Elias decides that if he really wants to trap an elephant, he needs a snare-pit. The elephants follow regular paths, so he plans to just build the pit on one of them. He doesn’t want to have to share his tusks, so he doesn’t ask anyone for advice about building his pit. He figures elephants are so heavy that a pit doesn’t have to be that deep to trap one. He dreams of making a whole series of pits.
One day a forester named Mr. Kapp shows up to see Elias—the magistrate sent him to check on Benjamin. At the time, Benjamin is out with Nina, and so Elias invites Mr. Kapp to stay until they get back. Elias talks loudly about how contented Benjamin is so that Barta will overhear him. He reassures Mr. Kapp that Benjamin never talks about his old family. Elias asks Mr. Kapp if anyone in the village would be willing to pay for a girl like Nina to work for them, and Mr. Kapp says he’ll ask around.
Mr. Kapp’s visit illustrates the shortcomings of the justice system. In theory, Mr. Kapp is there to check on Benjamin’s health. But the ease with which Elias manipulates him shows that his visit is largely symbolic. Mr. Kapp’s true role is to give the appearance legitimacy to the process of transferring Benjamin to a new family, not to ensure that Benjamin is actually in good hands.
Elias worries that Barta looks too sad and that Mr. Kapp will report that back to the magistrate. But eventually, Mr. Kapp says that he can’t wait for Benjamin any longer and will have to go back. He promises to give Elias and Barta’s regards to the magistrate. When he leaves, Barta says they would be in trouble if Mr. Kapp saw the hide-marks that are still on Benjamin from when Elias brought him back the other day. Elias disregards her and orders her to make him food so that he can go away for a few days.
Elias’s worries that Mr. Kapp will see Barta’s sadness may be paranoia, but they could also indicate his awareness that Mr. Kapp has decided to ignore any warning signs and give his rubber stamp to the whole arrangement—but that he could easily change his mind and investigate with more scrutiny. It reflects Elias’s cruelty and domineering character that he’s more worried about Barta’s disposition than the hide-marks that he inflicted on Benjamin. In this section, he’s mostly concerned with putting Barta in her place.