The Story of Saidjah part 4

Afterwards she hoped that the buffalo understood her, for he must have known why she wept when he was taken away, and that it was not Saidjah’s mother who caused him to be slaughtered. Some days afterward, Saidjah’s father fled out of the country, for he was afraid of being punished for not paying his taxes, and he had no other heirlooms to sell with which to buy another buffalo.

His parents had left him but few things. However, he went on for some years after the loss of his last buffalo by working with hired animals: but that is a very unre- munerative labor, and moreover sad for one who has had buffaloes of his own.

Saidjah’s mother died of grief, and his father, irt a moment of dejection, left Bantam to find work in the Buitenzorg district. But he was punished with stripes because he had left Lebak without a passport, and brought back by the police to Badoer. There he was put in prison, because he was supposed to be mad, which I can well believe, and it was feared he would run amok in a moment of frenzy.

But he was not long in prison, for he died soon after. What became of Saidjah’s brothers and sisters I do not know. The house they lived in at Badoer was empty for some time, and then fell down, for it was only built of bamboo covered with cane. A little dust and dirt covered the spot where there had been so much suffering. There are many such places in Lebak.

Gentlemen in Batavia

Saidjah was already fifteen when his father set out for Buitenzorg, and he did not accompany him thither, because he had other plans in mind. He had been told that there were gentlemen in Batavia who drove in carriages, and that it would be easy to get work as a carriage boy, for which young lads are used, so as not to disturb the equilibrium of the two-wheeled carriage by too much motion.

He would, they said, earn much that way if he behaved himself—perhaps in three years he would be able to save enough to buy two buffaloes. This was a pleasant prospect. With the proud gait of one who had conceived a grand idea, he entered Adinda’s house one day after his father had gone away, and communicated his plans to her.

“Think of it,” said he. “When I come back we shall be old enough to marry, and have enough to buy two buffaloes!”