It was as if a hatchet lay lodged in his leg, slicing through each nerve with a hot blade. In his agony he perceived the word “fire” and felt flames licking at the torn bone and flesh. He tried to move, and could not. The pain grew.
He went to his sleepingroom early, and from behind the closed door he could hear his parents and sister laughing as they gave Gabriel his evening bath. They have never known pain, he thought. The realization made him feel desperately lonely, and he rubbed his throbbing leg.
Overwhelmed by pain, he lay there in the fearsome stench for hours, listened to the men and animals die, and learned what warfare meant. Finally, when he knew that he could bear it no longer and would welcome death himself, he opened his eyes and was once again on the bed. The Giver looked away, as if he could not bear to see what he had done to Jonas. “Forgive me,” he said.