Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love folklore Pastoral

The Man Who Never Lied

Hi everyone! How was your day? I have a story to share. So bring your seats and mats to the fireplace, listen attentively and may the nightingales sing us a lullaby when we retire to bed.


Once upon a time there lived a wise man by the name of Mamad. He never lied. All the people in the land, even the ones who lived twenty days away, knew about him.

The king heard about Mamad and ordered his subjects to bring him to the palace. He looked at the wise man and asked:

” Mamad, is it true, that you have never lied?”

” It’s true.”

“And you will never lie in your life?”

” I’m sure in that.”

“Okay, tell the truth, but be careful! The lie is cunning and it gets on your tongue easily.”

Several days passed and the king called Mamad once again. There was a big crowd: the king was about to go hunting. The king held his horse by the mane, his left foot was already on the stirrup. He ordered Mamad:

“Go to my summer palace and tell the queen I will be with her for lunch. Tell her to prepare a big feast. You will have lunch with me then.”

Mamad bowed down and went to the queen. Then the king laughed and said:

“We won’t go hunting and now Mamad will lie to the queen. Tomorrow we will laugh on his behalf.”

But the wise Mamad went to the palace and said:

“Maybe you should prepare a big feast for lunch tomorrow, and maybe you shouldn’t. Maybe the king will come by noon, and maybe he won’t.”

“Tell me will he come, or won’t he?” – asked the queen.

“I don’t know weather he put his right foot on the stirrup, or he put his left foot on the ground after I left.”

Everybody waited for the king. He came the next day and said to the queen:

“The wise Mamad, who never lies, lied to you yesterday.”

But the queen told him about the words of Mamad. And the king realized, that the wise man never lies, and says only that, which he saw with his own eyes.

Categories
folklore Pastoral Poetry

Another Tale from the Wild Woods

image

There’s a land behind those ancient hills
Hidden in the thick greened forest,
One of mighty foliage, brushes & roots
Dark green shrubs gather by the riverside
Ripe fruits plunge into the quiet waters
And fish schools scatter in excitement
Brown and black crabs meet to get drunk
Squirrels watch them, amused from treetops
The forest is awake, nature’s fine circus
At all times, the quiet cloud is navy blue
And king of forest do fall in love with it
When the cloud blush it rains softly; mildly
And little creatures which live in the land
Look up to the ever smiling forest king
‘Oh, how handsome his face look’, a cricket said
‘He is really in love with the selfish cloud
But we won’t understand why she always refuses
To love the handsome king back!’ some pigeons answered
‘I tell you that she is possessed, who should resist the forest king?’
The wolf alpha added, as he looked up
‘The forest king won’t talk yet, all he did is stare and smile
How savagely awful!’ Some pine trees whined
‘If for nothing but admiration is the reason to love
I choose not to love’, the philosophical Woodpecker concluded.

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Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love folklore lifestyle Nature nature poems Pastoral Poetry quotes

Lullaby: Tale of the young Shepherdess

I will tell you a rhyme of the shepherdess who loved her sheep,

She lives in the country and could sing her community to sleep

Twinkle went stars nested far up the pregnant black sky,

When black clouds float, the gathering rain storm sigh,

“It will rain, but it might wait a little,” the young shepherdess prayed

She saw the stars disappear from the midst of black clouds

So quickly she led her tired sheep through the barn door

“Up you go, up you go, quickly climb up the dry hay, up you go”

She took the lamb up the higher stairs where a big lamp hung

The little ones nuzzle, when the shepherdess struck up a song

The country was not so far away, everyone could hear her sing,

And how she sang heartily, that the hamlet relaxed with the eerie wind

Suddenly a stronger wind blew and gave the little community a cold push

“Ah, it’s perfectly monstrous weather,” she said when it gave another swoosh

“I must retire before the storm catch me here,” the shepherdess exclaimed

“But tell me what you will like to see in your beautiful dreams,” she asked

And so because they won’t speak or maybe know nothing to say

They only looked on, blinked sheepishly, then maaa-aa away

Categories
Africa culture/tradition folklore Igbo culture lifestyle Nature Pastoral Series

Diaries of a Village Boy: The Leopard Spirit 6

That night I had another attack. It was midnight and everybody was settled for some sleep. The moon was white, there were no stars and the evening brought mild breezes. Wild dogs and wolves howled from the hilly distance and the night was deafened in their terrifying noise. Night was nobody’s friend those days. Travelers were adviced not to travel by night. If they do they risk being attacked by wild animals or if unlucky may be taken by slave or head hunters or even worse, as the villagers believed, killed by wandering spirits of dead men.

