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Some time later an old man, one of the estate workers, and Lord Ross were outside Macbeth’s castle.

“In all my seventy years,” said the old man, “I can remember most of what I’ve seen, some of it dreadful and some of it strange, but this sore night is like nothing before.”

“Ah, good father, the heavens are troubled by man’s behaviour,” said Ross. “By the clock it is day but the night has strangled the sun. Is the earth entombed because darkness has won the battle with light?”

“It’s unnatural, like the recent bloody business. Only last Tuesday a falcon high in the sky was swooped on and killed by a mouse-hunting owl!”

“Well,” said Ross, “here’s another thing strange but true. King Duncan’s horses, beautiful and swift, of the finest pedigree, broke their stalls and went wild.”

“I heard they ate each other.”

“They did! I saw it with my own eyes. Ah, here comes Macduff. How goes the world, sir?”

“Look at those dark clouds! Can’t you see?”

“Do we know any more about that bloody deed?” asked Ross.

“The men Macbeth killed…” Macduff said, only half believing it.

“Alas, a bad day. What good would they hope to get out of it?” Ross asked.

“They were put up to it.” said Macduff. “Malcolm and Donalbain, the King’s sons, have fled the country. That puts suspicion solely on them.”

“Well, that’s something else that goes against nature. Lavish ambition destroys itself so easily! It is most likely the sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth,” said Lord Ross.

“He has already been named successor and has gone to Scone for the investiture.”

“Where is Duncan’s body?”

“It has been taken to Iona, to join the other Scottish kings in the sacred tombs.”

“Are you going to Scone?” Ross asked Macduff.

“No, cousin, it’s time for me to go home to Fife.”

“Well, I’ll go to Scone.”

“May you see things done well there. Farewell. Our new robes are not quite as comfortable as our old ones.”

Macduff left and Ross turned to the old man to say goodbye. The old man smiled and said: “God’s blessings go with you and with those like you who try to make good out of bad and friends out of foes.”