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Out of Africa

Isak Dinesen

Book Four, From an Immigrant's Notebook: From "Kitosch's Story" to "The Parrot"

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

Book Four, From an Immigrant's Notebook: From "Kitosch's Story" to "The Parrot", page 2

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Summary

A War-Time Safari

During the war, the narrator leaves her farm and heads to a station farther up the railroad line so that she can help the wartime effort. She also does not want to be confined with other European white women, something the government has tentatively proposed for their safety. The narrator's husband is working in the South by the German border and needs a shipment of supplies sent down. The narrator hires someone to take it, but he is suddenly arrested and she takes it herself. She then is on the road for three months with a group of natives. They travel through the Masai reserve, seeing amazing sites, and fighting off lions. After three months, she is sent home, but she always looks back on this wartime safari as one of her great adventures in Africa.

The Swahili Numeral System

A Swede who taught the narrator to count in Swahili refused to say the word for "nine" because it sounded like a bad Swedish word. For this reason, the narrator believes for a long time that African math is based upon a system of nines instead of tens, which fascinates her.

"I Will Not Let Thee Go Except Thou Bless Me"

When the long rains come in Africa after the heat of the early spring, the farmer is so grateful that he will beg the rain to keep falling. He then may think, "I will not let thee go except thou bless me." The narrator finds this line to be a motto for her whole farm and for the vagaries of life. She knows that life can only be lived once and thinks that she will not let it go, except for if it blesses her.

The Eclipse of the Moon

One year before an eclipse of the moon a local Indian Stationmaster wrote the narrator saying that he heard that the sun would go out for seven days and he did not know what to do with his cattle.

Natives and Verse

Natives have a strong sense of rhythm, but know nothing of verse. Sometimes in the fields, the narrator puts Swahili words to verse and makes them rhyme. She tries to get the children to rhyme themselves, but they never do even though she says that when she does it she is "speaking like rain."

Of the Millenium

At the time when the return of Christ to earth had become certain, a Committee is formed to decide on the arrangements for his reception. After some discussion, they decide to ban the crying of "Hosanna" and the throwing of palm branches. One evening, Christ asks Peter to walk with him along up to the Hill of Calvary.

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