I can’t recall exactly how it started, but in few minutes I fell off my bamboo bed and continued struggling with some invincible power on the ground. The twist and turns created a scene. The fall and noise woke even the heaviest sleeper and my sentinel, Nene. She yelled in fear and ran out of the room. Her dog followed her. From the passage I heard her cry for she was afraid to leave the hut that night.

I heard someone call Papa, ‘Where you deh Papa? Come fast please! It must be your boy.’ It seemed that this man heard Nene’s cry and woke to find out what the matter was. A rush followed as Papa and some men came. I felt hands all over my body when they tried to lift me up from the ground. I felt everything but couldn’t move. My body was stiff, I couldn’t even blink an eyelid.

‘Place him on his bamboo bed, so that his chest will be elevated.’ A voice adviced. Then my body was taken up to my bamboo bed. I sighed in pain. I felt palms pulling away at my legs and hands, massaging my body with some hot ointment. Few palms rubbed mmanu aku into my eyes, nose, ears and mouth. I sneezed, heavily, again and again. The pain was indescribable but as a man leaned over and made incantations I fell asleep immediately. I learned later in the morning, that father hired a dibia.

***

Morning was picturesque and dramatic as usual. Palm trees started a happy procession with the wind, that may continue till noon. Tree leaves fall, scattering with the flirty wind all over the hamlet. Little girls wished away the leaves so they could lazy around without sweeping. Activities resumed, older boys to farms, older girls to streams, younger boys to check rodent traps, younger girls to sweep. The women and men left for their various chores; dogs, cats and poultry played in the early sun. The whole village sent an emissary to my father’s compound to hear the latest news. My father who didn’t like much drama sent most away with assurance that I was fine.

‘Papa.’ I called from my room.

‘I’m here, my son.’

‘My head hurts badly.’

‘I’m sorry nwam, ndo. You’ll be fine, you’ll see.’ He consoled me. ‘Woman bring him some breakfast!’ He called to my mother. She wasn’t allowed into the room initially but the food gave her the chance to.

The aroma of yam and goat meat pepper soup rented the room when Mama brought the food. As Mama put the tray on the table she started crying. Papa asked some women to lead her away from the room…

To be continued…

Categories
Africa culture/tradition folklore Igbo culture lifestyle Nature Pastoral

African Folklore

Folklore are tales, legends, superstitions of a particular ethnic population. In Igbo culture and other African societies, story telling is unique, such that it is a passage to transmit the tradition of a place from one generation to another. These tales convey the history, ancient messages and old knowledge. They teach morals and virtues to younger people. I’m privileged to remember some tales I was told by Grandma. I was very close to the older folk in the community and it seemed I learned a lot fast. I loved and still adore rural life. During school holidays, I travel with my aunt to stay with my Grandma (God rest their souls). I learned rodent hunting, swimming, wrestling and other kinds of play from boys of my age. Countryside life was one of simplicity and I enjoyed every moment.

Learn Igbo language here.

On one occasion, I recall traveling with my aunt and in the hurry forgot all my shorts save from the one I went on. As my Grandma had no boy and so couldn’t provide shorts I was made to wear skirts. It amuses me till this day when I remember this. I played with other kids in a red skirt! I was very little then, but coming from town I knew playing naked wasn’t my thing. So I went with skirts. My family still tease me. They call me Mr Piper, after the kilt-wearing Scottish wrestler and we laugh over it.

