As I Lay Dying

by: William Faulkner

Sections 34–39

1

I felt the current take us and I knew we were on the ford by that reason, since it was only by means of that slipping contact that we could tell that we were in motion at all. What had once been a flat surface was now a succession of troughs and hillocks lifting and falling about us, shoving at us, teasing at us with light lazy touches in the vain instants of solidity underfoot. Cash looked back at me, and then I knew that we were gone.

2

For another instant I see him leaning to the tilting wagon, his arm braced back against Addie and his tools . . . and beyond it Jewel holding the horse upreared . . . I jump from the wagon on the downstream side. Between two hills I see the mules once more. They roll up out of the water in succession, turning completely over, their legs stiffly extended[.]

3

I knew that the horse had got dragged off the ford too, and with that wild drowning horse and that wagon and that loose box, it was going to be pretty bad, and there I was, standing knee deep in the water, yelling at Anse behind me: “See what you done now? See what you done now?”

4

Cash has not moved. We stand above him, holding the plane, the saw, the hammer, the square, the rule, the chalklike, while Dewey Dell squats and lifts Cash’s head. “Cash,” she says; “Cash.” He opens his eyes, staring profoundly up at our inverted faces “If ever was such a misfortunate man,” pa says.

5

She just sat there, lost in her vanity and her pride, that had closed her heart to God and set that selfish mortal boy in His place. Kneeling there I prayed for her. I prayed for that poor blind woman as I had never prayed for me and mine.