After the Earthquake by James Courage

After the Earthquake by James Courage

New Zealand has always been a small and not too populated country. A few hundred years ago, the people from Britain began to move there to start a new life and become farmers. Also, the new land was in need of good doctors and teachers. People settled in small towns where each person knew the other. So everyone knows the stories of each other’s family and no one can keep their problems in secret. Children usually do not notice too much. But Walter is different. He is only six years old, but he has already started asking questions. At the end of the week there is a strong earthquake. Walter’s father wakes in the middle of the night from the jolts of the earth. The man looks around, but noticed that the house is in order and nothing in the yard is destroyed. His wife wonders if little Walter woke up in his room.

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After the Earthquake by James Courage

More than a century ago, many people from Britain sailed out to New Zealand, to start new lives as farmers or doctors or teachers. It was not a crowded country, and people on farms and in small towns all knew each other. They knew each other’s family history, how much money they had, who loved whom, who hated whom…

After the Earthquake by James Courage

Children, of course, must not know too much, about what adults do and think and feel. But Walter, who is only six, notices things and likes to ask questions…

The earthquake happened late on a Saturday right in summer and shook the coast, the farms, and the towns for twenty miles, from the sea to the mountains. At the Blakiston home, everybody had gone to bed and was asleep, but the shake woke Mr Blakiston immediately. When it was over, he sat up in bed, lit his candle, and looked about him at the walls and ceiling. He could not see any damage, although the quake had been strong and had shaken the house from side to side for a moment or two.

‘Are you all right?’ Mr Blakiston asked his wife, who was now awake beside him.

‘Yes, dear, but do go and see if Walter is awake. He may be frightened.’ She had been frightened herself, waking from a dream of ships on the sea.

Her husband rested on one elbow, staring at the candle and listening for sounds from his son’s room. Walter was six and had his own room near the top of the stairs.

‘He must be all right,’ said Mr Blakiston, hearing no sound in the house. He blew out the candle and lay back beside his wife. ‘Still, that was a bad little quake. Yes, a damn bad little quake.’ Soon he was asleep again….

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