Most times, tales are told in the evening, after dinner. In extended and nuclear families, tales are normally told near a charcoal fire outside, preferably under the shed of a tree, on a moon light night. If the tale was to be heard by all, then it will be somewhere more open, like the village square. The story teller most times will be an elderly person. The little ones will sit still, listen and watch them. I guess this was the origin of my interest in story telling.

Mbe (Mbo), the Tortoise is the primary actor or villain in Igbo tales. He is portrayed as a shrewd person who cunningly gets what he wants and sometimes fails. According to my Grandma and my aunt, Alibo is the name of the Tortoise wife. I can’t remember the son’s name but this will not matter. There are other notable characters in African folklore. There is the dog, snake, boar, elephant, lion, crocodile, cricket, leopard and the rest. Mind you, the names one ethnic group give their characters may differ from another. I hope you continue to enjoy these tales.

Have a good night everyone.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

African morning

In the morning the mild golden sun rise above the huts and hills
Painting the corn fields yellow and making the streams shimmer
Upon flowing rivers it glitters, till the dead end below a tree root
Big fishes stay ready to strafe up to pick insects off tree barks

In the hamlets, dogs chased cats, children played here and there
Men and boys went towards the great forests beyond the hills
To check hidden traps tucked away or tend to their farm needs
Girls pound yams, making dishes with bush meat from hunters

In the evenings, children and elderlies gather to hear night tales
When the moon light shine and the airs are soothingly mild
Everyone who wished to hear the tale of the night gather for it
And when it is told, even before the tales end many bent snoring…

Categories
Pastoral

Folklore: King Grisly Beard from Project Gutenberg

A great king of a land far away in the East had a daughter who was very beautiful, but so proud, and haughty, and conceited, that none of the princes who came to ask her in marriage was good enough for her, and she only made sport of them.

Once upon a time the king held a great feast, and asked thither all her suitors; and they all sat in a row, ranged according to their rank–kings, and princes, and dukes, and earls, and counts, and barons, and knights. Then the princess came in, and as she passed by them she had something spiteful to say to every one. The first was too fat: ‘He’s as round as a tub,’ said she. The next was too tall: ‘What a maypole!’ said she. The next was too short: ‘What a dumpling!’ said she. The fourth was too pale, and she called him ‘Wallface.’ The fifth was too red, so she called him ‘Coxcomb.’ The sixth was not straight enough; so she said he was like a green stick, that had been laid to dry over a baker’s oven. And thus she had some joke to crack upon every one: but she laughed more than all at a good king who was there. ‘Look at him,’ said she; ‘his beard is like an old mop; he shall be called Grisly-beard.’ So the king got the nickname of Grisly-beard.

But the old king was very angry when he saw how his daughter behaved, and how she ill-treated all his guests; and he vowed that, willing or unwilling, she should marry the first man, be he prince or beggar, that came to the door.

Two days after there came by a travelling fiddler, who began to play under the window and beg alms; and when the king heard him, he said, ‘Let him come in.’ So they brought in a dirty-looking fellow; and when he had sung before the king and the princess, he begged a boon. Then the king said, ‘You have sung so well, that I will give you my daughter for your wife.’ The princess begged and prayed; but the king said, ‘I have sworn to give you to the first comer, and I will keep my word.’ So words and tears were of no avail; the parson was sent for, and she was married to the fiddler. When this was over the king said, ‘Now get ready to go–you must not stay here–you must travel on with your husband.’ Then the fiddler went his way, and took her with him, and they soon came to a great wood. ‘Pray,’ said she, ‘whose is this wood?’

‘It belongs to King Grisly-beard,’ answered he; ‘hadst thou taken him, all had been thine.’ ‘Ah! unlucky wretch that I am!’ sighed she; ‘would that I had married King Grisly-beard!’ Next they came to some fine meadows. ‘Whose are these beautiful green meadows?’ said she. ‘They belong to King Grisly-beard, hadst thou taken him, they had all been thine.’ ‘Ah unlucky wretch that I am!’ said she; ‘would that I had married King Grisly-beard!’

