partyish air about the gathering

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partyish air about the gathering. 
At last Ralph stopped work and stood up, smudging the sweat 
from his face with a dirty forearm. 
"We’ll have to have a small fire. This one's too big to keep up." 
Piggy sat down carefully on the sand and began to polish his 
"We could experiment. We could find out how to make a small 
hot fire and then put green branches on to make smoke. 
Some of them leaves must be better for that than the others." 
As the fire died down so did the excitement The littluns stopped 
singing and dancing and drifted away toward the sea or the fruit 
trees or the shelters. 
Ralph flopped down in the sand. 
"We’ll have to make a new list of who's to took after the fire." 
"If you can find 'em." 
He looked round. Then for the first time he saw how few biguns 
there were and understood why the work had been so hard. 
"Where's Maurice?" 
Piggy wiped his glass again. 

"I expect ... no, he wouldn't go into the forest by himself, would 
Ralph jumped up, ran swiftly round the fire- and stood by Piggy,
holding up his hair. 
"But we've got to have a list! There's you and me and Samneric 
He would not look at Piggy but spoke casually. 
"Where's Bill and Roger?" 
Piggy leaned forward and put a fragment of wood on the fire. 
"I expect they've gone. I expect they won't play either." 
Ralph sat down and began to poke little holes in the sand.H e 
was surprised to see that one had a drop of blood by it He 
examined his bitten nail closely and watched the little globe of blood 
that gathered where the quick was gnawed away. 
Piggy went on speaking. 
"I seen them stealing off when we was gathering wood. They went 
that way. The same way as he went himself." 
Ralph finished his inspection and looked up into the air. The sky, 
as if in sympathy with the great changes among them, was different 
today and so misty that in some places the hot air seemed white. The 
disc of the sun was dull silver as though it were nearer and not so hot, 
yet the air stifled. 
"They always been making trouble, haven't they?" 
The voice came near his shoulder and sounded anxious. 
"We can do without 'em. We’ll be happier now, won't we?" 
Ralph sat. The twins came, dragging a great log and grinning in 
their triumph. They dumped the log among the embers so that 
sparks flew. 

"We can do all right on our own, can't we?" 
For a long time while the log dried, caught fire and turned red 
hot, Ralph sat in the sand and said nothing. He did not see Piggy go 
to the twins and whisper with them, nor how the three boys went 
together into the forest. 
"Here you are." 
He came to himself with a jolt. Piggy and the other two were by 
him. They were laden with fruit. 
"I thought perhaps," said Piggy, "we ought to have a feast, kind 
The three boys sat down. They had a great mass of the fruit with 
them and all of it properly ripe. They grinned at Ralph as he took 
some and began to eat. 
'Thanks," he said. Then with an accent of pleased surprise—
"Do all right on our own," said Piggy. "It's them that haven't no 
common sense that make trouble on this island. We’ll make a little 
hot fire—" 
Ralph remembered what had been worrying him. 
"Where's Simon?" 
"I don't know." 
"You don't think he's climbing the mountain?" 
Piggy broke into noisy laughter and took more fruit. 
"He might be." He gulped his mouthful. "He's cracked." 
Simon had passed through the area of fruit trees but today the 
littluns had been too busy with the fire on the beach and they had 
not pursued him there. He went on among the creepers until he 
reached the great mat that was woven by the open space and 

crawled inside. Beyond the screen of leaves the sunlight pelted 
down and the butterflies danced in the middle their unending 
dance. He knelt down and the arrow of the sun fell on him. That 
other time the air had seemed to vibrate with heat; but now it 
threatened. Soon the sweat was running from his long coarse hair. 
He shifted restlessly but there was no avoiding the sun. Presently he 
was thirsty, and then very thirsty. 
He continued to sit. 
Far off alone the beach, Jack was standing before a small group 
of boys. He was looking brilliantly happy. 
"Hunting," he said. He sized them up. Each of them wore the 
remains of a black cap and ages ago they had stood in two demure 
rows and their voices had been the song of angels. 
"We’ll hunt. I'm going to be chief." 
They nodded, and the crisis passed easily. 
"And then—about the beast." 
They moved, looked at the forest. 
"I say this. We aren't going to bother about the beast." 
He nodded at them. 
"We're going to forget the beast." 
"That's right!" 
"Forget the beast!" 
If Jack was astonished by their fervor he did not show it. 
"And another thing. We shan't dream so much down here. This is 
near the end of the island." 
They agreed passionately out of the depths of their tormented 
private lives. 

