Rough Diamonds

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Chapter 19

Jako Retief

Jako was playing with Mike and his Scalectrix model racing car set when he heard the car. It was an Austin. “It’s Grandpa!”, he exclaimed to Mike.

He rushed to open the heavy steel gate and followed the car to where it was to be parked.

“Can I help you carry something?”

“Yes, please.” He entered the Retief home.

“Hello, Shirley, I’m here.”

Jako and Grandpa were on the lawn.

“I’ve got something for you, Jako,” Grandpa said while herding him aside in the garden.

“With Granny passing away, I want you to keep it a secret.”

Jako wondered what this secret was. His grandfather reached into his inside jacket pocket and pulled out a cloth that held some or other objects. Arthur opened it, and Jako what looked like three lumps of glass.

“Remember, you have to keep it a secret,” he said. In a hushed voice, he added: “Diamonds.”

Jako looked at him quizzically and much too loudly said: “Diamonds? Are you sure?”

“They’re rough. They haven’t been finished or even cut.”

Jako’s interest piqued. “Wowee! Diamonds!” He studied the three lumps, each about 1.5cm in diameter, then picked one up.

The pair were standing on the lawn far away from the house.

“Be careful. You mustn’t drop them in the grass,” Arthur shuffled nervously. “I have been hiding them in a tin in the bottom of my cupboard, out of sight of prying eyes.”

I’ll hide them in a secret place. Jako thought quickly. “I’ve got a great location.”

He paused to check that nobody else was listening. He went on under his breath: “In the mountains, or hills, way over there. We found a cave, where Robert was killed by a rock fall.” He paused to absorb the strain of the memory of his friend’s bloody remains.

Jako’s grandfather looked shocked. “What sad news.”

“Yes, that was. “Jako added: “The cave’s halfway up the hill.”

He stared into the distance, but he couldn’t see the cave. “I’ll just have to take your word for it. Just be careful where you hide them.” As an afterthought, he said: “Don’t let anybody else know about them.”

Jako was deep in thought. “I need to tell Mike about the… ” He paused and looked over his shoulder to check that no one could hear him, “... diamonds.”

Grandpa thought long and hard about this. “I’ve probably got a few more years to live. But, look at your granny. She was here one moment and gone the next.

“Tell Mike,” he gave in. “Do you want to know where I got these?” He edged Jako further from the house. Just to be safe.

“You know I fought in the First World War in South West Africa?” I was lost and I came across the three stones.”

Jako noticed Grandpa pausing for effect. “They were hidden behind some rocks. I don’t know how they got there. Maybe they were brought close to the Earth’s surface through deep volcanic eruptions by magma, the molten lava that flows out of the top of volcanoes. It must have happened ages ago.”

Jako hung on his every word.

“Or, perhaps some German hid them and forgot where he put them.”

Grandpa added: “Do you know that diamonds are the hardest material?”

Jako was enjoying the story. “But you could have sold them and made some money from them.”

“The war was one of many hardships, I would have got little or nothing for them, because there was a risk that the police would have confiscated them.”

Jako looked at the stones with amazement. He couldn’t even imagine what would have happened to the diamonds.

“I want to tell Mike.”

“Go ahead,” said Grandpa. “But, don’t tell Kate-Emily.”

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