Fiela’s Child


Dalene Matthee

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Fiela’s Child: Chapter 24 Summary & Analysis

Elias goes to the scaffold and works to take out his frustration over losing “Lukas.” Barta had a strange feeling from the second day after Benjamin left to look for Nina. Eventually, Nina arrived to give the news that “Lukas” had left the Forest for good. It takes Elias three months to get over losing Benjamin, but he continues to make plans like he always does.
As the story goes on, time continues to pass more quickly than it did in earlier chapters. The fact that Elias and Barta seemingly get over losing “Lukas” so quickly suggests that their bond with him was never that strong to begin with, even after so many years together in the Forest. This, in turn, suggests that they’ve known all along that the real Lukas is dead and that Benjamin was never their lost son.
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Elias decides he can’t fear the elephants anymore and has to go into the village himself. He finds a man named Hans Ouka who has Outeniqua heritage (an indigenous tribe) to ask about killing the elephants. Hans tells Elias that the key is to pay attention to how the wind is blowing, because the Elephants tend to smell humans first. Hans reveals, however, that if a human smears himself with buchu (a plant) and elephant dung, he can evade the elephants, at least if the wind is on his side. Elias goes and sends Barta to get buchu and Kristoffel to get dung, saying he needs it for part of a cure for his rheumatism.
Once again, Elias can’t abandon his scheme to kill the elephants, despite the danger it brings to his own life. He remains convinced that he can outsmart nature and thwart the elephants. And he proves yet again that he has learned nothing from his past attempts, continuing to lie to his family to hide his plans and driving them away from him in the process.
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