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Africa, Poetry and Love education Inspiration/Motivation lifestyle opinion reflection thoughts

Keeping Valuable Relationships

Sometimes those who crown kings don’t look like kings and may never become kings but they can help one wear the crown.

A short story

There was a poor man who wrote a book at the age of 40 and decided to launch it on his birthday. He had no money to fund the launching and so he decided to seek help from a millionaire in his community.

He made a visit to the millionaire’s home and after they exchanged pleasantries, he told his host what brought him. The millionaire told him to take out a piece of paper and pen. He said, “I’ll give you a test. If you pass it, I’ll give you the money you need and if you fail, I’ll still give you the money”. He then told him to write down the names of 10 people who could give him 10k each for his book during the launch. Surprisingly, the man could not write even 3 names.

Relationship is a currency

It’s not enough to have talent and skills. But there is much gain in building valuable relationships. A wise man once said, your network is directly proportional to your net worth.

Relationship is a stream of income.
Everything in life actually reproduces on the basis of relationship. Men are lifted through men. Many are talented but lack the right direction and person to announce them.

Who one knows matters a lot in life. There are heights and opportunities one will never attain if one don’t understand the power of keeping valuable relationships. Classmates and colleagues at work may be the ones that will lead one to his/her destiny helper because you have no idea who they know.

It takes just a recommendation to change a story. Don’t despise anyone. They might be needed one day.

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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Africa culture/tradition education folklore Love and Christianity Nature Pastoral

A Kind Story 2

I received this story from a friend and thought I should share with you.

Folake, a primary school teacher, was transferred to a different school and immediately appointed as a class teacher of a class five class.

On her first day in her class, she noticed that a boy named Kola was different from the rest of the pupils because he was always lonely, out of place, dirty and never used to do homework. Folake also realized that most pupils in the class had a negative attitude towards him.

Folake decided to investigate and find out the problem. She decided to review the file containing the records for Kola. She was very surprised by what she found out.

Kola’s class one teacher wrote and said “Kola is a good pupil with a ready laugh. He does his homework neatly and has many friends”.

The class two teacher wrote, Kola is a good pupil with a ready laugh. He does his homework neatly but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle”

The class three teacher wrote, “his mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn’t show much interest”.

The class four teacher wrote, “Kola is withdrawn.He doesn’t do his homework and has very few friends”.

By now teacher Folake had known where the problem was, and she was very ashamed of herself. And from that day onwards she decided to pay much attention on Kola and to assist him as much as possible.

Towards the end of the year, the pupils in the class decided to bring presents to teacher Folake. All the pupils in the class brought expensive presents which were wrapped in coloured paper except Kola. His present was wrapped clumsily in old pieces of newspaper. The rest of the pupils laughed at him when they saw what he brought.

Folake felt great pain as she opened the present that Kola had brought, she found an old bottle of perfume which was a quarter full and an old bracelet which had several beads missing. To stifle the laughter from the pupils, teacher Folake exclaimed “this bracelet is very beautiful” and wore it. She also took the bottle of perfume, tapped it on her wrist and put it on.

In the evening, when the rest of the pupils were going home, Kola deliberately remained behind, and when he was sure that all the pupils had left, he went to see teacher Folake. He entered her office, and summoning enough courage he said to her, “Teacher, today you smelled the way my mum used to”. When Kola left, Folake locked herself in the office and cried for more than an hour.

The following year, Kola wrote a letter to teacher Folake. He told her that she was the best teacher that he ever had in his life.

Six years later, he wrote another letter, he told her that he had finished secondary school and he was the best in his class. He added that “she was still the best teacher he ever had in his life”.

Eight years later, he wrote another letter. He told her that he had completed his bachelor’s degree in medicine was now a doctor. He added that she was still “The best teacher he ever had in his life”.

The following year, he wrote another letter. He told her that he had found a girl and was going to get married. He explained that his father had died one year earlier, and was wondering whether Folake would accept to attend the wedding and sit in the place reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course Folake accepted and during the wedding, she was putting on the same bracelet with several beads missing and she was also putting on the same perfume that Kola remembered his mother was putting on the day she died.

Now l ask a question, have you ever helped someone you don’t like? Can you do good just to help someone get up even when they cannot pay you back when they are not there?

