My vreugdes en frustrasies

Flash Fiction

What Pegman Saw: The Company’s Garden

Google map: The Company’s Garden

This week Pegman takes us to Cape Town, South Africa. Feel free to stroll around the area using the Google street view and grab any picture you choose to include in your post.

I am jumping with excitement. Today we are visiting the Company’s Garden.

“Mummy, will you please buy peanuts to feed the pigeons and the squirrels?”

“Yes, darling child. We are also going to the museum; I want you to learn about the history of our ancestors and our country.”

“Will the ancestors be at the gate to sell the peanuts? Maybe ice cream too?”

“Darling, the ancestors are long dead. You’ll learn more about them at the museum.”

Passing the benches lining the avenue where the squirrels and pigeons hang out, she says: “Sit here on the bench marked ‘Whites Only’”.

“The squirrels and pigeons are all colours, Mummy, not only white?”

 “Oh, for the love of … !”

Father tries to defuse the situation: “She is six years old.”

“Yes, and if she keeps focussing on peanuts and ice cream, she will remain ignorant for the next sixty years”.

150 words

Note: This is my very first stab at flash fiction; please be kind 😀 Constructive criticism is welcome!


The Company’s Garden is a heritage site situated in central Cape Town. The beautiful park, originally created in 1650 by the first European settlers (Dutch East India Company) as a garden to provide fresh produce to ships rounding the Cape of Storms on their way to the East, is maintained as a botanical garden to this day. The park is watered from a dam which accumulates water from the lower slopes of Table Mountain.

The park boasts, inter alia, a beautiful rose garden established in 1929, a well-stocked fish pond, an aviary, a herb and succulent garden, valuable trees of botanical and historical value, lawns and benches where visitors can rest and enjoy the ambience, and historical statues. Also housed within the grounds are the Iziko South African Museum and National Gallery.

Historical buildings in close proximity to the Company’s Garden include the Parliament of SA, the old Slave Lodge, the Tuynhuys (“Garden House”, the Cape Town office of the Presidency) and The Jewish Museum (Cape Town Holocaust Centre).

The first image below is my mother as a young woman (circa 1941), and the second a photo of my mother and myself (circa 1958), both captured in the Company’s Garden, the latter 60 years ago, during the years of Apartheid and political turmoil. These photos and our numerous visits to the Company’s Garden inspired the fictional dialogue above.

To enjoy stories inspired by the What Pegman Saw prompt or to submit your own one hundred and fifty-word story, visit the inLinkz button:

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  1. Kosbare foto’s

  2. Dit is wonderlike! Snaaks genoeg, ek het net vandag gedink hoe ANDERS ons kinderjare was. Ons het in Bophuthatswana gewoon toe my middelkind vir my geroep het en vir my gesê daar is ‘n groen man by die deur – I thought perhaps those men from Mars had arrived at last, only to find ‘n swart man in ‘n groen oorpak by ons deur!

    • Comment by post author

      Ek moes nou eers lag vir die groen man. Ek het op die platteland grootgeword in die Noord-Kaap en “apartheid” is ‘n woord wat nooit in ons woordeskat was voor die middel sestigs nie. Ons het gereeld gaan kuier by Dora, ons huiswerker en dagmoeder (my ma het gewerk) en ons speelmaatjies was die kleurlingkinders wat die heerlikste speletjies kon uitdink.

  3. I really enjoyed this, Hester. And it’s a very impressive debut into the world of flash fiction. I particularly liked the fact that you’ve written it in the present tense – it was a long time before I started doing that, and I’ve since thought that it’s a particularly appropriate tense for flash. I use it a lot now. I loved the convincing voices of the mother and child as well. And it’s always entertaining to have an accompanying footnote to flesh out the subject matter. Now that you’ve tried Pegman, why not try Friday Fictioneers? Beware, only 100 words there. 🙂

    • Comment by post author

      Thank you for the lovely comments, Sandra. I’m sure that I will be learning a lot from participating in these challenges. A 100 words – oh my word! I am certainly going to try and thank you for the invitation.

  4. Dear Hester,

    May the child always be so “ignorant.” Lovely flash fiction debut. I echo Sandra in inviting you to Friday Fictioneers. Try your hand at 100 words. My guess is that you’re up to the challenge.



  5. Awesome Hester! You jumped into it in full force! Using dialogue is ideal for flash fiction. Feels real. Sandra and Rochelle are old flash fictioneers!

  6. Wow vir n eerste keer! Ek hoopvdit word erens gepubliseer. Laat weet asb.

  7. Well done. In vandag se tyd sal grondboontjies die laaste ding wees waarvoor kinders sal vra, dis mos kompressiepitte.

  8. Well done Hester

  9. Hierdie het my verbygegaak weens een of ander duistere rede waar weens herlewing in ander formaat hedendaags toekel is my aandag daarop gevestig.

  10. Never written a flash (or any other kinds of fiction, for that matter) myself, I find this enjoyable 🙂