Then they came to a great city. ‘Whose is this noble city?’ said she. ‘It belongs to King Grisly-beard; hadst thou taken him, it had all been thine.’ ‘Ah! wretch that I am!’ sighed she; ‘why did I not marry King Grisly-beard?’ ‘That is no business of mine,’ said the fiddler: ‘why should you wish for another husband? Am not I good enough for you?’ At last they came to a small cottage. ‘What a paltry place!’ said she; ‘to whom does that little dirty hole belong?’ Then the fiddler said, ‘That is your and my house, where we are to live.’ ‘Where are your servants?’ cried she. ‘What do we want with servants?’ said he; ‘you must do for yourself whatever is to be done. Now make the fire, and put on water and cook my supper, for I am very tired.’

But the princess knew nothing of making fires and cooking, and the fiddler was forced to help her. When they had eaten a very scanty meal they went to bed; but the fiddler called her up very early in the morning to clean the house. Thus they lived for two days: and when they had eaten up all there was in the cottage, the man said, ‘Wife, we can’t go on thus, spending money and earning nothing. You must learn to weave baskets.’ Then he went out and cut willows, and brought them home, and she began to weave; but it made her fingers very sore. ‘I see this work won’t do,’ said he: ‘try and spin; perhaps you will do that better.’ So she sat down and tried to spin; but the threads cut her tender fingers till the blood ran. ‘See now,’ said the fiddler, ‘you are good for nothing; you can do no work: what a bargain I have got! However, I’ll try and set up a trade in pots and pans, and you shall stand in the market and sell them.’ ‘Alas!’ sighed she, ‘if any of my father’s court should pass by and see me standing in the market, how they will laugh at me!’

But her husband did not care for that, and said she must work, if she did not wish to die of hunger. At first the trade went well; for many people, seeing such a beautiful woman, went to buy her wares, and paid their money without thinking of taking away the goods. They lived on this as long as it lasted; and then her husband bought a fresh lot of ware, and she sat herself down with it in the corner of the market; but a drunken soldier soon came by, and rode his horse against her stall, and broke all her goods into a thousand pieces. Then she began to cry, and knew not what to do. ‘Ah! what will become of me?’ said she; ‘what will my husband say?’ So she ran home and told him all. ‘Who would have thought you would have been so silly,’ said he, ‘as to put an earthenware stall in the corner of the market, where everybody passes? But let us have no more crying; I see you are not fit for this sort of work, so I have been to the king’s palace, and asked if they did not want a kitchen-maid; and they say they will take you, and there you will have plenty to eat.’

Thus the princess became a kitchen-maid, and helped the cook to do all the dirtiest work; but she was allowed to carry home some of the meat that was left, and on this they lived.

She had not been there long before she heard that the king’s eldest son was passing by, going to be married; and she went to one of the windows and looked out. Everything was ready, and all the pomp and brightness of the court was there. Then she bitterly grieved for the pride and folly which had brought her so low. And the servants gave her some of the rich meats, which she put into her basket to take home.

All on a sudden, as she was going out, in came the king’s son in golden clothes; and when he saw a beautiful woman at the door, he took her by the hand, and said she should be his partner in the dance; but she trembled for fear, for she saw that it was King Grisly-beard, who was making sport of her. However, he kept fast hold, and led her in; and the cover of the basket came off, so that the meats in it fell about. Then everybody laughed and jeered at her; and she was so abashed, that she wished herself a thousand feet deep in the earth. She sprang to the door to run away; but on the steps King Grisly-beard overtook her, and brought her back and said, ‘Fear me not! I am the fiddler who has lived with you in the hut. I brought you there because I really loved you. I am also the soldier that overset your stall. I have done all this only to cure you of your silly pride, and to show you the folly of your ill-treatment of me. Now all is over: you have learnt wisdom, and it is time to hold our marriage feast.’

Then the chamberlains came and brought her the most beautiful robes; and her father and his whole court were there already, and welcomed her home on her marriage. Joy was in every face and every heart. The feast was grand; they danced and sang; all were merry; and I only wish that you and I had been of the party.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition folklore Igbo culture Pastoral

The Animal King

Do you know why there is no king in the animal kingdom? Here is a story narrating why. I wrote this poetale a longtime ago. Have fun.