LESSON: Any kindness you do to someone lasts forever! Touch a life in your school, places of worship your immediate environment, community, or anywhere today!

Dedicated to all who have the special opportunity to touch lives.

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry Series

Poetry from Skies

There was poetry before we learned to write
Awesome rhythm rendered as a strong wind might
lyrics penned down by clouds, as such
And when singing, green vegetation bows
There was poetry before we learned to hear
Drums that tender soft beats, far but near
Brief gaiety across the heavens
Heard passion when it stills the night
There is poetry down this African hill
Perhaps Hyena’s laughing near the mill
A flying stone sings from its hearty swing
While infants draw lines in Arcadian minds.
Oh poet! Listen to the sky!

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition Nature Pastoral Poetry

Another Tale of the WildWoods

image

There’s a land behind those hills
Hidden in the forest,
One mighty foliage; of brushes & roots
At all times, Cloud is blue
And King of the 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 smiling Forest King
‘Oh, see how handsome his face is’
A little dark Cricket say
‘He is really in love with the Cloud
But we don’t understand
Why she always refuses
To love the Forest King back!’
A group of Pigeons answered
‘I tell you that she is possessed
Who should resist the Forest king?’
The Wolf added, as he looked up
‘The Forest King hadn’t said anything yet
All he does is to 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 culture/tradition folklore Nature Pastoral Poetry

Tale of The Musk Rat

Once upon a time
In a land far, far away
Where the forests were untamed
And animals had clans and kingdoms
There lived a young musk rat
Who loved his mother so much
And took good care of her
He would go hunting for fruits
And exotic vegetables from the forests
And brought them home to feed
The mother and himself

A particular day came
And he found a bed of vegetables
Growing by the side of a pool
He gathered them
And in all he brought home nine baskets
He was overjoyed that the vegetables would last
Longer than he expected
And so he handed it to his mother

But when the mother cooked the vegetables
The nine baskets shrunk to two baskets
When the musk rat discovered that he had only two baskets
Of warm vegetables he questioned
His mother and wasn’t satisfied with her answers
So he killed her out of his rage

Another day he went to the poolside
And lo, fresh vegetables blossomed
And he picked to his fill once again
Carrying the nine baskets home
He boiled the vegetables and it all shrunk again
To two baskets and it dawned on him
That vegetables are lighter when boiled
And that he had killed his mother in vain
And again out of anger
He killed himself too…

Anger and impatience are no man’s friend. We must learn to control them.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral

Movie: The Ghost and the Darkness

As we observe our social distancing, I started seeing old favourite movies. I remember this historic film back in the days. Trust me, this is a thriller you will enjoy. Plot from Wikipedia.

****

Plot: In 1898, Sir Robert Beaumont, the primary financier of a railroad project in Tsavo, Kenya, is furious because the project is running behind schedule. He seeks out the expertise of Lt. Colonel John Henry Patterson, a British military engineer, to get the project back on track. Patterson travels from England to Tsavo, telling his wife, Helena, he will complete the project and be back in London for the birth of their son. He meets British supervisor Angus Starling, Kenyan foreman Samuel, and Doctor David Hawthorne. Hawthorne tells Patterson of a recent lion attack that has affected the project.

That night, Patterson kills an approaching lion with one shot, earning the respect of the workers and bringing the project back on schedule. However, not long afterwards, Mahina, the construction foreman, is dragged from his tent in the middle of the night. His half-eaten body is found the next morning. Patterson then attempts a second night-time lion hunt, but the following morning, another worker is found dead at the opposite end of the camp from Patterson’s position.

Patterson’s only comfort now is the letters he receives from his wife. Soon, while the workers are gathering wood and building fire pits around the tents, a lion attacks the camp in the middle of the day, killing another worker. While Patterson, Starling and Samuel are tracking it to one end of the camp, another lion leaps upon them from the roof of a building, killing Starling with a slash to the throat and injuring Patterson on the left arm. Despite the latter’s efforts to kill them, both lions escape. Samuel states that there has never been a pair of man-eaters; they have always been solitary hunters.

The workers, led by Abdullah, begin to turn on Patterson. Work on the bridge comes to a halt. Patterson requests soldiers from England to protect the workers, but is denied. During a visit to the camp, Beaumont tells Patterson that he will ruin his reputation if the bridge is not finished on time and that he will contact the famous hunter Charles Remington to help because Patterson has been unable to kill the animals.

