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Freedom's Tree

by Matthew Primous 3 months ago in history
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Bourgnewian Legendary Tale

Freedom's Tree
Photo by Jan Huber on Unsplash

Gather round children. I am gonna tell ya a story about that tree planted in the center of the family's land. It was planted in 1855 when your great great great grandfather escaped slavery. His father told him to planted this tree for it symbolized freedom. And he kept his promise to his father who gave his life for his freedom. The Naturner Family goes way back in the Deep South, it must have been a century before they escaped. Their family were taken from somewhere in west Africa by boat with slave traders. They were chained up so they could not escaped. They ate in chains, they slept in chains, everything was done in chains on the boat. They had a rough ride through the Atlantic Ocean with a pitstop in the Carribeans where they were to be sold to the highest bidder. The patriarch of the Naturner Family was still with his native tribemen. They had the men separated from the women in different levels of the ship. Naturner and the tribesmen were scared of their massive guns and weaponry. All of the tribe was separated except pregnant women. The pregnant women were seen as worth more because of two were sold for the price of one. Naturner ended up with a slavemaster who gave him that name. He believed Naturner would serve the family long and would be obedient since he was so young. He was about 17 years old when he went into slavery. Slave life was hard being feed bites and leftovers. Naturner would worked out in the field all day and sometimes all night. He did this consecutively thinking his master would free him or make his life better. Afterall, his Master taught him how to read from the Bible and basic English to understand commands. He would try to be the best slave he could be. And one day, he was called into the Master's house, he had to stand without sitting because he was a slave. The Master said that he was a good slave and that he sees fit for him to have a wife. The Master wanted him to have children so he could sell them to his friends and neighbors. Naturner was happy but he figured something wasn't right. Naturner and his wife had no wedding because they were slaves. She was just brought into his slave cabin. She had to work in the Master's house. Naturner was thankful because she would be able to endure her pregnancy in the Master's house rather than in the field. He was inspired and hopeful to do more work for his master. He would work all night just to hold her in the morning and eat with her. He would double his labor just for a child. When she bore a child, the doctor said she cannot have anymore. The child was a boy and he named him Nat after the Master's suggestion. Naturner seen his family less and less. He had to do extra labor to see his wife. His son was under the Master's care. Everyday he would try to look through the Master's window to glance at his son and wife. It was like this for several years until the boy turned ten years old. When Master was preparing for his daughter's wedding, Naturner's wife overheard the Master saying that he will sell Nat to the groom's family. The Master's daughter wedding was at the end of harvest. Naturner's wife told him the Master's plan and he was furious. He then turned on his Master and plotted to escape with his family. Now the Master was in no condition to run after slaves, he begin letting Naturner take with him more family time. The Naturner family begin to plot how they might runaway together. They waited till the new season came where the sun started to go down quicker. And just after the day's work ended, Naturner's wife has been storing up food from the Master's house and when she received enough. Naturner has been watching the slavedrivers and they took a break at twilight. The Naturner family stood awake until they heard the horses leave. The Naturner family fled on foot and they walked all that night about a couple of miles in the wilderness. They hid by day in the forest. Master was angry and he demanded answers from the other slavedrivers. He called the bounty to help them find the Naturner Family. They were on the run days turned into weeks. And just when they were about to run out of food, they found the Underground Railroad. When they travelled with them about a week, Master caught up with them. The Naturner family travelled two miles ahead and Master was two and a quarter mile away. Naturner's wife worried and cried to her husband, Naturner. He brought in his son, "Nat I have to asked you to do this thing. Runaway with your Momma. It's me they want. I cannot bear for you to be a slave. Your mother will teach you everything about me but I have to sacrifice myself for ya. It's not easy but I am willing. I must. Ya are the only family I have." Nat said,"But Father who will protect us, who will be there for us? How can I be a man without learning from my father?" Naturner responded, "Son you can remember me by planting that tree. Remember I labor for you. Your mother gave birth to you. But I bore the lashes, I bore the labor. I cried for you. I would die for you. They say a tree lives very long. And it symbolized freedom. Remember and don't ever give up. Now I have to go." Naturner's wife exclaimed,"Naturner don't go without hugging and kissing us. Your love is all I had but now I have to receive it from my son and his children. I will never marry another man not now not ever till death shall we part." And Naturner hugged and kissed his wife and then his son, he kissed his son's forehead and hugged him tight. Then Naturner said, "Now before I go. Stay with these fellows till you reached North and get your own land.Remember plant that tree.And son passed the land to your children's children. Good Bye." He waited a couple of miles off planning to distract the slavedrivers and bounty hunters by purposing leaving clues something he remember from his youth in Africa when hunting. He distracted them for weeks and they caught him. Till he finally decided in his mind that he wanted to be free and fought with them broke his chains and broke a couple of rifles until he was shot faraway by a bounty hunter. Naturner bled to death in the woods and his Master tried to retrace the steps of Naturner's wife and son but they made it here up North safe and established the family and planted this tree that stood nearly a hundred years.


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Matthew Primous

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