"Now listen. We might go later to the castle rock. But now I'm 
going to get more of the biguns away from the conch and all that 
We’ll kill a pig and give a feast." He paused and went on more 
slowly. "And about the beast When we kill we’ll leave some of the 
kill for it. Then it won't bother us, maybe." 
He stood up abruptly. 
"We’ll go into the forest now and hunt." 
He turned and trotted away and after a moment they followed him 
They spread out, nervously, in the forest. Almost at once Jack 
found the dung and scattered roots that told of pig and soon the 
track was fresh. Jack signaled the rest of the hunt to be quiet and 
went forward by himself. He was happy and wore the damp 
darkness of the forest like his old clothes. He crept down a slope to 
rocks and scattered trees by the sea. 
The pigs lay, bloated bags of fat, sensuously enjoying the 
shadows under the trees. There was no wind and they were 
unsuspicious; and practice had made Jack silent as the shadows. 
He stole away again and instructed his hidden hunters. 
Presently they all began to inch forward sweating in the silence 
and heat. Under the trees an ear flapped idly. A little apart from the 
rest, sunk in deep maternal bliss, lay the largest sow of the lot. She 
was black and pink; and the great bladder of her belly was fringed 
with a row of piglets that slept or burrowed and squeaked. 
Fifteen yards from the drove Jack stopped, and his arm, 
straightening, pointed at the sow. he looked round in inquiry to make 
sure that everyone understood and the other boys nodded at him. The 
row of right arms slid back. 

The drove of pigs started up; and at a range of only ten yards 
the wooden spears with fire-hardened points flew toward the chosen 
pig. One piglet, with a demented shriek, rushed into the sea trailing 
Roger's spear behind it. The sow gave a gasping squeal and 
staggered up, with two spears sticking in her fat flank. The boys 
shouted and rushed forward, the piglets scattered and the sow burst 
the advancing line and went crashing away through the forest. 
"After her!" 
They raced along the pig-track, but the forest was too dark and 
tangled so that Jack, cursing, stopped them and cast among the 
trees. Then he said nothing for a time but breathed fiercely so that 
they were awed by him and looked at each other in uneasy 
admiration. Presently he stabbed down at the ground with his finger. 
Before the others could examine the drop of blood, Jack had 
swerved off, judging a trace, .touching a bough that gave. So he 
followed, mysteriously right and assured, and the hunters trod behind 
He stopped before a covert. 
"In there." 
They surrounded the covert but the sow got away with the sting 
of another spear in her flank. The trailing butts hindered her and the 
sharp, cross-cu t p o i n t swere at orment She blundered into a tree, 
forcing a spear still deeper; and after that any of the hunters could 
follow her easily by the drops of vivid blood. The afternoon wore on, 
hazy and dreadful with damp heat; the sow staggered her way ahead 
of them, bleeding and mad, and the hunters followed, wedded to her 

in lust, excited by the long chase and the dropped blood. They could 
see her now, nearly got up with her, out she spurted with her last 
strength and held ahead of them again. They were just behind her 
when she staggered into an open space where bright flowers grew 
and butterflies danced round each other and the air was hot and still. 
Here, struck down by the heat, the sow fell and the hunters 
hurled themselves at her. This dreadful eruption from an unknown 
world made her frantic; she squealed and bucked and the air was full 
of sweat and noise and blood and terror. Roger ran round the heap, 
prodding with his spear whenever pigflesh appeared. Jack was on 
top of the sow, stabbing downward with his knife. Roger found a 
lodgment for his point and began to push till he was leaning with his 
whole weight The spear moved forward inch by inch and die terrified 
squealing became a high-pitched scream. Then Jack found the 
throat and the hot blood spouted over his hands. The sow collapsed 
under them and they were heavy and fulfilled upon her. The 
butterflies still danced, preoccupied in the center of die clearing. 
At last the immediacy of the kill subsided. The boys drew back
and Jack stood up, holding out his hands. 
He giggled and flicked them while the boys laughed at his 
reeking palms. Then Jack grabbed Maurice and rubbed the stuff 
over his cheeks. Roger began to withdraw his spear and the boys 
noticed it for the first time. Robert stabilized the thing in a phrase 
which was received uproariously. 
"Right up her ass!" 
"Did you hear?" 
"Did you hear what he said?" 

