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Thursday, 12 May 2011

The Moon 3

"After a while I stopped talking.

Drieka put her hand in mine.

"Oh, Schalk," she whispered, and the moon and that misty look were in her blue eyes. "Do tell me some more."

I shook my head.

"I am sorry, Drieka," I answered, "I don't know any more."

"But you must, Schalk," she said very softly. "Talk to me about - about other things."

I thought steadily for some moments.

"Yes Drieka," I said at length, "I have remembered something. There is one more thing I haven't told you about blue-tongue in sheep..."

"No, no, not that," she interrupted, "talk to me about other things. About the moon,say."

So I told her the two things Braam Venter had said once about the moon. I told her the green flower one and the other one.

"Braam Venter knows lots more things like that about the moon," I explained, " you'll see him next time you go to Zeerust for the*nagmaal. He is a short fellow with a bump on his head where he fell..."

"Oh, no, Schalk," Drieka said again, shaking her head, so that a wisp of her fair head brushed against my face, "I don't want to know about Braam Venter. Only about you. You think out something on your own about the moon and tell it to me."

I understood what she meant.

"Well, Drieka," I said thoughtfully. "The moon - the moon is alright."

"Oh Schalk!" Drieka cried. "That's much finer than anything Braam Venter could ever say - even with that bump on his head."

Of Course I told her it was nothing and I could perhaps say something even better if I tried. But I was very proud, all the same. And somehow it seemed that my words brought us close together. I felt that a handful of words, spoken under the full moon, had made a new and witch thing come into the life of Drieka and me."

Excerpt from the short story; Drieka and the moon,by Herman Charles Bosman.

*nagmaal, holy communion in the Dutch Reformed Church.

Nagmaal used to be held once every three months, Good Friday and old years eve, in the rural districts of South Africa, in the past when travel was difficult. This was a huge social occasion when people would trek from miles around to town in their ox-wagons. A camp would spring up around the church and people would renew old friendships and even old feuds. Young people would find romance, new members would be confirmed into the church, marriages formalised, sometimes just in time, and babies christened.

Nagmaal camp arround the Dutch Reformed Church in Lichtenburg, Western Transvaal, now North West Province, early 1900's. The church was usually the first building erected in most South African towns, the town then grew around the church.


Pat Tillett said...

What a great story! It's amazing how people used to pull together to improve the lives of everyone.

Kay L. Davies said...

Incredible shot of the moon, Phillip, and I love the old photo. Pioneering days were very similar in North America, and churches were the focal point of most occasions.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel