following little series of pen-pictures of the same place

time:2023-12-01 23:43:29 source:Accumulated network author:television

He had been staring open-mouthed at her, still on his knees, and holding his mantle open with his skinny hands. "Rima! Rima! have mercy on me!" he cried out piteously. "I cannot go to Riolama, it is so far--so far. And I am old and should meet my death. Oh, Rima, child of the woman I saved from death, have you no compassion? I shall die, I shall die!"

following little series of pen-pictures of the same place

"Shall you die? Not until you have shown me the way to Riolama. And when I have seen Riolama with my eyes, then you may die, and I shall be glad at your death; and the children and the grandchildren and cousins and friends of all the animals you have slain and fed on shall know that you are dead and be glad at your death. For you have deceived me with lies all these years even me--and are not fit to live! Come now to Riolama; rise instantly, I command you!"

following little series of pen-pictures of the same place

Instead of rising he suddenly put out his hand and snatched up the knife from the ground. "Do you then wish me to die?" he cried. "Shall you be glad at my death? Behold, then I shall slay myself before your eyes. By my own hand, Rima, I am now about to perish, striking the knife into my heart!"

following little series of pen-pictures of the same place

While speaking he waved the knife in a tragic manner over his head, but I made no movement; I was convinced that he had no intention of taking his own life--that he was still acting. Rima, incapable of understanding such a thing, took it differently.

"Oh, you are going to kill yourself." she cried. "Oh, wicked man, wait until you know what will happen to you after death. All shall now be told to my mother. Hear my words, then kill yourself."

She also now dropped on to her knees and, lifting her clasped hands and fixing her resentful sparkling eyes on the dim blue patch of heaven visible beyond the treetops, began to speak rapidly in clear, vibrating tones. She was praying to her mother in heaven; and while Nuflo listened absorbed, his mouth open, his eyes fixed on her, the hand that clutched the knife dropped to his side. I also heard with the greatest wonder and admiration. For she had been shy and reticent with me, and now, as if oblivious of my presence, she was telling aloud the secrets of her inmost heart.

"O mother, mother, listen to me, to Rima, your beloved child!" she began. "All these years I have been wickedly deceived by grandfather--Nuflo--the old man that found you. Often have I spoken to him of Riolama, where you once were, and your people are, and he denied all knowledge of such a place. Sometimes he said that it was at an immense distance, in a great wilderness full of serpents larger than the trunks of great trees, and of evil spirits and savage men, slayers of all strangers. At other times he affirmed that no such place existed; that it was a tale told by the Indians; such false things did he say to me--to Rima, your child. O mother, can you believe such wickedness?

"Then a stranger, a white man from Venezuela, came into our woods: this is the man that was bitten by a serpent, and his name is Abel; only I do not call him by that name, but by other names which I have told you. But perhaps you did not listen, or did not hear, for I spoke softly and not as now, on my knees, solemnly. For I must tell you, O mother, that after you died the priest at Voa told me repeatedly that when I prayed, whether to you or to any of the saints, or to the Mother of Heaven, I must speak as he had taught me if I wished to be heard and understood. And that was most strange, since you had taught me differently; but you were living then, at Voa, and now that you are in heaven, perhaps you know better. Therefore listen to me now, O mother, and let nothing I say escape you.


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