Elias Quotes in Fiela’s Child
The day the child disappeared the fog came up early and by midday it seemed as if the Forest was covered in a thick white cloud.
‘When the bigfeet are on you, you can’t choose what you let go of and what you want to keep, woman!’
‘Will I still know him?’
‘What are bigfeet?’
‘Don’t you know? The animals with the trunks, elephants,’ she whispered. ‘You’re not supposed to say the name out loud, they’ll hear you and think you’ve called them and come and trample you.’
‘I’m your pa! That’s who I am! Say it! Say who I am!’ He was as tough as a piece of ironwood. ‘Say who I am!’
For every answer he gave him a lash. ‘And who are you?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘Lukas van Rooyen. Say it!’
‘Lukas van Rooyen.’
‘The child is back with his rightful parents,’ he said and it seemed as if his jaw had grown stiff. ‘What he had on the day he got lost can make no difference. You can put anything on him now and swear by it in the hope that I will believe you.’
A snare-pit. That was what he had to have, he sat thinking that Sunday. The sheer prospect of it brough a funny feeling to Elias’s stomach for if it worked once, it would work again if you were clever enough
‘Pa is a dirty swine.’ Just that.
‘Why do you say that?’
‘It was a trap. An elephant trap.’
‘How do you know?’
‘I went there. There’s a dead elephant calf lying in the pit.’
The year moved slowly. Christmas came. New Year. And as he grew out of Benjamin Komoetie, he also grew out of his cloths and had to wear Willem’s old trousers and a shirt of his pa’s.
But she had thrown away her name: half a crown a week with food and clothing was all the people were prepared to pay. What could he do? Nothing. He had to accept it. But as soon as he could get to the village himself again, he would go and see if he could not get her price raised to three shillings.
The one wearing the blue shirt.