Remington arrives with skilled Maasai warriors to help kill the lions. They dub the lions “the Ghost” and “the Darkness” because of their notorious methods of attack. The initial attempt fails when Patterson’s borrowed gun misfires. The warriors decide to leave, but Remington stays behind. He constructs a new hospital for sick and injured workers and tempts the lions to the abandoned building with animal parts and blood. When the lions seemingly fall for the trap, Remington and Patterson shoot at them; but they flee and attack the new hospital, killing many patients and Hawthorne.

Abdullah and the construction men leave, and only Patterson, Remington, and Samuel remain behind. Patterson and Remington locate the animals’ lair, discovering the bones of dozens of the lions’ victims. That night, Remington kills one of the pair by using Patterson and a baboon as bait. The three hunters spend the evening drinking and celebrating but the next morning, Patterson awakes to find that the remaining lion has slaughtered Remington as he and Samuel slept. After the two men cremate Remington, they burn the tall grass surrounding the camp, driving the surviving lion toward the camp and the ambush that they set there. The lion attacks them on the partially constructed bridge, and after a lengthy fight Patterson finally kills it. Abdullah and the construction workers return, and the bridge is completed on time. Patterson reunites with his wife and meets his son for the first time.

Characters:

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

Diaries of a Village boy: The Leopard spirit 7

Papa said I had to be strong to attend the next Tales by Moonlight night. He also promised I could play and hunt with other children if I got well fast. So I took my medication and exercise seriously. The moonlight night tales come once in a fortnight, sometimes it may be delayed especially during the rainy and farming season. It was every child’s wish to listen to those ancient tales sitting outside, under a tree and the feel of fresh air on their bare skin. The old women who told the tales were called mama and sometimes brought fresh coconut juice and pieces of dried bush meat for everyone. The moonlight nights were secret rendezvous for young lovers. In fact, this was the major reason many teens looked forward to the event. Before the tales are told, some older children organise quizzes, talkshows, debates and games like wrestling, hides and seek and nchokotoro, which was girls favourite game. The boys will gather, not to play but to cheer their crush. I can’t remember exactly what moral I learned in the past tales but I was determined not to miss the next.

But who knew what may happen to me next? All the dibia, Papa brought had failed to cage the spirit and each time I came under an attack I was left at the mercy of other people. So I couldn’t control it. Each day, I grew afraid of myself and wished I could live my life as a normal boy. Who says you are not normal? I felt a voice question. There were strange voices in my head. Mild, sometimes harsh but never sinister. I could connect to it somehow, but not for long. This was a mystery unknown even to Papa and he was not happy seeing his son suffer for nothing. Maybe I could find out what I could achieve with this power. Just maybe, only that a Leopard is not faint hearted like myself. I shrugged at the thought of comparing myself to Leopards. In character and thought, I was just the opposite of it.

My friends came that afternoon to check on me. I smiled at their goofy locally made fishing suits. Odo had made one for himself from a fishing net. He wore it to my room and was narrating how the villagers admired and watched him as he walked through the clan. I knew he was bragging, I saw nothing special in his new fishing net suit. The boys brought some Udala and mango. Ah! I knew my friends were not privileged like myself to attend school but I would never trade them for anything!

“Thanks guys!”

“Have you heard that the strange crocodile has resurfaced and is even digging again?” Obi asked, cutting my greeting off.

“That’s old news. The animal has turned our clean stream water into mud, we can’t even use the stream anymore.” Odo replied.

“Really?” I asked. “I thought it was captured when I was away?”

“No nah. The hunters caught a beaver. A beaver is not a crocodile.” Chimdi answered. She was the only girl friend in our midst. She seldom spoke and will always be the first to laugh when the boys come to mischief.

“Can you cook or bath with mud?” Odo ignored her.

“Well, the Igwe has summoned a hunting party at his palace. I knew because my father is a volunteer for the hunt.” Ekeledi added. He was handsome. But he was a stammerer and pronounced each word after striking his foot on the floor. He got angry easily and will hit anyone with any available object…

To be continued…

Categories
Africa culture/tradition lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

My Friend, the Free Wind

I like that I soak in the rain,
Catching water drops
That melt before my eyes
I play with Nature’s gifts,
Dancing with the wind,
My free, worthy friend!
Rejoicing when our pots fill
To embrace mother Nature’s bliss

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.