Once upon a time
In a land far away,
Across seven rivers
And seven hills
Lived a clan of animals
They knew no strife
No envy, no rivalry
Between the animal clans
For then there was no king
No ruler, no master of any sort
But animals who lived freely,
Tilled their land as they wished
And lived as they wanted…
Suddenly some stronger animals
Felt they could bully the little ones
So many animals started trespassing
On the rights of others, taking others lands
Destroying harvest of crops
And even hijacking others wives!
So Anarchy spread
Her blanket of no good
Upon the animal clan
Until the Cricket suggested
That all animals should meet
To resolve this…

During the meeting
Every animal sat quietly,
Waiting for others to talk, first
Mumblings filled the arena
Guilt of crimes wont let anyone speak
So the mosquitoes, carefree buzzed aloud
“Wait!” the Cricket yelled
“I greet you all”, he began politely
“The way to solve this problem
Is to appoint a King who will rule us
Someone who will bring justice
And fairness to all, big and small”
“Nice idea”, his relatives called after him
“Now I am the brain of the meeting
I should be allowed to nominate
My humble self as the King of the clan!”
“What?” an angry Elephant trumpeted
“You little thing, so minute, so irrelevant!
How dare you even think of that
When someone like me is here?
I should be the King undisputed!”
“You all must be joking!” the Giraffe laughed
“How can you be the King
When you are round like a football
And can barely move a leg?”
The Giraffe made fun of the Elephant
“No no no, it just doesn’t fit you
Well, take a look at my height,
I even interact with the moon
And when angry I eat her half!
I should be the King instead!”
The whole clan went dead with silence
They thought the Elephant would retaliate
So they waited for the worst to happen
But nothing happened…
“Let me be the King”, the ape called out
“None of you is capable of tree climbing
And infact I can dance up the skies
Do you know this feeling of tree dwelling?
The skies are my playground… Can’t you see?”
“Talking about playground, you don’t belong!”
The bald Eagle whined…
“I live in mountain peaks
Where none of you can reach
Or dare to reach, I am the master-
Master of the blue clouds and wind
Make me your King!” he demanded
“Talking about flying you are not alone in it”
A feeble mosquito stood to talk
“How many of you can sing in a human ear
And make him mad so that he slaps himself?”
“No way, who speaks now?” the Lion growled
“The kingship belongs to I and the pride
The pride is strong and courageous
And can defend and take care of the clan
My roars frighten our enemies
My claws are perfect killing machines!”
“No sir”, a scared animal said
“Was it not one of your pride members
That ate an innocent sheep the other day?
We can’t let you be our King”
Someone supported from the crowd
“So what do we do right now?”
Let us then nominate from those
Who showed interest in the position”
An elderly Parrot suggested
“Please everyone should pick a candidate”
To the crowds surprise
Everyone pointed to their kith
The Giraffes to the Giraffes
The Apes to their kind
The Pride to the Lions
And so on…
And when no progress was made
Everyone nominated himself for Kingship
Since everyone wants to be King
They all left fighting and arguing
And so is the animal clan to this day
In much disagreement and confusion!

Categories
Africa folklore Pastoral Uncategorized

Self-Control: The Fox and the Crow

How is everybody today? What are you guys reading for the weekend? I’m compiling a new reading list, anyone willing to share or suggest a book?

It’s almost bedtime here, but sleep can wait. I’m trying to study my guide to scholarship application.

I have this bedtime tale to drop before I retire for the night. Remember to share with young ones, for in this world of pride, selfishness and immorality, self-control lights the path of the prudent.

Vanity is largely a matter of Self-Control, or lack thereof. Others may try to feed our ego, but it is up to us to constrain it.

A coal black Crow once stole a piece of meat. She flew to a tree and held the meat in her beak.

A Fox, who saw her, wanted the meat for himself, so he looked up into the tree and said, “How beautiful you are my friend! Your feathers are fairer than the Dove’s. Is your voice as sweet as your form is beautiful? If so, you must be the Queen of birds.”

