Sunday, January 12, 2020

Crossing the Ditch

misty Easter jump

It was Sunday ; the mill was silent, and the water pressed idly against the big dam, opposite which stood old Zam Tapp's cottage. Zam was seated in the dark kitchen, a bucket of water between his knees, peeling potatoes; and lying in a truckle bed was his grandson. Travelling Joe, a boy of about 9 years old, small, wizen and partly paralysed. 

"Grandfer," said the boy, "carry me tu and fraw a bit and tull me zommat; tull me ywhat the wordel ba like out ther--ba it mortal wide?"
' "Ay, ay, lad;" Zam answered, raising the dying child in his arms, "wide and lonezome, wide and lonezome."

"But windervul vull o'' ditches," Joe said; "do 'ee jump they ditches, grandfer, when yer gaws tu and fraw tu wark:?"

"Naw; law, I ba getting owld," Zam answered, "I moastly walks 'longside."

There was silence for a moment, and then Joe spoke. "Grandfer," he said, "do 'ee reckon that they knaws more about 'eaven auver tu Merikey than they does yhere?"

"Tiz tha tother zide o tha wordel," the old man answered; "maybe they zees clearer ther."

"I ba mortal wangery, grandfer," Travelling Joe answered, sighing; "I reckon I cud zlape.:

Zam laid the dying boy back in the old truckle bed. "Shall I tull ze zommat from the Buk lad?" he asked.

The child shivered. "Naw, grandfer," he answered. "I wid liefer bide quiet."

He sank into a broken slumber, suddenly to awake with a start.

"Tiz turribul dimmet," he exclaimed; "but," and his face brightened,. "I zees things li'ke ditches;"

So saying, he died.

Found story Trove 1897
Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 - 1918, 1935) Saturday 3 July 1897 p 33 Article