TheThornBirds - The Thorn Birds Colleen Mccullough for...

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Unformatted text preview: The Thorn Birds Colleen Mccullough for “big sister” Jean Easthope Contents v There is a legend… 1 One: 1915–1917 Meggie 3 1 23 2 63 Two: 1921–1928 Ralph 65 3 93 4 115 5 136 6 168 7 213 Three: 1929–1932 Paddy 215 8 245 9 281 Four: 1933–1938 Luke 283 10 315 11 353 12 387 13 425 Five: 1938–1953 Fee 427 14 441 15 478 16 523 Six: 1954–1965 Dane 525 17 593 18 653 Seven: 1965–1969 Justine 655 19 693 E-Book Extra: Colleen McCullough On… 695 About the Author 696 Praise for The Thorn Birds 699 By Colleen McCullough 1 Front Cover 700 Copyright 701 About the Publisher THERE IS A LEGEND There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. Then, singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. And, dying, it rises above its own agony to outcarol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of great pain…. Or so says the legend. ONE 1915–1917 MEGGIE 1 On December 8th, 1915, Meggie Cleary had her fourth birthday. After the breakfast dishes were put away her mother silently thrust a brown paper parcel into her arms and ordered her outside. So Meggie squatted down behind the gorse bush next to the front gate and tugged impatiently. Her fingers were clumsy, the wrapping heavy; it smelled faintly of the Wahine general store, which told her that whatever lay inside the parcel had miraculously been bought, not homemade or donated. Something fine and mistily gold began to poke through a corner; she attacked the paper faster, peeling it away in long, ragged strips. “Agnes! Oh, Agnes!” she said lovingly, blinking at the doll lying there in a tattered nest. A miracle indeed. Only once in her life had Meggie been into Wahine; all the way back in May, because she had been a very good girl. So perched in the buggy beside her mother, on her best behavior, she had been too excited to see or remember much. Ex-cept for Agnes, the beautiful ’ doll sitting on the store counter, dressed in a crinoline of pink satin with cream lace frills all over it. Right then and there in her mind she had christened it Agnes, the only name she knew elegant enough for such a peerless creature. Yet over the ensuing 3 months her yearning after Agnes contained nothing of hope; Meggie didn’t own a doll and had no idea little girls and dolls belonged together. She played happily with the whistles and slingshots and battered soldiers her brothers discarded, got her hands dirty and her boots muddy....
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TheThornBirds - The Thorn Birds Colleen Mccullough for...

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