The Crow was so happy in his praise that she opened her mouth to show how she could sing. Down fell the piece of meat.

The Fox seized upon it and ran away.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition folklore Igbo culture Pastoral

The Goose that laid the Golden Egg

You may agree with me that evenings are best for story telling. In Africa, evenings are valuable family time. Dinner or sitouts allow time to reflect on the days work: achievements and disappointments, and to tell tales. Tales don’t just act as lullabies but convey moral virtues (and vices) as well.

Now when a story is told in the open countryside, there’s always a fire for warmth and the moon 🌕 will be out to listen. This time around, I’m writing from my bed’s comfort and there’s no fire but a radio here.

Though this Aesop’s tale is old, the moral will never go out of fashion. I hope everyone enjoys it. I will retire for the day, good night!

A man and his wife had the good fortune to possess a goose that laid a golden egg every day. Lucky though they were, they soon began to think they were not getting rich fast enough, and, imagining the bird must be made of gold inside, they decided to kill it in order to secure the whole store of precious metal at once. But when they cut it open they found it was just like any other goose. This, they neither got rich all at once, as they had hoped, nor enjoyed any longer the daily addition to their wealth.

Much wants more and loses all!

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Uncategorized

Tale: The Animal King: Confusion and Disunity

Gather now… Come closer
Warm your hands, sit near the fire
It is a cold evening, is it?
Now pay attention to this poetale
I hope it helps warm you up
And trust it prepares you for a fine sleep

 

Once upon a time
In a land far away
Across seven rivers
And seven hills
Lived a clan of animals
Then there was no strife
No envy, no rivalry
Between the clan of animals
For then the strife held not
Cause there was no king
No ruler, no master of any sort
But animals who lived freely
Tilled their land as they wished
When they wanted to and so on
Then some stronger animals
Felt they could bully others
So many animals started trespassing
Some took others lands
Some marched on others crops
And some hijacked others wives
So, Anarchy decided to spread
Her blanket of no good
Upon the animal clan
Until the Cricket suggested
That all head homes should meet
To resolve this…

So during the meeting
Everybody sat down quietly
And waited for someone to talk
Mumblings filled the arena
Guilt of crimes wont let anyone speak
The mosquitoes, carefree buzzed aloud
‘Wait!’ the Cricket yelled
‘I greet you all’ he began politely
‘The way to solve this menace
Is to appoint a King who will rule us
Someone who will bring justice
And fairness to both big and small’
‘Nice idea’, his relatives called after him
‘Now I am the brain of the meeting
I should be allowed to nominate
My humble self as the King of the clan!’
‘What? Why?’ an angry Elephant trumpeted
‘You little thing, so minute, so irrelevant!
How dare you even think of that
When someone like me is here?
I should be the King undisputed!’
‘You all must be joking!’ laughed the Giraffe
‘How can you become the King
When you are just round like football
And can’t even move a leg higher?
No no no, it just doesn’t fit you
Well, take a look at me and my length
I interact with the moon
And when angry I ate her half!
I should be the King instead!’
The whole clan went dead with silence
They thought the Elephant would retaliate
So they waited for the worst to happen
But nothing happened…
‘Let me be the King’ the ape called out
‘None of you is so capable of tree climbing
And infact I can swing and dance up the skies
You don’t know this feeling of tree dwelling
The skies are my playground… Can’t you see?’
‘Talking about playground, you are out of it!’
The Eagle whined…
‘I live in mountain peaks
Where none of you can reach
Or dare reach and I am the master
Master of the blue clouds and wind
Make me your king!’
‘Talking about flying you are not alone in it’
A mosquito stood to talk
‘How many of you can sing in a human ear
And make him slap himself madly?’
‘No way, who speaks now?’ the Lion growled
‘The kingship belongs to I and the pride
The pride is strong and courageous
And can defend and take care of the clan
My roars frighten our enemies
My claws are fine killing machines!’
‘No sir, was it not one of your pride members
That slaughtered an innocent sheep the other day?
We can’t let you be our King’
Someone yelled from the crowd
‘So what do we do right now?’
Let us then nominate from those
Who showed interest in the position’
An elderly Parrot suggested
‘Please everyone should point at their candidate’
To the crowds surprise
Everyone pointed to their kith
The Giraffes to the Giraffes
The Apes to their kind
The Pride to the Lions
And so on…

And when no head way was made
Everyone nominated himself for Kingship
Since everyone was to be the King
They all left fighting and arguing
And so is the animal clan
In much confusion till this very day!

