The Farm on the Red Hill

Ezra Azra

Copyright 2023 by Ezra Azra
Photo by Petr Ganaj at Pexels
Photo by Petr Ganaj at Pexels

The farm on the red hill was a most dangerous thirty-acre place, and, paradoxically, because of the danger, it was farmed reasonably safely and profitably.

The farm was in a part of sub-tropical Africa where one of the natural and everlasting dangers forever is and will forever be, poisonous snakes.

Originally, up to the end of the eighteenth century, the thirty acres were situated far away from the nearest human community. By the time of this story, the middle of the twentieth century, human civilization had encroached to be contiguously on the west and south of the farm.

The only reason civilization had come to a halt in its spread, was the stone desert that continuously covered the surface in the west and south. That stone desert was a veritable hell.

The sub-tropical sun shone on it every day, weirdly, even when the rest of the farm was being drenched in rain storms. From late morning to nearly midnight every day and night, the temperature was in the hundreds of degrees. In the day, the heat waves drifting up from the stone surface, were visible; and if they were entered, they instantly scorched the skin into burn blisters. At night, although not visible, the heat waves were only negligibly less scalding.

There was benefit from this naturally provided hellish heat. The stone desert guaranteed the farm safety from the criminal-infested ghettos that human civilization had brought to the west and south areas of the farm.

Law Enforcement officials removed corpses from the desert a few times a month, of persons who had attempted to cross the desert in the heat, from the ghettos to the farm, with, undoubtedly, criminal intent. Such removals were executed in the early hours of dawn, because that was when the sun's heat abated to tolerable levels.

Why had such a forbidding place begun as a farm, in the first place?

The British Empire occupied parts of India and Africa. In the nineteenth century, the British authorities in India offered poverty-doomed peasants the opportunity to serve five-year indentureships for pay in parts of Africa. As further incentive, the offer included the options of a free award of land in Africa after the five years to remain permanently in Africa as a free citizen, or a paid return trip to India, or a renewal of the five-year indentureship.

The thirty acres on the red hill was the land grant requested at the end of an indentureship by an Indian citizen who freely chosen to become an African citizen.. The British authorities, fully aware of the evil stone desert, tried to dissuade the citizen. When he persisted, they moved to disallow the request. When he explained his reason for the request, they felt they had no authority to deny him.

His explanation was that he was Hindu, and that by a dream, he was led to that stone desert where he found a clear sign the Hindu Gods had chosen him to own those thirty acres.

The sign was a metal rod; its one end buried deep into the stone; its other end sticking out a few inches. The British authorities, in their attempts at dissuasion and discouragement, tried to, either, remove the rod, or to break it, or to bend it flat against the stone surface. They failed in every attempt.

That Hindu farmer believed the Gods required him to farm that red hill for as long as that metal rod was visible above the stone surface.

The presence of poisonous snakes in the northern and eastern quadrants of the farm kept the farm free of human intruders spilling over from allegedly advanced Civilizations advancing from those directions. Rarely had snakes to go to the extent of biting intruders.

Cobras, especially, had only to rare themselves on their tails up a few feet, and display their spectacular hoods to maximum spread. Intruders fled in mind-threatening fear, never to return.

The farmer himself, in careless moments, was chased by large serpents running upright on their minimally-bent tails. So far, he had never been bitten. Thank the Hindu Gods!

Another miracle of the farm on red hill, was the fresh-water spring. Only after the farmer had taken ownership, did the spring appear. A sinkhole formed at a far end opposite to the stone desert. A spring gushed up water in the hole to form a small lake. From the lake flowed a stream to the edge of the stone where the stream disappeared, sinking into the earth.

The stream provided water for the fruit and vegetable crops cultivated by the farmer, for himself and for sale at the marketplaces beyond the farm.

Why was the soil red throughout the farm?

The simple answer by science is that the redness comes from the predominant presence of the iron oxide mineral, which is harmless to life.

The Hindu farmer's explanation was that the red was the blood that was being shed in a war being waged in another parallel living Dimension. The metal rod had been inserted by the Gods to safeguard our Earth Dimension from that other warring Dimension spilling onto us. When the battle ends in that other parallel Dimension, the Gods will remove the rod.

My connection to the farm on the red hill was my Grampa. His parents had been indentured labourers from India. After their five-year contract had expired, they returned to India. My Grampa was born in British Africa. By the time his parents left Africa, he was married, with children.

The name of the Hindu farmer who owned the farm on the red hill, was Runth. He had emigrated from India as an indentured labourer in the company of Grampa's parents. Grampa took me to spend time on the farm on the red hill on a few Sundays when I was a child. He cautioned me that, because we were strangers on that farm, to never step onto any part of that stone desert in order to remain beyond the reach of whichever Hindu Gods owned that metal rod. Grampa did not explain why those Hindu Gods would take an interest in a stranger; and since as a child I was already trembling scared about being taken interest in by Hindu Gods, about whom at that time I knew absolutely nothing, I did not ask Grampa to explain.

Runth had never married. He said he had thought, always, it had been his decision. But after he was visited by the Gods in his dream, he believed it had been the will of the Gods, from the beginning. When Grampa was on his deathbed in 1949, Runth and I were at his bedside. Grampa's last words were to Runth.

When Granny asked Runth what Grampa had said to him, Runth said Grampa was speaking a language Runth did not know.

Eighteen years after Grampa died, I emigrated. In those eighteen years, I had never heard about the farm on that red hill. I have not made an attempt to know, mainly in order to remain beyond the reach of the owners of that metal rod sticking out of that stone desert.

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