Ahab has never been to a school before. His whole life is different now. Instead of living in a shack in the woods, he lives in a house that to him feels like a mansion, but when he calls it a mansion, or a palace, he realizes that Circe’s family feels embarrassed.
Today is the first day of school for Ahab. Circe explains she’ll tell him what to do, and Circe’s parents assure him that it doesn’t matter if he makes any mistakes.
Circe and Ahab walk to school together. They walk across the town square and Circe sees him stopping in front of a trash can to look for cool things silly people have thrown away. She says “Hey, Ahab, not right now!”. He feels really bashful, but she is smiling brightly at him.
They get to the school, and Ahab’s heart is racing. He stands next to Circe. She tells the other students that Ahab is new. They barely notice.
The night before, Ahab couldn’t sleep. Would they laugh at him tomorrow for not knowing what to do? What if they found out where he came from? People here hate the bandits.
A bell rings, and the children go inside to a room with chalkboards.
Ahab’s eyes instantly notice all the incredible gadgets in the room. He sees in the corner an amazing old robot, and watches, completely stunned, as the kids walk past it. One girl reaches out, pulls one of the robot arms out straight, and she hangs her coat.
Ahab thinks this has to be a joke, then he realizes that the old robot is broken, and nobody cares to fix it.
The teacher arrives. He hears her in the hall making a tapping sound. A woman older than any he has ever seen before enters the classroom, holding on to a rail along the wall, and using a cane to tap in front of her.
Ahab sees her eyes, just cloudy and white, like fog, and he realizes she is blind. And nobody cares! What a wonderful place this is.
This day keeps getting better.
“Ahab! Sit by me!” He realizes he is still standing in the middle of the room, while the other children are all sitting at desks. Circe is smiling at him, and pointing to a desk near her.
He walks over quickly, face feeling red.
The teacher walks to an old desk, sits, slides open a drawer, and lifts out a big hat, decorated with mirrors and little beads. She puts it on her head. He sees her close her eyes, scrunch up her face like she is concentrating, and then reopen her filmy eyes.
Then Ahab realizes she can see now, thanks to her hat.
“You must be Ahab!” she says, in a loud and happy voice, that makes him feel so happy.
Then she says something else, “I’m so happy you’re here!” but she says it in thieves’ cant, the secret language of the bandits, and even though Ahab knows her eyes don’t work, she winks at him.