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Uncategorized

The Messenger, part 2

The dark evening is serene and calm
Though the vampire bats hover up the skies
And the little crickets quiz all around…

Many sat for dinner for it was a long day
The farms, the ponds and the big market
The smell of dried cod soup pass thru the air,
It was a favorite among the villagers
And this smell always gave away people
For the village longthroats, a feast is imminent
But it is a pleasant smell, one I savor so much
Now and then, we hear someone yawn heavily
From nearby compounds, I assume it was out of tiredness
Sometimes the moon came out, sometimes it didn’t
When the moon came out, the children gather for moon-lit plays;
Hide and Seek, Sand games or a nice folk tale
To be told by the most elderly in the gathering

Soon the blast of a metal gong goes off
”Kookokoorokom… Koorokoorokom…!”
The hamlet retires to great silence
Crying babies stay put suddenly
For the masquerades of which Maama
Always spoke of has now appeared!
Even Maama was quiet, perhaps scared
For she also paid attention to the intruder
”The people of Amaigbo, the elders, the men
The women, the youth, the boys, the girls, everyone!
Listen, I have come oo… I have come again oo!”
The messenger will call out, loudly
Waking sleeping dogs and the heavy sleepers
With those words the messenger struck again
Mercilessly upon his metal gong, two more…
Then he settled into his long message…
Beating the metal gong on intervals,
It could be about the new yam festival
A special village or Kings service request
Cleaning of the nearby streams and rivulets
Or when a group of peoples attention is required

When the messenger exhausts his messages
He leaves quietly, hitting his gong noiselessly
Allowing the hamlet to go back to her life,
The women to return their attention to the soup
The men to continue sipping their palmwine
The boys and girls playing under the tree shed
And allowing the infants to resume their crying

Commentary.
This is a continuation of a poem I wrote some years ago. The messenger or town crier, as commonly called is an agent of the traditional society or kingdom. His role is to pass information across to the people, just like the duties of the modern day TeeVee or Radio.

KoKorokrom… A sound made by hitting the metal gong.
Amaigbo… An imagined place

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Uncategorized

Folk: One night, one story

It has been long I left my village
And they must have felt my absence
For the moon still shone always
But then no one to tell the childrens tales
I missed seeing the grey bearded moon
I missed the serenity of the countryside
I missed seeing the birds circle the sky
And the calls of the wild when all is quiet
I missed friendly and homely smiles
I missed the wisdom the old folk gave me
And I missed walking thru the fields
Lonely and hopeful of seeing a wild animal
I missed eating smoke fish and melon balls
I missed feeling powerful for slaying a snake
In the farm and for demolishing loaves of garri…
Hmmm I missed it, mostly missed the quietness
Of the hamlet when all left for work or the farm
***
Now I went back for some rest
An escape from the city’s noise
Oh, I so hate the hustle bustle…
***
Nothing much changed…
Save from new growing trees
And old stubs halfcut from the middle
As usual the airs were welcoming
The evenings like a sweet paradise
And the people nothing new…
Save from new born babies
Suckling away at their mothers breast
Yelling wildly at slightest provocation
The trees have no fresh fruit
I have learnt I came when the harvest
Is done- well, I missed home so much
***
”Pay attention to this little tale
Of a land far far away…
Where stays a lake, quiet and calm
And on it, lived a duck and her family
Three ducks names- Daak, Deek and Duuk
They so much enjoyed the cool lake
The serenity which was unrivalled
In the whole land…
***
‘Quack quack Daak’ she began
Turning to the nearest duck
‘You have been friends
With the old grey Turtle
You know the Lakes’ waters
More than your siblings
But I pray, tell me
How many times would
Something happen to you
And you would learn?’
‘Quack quack mother
Sure I would learn, but only
When it happen, and all times!’
The first duck answered
Mother Duck nodded thoughtfully
And turned to the next duck
‘Quack quack Duuk, come closer
You are not scared of the weeds
You even fought off the black Eels
But tell me, my little brave one
How many times will you learn?’
‘Quack quack mother
But I can only learn If it happened to me’
Mother Duck nodded thoughtfully
And she turned to the last
‘Quack quack Little Deek
You are scared of all ripples
And the neighborhood fishes
You have made only few friends
I wonder, but let me know
How many times will you learn?’
‘Quack quack mother
I won’t learn from any misdids
I shall learn from others mistakes
I shall watch the Eels movements
And all crafty ripples upon the lake
That are not made by my kind
And I shall always be careful
For to survival, one must be cautious’

