Light and Dark

During the middle 1800s in the southern United States of America, black people were forced into slavery due to the belief of white people having superiority over them. Not all white people felt this was right, however. This story is about a young slave named Anna and the friendship she develops with her new master's son, Jacob. The two look out for each other, and learn the value of true loyalty, especially when one of them is put to the ultimate test.


4. All Work and No Play

Once Madame Caroline requests the twenty-five year old slave, Cindy, to show the boys around, Griselda, the fifteen year old is left with me. "This way", she orders in a sharp and clear voice that sounds exactly as a tour guide's should. She shows me the fields("We won't be working near there, of course," she explains), the manor(only the kitchen, sewing room, and bathrooms. Griselda says that the bedrooms are for the older slaves to clean.), and finally where we stay. A comfortable shed near the house, it contains a bucket for water and two straw beds. I am quite pleased so far by the luxury of having a whole bucket of water per day. On Master Randolph's farm, each slave must have only one handful of water three times per day. This a nice change of pace.

"We are to work in the manor. I assist Mistress Caroline, while you assist Master Jacob," she explains, sounding very bored. I decide to nod to whatever she says, so as not to annoy her, and ask Master Jacob questions at the appropriate time. As we prepare for bed, I wonder why Griselda is so professional and impersonal. I understand that she has a job to do, but she never welcomed or assured me. I can only imagine what it must be like to never smile - a horrible thing to assume, I know, but I see no evidence of laugh lines around her mouth.


The sun rises, and I reluctantly open my eyes. Sitting up, I look around the room. Griselda is nowhere to be seen. I wonder where she has gone. I swing my legs out of bed, and search for some measly scrap of food. Nothing is found, so I decide to search for Griselda.

I step out of the shed. Griselda is by the water pump and working hard, quickly and quietly. I wonder why, and step up to ask her when Master James comes out of the house. Seeing this, Griselda turns and runs as fast and softly as she can with her bucket of water. I rush to hold open the door for her. She alarmingly spots me, but sees that I will not be what gives her away. Inside, she sets the bucket down and turns to me. "What were you doing out there, Anna?" She demands.

"Why were you running, Griselda?" I inquire. She slowly releases her intense gaze.

"Because I snuck these out for you," she admits as she produces two large white eggs from her robes. "Master James will never notice, but he will if he sees me with them." I nod, understanding. "Anna, I see in your eyes that you come from a kind, relaxed place. This is nothing like your previous home, I am afraid." As I grow sad at the thought of a harsh and cruel life, Griselda announces, "It is time you meet Mistress Caroline and Master Jacob, the kindest owners you will ever meet, by far."

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