Wednesday, 18 March 2009
The Cruel hand of fate.
When Andreas saw the bend in the river he knew he was home. He built a makeshift shack so that Elsa and Britt could nurse their mother and set about clearing enough land to set out the foundations for a plantation house.
If Bergit had been stronger he would have started clearing the plantation itself. The rainy season was weeks away and he needed the soil turned for the first sowing. But with his wife’s fever unremitting, Andreas resolved to get at least a kitchen and a family room constructed and then prepare whatever land he could before the storms broke.
The horses were tired and the trees deep-rooted but slowly the house site appeared before them. Elsa fished and cooked while Britt nursed her mother, wiping her sweats away. Bergit’s breathing racked her constantly. Mercifully, Andreas collapsed into bed each night, smelling of earth and horse sweat, too exhausted to worry.
Within a month, Bergit and the girls were in the rudimentary back rooms of their future home. Water boiled over a woodstove in the kitchen. Blankets stretched out to air. Beds were filled with dried grass.
Andreas turned towards the forest, and sparing neither himself nor the horses, carved out the fields where their cash crops would grow. Bergit watched him from a porch still sticky with sap. She saw the steadfastness in him, the will to provide. She loved him beyond measure.
Her breathing was easing, her appetite for Elsa’s interminable fish soup growing. As the farm was growing, she was being restored to her family.
At this point, Andreas suffered a deep gash to his forearm from a splintered fencepost. The wound turned septic, the poison sprinted through his debilitated frame and he was dead within three days. His new farm had killed him.