Commentary:
Well said Little Deek Duck! I guess but I think she is the wisest duck I ever saw in my life!
Sometimes, it is better to follow events with wits… Not falling victim/prey to what comes our way. learning from peoples past mistakes and not trying to repeat those. Being friendly and brave might not be enough to cushion challenges/problems/issues we face… We need to be cautious.

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Folk: Night falls

The night fades slowly
Cloak of darkness fall
As the crickets prepare
For another night song
Bonfires lit the night
To keep the wild dogs off
The children set the stage
For a moon light folktale
And beneath the stars
The small hamlet waits

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Another Tale of a Shepherd

Nothing compares to the sweet sleep
Of all good and hardworking shepherds
He retires with a fine and adorable smile
And to his bed of wool, he lays
Tuning into the local radio station
To listen to some old folk songs
Nodding almost silently to the rhythm
Smiling to the memories of the stressful day
And the little Lavender he found on the way

The night is quiet, warm and cosy
The moon is wearing a cute smiley
But to his lonely blanket he clings
As the duckling will to the Hens wings
And the air about is moist and fresh
This is his own warm and perfect nest
Thanks to the open wooden window
The light in the room is very low
And there is enough breeze to go around
Even the noisy brown crickets are ignored
The screeching of all strange insects-
The nomads of the quiet nights
Rent the air, disturbing companions
But the lonely Shepherd slept on
And soon a beautiful dream
One of fantasy; milk, honey a-swimming
Shall dawn upon his big and weary head
And so, in such times he laughs out aloud!

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The Rat and the Bat

A rat made friends with a bat
And they always fed together
But then the bat was jealous of the rat
When the bat cooked the food
It was always very good
And the bush rat will always ask
“How is it that when you make soup
It is so tasty?”
The bat will always hide in one excuse
Finding a way to do harm to his friend
But one day the bat decided to trick the rat
So when the rat asked after the soup
The bat replied, “I always boil
Myself in the water, and my flesh
Is so sweet, that the soup is good.”
He then told the bush rat that he
Would show him how it was done;
So he got a pot of warm water,
Which he told the bush rat was
Boiling water, and jumped into it,
And shortly afterwards came out again
When the soup was brought
It was as sweet and good as usual
As the bat had prepared it beforehand
The bush rat then went home and
Told his wife that he was going to
Make good soup like the bat’s
He therefore told her to boil some water
Which she did hurriedly
Then, when his wife was not looking
He jumped into the pot, and was very soon dead. When his wife looked into the pot
And saw the dead body of her
Husband boiling she was very
Angry and reported the matter to the king
Who gave orders that the bat should be caught
And made a prisoner for misleading the rat
Every one turned out to catch the bat
But as he expected trouble
He flew away into the bush and hid himself
All day long the people tried to catch him
So he had to change his habits,
And only came out to feed when it was dark
Perhaps that is why you
Never see a bat in the daytime.

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Let us dance

Let us dance while the moon shine
As we swerve about together
To see the stars as they glitter

Let us dance under the baobab
Besides the termites castle
And the grazing field for the cattle

When we dance under the baobab
And the moon light up the cloud is bright
All beautiful memories come alive in the night

Now let the wind flow about us
And let the kids gather for a tale
For such nights as this are rare