Stories and Traveltips

ID #5160

Jock of the Bushveld, A Book by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, Lowveld, Mpumalanga, South Africa.

The book tells of Fitzpatrick's travels with his dog and Jim Makokel(sp), the Zulu warrior who befriended him, during the 1880s when Fitzpatrick worked as a storeman, prospector's assistant, journalist and ox-wagon transport-rider in the Transvaal Bushveld (then the South African Republic).

Not long into his career as a transport rider, one of Fitzpatrick's companions dogs had a litter of puppies. She was a respected, though unattractive, trail dog which had been covered by a pedigree bull terrier. Five of her six pups were the epitome of their breed -- strong, fat and with good colouring. However, one was a runt. He was weedy, ill-proportioned and constantly the victim of sibling attack. Since the runt had not been spoken for, Percy thought of taking him on as his own. However, at the very last moment Percy was offered the pick of the litter.   After a night of contemplation, he decided to stick with the weakling, saving him from being drowned in a bucket (he would ruin the litter if left with them). It seemed as if the puppy knew that Fitzpatrick was his master from day one and followed him home without any coaching.

This was the start of many great adventures. The little puppy grew into a great and fearless dog, which Fitzpatrick called Jock  He was loyal and brave, well-liked, respected and well-behaved. He lived out his life at Percy’s side with unwavering loyalty and his memory inspired many a bedtime story to Percy’s three children. However, only after Fitzpatrick had made his fortune, settled down and become an established and respected member of society did he take pen to paper and share these delightful tales with the rest of the world. ‘Jock of the Bushveld’ was first published in 1907 and it became an instant best seller and a local classic. Since then it has never been out of print and it has been the subject of at least one movie. There is a statue dedicated to this faithful companion which stands in front of the Barberton Town Hall in Mpumalanga.

Rudyard Kipling also took part in these story-telling evenings and persuaded Fitzpatrick to collect these tales together in book form. Illustrations for the book were done by Edmund Caldwell, a brother of Mary Tourtel, creator of Rupert Bear. The book was first published in 1907 and had a warm reception, being reprinted four times in that year alone. Since then it has achieved the status of a classic and has been widely read abroad - more than one hundred editions have been printed and it has been translated into Afrikaans, Dutch, French, Xhosa and Zulu, amongst others.

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 

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Last update: 2014-05-14 14:02
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.13

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