He noticed a variety of unknown things: beakers, books, pots and pans, little bones of various creatures, and many, many pens. He began to grow excited.
"So, what are you planning to teach me?" he asked.
"Oh, all sorts of things!" Rhyfedd's eyes gleamed. "You'll have to commit to an apprenticeship, of course, but this world needs true scholars. Otherwise, from time to time, people will just run into bigger and bigger problems that seem insurmountable to them."
He paused, then coughed, then added, "Of course, there's some rules. Firstly, don't bother me while I'm brewing and drinking my tea." He chuckled. "Secondly, there are stupid questions, but if you're here now, you're probably not the sort to ask them."
Elm glanced around again, and this time noticed a huge manuscript lying open on the desk. "What is this right here?"
"That," Rhyfedd answered, "is a question I was hoping you'd ask. It's my compendium of knowledge. All sorts of knowledge. I'm adding to it here and there all the time, so forgive that it's so loosely bound. Need to be able to insert pages and all."
"What does it cover?" Elm asked.
"Everything I know, and everything you'll know once you're done studying with me." Rhyfedd heaved a sigh. "In truth, I've been hoping for someone to come along. In some time—hopefully a long while, although that's in the hands of Another—I might be in the ground, and someone ought to be there to carry this little project along."
"May I look through it?"
"Of course, of course! Look through it all you want. If you're good material, and you do seem to be, this is the framework of what you'll be studying for the next few years."
Gingerly, Elm opened the cover, gazed a bit at the frontispiece, and leafed through the massive tome.