The Story of an African Farm

by Olive Schreiner

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Part 1: Chapter 3 Summary

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When the children return to the house, they find Tant’ Sannie and the German overseer with the stranger, who has a “pendulous red nose,” a bald head, and slightly crossed eyes. Tant’ Sannie speaks no English, and the stranger speaks no Dutch. Tant’ Sannie insists that no tramps will sleep on her farm, and she knows the man is a tramp because he is walking rather than riding horseback. The German overseer translates, and the stranger explains that he lost both his horse and his purse of money. Tant’ Sannie then complains about the stranger’s appearance, how he looks at her, his Englishness, and his unmarried state. The stranger explains that he is actually Irish and is married with three children. Tant’ Sannie gives in and says that the stranger can stay with the German. The stranger appears to be a highly religious man as he accepts the German’s hospitality.

Later, Lyndall goes to the overseer’s cabin. She and Em have spent many wonderful evenings there with the overseer and Waldo. It is a cozy place where they enjoy riddles, roasted potatoes, hymns, star-gazing, and plenty of stories. To the girls, the overseer is “Uncle Otto,” and they love him.

Now the stranger is stretched out on Otto’s bed, sound asleep. Lyndall does not believe the stranger’s story, for his appearance does not match his words. Otto, however, insists that the man is telling the truth, and he feels sorry for him. After Lyndall leaves, still calling the stranger a liar, Waldo falls asleep right on the ground. Otto reads from his Bible, reflecting on the blessings of taking in a stranger and praying with great joy at being able to extend Christ’s hospitality to another person. He stays awake all night in his peaceful prayer and reflection.

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Part 1: Chapter 4 Summary