Ojadili an igbo fairy tale
- 25 Feb 2015
It all started when a certain stranger who did not know the laws of the land desecrated the sanctity of Idemili river. The man was said to be running away from a very fierce battle in his town, tired and exhausted. He must have eaten one of the fishes from the river with the blood still in it. Whatever his deeds were, he incurred the wrath of the gods upon the land. And so strange things started happening all through the thirteen villages. Two of their highly revered Chiefs were drowned in the river; their bodies were never found. Seven days later, the maidens went to fetch water from the stream, and without any premonition of any kind, the water suddenly turned to blood, leaving everyone running helter-skelter in fear and confusion. No one could tell exactly where what was happening was coming from, but at the same time, they didn't want to risk their lives for nothing. And so for several days, the people of the eastern coast had to trek to the neighbouring villages just to fetch water for their domestic needs, while they waited patiently for the elders and the chief priest to consult the oracles and find ways to appease the enraged deity. But then, in the course of going to other people's land to fetch water, argument ensued. There were allegations that their maidens were being molested by the young men of their host town. There was also the question of whether or not they should pay taxes to the king of the land that gave them water. Finally, after much debate and negotiations, the elders of the two villages resolved to settle their differences by a wrestling contest. In this way, they would ascertain the will of the gods. Their victory or defeat would decide if they should be allowed to drink freely from the water. Ojadili was the one chosen to represent his people. On the day of reckoning, Ojadili fought like a lion. Four hefty men were after him, pressing very hard and trying to subdue him with their excessive strength and power, but Ojadili employed all the wrestling prowess he knew and countered their energy with dexterity and determination. It took him about ten to fifteen minutes before he was able to throw the last man to the ground, and although it was not an easy victory, the heat of the battle was nothing compared to the sweetness of the victory. Even idemili, the river goddess, was so impressed by his performance that she withdrew all her wrath against the people, and for the first time after several months of drought, the people of the eastern coast were able to fetch and drink the water from their own river, and in their own land. And so the children chanted Ojadili's name. The maidens composed a delightful song with his name and sang it in the moonlight dance. Even the wildest of all the animals, adorned Ojadili's skills, and were tamed by the very sand that bore his footprint. But then, in all these victories and successes, Ojadili was not just a happy man. There was a growing void inside of him, an emptiness he longed to overcome. Yes, he has slain more than a thousand men in battles and in wars. He has wrestled in all the thirteen villages and beyond, and has come out victorious in all. But then, there was something missing. He wanted more than just a fight with his fellow mortals. He desires to cross the seven rivers, and beyond the evil forest, to the land of the spirit, where he would wrestle the gods themselves. The first person Ojadili told his plans was his mother. She cried endlessly, day after day, and night after night, begging his son to please come back to his senses and stop reasoning like a fool. No one has ever gone beyond the evil forest and came back alive. No one. When Ojadili told his Kinsmen of his plans, they reacted even worse than his mother and rebuked him for thinking up such evil thoughts. He was like the proverbial little bird, nwa nza, who got overfed with too much food and wine and then forgets how little it was, only to challenge his personal god to a wrestling contest. But then, after listening to all that the men had to say, Ojadili insisted that his mind was made up. With or without their approval, he would cross the seven rivers, caves and valleys, and to the land of the spirit where he would wrestle the gods. To this, the elders said their hands were tied. Ojadili is a grown man and has the right to indulge in any battle or adventure he so wishes to. But then, before they would allow him embark on any journey, he must follow them to the great soothsayer so they could ascertain the will of the gods over his life. The soothsayer, Igidigi, son of the rainmaker, did not live among his people. He spent most of his years in the wilderness and in the mountain tops, where he fed only on bees and locusts. Some say he doesn't drink water; others say he swallows thunder if he's thirsty. And after which, he would listen to the sound of the whispering trees, and would commune with the birds in silent meditation in hope for a message from his ancestors. And so it wasn't a surprise to Ojadili and his kinsmen when they were met at the foot of the mountain by Igidigi's messenger. It was a good sign after all. No one ever gets to see the fetish priest unless he's willing to be seen. After listening to Ojadili and his Kinsmen, Igidigi consulted his oracle, and when he got the answers he was seeking, he told his guests in clear words that Ojadili may go to the land of the spirits, but will never return the same man as he is when he left. This message was both warming and worrisome to Ojadli's kinsmen. They were relieved to hear that their son would come back from his journey, but they didn't quite understand what the native doctor meant when he said he would never return the same man. Ojadili's most pressing need however, became to find a suitable companion. Most of his friends turned down his request. And even the soothsayer, Igidigi, shouted down at him, and said he didn't want to join his ancestors yet, but would be with him in the spirit where he would pray to the gods for his safe return. Finally, it was Eloka, the least of his friends that offered to accompany Ojadili in his journey. Eloka was a bloody coward, just like his father before him. He would rather spend his valuable times drinking palm wine with the lots of his ilk, and in the evening, he would sit under a certain tree near the village Ilo with a handful of his friends, singing and dancing to the ogene they played. He was only an expert when it comes to playing his flute which he was very fond of. Ojadili hated the idea that a person like Eloka would accompany him in a daunting course such as this, but because he had no other option, he had to let Eloka come with him. Someone had to carry his water bag, his palm oil lantern, and his goatskin bag which contains his armory and his personal god. Eloka, though a drunkard and a coward, would be of service in this little purpose.
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- 25 Feb 2015
It all started when a certain stranger who did not know the laws of the land desecrated the sanctity of Idemili river. The man was said to be running away from a very fierce battle in his town, tired and exhausted. He must have eaten one of the fi...