The Gravediggers – by Peter Halder

Guyana Stories by Peter Halder.

The Gravediggers

by Peter Halder

Two gravediggers laboured at a plot on the eastern side of the white brick road in the Le Repentir Cemetery near the huge white gate at Sussex Street. They finished digging the hole for a grave at 5.45 just before the cemetery gates closed at 6.00 p.m. The mud they dug up was piled on two sides of the hole. Jumbie Jerrold told his friend Clement Graves that he was so tired, he will place four thick concrete paper containers at the bottom of the hole and take a short nap there before going home. He was soon fast asleep.   

Bhaji Ramraji was at his usual watering hole at Green and Gold Bar at D’Urban Street and Louisa Row drowning his worries of the day in a flattie of Bookers High Wine, 100 % proof. He toiled with his High Wine, schnapp glass and water while the Jumbie toiled in deep sleep.

The rum shop closed at ten o’clock and Bhaji, high like a kite from the effects of the potent High Wine, weaved his way along Louisa Row to the Princess Street cemetery gate. What little sense and consciousness was left in him persuaded him to walk through the cemetery at that time since it was the shortest distance to his batchelor room in a long range on Curtis Street, Albouystown.

The drunk man proceeded to climb over the gate with some spirited dexterity. He walk along the red gravelled road and on to the white brick road leading to the Sussex Street gate. The moans, groans and sounds of crickets and jumbie birds in the cemetery had no effect on his alcoholic fortified mind.

As he neared, the Sussex Street gate, he heard what he was sure was human moaning and a voice, that of Jumbie still resting in the hole, pleading, “Ah feeling cold. Oh me mooma, ah feeling cold.”

The words penetrated the drunken consciousness of Bhaji with some compassion. He shouted out, “Poor dead man, me sarry foh yoh. No wonda you ah feel cold. Dem nah covah yoh up in the grave yet. Me goh do it foh mek you feel warm.” And with that, Bhaji immediately seized one of the spades stuck in a pile and began shoveling mud into the hole.


ALL RIGHTS RESERVED : Burnett A. Halder 2013

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  • Dmitri Allicock  On August 13, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Ha! Ha! Love it!

    • Peter Halder  On August 13, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      I’m glad

  • travelconnexxions  On August 13, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Another great short story, Mr. Halder.

  • Peter Halder  On August 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm


  • Deen  On August 13, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Peter, thanks for “digging up” (to use a pun) those old stories. Funny. You have a crafty sense of humor and an art in telling it. Please let us hear more.

  • Cliff Thomas  On August 13, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    You seem to be very witty Peter. Enjoyable.

  • Peter Halder  On August 14, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Thank you.

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