Nat's new owner, Moore, is a poor farmer who never beat Nat again except for a strike with the bull whip while driving home after his purchase. Moore's hatred for Nat was obvious, but he restrained from ever hitting him.
Life for Nat had changed dramatically from the days at Master Samuel Turner's plantation. Here at Moore's farm, Nat lived much like all field Negroes lived at the time. He worked hard, ate poorly, and lived in a ramshackle shack. The only blessings from those ten years, Nat says, was that he had a few hours each day to read the Bible and meditate on the Bible's teachings. Even Moore became fascinated with Nat's knowledge and understanding of the Bible and would often insist that his visitor's listen to Nat reciting, from memory, any passage from the book that they requested.
Nat was the only slave that Moore owned, so his duties, though never stimulating, were varied. He cut down trees, grew crops, and worked in the kitchen. Moore had very little money, so Nat's skills in carpentry were seldom required.
It was during this time that Nat met Hark. Joseph Travis (who would later become Nat's master) had bought Hark from a Virginia plantation owner who, like many others in the area, had lost most of his fortune when the nutrients in his land were used up after generations of growing tobacco. Hark had been born and raised on that plantation and had been devoted to his mother and sisters. When the plantation owner left for the fertile soil of Mississippi, he took only his female slaves, since women were in short supply in that state. This was the first time Hark had been separated from his family, and his misery was obvious to Nat.
Hark came to a point where he could not longer stand his depressed feelings. If he could not be with his family, he had to at least do something to change his life. A man had once told Hark that if he could make it to Maryland, he would find a group of Quakers who would help him. This man had told Hark the names of the towns he would pass as he made his way up north. So one night, Hark left Travis' farm with a packed bundle of food and supplies he had stolen from his master and started walking north.
For six weeks, Hark traveled through the woods, sometimes along the skirts of the towns he had been told to look for. He made it all the way to Baltimore without getting caught. There, when he asked a fellow black slave where he might find the Quakers, the black man tricked Hark and turned Halk over to his white owner. Hark hated the man who had betrayed him, but what hurt him the most was the waste of all his energy and time walking all those miles with nothing to show for it.
Nat first was acquanted with Hark when Nat's owner, Moore, hired out Hark to help cutting down trees. Nat was immediately drawn to Hark for his gentle spirit and positive outlook on most situations, no matter how absurd they were. Nat and Hark were about the same age and both were hard workers. When they were not involved in labor, they went fishing and hunting together. Hark had the habit of stealing chickens and once even a small pig. He cooked what he stole and shared his food with Nat.
Despite his congenial nature, Hark was susceptible to Nat's hatred of white people. Nat used Bible teachings to turn Hark's mind toward the mission that Nat had been planning to kill as many white people as he could. He roused Hark's misery from missing his family, telling Hark that no man had a right to separate them from the people they loved. Hark was the first person that Nat decided to train for his bloody mission.
Being a religious man, Nat looked for signs from God that would substantiate his plan. He truly believed he was working with God's blessing. One day, Nat had a vision. He watched ominous black clouds that took on the image of two black warriors with shields and swords. When a white cloud turned into a white...
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