Fiela’s Child


Dalene Matthee

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Fiela’s Child: Chapter 26 Summary & Analysis

Three days later, Benjamin starts walking back to Long Kloof, not entirely sure why he’s going. He would’ve left sooner, but Kaliel September kept him busy. A ship came by that Kaliel believed was there to destroy itself on the rocks for insurance money. The ship eventually wrecked on the rocks. While looking through the wreckage, Benjamin told Nina, Mr. Benn, and some of the other sailors that he was headed back to Long Kloof. A sailor named Book offered to teach Benjamin how to row in exchange for ostrich feathers.
Benjamin has been able to go back to Long Kloof for a while, but he chose not to, perhaps because he wanted to make his own way or perhaps because he was afraid his old family had forgotten about him after so long. The ship crashing onto the rocks for insurance money could be further evidence of the destructive nature of greed, although perhaps the sailors on the ship are more like Kaliel, willing to do desperate things to survive, as their ships become obsolete due to new technology.
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It’s a long journey for Benjamin back to Long Kloof. He remembers being Fiela’s hand-child and wonders if he’s actually 20 years old, as Lukas would be. Before Benjamin left on his journey, he talked with Nina again. He made her promise to stay away from the hills while he’s away. In turn, she gave him advice if elephants happen to chase him: instead of running, he should take off his coat, throw it down, and run in the direction the wind is blowing. Benjamin promised Nina that he would return, but Nina doubted it; to her, it seemed like  he was already gone. In the present, Benjamin gets to the top of a mountain and looks down on all of the Kloof before him.
Nina’s advice about how to avoid the elephants recalls the advice that Hans gave to Elias in an earlier chapter. The implication, perhaps, is that Elias could have saved himself a lot of trouble if he’d simply listened to his daughter rather than spending all his time trying to control her. One crucial difference with Nina’s advice, however, is that she is teaching Benjamin how to avoid elephants instead of hunt them, reflecting her more harmonious relationship with nature.
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