Spoon-ness and and Ball-ness and Block-ness

A beautiful scene of teaching and attention and love — which may not make as much sense without the preceding hundreds of pages of Roger Zelazny's extraordinary sf novel Lord of Light — wherein one character is trying to help a mentally injured child learn:

The girl sat on the floor, a heap of various objects before her. She was scarcely more than a child, and she hugged a brown and white puppy and looked at Kubera  with wide, frightened eyes, until he gestured and she smiled.

"Kubera," said Yama.

"Koo-bra," said the girl.

"She is my daughter," said Yama. "Her name is Murga."

"I never knew you had a daughter."

"She is retarded. She suffered some brain damage."

"Congenital, or transfer effect?" asked Kubera.

"Transfer effect."

"I see."

"She is my daughter," repeated Yama, "Murga."

"Yes," said Kubera.

Yama dropped to his knees at her side and picked up a block.

"Block," he said.

"Block," said the girl.

He held up a spoon. "Spoon," he said.

"Spoon," said the girl.

He picked up a ball and held it before her. "Ball," he said.

"Ball," said the girl.

He picked up the block and held it before her again. "Ball," she repeated.

Yama dropped it.

"Help me, Kubera," he said.

"I will, Yama. If there is a way, we will find it."

He sat down beside him and raised  his hands. The spoon came alive with spoon-ness and the ball with ball-ness and the block with block-ness, and the girl laughed. Even the puppy seemed to study the objects.

"The Lokapalas are never defeated," said Kubera, and the girl picked up the block and stared at it for a long time before she named it.

(a lokapala is a "Guardian of the World"; cf. Josh Wanisko's review-essays esp. "Where there had been darkness...: Roger Zelazny Book Review: Lord of Light, Part VI - The Lokapalas are never defeated", and Hindu vs Buddhist (2008-01-01), Lord of Light (2010-04-12), Science vs. Fantasy (2010-04-28), ...) - ^z - 2017-11-16