"Right up her ass!" 
This time Robert and Maurice acted the two parts; and Maurice's 
acting of the pig's efforts to avoid the advancing spear was so funny 
that the boys cried with laughter. 
At length even this palled. Jack began to clean his bloody hands 
on the rock. Then he started work on the sow and paunched her, 
lugging out the hot bags of colored guts, pushing them into a pile on 
the rock while the others watched him. He talked as he worked. 
"We'll take the meat along the beach. I'll go back to the platform 
and invite them to a feast That should give us time." 
Roger spoke. 
"How can we make a fire?" 
Jack squatted back and frowned at the pig. 
"We’ll raid them and take fire. There must be four of you; Henry 
and you, Bill and Maurice. We'll put on paint and sneak up; Roger can 
snatch a branch while I say what I want. The rest of you can get this 
back to where we were. We’ll build the fire there. And after that—" 
He paused and stood up, looking at the shadows under the trees. 
His voice was lower when he spoke again. 
"But we’ll leave part of the kill for ..." 
He knelt down again and was busy with his knife. The boys 
crowded round him. He spoke over his shoulder to Roger. 
"Sharpen a stick at both ends."
Presently he stood up, holding the dripping sow's head in his 
"Where's that stick?" 

"Ram one end in the earth. Oh—it's rock. Jam it in that crack. 
Jack held up the head and jammed the soft throat down on the 
pointed end of the stick which pierced through into the mouth. He 
stood back and the head hung there, a little blood dribbling down the 
Instinctively the boys drew back too; and the forest was very 
still. They listened, and the loudest noise was the buzzing of flies 
over the spilled guts. 
Jack spoke in a whisper. 
''Pick up the pig." 
Maurice and Robert skewered the carcass, lifted the dead 
weight, and stood ready. In the silence, and standing over the dry 
blood, they looked suddenly furtive. 
Jack spoke loudly. 
"This head is for the beast. It's a gift." The silence accepted the 
gift and awed them. The head remained there, dim-eyed, grinning 
faintly, blood blackening between the teeth. All at once they were 
running away, as fast as they could, through the forest toward the 
open beach. 
Simon stayed where he was, a small brown image, concealed 
by the leaves. Even ifhe shuthis eyes the sow's head still 
remained like an after-image. The half-shut eyes were dim with the 
infinite cynicism of adult life. They assured Simon that everything 
was a bad business. 
"I know that." 

Simon discovered that he had spoken aloud. He opened his 
eyes quickly and there was the head grinning amusedly in the 
strange daylight, ignoring the flies, the spilled guts, even ignoring the 
indignity of being spiked on a stick. 
He looked away, licking his dry lips. 
A gift for the beast. Might not the beast come for it? The head, 
he thought, appeared to agree with him. Run away, said the head 
silently, go back to the others. It was a joke really—why should you 
bother? You were just wrong, that's all. A little headache, something 
you ate, perhaps. Go back, child, said the head silently. 
Simon looked up, feeling the weight of his wet hair, and gazed 
at the sky. Up there, for once, were clouds, great bulging towers 
that sprouted away over the island, grey and cream and copper-
colored. The clouds were sitting on the land; they squeezed, 
produced moment by moment this close, tormenting heat. Even the 
butterflies deserted the open space where the obscene thing grinned 
and dripped. Simon lowered his head, carefully keeping his eyes shut, 
then sheltered them with his hand. There were no shadows under the 
trees but everywhere a pearly stillness, so that what was real 
seemed illusive and without definition. The pile of guts was a black 
blob of flies that buzzed like a saw. After a while these flies found 
Simon. Gorged, they alighted by his runnels of sweat and drank. They 
tickled under his nostrils and played leap-frog on his thighs. They 
were black and iridescent green and without number; and in front of 
Simon, the Lord of the Flies hung on his stick and grinned. At last 
Simon gave up and looked back; saw the white teeth and dim 
eyes, the blood—and his gaze was held by that ancient, 

