08.Chapter 8

08.Chapter 8


  One day in summer a lady on horseback rode up to the house and knocked on the door. She had dark hair,and was very beautiful. The family were all very pleased to see her. I soon learnt that her name was Sophie.

  She could not speak the family's language, and each evening Felix taught her some words. This was a very great help to me, because I was able to learn the meaning of many words that I had not been able to understand before. Felix taught Sophie from books about what had happened in the world in the past.So I learnt about the Greeks and Romans,and about Christ, and about the first white men in America and the sad story of the Indians. I could not understand why men who knew all about good and evil could hate and kill each other.

  I learnt other things too. I learnt that people think it is very important to have money and to come from a good family.I learnt of the love between mother and father and child. And I realized that I had no family. The more I learnt, the more I thought,and the more unhappy I became.

  Soon I discovered who Sophie was. The two families had met in France after Sophie and her father arrived there from Turkey, their own country. Sophie's father was put in prison by the French, but Felix and his father helped him to escape and leave France. When the French discovered this,Felix and his family lost all their lands and money, and had to leave France for ever. Now I knew why they were so sad, and why they were poor.

  But that was not all. Sophie and Felix loved each other, and Sophie's father had promised that they could marry.Then,when he learnt that Felix had lost all his money, he broke his promise. But Sophie loved Felix very much,so she took some money and escaped from her father to search for Felix.

  I had learnt to love these good people and I could not wait another day to introduce myself. I decided to speak first to the father, because he was blind, and would not be frightened by my terrible face and body.

  One day the three young people went for a walk while the old man rested. When they had gone, I went to the door of the house and knocked on it.

  The old man told me to enter, and to sit down.

  ‘Thank you,’ I said.‘I am a traveller, and I'm tired and sad. I have no family or friends. The people that I want to have as my friends have never seen me.If they don't take me into their home, I shall be alone in the world.’

  ‘Don't be so sad,’ the old man said.‘You will find that the hearts of men are full of love. If these friends are good people, they will welcome you.’

  ‘They are kind, and the best people in the world,’ I said.‘But when they meet me, they may not see a kind creature who has helped them. Instead they may see a monster, and they will hate me.’

  ‘That mustn't happen,’the old man said.‘My family and I have had our difficult times, and we'll help you.’

  ‘You are a very good man,’ I said,‘and if you help me, I shall be able to live with my friends and enjoy their love.’

  At that moment I heard the young people returning from their walk.I caught the old man's hand, and cried,‘Now is the time!Save me and help me! You and your family are the friends that I am talking about.’

  Then the door opened, and in came Felix, Sophie, and Agatha.Their faces were filled with horror and fear when they saw me.Agatha fainted, and Sophie ran out of the house.Felix ran forward and pulled me away from his father.He threw me to the ground and hit me again and again with his heavy stick.I did not lift a hand against him.I did not want to hurt him—or any of them. My heart was heavy, and all hope left me. I ran out of the house and later returned silently to my hut. Nobody saw me.