The Real Malay
Short Stories, Anecdotes, Culture and History
"But where is she?" I asked, "What is she doing?"
"I don't know," he said. "She went out, and I came here."
"Have you no brothers or sisters?" I said.
"Are you hungry?"
"But what is the matter? Why do you look so sad?"
"My father is dead."
"I am so sorry," I said. "When did he die?"
"This morning," answered the child.
"This morning! You poor boy; what was the matter with him?"
"He was hanged."
Little by little, I managed to coax him out of himself and the thought of his own misery, and, as I talked to him, I tried to think what could be done for the poor little mite, whose face seemed already to foreshadow the troubles that must come to him by the fatal inheritance of blood. The child was not shy, he was only supremely miserable; lonely, conscious, horribly conscious, of the suffering and the grief that make so large a part of human life, but from which children in their early youth are protected. While my thoughts were divided between his present and his future, there suddenly returned to me the question, which I had put aside before, of what had sent his father to the gallows, and I said, “What was it your father did?”
The child replied, “He killed my mother.”
—excerpt from the chapter “IN CHARCOAL”.
|Author||Sir Frank Swettenham|
|Published||2019 (Original Edition, 1907)|