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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 Nature Pastoral Series

Diary of a Village Boy: The Leopard Spirit 5

When I reached home that evening, it seemed like the whole world was turned upside down. I felt my head swell as the bee stings and sharp roots hurt my foot. By the side of my bamboo bed Nene and her dog sat, staring at me. She held my hand and squeezed softly. I saw her beautiful face through the moon light when she leaned over to kiss me. She was sobbing.

“Get well brother,” she said as she kissed my cheek. Ah! Nene seldom addressed me that way. I was always the big head or a naughty boy. I tried to smile at her but my pain won’t let me. I laid back speechless and she left with her dog.

Outside the hut, a lot went on. Many girls from my community brought water to fill our tanks. Few came into my room to help massage my body; pulling my legs and hands as they smeared shea butter, honey and other ointments all over me. I was still in pains when Fata walked in. Then I felt my heart dance to the moon. But I couldn’t hide my pain.

Fata, ah Fata! My secret crush. The girl that played the strings of my heart. Her colour was chocolate and she spoke softly. When she walked she looked like a graceful deer. She always held her head high like a proud peacock. Her pretty face was like soft roses. But I never had the courage to tell her how I felt. I still wonder how other boys did it, how they started conversations with girls.

“They are too proud!” I argued, as a flashback interrupted my thought. It was during the wrestling season in the village, just after the match between the legendary Mazi Agbareke, the Gorilla and cunny Mazi Kene, the Tiger. We were waiting for the next bout when we discovered a group of girls in the crowd, standing opposite to us. From our stand we imagined that the girls discussed about the boys as we watched them laugh and clap their hands.

“They must be musing over your big head.” Onu said, as he turned to look at me. The other boys slapped their thighs and laughed.

“Wait oo. Please can you all take a look at my head and Onu’s and decide for yourselves who should go home with the title of Isiuwa, alias world head?” I replied. More laughter followed. “These girls are scared of this drum you call head!” I said pointing at Onu’s head.

“Okay o. I may have a big head,” Onu admitted. “But it is not empty. I can talk to girls and they like me but you barely can stand them. You dream of a girl who doesn’t care if you exist.” With that, Onu won the fight and I decided to steer the conversation in another direction.

Now Fata’s sudden appearance in my room brought back my fears but I vowed to talk to her that evening.

********

Men, women, girls and boys gathered in my father’s compound to hear my story. Nearly everyone from the community sent an emissary. Gifts accompanied the visits too, for the Igbo people believed in onye aghala nwanne ya (do not abandon your own) philosophy.

My father with some men and hunting dogs formed a small search party to comb the surrounding forests. A score of younger men were asked to protect the village in their absence. The evening breeze gave way to night’s treacherous cover and thousands of singing crickets began their procession. It was usual to enjoy the night airs and listen to folklore but this evening things were not well.

My mother with the help of other women cooked for everyone that came. Yam and vegetable soup was prepared. A huge fire was made around the entrance to our compound to keep away Wild Dogs and Hyena. I heard Mama and her maids tore through the barn to fetch yams. The huge basket hovering over the charcoal fire in the kitchen was brought down. It was rare to see Mama take fish from that basket. I only recalled that she opened it during festive seasons like the New Yam Festival. I was aware that this basket kept most of Mama’s smoked fish and it was every child’s dream to steal a piece of tasty fish from it. Girls gathered Water-leaf, Spinach and Greens from the neighbouring gardens. Some of the visitors came with mats and was prepared to stay till daybreak.

That night I had another attack. It was midnight and everybody was settled for some sleep.

… To be continued…

***

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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
Nature Pastoral

Tales of the Wildwood: The Beginning

Let me tell you about this poetale which was before "Summer returns" and journey of the Ice King who traveled away from his love, the Great Mountain. 

Winter brought her cold blanket and all living things knew not what to make of her appearance. 