inescapable recognition. In Simon's right temple, a pulse began to 
beat on the brain. 
Ralph and Piggy lay in the sand, gazing at the fire and idly flicking 
pebbles into its smokeless heart. 
“That branch is gone." 
"Where’s Samneric?" 
"We ought to get some more wood. We're out of green branches." 
Ralph sighed and stood up. There were no shadows under the 
palms on the platform; only this strange light that seemed to come 
from everywhere at once. High up among the bulging clouds thunder 
went off like a gun. 
"We're going to get buckets of rain." 
"What about the fire?" 
Ralph trotted into the forest and returned with a wide spray of 
green which he dumped on the fire. The branch crackled, the leaves 
curled and the yellow smoke expanded. 
Piggy made an aimless little pattern in the sand with his fingers. 
"Trouble is, we haven't got enough people for a fire. You got to 
treat Samneric as one turn. They do everything together—" 
"Of course." 
"Well, that isn't fair. Don't you see? They ought to do two turns." 
Ralph considered this and understood. He was vexed to find 
how little he thought like a grownup and sighed again. The island 
was getting worse and worse. 
Piggy looked at the fire. 
"You'll want another green branch soon." 
Ralph rolled over. 
"Piggy. What are we going to do?" 

"Just have to get on without 'em." 
"But—the fire." 
He frowned at the black and white mess in which lay the unburnt 
ends of branches. He tried to formulate. 
"I'm scared." 
He saw Piggy look up; and blundered on. 
"Not of the beast. I mean I'm scared of that too. But nobody else 
understands about the fire. If someone threw you a rope when you 
were drowning. If a doctor said take this because if you don't take it 
you'll die—you would, wouldn't you? I mean?" 
" 'Course I would." 
"Can't they see? Can't they understand? Without the smoke signal 
we'll die here? Look at that!" 
A wave of heated air trembled above the ashes but without a trace 
of smoke. 
"We can't keep one fire going. And they don't care. And what's 
more—" He looked intensely into Piggy's streaming face. 
"What's more, I don't sometimes. Supposing I got like the others—
not caring. What 'ud become of us?" 
Piggy took off his glasses, deeply troubled. 
"I dunno, Ralph. We just got to go on, that's all. That's what 
grownups would do." 
Ralph, having begun the business of unburdening himself, 
"Piggy, what's wrong?" 
Piggy looked at him in astonishment. 
"Do you mean the—?" 
"No, not it…I mean…what makes things break up like they do?" 

Piggy rubbed his glasses slowly and thought. When he 
understood how far Ralph had gone toward accepting him he flushed 
pinkly with pride. 
"I dunno, Ralph. I expect it's him." 
"Jack." A taboo was evolving round that word too. 
Ralph nodded solemnly. 
"Yes," he said, "I suppose it must be." 
The forest near them burst into uproar. Demoniac figures with 
faces of white and red and green rushed out howling, so that the 
littluns fled screaming. Out of the corner of his eye, Ralph saw 
Piggy running. Two figures rushed at the fire and he prepared to 
defend himself but they grabbed half-burnt branches and raced 
away along the beach. The three others stood still, watching Ralph; 
and he saw that the tallest of them, stark naked save for paint and a 
belt, was Jack. 
Ralph had his breath back and spoke. 
Jack ignored him, lifted his spear and began to shout. 
“Listen all of you. Me and my hunters, we're living along the beach by a flat 
rock. We hunt and feast and have fun. If you want to join my tribe come and 
see us. Perhaps I’ll let you join. Perhaps not." 
He paused and looked round. He was safe from shame or self-
consciousness behind the mask of his paint and could look at each 
of them in turn. Ralph was kneeling by the remains of the fire like a 
sprinter at his mark and his face was half-hidden by hair and smut. 
Samneric peered together round a palm tree at the edge of the 

forest A littlun howled, creased and crimson, by the bathing pool and 
Piggy stood on the platform, the white conch gripped in his hands. 
"Tonight we're having a feast We've killed a pig and we've got 
meat. You can come and eat with us if you like." 
Up in the cloud canyons the thunder boomed again. Jack and the 
two anonymous savages with him swayed, looking up, and then 
recovered. The littlun went on howling. Jack was waiting for 
something. He whispered urgently to the others. 
"Go on—now!" 
The two savages murmured. Jack spoke sharply. 
"Go on!" The two savages looked at each other, raised their 
spears together and spoke in time. 
"The Chief has spoken." 
Then the three of them turned and trotted away. 
Presently Ralph rose to his feet, looking at the place where the 
savages had vanished. Samneric came, talking in an awed whisper. 
"I thought it was—" 
"—and I was—" 
Piggy stood above them on the platform, still holding the conch. 
“That was Jack and Maurice and Robert," said Ralph. "Aren't they having 
"I thought I was going to have asthma." 
"Sucks to your ass-mar." 
"When I saw Jack I was sure he'd go for the conch. Can't think 

