you for chief. He's the only one who ever got anything done. 
So now you speak, Ralph, and tell us what. Or else—" 
Piggy broke off, sniveling. Ralph took back the conch as he sat 
down. 
"Just an ordinary fire. You'd think we could do that, wouldn't 
you? Just a smoke signal so we can be rescued. Are we savages 
or what? Only now there's no signal going up. Ships may be 
passing. Do you remember how he went hunting and the fire went 
out and a ship passed by? And they all think he's best as chief. Then 
there was, there was . . . that's his fault, too. If it hadn't been for him it 
would never have happened. Now Piggy can't see, and they came, 
stealing—" Ralph's voice ran up "—at night, in darkness, and stole 
our fire. They stole it. We'd have given them fire if they'd asked. But 
they stole it and the signal's out and we can't ever be rescued. Don't 
you see what I mean? We'd have given them fire for themselves only 
they stole it. I—" 


He paused lamely as the curtain flickered in his brain. Piggy held 
out his hands for the conch. 
"What you goin' to do, Ralph? This is jus' talk without deciding. I 
want my glasses." 
"I’m trying to think Supposing we go, looking like we used to, 
washed and hair brushed—after all we aren't savages really and 
being rescued isn't a game—" 
He opened the flap of his cheek and looked at the twins. 
"We could smarten up a bit and then go—" 
"We ought to take spears," said Sam. "Even Piggy." 
"—because we may need them." 
"You haven't got the conch!" 
Piggy held up the shell. 
"You can take spears if you want but I shan't. What's the good? 
I’ll have to be led like a dog, anyhow. Yes, laugh. Com’ on, laugh. 
There's them on this island as would laugh at anything. And what 
happened? What's grown-ups goin' to think? Young Simon was 
murdered. And there was that other kid what had a mark on his face. 
Who's seen him since we first come here?" 
"Piggy! Stop a minute!" 
"I got the conch. I'm going to that Jack Merridew an` tell him, I 
am." 
"You'll get hurt." 
"What can he do more than he has? I'll tell him what's what. You 
let me carry the conch, Ralph. I'll show him the one thing he hasn't 
got." 
Piggy paused for a moment and peered round at the dim figures. 
The shape of the old assembly, trodden in the grass, listened to him. 


"I'mgoingtohimwiththisconchinmyhands.I'mgoing to hold it out. 
Look, I'm goin' to say, you're stronger than I am and you haven't got 
asthma. You can see, I'm goin' to say, and with both eyes. But I don't 
ask for my glasses back, not as a favor. I don't ask you to be a sport, 
I’ll say, not because you're strong, but because what's right's right. 
Give me my glasses, I'm going to say—you got to!" 
Piggy ended, flushed and trembling. He pushed the conch 
quickly into Ralph's hands asthoughinahurrytoberidofitand wiped the 
tears from his eyes. The green light was gentle about them and the 
conch lay at Ralph's feet, fragile and white. A single drop of water 
that had escaped Piggy's fingers now flashed on the delicate curve 
like a star. 
At last Ralph sat up straight and drew back his hair. 
"All right. I mean—you can try if you like. Well go with you.” 
"He’ll be painted," said Sam, timidly. "You know how he`ll be—" 
"—he won't think much of us—"
"—if he gets waxy we've had it—" 
Ralph scowled at Sam. Dimly he remembered something that 
Simon had said to him once, by the rocks. 
"Don't be silly," he said. And then he added quickly, "Let's go." 
He held out the conch to Piggy who flushed, this time with pride. 
"You must carry it." 
"When we're ready I’ll carry it—" 
Piggy sought in his mind for words to convey his passionate 
willingness to carry the conch against all odds. 
"I don't mind. I’ll be glad, Ralph, only I'll have to be led." 
Ralph put the conch back on the shining log. "We better eat and 
then get ready." They made their way to the devastated fruit rees. 


Piggy was helped to his food and found some by touch. While they 
ate, Ralph thought of the afternoon.
We’ll be like we were. We’ll wash—" 
Sam gulped down a mouthful and protested. 
"But we bathe every day!" 
Ralph looked at the filthy objects before him and sighed. 
"We ought to comb our hair. Only it's too long." 
"I've got both socks left in the shelter," said Eric, 
"so we could pull them over our heads tike caps, sort of." 
"We could find some stuff," said Piggy, "and tie your hair back." 
"Like a girl!" 
"No. 'Course not." 
"Then we must go as we are," said Ralph, "and they won't be any 
better." 
Eric made a detaining gesture. 
"But they'll be painted! You know how it is." 
The others nodded. They understood only too well the liberation 
into savagery that the concealing paint brought. 
"Well, we won't be painted," said Ralph, "because we aren't 
savages." 
Samneric looked at each other. 
"All the same—" Ralph shouted. 
"No paint!" 
He tried to remember. 
"Smoke," he said, "we want smoke." 
He turned on the twins fiercely. 
"I said 'smoke'! We've got to have smoke." 


There was silence, except for the multitudinous murmur of the 
bees. At last Piggy spoke, kindly. 
"Course we have. 'Cos the smoke's a signal and we can't be 
rescued if we don't have smoke." 
"I knew that!" shouted Ralph. He pulled his arm away from Piggy. 
"Are you suggesting—?" 
"I'm jus' saying what you always say," said Piggy hastily. "I'd 
thought for a moment—" 
"I hadn't," said Ralph loudly. "I knew it all the time. I hadn't 
forgotten." 
Piggy nodded propitiatingly. 
"You're chief, Ralph. You remember everything." 
"I hadn't forgotten." 
"'Course not." 
The twins were examining Ralph curiously, as though they were 
seeing him for the first time. 
They set off along the beach in formation. Ralph went first, 
limping a little, his spear carried over one shoulder. He saw things 
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