She juggled behind her back, over and under her leg, with her eyes closed, until Haroun was speechless with admiration; and every so often she’d throw all the balls high into the air, reach into her pockets, and produce more of the soft golden spheres, until she was juggling nine balls, then ten, then eleven. And every time Haroun thought, ‘She can’t possibly keep them all up,’ she’d add even more balls to her whirling galaxy of soft, silken suns.

It occured to Haroun that Blabbermouth’s juggling reminded him of the greatest performances given by his father, Rashid Khalifa, the Shah of Blah. ‘I always thought juggling was like storytelling,’ he finally found voice to say. ‘You keep a lot of different tales in the air, and juggle them up and down, and if you’re good you don’t drop any. So maybe juggling is a kind of storytelling, too.’

Blabbermouth shrugged, caught all her golden balls, and tucked them away in her pockets. ‘I don’t know anything about that,’ she said. ‘I just wanted you to know who you were dealing with here.’

– Salman Rushdie, from Haroun and the Sea of Stories


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