Culture and tradition? They are nothing but twin sisters in a symbiotic relationship. It would be hard to tell which of the two was sucking the virtue and the moral rights of the people. Generations have come and gone. Good and bad people fading with its hood. These traditions that govern the cultures of the people had been enacted by some of the fathers who had lived long before the village had been born. But, thinking about it now, it would be difficult to pinpoint the moment in history when evil had crept in. The people had lived long enough with the folk tales of the fathers to blot the dent in the dough that had swelled in the batch of morality. Perhaps the adage, Ihe ojo gba afo, obulu omenala (If evil remains long enough it becomes a culture), was in play at the moment. Or was it the people? Why was it so hard to play the good card in life? Ejima hissed as she traced her path into the forest. She tried to keep her mind from wandering, but too many things tussled for her attenti
It would have been a frosty night if the sound of the ikoro had not beaten down the serenity and dethroned it from its place. Not even the people dancing around the fire could tell the maturity of the cold night. They had forgotten their wine calabash, for the first time in history. These men who love palm wine more than they loved their lives, had left their wine on the bench all because they were dancing. Unbelievable. Jidenna smiled as his almond eyes darted away from the gyrating men to the boys who knelt in front of the Dibia. The palm leaf that lined their lips made them look like an agent of death. Even though they looked tough and held a gaze that was stone cold, he couldn't count any of the five who hadn't fallen under his prey. Those bulging muscles that lined their skin were intimidating, but the boys were weaklings and would do anything to keep their reputation and ego. Jidenna yawned but covered his mouth when he caught the expression on his father's face. They were cold
Jidenna rubbed his eyes and walked out from his little bamboo bed. He yawned wide, giving no care to his father’s instructions to always cover his mouth whenever the need to ease his air tract arises. The good news was that his father was nowhere near his little hut. He was away to the Igwe’s (King’s) palace and will not return until the birds retire to their nest. The man’s lectures never cease. They always went on and on until the sun was high on the cloud. If the ears could get filled up, Jide was sure that his ears would be overflowing with all the instructions his father was laying down for him. He picked his clay cup, and with his free hands, washed the drool from his face, before gulping a good quantity to rinse his mouth. He was becoming a man and his father always forgets that part. Obi will not remain a boy forever, will he? A voice at the back of his head affirmed. Besides, Ugomma was living next to their compound. What will she say when she sees the drool on his face?
"Why Papa?" Jide asked, "why are men so cruel and attack with insult things they don't understand?" Maduka stroked his ears and smelled his first finger before returning to his stool. Jide thought he was going to lick the finger, like some of the elders in the village. But instead, his father washed his hands and returned to sharpening his machete. The lines on his face were deepened, adding more wrinkles to his aging features. Two years ago, his face was as straight as the white stones which he uses to sharpen his swords. Two years ago, he was the best warrior in Umudike and had fought with valor to return the lost glory of the kingdom. Two years ago. Jide shook his head with pity. His father was a man of honor, a brave soldier that put down anything that stood in his way. But now, everything had changed. His life and his position. Everything. His glory days were now reduced to lullabies as if they were some epitaph meant for the ears of the dead alone. "It's a human thing, my so
The heat of the sun was already soft on her skin by the time she caught sight of the basket again. Perhaps the sun was going to bed, she couldn’t tell for sure. Her hands were burning and every muscle seemed to have turned into water. Fatigue was setting in and she knew it. She also knew that if she ceased using her hands as an oar, she would lose sight of the basket which was floating now at the edge of the river. Confident that the current of the river would not carry the basket away, she stopped beating the waters and immersed her head into the river. Every part of her body seemed to relax as the warm hands of the water massaged the weariness in her muscles. She even gulped some amount and was glad when the natural freshness strolled through her throat and blessed her thirst. With the help of the rafter, she pushed herself back to the surface, sucking the warm evening air that hung on every corner of the water body. The tenderness of the river reminded her of her husband. They ha
"You are a spy aren't you?" The missing toe woman asked. The hoarseness in her voice was soul-piercing and could almost chase one's skeleton out of their skin. If Ejima remembered correctly, the coldness and rigidity in the woman's voice bore a resemblance with those of the Dibia back in the village. "And you are the creature with a missing toe?" "Missing what?" the woman's brow tightened, "I can see you are the talker. Wait until we meet the chief, I would gladly shove my spear through your throat and cut out those stupid tongues of yours. Now move." The woman bellowed, nudging her spear and pointing them to the narrow road. Ejima grumbled but obeyed as if the woman had placed a yoke on her neck. Her index finger was no longer bleeding, but the pain was by no means ebbing away. They were still burning and pulsing as though they wanted to draw out her veins. "I will make sure you suffer great discomfort," The woman said. Ejima licked her lower lips. She needed a plan and fast.
Jide clenched his fist and shifted the wooden stool on his head. The sun was just beginning to stand on the world so high, but he could sense his blood boiling with what he could only interpret as anger. The uneasiness on his soul added more salt to his injury. This was a futile effort. Reporting the town crier's crime to the elders was like a deer picking a fight with a Wolf and going after to report to the pack how badly they've hurt it. They were all the same, the elders and the town crier alike. Stray dogs don't leave their deeds in the dark. Even their whiff could be perceived from a far distance. Jide hissed and held firmly the wooden stool whose weight was beginning to burrow a hole in his scalp. While most Osu (outcasts), would die with excitement to have a moment in the King’s court, Jide found it rather annoying. The urine smell of the court, and the old woman who walked about bare chest, made him wonder if beauty has lost its tussle with ugliness. Even those so-called wise
Thick bamboo fences separated the King's compound from the rest of the village. As usual, the urine fustiness trimmed the outer court, bringing back the image of the decayed deer Jide had seen some months back. Old women of different sizes and shapes promenaded to and fro, with royal animal skin, lining their waist, leaving their breasts to flap from side to side like a banana leaf. They were chatting the morning away, obviously unaffected by the stench looming on every corner. Jide has never seen so many old people clustering in one place before. That must be the reason for the stink. Perhaps they rarely bathe or wash. Or was it unanimous with old people? Well, if growing old means smelling like an abandoned cloth that was soaked in a smog of wasted garbage, then Jide prefers to remain a kid forever. He would rather smell like butter every day and remain a kid than have gray hairs and folded skins with flies as a company. “This way,” Maduka said. Taking the lead. Jide hurried behind