Ephraim was thin and scrawny , simply dressed and barefooted, He kept his eyes to the floor.
''There's no need to be frightened of me , ''Washington told him. I am not going to beat you.
Ephraim nodded , but didn't seem convinced. Are you hungry? Washington asked him.
Chile bin fed , Alfred said , but Ephraim looked up at Washington with large and sorrowful eyes. He had been well fed that morning , but he was always hungry. I's allus hungry, he said.
Thought so , Washington said cheerily. I am too. Why don't you and I find somebread and cheese and get to know each other.
He led Ephraim to the back of the store, found some fresh bread and a lump ofhard cheese , and the two sat together , munching happily , while Washington told Ephraim what was expected of him.
Alfred came to James , and put some papers on the counter .
Sign here, Massa, he instructed James.
James signed where he indicated. It was official . He owneda slave.
Dat a hunerd dollar you owe Massa Andrew, he said . But he take it in kind.
He tipped his hat , and left the store. James went to join Washington and Ephraim.
Where is your mother ,Ephraim? Washington asked the little slave , who looked at the floor again, because he didn't understand the question.
Yo , mammy. Washington had already picked a few words of the slaves' dialect.Where is she?
Wi Massa Jackson , Ephraim whispered . There was a tear in his eyes. This big white man might be quite friendly , but he was his Massa and Massas could turn on nigger boys at any moment.
And he missed his mammy. Although he had only been parted from her that morning, he did not expect to see her again.
Well , I'll take you with me sometimes ,when I go visit Massa. Jakson's farm ,Washington told him , for he missed his Mother. And you can see your mammy. Ephraim looked at him again , as if he couldn't quite believe his ears, or his luck.
Now , let's go and look at your room, Washington said , and led Ephraim away.
James stayed in the store , beset by two conflicting emotions. He was quite proud of the fact taht he now owned a slave, of some value. He was becoming a manof property and substance.
But he was also ashamed. It was not occured to him that Ephraim might miss his mammy. Or even that he had one.
Nashville, les USA, au début du 19ème siècle, James et Washington, deux jeunes immigrants irlandais, possèdent un magasin(dépôt) et ont décidé d'acheter à un esclave pour les aider. Andrew Jackson, un ami de leurs, a offert de leur vendreEphraim, un garçon de neuf ans.
Ephraim était mince et décharné, simplement paré et aux pieds nus, Il a gardé ses yeux au plancher(à l'étage).
"Il n'y a aucun besoin à être effrayé de moi," Washington lui a dit. Je ne vais pas vous battre. Ephraim a incliné la tête, mais n'a pas semblé convaincu. Ayez vous faim ? Washington lui a demandé. La poubelle du Chili a alimenté, Alfred a dit, mais Ephraima levé les yeux Washington d'yeux grands et tristes. Il avait été bien alimenté ce matin, mais il a eu toujours faim. I allus affamé, il a dit.
La pensée si, Washington a dit joyeusement. Je suis aussi. Pourquoi ne font pas vous et je trouve du pain et le fromage et me parviens à connaître.
Il a mené Ephraim au dos du magasin(dépôt), a trouvé du pain frais et un morceau ofhard le fromage etles deux ont été assis ensemble, mâchant heureusement, tandis que Washington a dit à Ephraim à quoi on s'est attendu de lui.
Alfred est venu à James et a mis quelques papiers sur le comptoir(compteur).
Le signe(panneau) ici, Massa, il a instruit James.
James a signé où il a indiqué. C'était officiel. Il a possédé un esclave.
Dat un dollar hunerd vous devez Massa Andrew, il a dit. Mais il le...