Lawrence THE HANDLE, which varies in length according to the height of its user, and in some cases is made by that user to his or her specifications, is like most of the other parts of the tool in that it has a name and thus a character of its own. I call it the snath, as do most of us in the UK, though variations include the snathe, the snaithe, the snead, and the sned. Onto the snath are attached two hand grips, adjusted for the height of the user. On the bottom of the snath is a small hole, a rubberized protector, and a metal D-ring with two hex sockets.
He was, after all, a very English poet, and one can easily misinterpret the universal by misunderstanding the particular. To end an argument we could not conclude, my friend gave me a copy of Hamlet to study in the African bush: It was my second field trip to that African tribe, and I thought myself ready to live in one of its remote sections—an area difficult to cross even on foot.
I eventually settled on the hillock of a very knowledgeable old man, the head of a homestead of some hundred and forty people, all of whom were either his close relatives or their wives and children.
Like the other elders of the vicinity, the old man spent most of his time performing ceremonies seldom seen these days in the more accessible parts of the tribe. Soon there would be three months of enforced isolation and leisure, between the harvest that takes place just before the rising of the swamps and the clearing of new farms when the water goes down.
Then, I thought, they would have even more time to perform ceremonies and explain them to me. I was quite mistaken. Most of the ceremonies demanded the presence of elders from several homesteads.
As the swamps rose, the old men found it too difficult to walk from one homestead to the next, and the ceremonies gradually ceased. As the swamps rose even higher, all activities but one came to an end.
The women brewed beer from maize and millet. Men, women, and children sat on their hillocks and drank it. People began to drink at dawn.
By midmorning the whole homestead was singing, dancing, and drumming. When it rained, people had to sit inside their huts: In any case, by noon or before, I either had to join the party or retire to my own hut and my books. Come, drink with us.
Before the end of the second month, grace descended on me. I was quite sure that Hamlet had only one possible interpretation, and that one universally obvious. Early every morning, in the hope of having some serious talk before the beer party, I used to call on the old man at his reception hut—a circle of posts supporting a thatched roof above a low mud wall to keep out wind and rain.
One day I crawled through the low doorway and found most of the men of the homestead sitting huddled in their ragged cloths on stools, low plank beds, and reclining chairs, warming themselves against the chill of the rain around a smoky fire. In the center were three pots of beer.
The party had started. The old man greeted me cordially. Then I poured some more into the same gourd for the man second in seniority to my host before I handed my calabash over to a young man for further distribution. Your servants tell me that when you are not with us, you sit inside your hut looking at a paper.
The messenger who brought him letters from the chief used them mainly as a badge of office, for he always knew what was in them and told the old man. Personal letters for the few who had relatives in the government or mission stations were kept until someone went to a large market where there was a letter writer and reader.
Since my arrival, letters were brought to me to be read. A few men also brought me bride price receipts, privately, with requests to change the figures to a higher sum.
I found moral arguments were of no avail, since in-laws are fair game, and the technical hazards of forgery difficult to explain to an illiterate people.
Storytelling is a skilled art among them; their standards are high, and the audiences critical—and vocal in their criticism. I protested in vain. This morning they wanted to hear a story while they drank.
They threatened to tell me no more stories until I told them one of mine. The old man handed me some more beer to help me on with my storytelling. Men filled their long wooden pipes and knocked coals from the fire to place in the pipe bowls; then, puffing contentedly, they sat back to listen.
One night three men were keeping watch outside the homestead of the great chief, when suddenly they saw the former chief approach them. It was an omen sent by a witch.Try Our Friends At: The Essay Store.
Free English School Essays. We have lots of essays in our essay database, so please check back here frequently to . Paul Kingsnorth is a writer and poet living in Cumbria, England.
He is the author of several books, including the poetry collection Kidland and his fictional debut The Wake, winner of the Gordon Burn Prize and the Bookseller Book of the Year Award. Kingsnorth is the cofounder and director of the Dark Mountain Project, a network of writers, artists, .
We writers share one thing in common: We exist for the moment a reader gently sets eyes to our first word, our first sentence. From that instant forward, our fate is in our own hands. Either they keep going or they cast us aside.
"I have seen you on video tapes from the John Ankerberg [sic] Show Let me first thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the 'light and knowledge' that you have given me, my family, and my friends concerning Mormonism.
Try Our Friends At: The Essay Store. Free English School Essays. We have lots of essays in our essay database, so please check back here frequently to see the newest additions.
Jan 11, · I first read about the study when I was in the midst of a breakup. Each time I thought of leaving, my heart overruled my brain.
I felt stuck. So, like a good academic, I turned to science, hoping.