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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The Moon 2.

I've been reading some more of the South African short story writer Herman Charles Bosman, thought I'd share this extract with you.

"When I saw Drieka that night she was leaning against a thorn-tree beside the road where it goes down to the *drift. But I didn't recognise her at first. All I saw was a figure dressed in white with long hair hanging down loose over it's shoulders. It seemed very unusual that a figure should be there at such a time of night. I remembered certain stories I had heard about white ghosts. I also remembered that a few miles back I had seen a boulder lying in the middle of the road. It was a fair-sized boulder and it might be dangerous for passing mule carts. So I decided to turn back at once and move it out of the way.

I decided very quickly about the boulder. And I made up my mind so firmly that the saddle-girth broke from the sudden way in which I jerked my horse back on it's haunches. Then the figure came forward and spoke, and I saw it was Drieka Breytenbach.

"Good evening," I said in answer to her greeting, "I was just going back because I remembered something."

"About chosts?" she asked.

"No," I replied truthfully, about a stone in the road."

Drieka laughed at that. So I laughed too. And the Dreika laughed again. And then I laughed. In fact we did quite a lot of laughing between us. I got off my horse and stood beside Drieka in the moonlight. And if somebody had come along at that moment and said that the *predikants mule-cart had been capsized by the boulder in the road I would have laughed some more.

That is the sort of thing the moon in the Marico does to you when it's full.

I didn't think of asking Drieka how she came to be there, or why her hair was hanging down loose, or who it was that she had been waiting for under the thorn-tree. It was enough that the moon was there, big and yellow over the veld, and that the wind blew softly through the trees and across the grass and against Dreika's white dress and against the mad singing of the stars."

From the short story, "Drieka and the moon".

*drift, a river crossing, ford.
*predikant, minister of the Dutch Reformed Church.

See my previous post The Moon, Concentration camp.

I will have to write more of this story as it has a surprising twist in the tail.


Jo said...

Ah, I will continue to follow your posts on The Moon, Phillip. Are you enjoying being back at work (at least this week was a normal length week for you!) love and blessings Jo

Gaelyn said...

The man's words are enchanting. I do hope you will share some more.

Pat Tillett said...

I love these stories...