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Out of Africa

Isak Dinesen

Book Four, From an Immigrant's Notebook: From "The Wild Came to the Aid of the Wild" to "Of the Millennium"

Book Three, Visitors to the Farm: From "A Fugitive Rests on the Farm" to "Wings"

Book Four, From an Immigrant's Notebook: From "The Wild Came to the Aid of the Wild" to "Of the Millennium", page 2

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Summary

The Wild Came to the Aid of the Wild

The farm has a crossbred ox that is part wild buffalo. This animal cannot be tamed, so the Farm Manager tries to break his spirit by binding his limbs and leaving him in the paddock over night. Instead, a lion breaks in that very evening and eats off the ox's leg. The ox then has to be shot, so his spirit is never broken and he remains a free soul.

The Fireflies

After the long rains end in June and the nights get cold, fireflies appear in the woods around the farm. Some nights hundreds and hundreds float amongst the trees looking like candles carried by invisible fairies.

The Roads of Life

When the narrator was a child, she was often told a story that would be accompanied by a sketch. It involves a man who hears a terrible sound one night while sleeping and spends several hours wandering around his house trying to discover what it is. Eventually he learns that the dam on his lake is leaking. He fixes it and returns to sleep. The next morning when he looks out the window, he sees that his footprints from the night before have formed the shape of a beautiful stork. A drawing of this stork appears as the story is told. The man realizes that his miserable trek the night before actually had a beautiful pattern.

The narrator thinks of this story while in Africa because she wonders whether the movements of her own life actually have a pattern that she shall someday be able to see, or are they just random movements without such a meaning.

Esa's Story

An older gentle man named Esa is the farm's cook. When World War I starts, the wife of a government official insists that Esa return to work for her or else her husband will have Esa drafted. Esa feels so scared that he immediately goes to her service. The narrator sees him once during those years and Esa confesses that he is overworked and tired.

On the day that the war ended, Esa returns to the farm. He brings the narrator a small picture with the Q'uran sketched on it. He remains on the farm until his death.

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