The group of boys looked at the white shell with affectionate 
respect. Piggy placed it in Ralph's hands and the littluns, seeing the 
familiar symbol, started to come back. 
"Not here." 
He turned toward the platform, feeling the need for ritual. First 
went Ralph, the white conch cradled, then Piggy very grave, then the 
twins, then the littluns and the others. 
"Sit down all of you. They raided us for fire. They're having fun. 
But the—" 
Ralph was puzzled by the shutter that flickered in his brain. 
There was something he wanted to say; then the shutter had come 
"But the—" 
They were regarding him gravely, not yet troubled by any doubts 
about his sufficiency. Ralph pushed the idiot hair out of his eyes and 
looked at Piggy. 
"But the ... oh ... the fire! Of course, the fire!" 
He started to laugh, then stopped and became fluent instead. 
"The fire's the most important thing. Without the fire we can't be 
rescued. I'd like to put on war-paint and be a savage. But we must 
keep the fire burning. The fire's the most important thing on the island, 
because, because—" 
He paused again and the silence became full of doubt and 
Piggy whispered urgently. "Rescue." 
"Oh yes. Without the fire we can't be rescued. So we must stay by 
the fire and make smoke." 

W henhe stopped no one said anything.A fterthe many 
brilliantspeeches thathad been made on this very spot. 
Ralph s remarks seemed lame, even to the littluns. At last Bill 
held out his hands for the conch. "Now we can't have the fire up 
there—because we can't have the fire up there—we need more 
people to keep it going. Let's go to this feast and tell them the fire's 
hard on the rest of us. And the hunting and all that, being savages I 
mean—it must be jolly good fun." 
Samneric took the conch. 
"That must be fun like Bill says—and as he's invited us—" 
"—to a feast—" 
"—I could do with some meat—" 
Ralph held up his hand. 
"Why shouldn't we get our own meat?" 
The twins looked at each other. Bill answered. 
"We don't want to go in the jungle." 
Ralph grimaced. 
"He—you know—goes." 
"He's a hunter. They're all hunters. That's different." 
No one spoke for a moment, then Piggy muttered to the sand. 
The littluns sat, solemnly thinking of meat, and dribbling. 
Overhead the cannon boomed again and the dry palm fronds 
clattered in a sudden gust of hot wind. 
"You are a silly little boy," said the Lord of the Flies, "just an 
ignorant, silly little boy." 

Simon moved his swollen tongue but said nothing. 
"Don't you agree?" said the Lord of the Flies. "Aren't you just a 
silly little boy?" 
Simon answered him in the same silent voice. 
"Well then," said the Lord of the Flies, "you'd better run off and 
play with the others. They think you're batty. You don't want Ralph 
to think you're batty, do you? You like Ralph a lot, don't you? And 
Piggy, and Jack?" 
Simon's head was tilted slightly up. His eyes could not break away 
and the Lord of the Flies hung in space before him. 
"What are you doing out here all alone? Aren't you afraid of me?" 
Simon shook. 
"There isn't anyone to help you. Only me. And I'm the Beast." 
Simon's mouth labored, brought forth audible words. 
"Pig's head on a stick." 
"Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and 
kill!" said the head. For a moment or two the forest and all the other 
dimly appreciated places echoed with the parody of laughter. "You 
knew, didn't you? I'm part of you? Close, close, close! I'm the reason 
why it's no go? Why things are what they are?" 
The laughter shivered again. 
"Come now," said the Lord of the Flies. "Get back to the others 
and we'll forget the whole thing." 
Simon's head wobbled. His eyes were half closed as though he 
were imitating the obscene thing on the stick. He knew that one of 
his times was coming on. The Lord of the Flies was expanding like a 

"This is ridiculous. You know perfectly well you'll only meet me 
down there—so don't try to escape!" Simon's body was arched and 
stiff. The Lord of the Flies spoke in the voice of a schoolmaster. 
"This has gone quite far enough. My poor, misguided child, do you 
think you know better than I do?" 
There was a pause. 
"I’m warning you. I'm going to get angry. D'you see? You're not 
wanted. Understand? We are going to have fun on this island. 
Understand? We are going to have fun on this island! So don't try it 
on, my poor misguided boy, or else—" 
Simon found he was looking into a vast mouth. There was 
blackness within, a blackness that spread. 
"—Or else," said the Lord of the Flies, "we shall do you. See? 
Jack and Roger and Maurice and Robert and Bill and Piggy and 
Ralph. Do you. See?" 
Simon was inside the mouth. He fell down and lost 

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