Elias and Barta head from their home to the magistrate’s place in the village. Elias wanted to leave Barta behind, but the magistrate insisted that she come to court. Barta’s one condition is that she doesn’t want to have to sleep anywhere in the village, since the people there are mostly strangers to her. Elias is still a little shaken by his encounter with the elephants earlier. Barta worries what they’ll do if they make it to court and it turns out the child there isn’t Lukas.
At first, Elias and Barta come to the courtroom without bad intentions. They are just as surprised as Benjamin about this new situation and concerned about the potential outcome. While they are white, they too have to contend with the magistrate’s greater authority. Barta’s question about what to do if the child isn’t Lukas shows that at least initially, she wants to do the right thing.
Elias has no clue how Lukas could have made it over the mountain to Long Kloof. Despite Elias’s feeling that the woodcutters look down on him, he has to admit that everyone came together to help him and Barta prepare for the journey once they learned they had to go to the magistrate. Elias gives Barta advice for meeting the magistrate, saying she must do as the magistrate wants and speak confidently to him. Barta is nervous because she borrowed Aunt Malie’s shoes, which are too big, but Elias stuffs some grass into them so that they’ll fit better
Although Elias can be cruel and uncaring, here he shows a rare moment of vulnerability. His instructions to Barta mirror Fiela’s instructions to Benjamin, showing once again how it can be dangerous to challenge the magistrate’s authority. Barta’s too-big shoes provide a visual example of how she is out of her element in the city and needs Elias’s support.