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This makes me frightened. I think of his black face, his sticks like the horns of an animal, and say, "It'd be good for me to journey on, so that he doesn't find me." I try to stand up now, but there isn't much strength in me.
She frowns even bigger and says, "Your leg hasn't had time to get better, and you haven't ate enough." She's right. She says, "You can hide where Hob won't find you - where only I'll know where you are. Behind the hut," she says, "there's a dirt building wall for a pigpen. Hob doesn't have the pig anymore - the building's empty, so you can hide in it." I realize this is the building I saw by the light of the fire.
"You can stay there," she says, "while your leg's getting better, and I'll find food for you. If Hob sees that more food's gone, why, I'll tell him that the food was taken by a rat."
This is something stranger than I can understand. I think about it this way and that, but I can't understand it correctly. "How is it," I say now, "that I change into a rat?"
She smiles at this, and says, "You're not going to change into a rat. I'm just going to be saying that to Hob." I look at her. I still don't understand what she's saying, and seeing this makes her smile bigger. "Why," she says now, "don't you understand that you can say something that isn't so?"
This is an idea that I've never heard of - that you can say something that isn't so. It's a bigger thought than I can hold in my mind all at one time. I look at her with my mouth hanging open. I shake my head and make the sign for "no".
This stuff is not actually as silly as it sounds - lying creates cognitive dissonance, which in turn create negative emotions which make it difficult to think - so essentially we're hard-wired to tell the truth. (Yes, I know that makes politicians even more difficult to understand than they already are.)