Fiela Quotes in Fiela’s Child
Only in retrospect did Fiela take account of the omens—she did not recognize them at first. […] Omens that should have warned her, but her mind was on the ostrich and she did not heed the warnings.
‘Listen here, woman, you know as well as I do that there’s something very strange going on here. This can’t be your child but you gave out that he was yours. Where did you get the child from?’
‘He’s my hand-child.’
‘You’re making a mistake, Fiela, wait another week or two.’
‘No. I’ve kept them apart long enough, I had them out at pasture for weeks, I’ve put paraffin into their ears so that there wouldn’t be a single tick to worry them, I’ve let Kicker starve—I’m not waiting any longer.’
‘Is this a church?’ he asked the tall one.
‘No. It’s a courtroom. Sit there on the bench and sit still.’
‘Will I still know him?’
It was late when they got home. His mother took one look at the egg, took down the strap from behind the door and beat their backsides well for them.
The next day she baked a sugar-cake with the egg.
‘I’m going to Knysna,’ she announced.
Petrus drove the wedding-cart himself and gave them five pounds as a start. It was a lot of money. But on the other hand, Petrus had been afraid that he would lose Selling for Selling had hear from a man by the name of Barrington near the Knysna River who was looking for a good harness-maker.
‘He’s the forest woman’s child.’
‘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
In fact Petrus did not come riding up the Kloof until late on Thursday. Alone. A sugar-cake was waiting on the kitchen table.
She had to give up Benjamin to the forest people, Dawid to the grave. There was little difference in the bitterness within her. The question she put to God was the same: Why, God, why?