Nerundill caught hints, snippets of conversation. The rumors surrounded a book, a book of magnificent power. A book that contained the knowledge of the ancients. With every new tantalizing bit of information he heard, his resolve to possess this book increased.
In this culture it is not wise to talk too much good things about anything - especially children,lest some evil spirit steals it. So it is customary to say it is ugly and weak and will surely not survive. Also:
"The man who boasts of his young woman is a fool,
The man who boasts of his wares will get rich."