Thus did that day progress from morning on, and during its course it seemed to thicken towards evening. When an aged person dies, it is often linked to a sense of liberation, but that was not the case here. Kustaa had not really talked with his father since he was a child — and his childhood had continued until his mother’s death. Now his father had silently withdrawn, leaving unsaid what he might perhaps have said to a grown man. And he that departs in silence departs as a victor.
That evening Kustaa set off quite early for the forest.
‘What kind of man are you? Your father’s corpse is still warm, and you are off in pursuit of women. Do you know, boy, what killed your father?’
‘I think that Hilma should know what has happened,’ Kusta replied to his aunt.
‘Are you going to bring that person here now, when...’
‘I do not know — after all, it was you who drove her from here.’
‘It was not I who drove her out, but I do not think she should come here until the man who drove her out is buried.’
Even though Kustaa knew exactly how things stood on the matter, this conversation made an unpleasant impression on him. Where his father’s silence had been effective, his father's sister’s words were not without effect, either. Kustaa lacked one ability: he could not be ruthless in the face of evil. This was also the key to his destiny later, when the real, substantial ordeals came. He was susceptible to poison…
translated from Finnish by David McDuff
Silja - 2
Silja - 3
Silja - 4
Silja - 5
Silja - 6
Silja - 7
Silja - 8
Silja - 9