***

Once upon a Time
It was winter
And a night of bitter cold
The snow lay thick upon the ground
And upon the branches of the trees
Two Woodcutters made their way home
And when they came to the Mountain
She was hanging motionless in the air
For the Ice King had kissed her
So cold was it that evening
That the animals and birds
Knew not what to make of it
‘Ugh!’ snarled the Wolf
As he limped through the brushwood
With his tail between his legs
‘This is perfectly monstrous weather!
Why doesn’t the Government look to it?’
‘Weet, weet, weet! Twittered the crickets
‘The old Earth is dead
And she is laid out in her white shroud’
‘The Earth is going to be married
And this is her bridal dress’
The Turtle doves whispered 
Their little pink feet were quite frost bitten
But they felt it was their duty
To say something romantic about the 
situation
‘Nonsense’ the Wolf growled
‘I tell you it is all the fault
Of the Government
And if you don’t believe me
I shall eat you’
The wolf had a thoroughly practical mind
‘Well for my own part’
Said the philosophical Woodpecker
I don’t care an atomic theory for explanations
If a thing is so, it is so
And at present it is terribly cold’
Categories
Africa folklore Nature Pastoral Poetry

Little Feather

Dreams are not for you little feather
For you must fly and soar above all,
Above those who may delay your sails
And across thick forests and arid lands
Which are nobody’s foe or friend
I am jealous of you but wish you well
So wave me a bye, spread your wings,
And let the wind be your compass!

You told me of stories of many lands
Where golden wheat are harvested
And brown bread made of them,
Where men ate the tasty ginger bread
And drink wine, brewed of fine almonds
Where horses on white beaches ride
And the cliffs prove where earth ends,
I heard of waterfalls and nature’s songs
And I wished for these all day long!
You sang of places where women dance
And when they turn and laugh, they waltz,
You talked of places on far away hilltops
Where white snow quietly melt and drop,
You spoke of fine deers, wild hops and birds
Where mountains touch the sky and eagles glide

Now I dream of these places in my sleep
But you, little feather have seen it all
For you and your accomplice, the wind sailed away
While I sat, yearning and dreaming all day

Categories
Series

Jorinda and Jorindel from Gutenberg Project

There was once an old castle, that stood in the middle of a deep gloomy wood, and in the castle lived an old fairy. Now this fairy could take any shape she pleased. All the day long she flew about in the form of an owl, or crept about the country like a cat; but at night she always became an old woman again. When any young man came within a hundred paces of her castle, he became quite fixed, and could not move a step till she came and set him free; which she would not do till he had given her his word never to come there again: but when any pretty maiden came within that space she was changed into a bird, and the fairy put her into a cage, and hung her up in a chamber in the castle. There were seven hundred of these cages hanging in the castle, and all with beautiful birds in them.

Now there was once a maiden whose name was Jorinda. She was prettier than all the pretty girls that ever were seen before, and a shepherd lad, whose name was Jorindel, was very fond of her, and they were soon to be married. One day they went to walk in the wood, that they might be alone; and Jorindel said, ‘We must take care that we don’t go too near to the fairy’s castle.’ It was a beautiful evening; the last rays of the setting sun shone bright through the long stems of the trees upon the green underwood beneath, and the turtle-doves sang from the tall birches.

Jorinda sat down to gaze upon the sun; Jorindel sat by her side; and both felt sad, they knew not why; but it seemed as if they were to be parted from one another for ever. They had wandered a long way; and when they looked to see which way they should go home, they found themselves at a loss to know what path to take.

The sun was setting fast, and already half of its circle had sunk behind the hill: Jorindel on a sudden looked behind him, and saw through the bushes that they had, without knowing it, sat down close under the old walls of the castle. Then he shrank for fear, turned pale, and trembled. Jorinda was just singing,

“The ring-dove sang from the willow spray,
Well-a-day! Well-a-day!
He mourn’d for the fate of his darling mate,
Well-a-day!” when her song stopped suddenly. Jorindel turned to see the reason, and beheld his Jorinda changed into a nightingale, so that her song ended with a mournful jug. An owl with fiery eyes flew three times round them, and three times screamed:
“Tu whu! Tu whu! Tu whu!”

Jorindel could not move; he stood fixed as a stone, and could neither weep, nor speak, nor stir hand or foot. And now the sun went quite down; the gloomy night came; the owl flew into a bush; and a moment after the old fairy came forth pale and meagre, with staring eyes, and a nose and chin that almost met one another.

She mumbled something to herself, seized the nightingale, and went away with it in her hand. Poor Jorindel saw the nightingale was gone but what could he do? He could not speak, he could not move from the spot where he stood. At last the fairy came back and sang with a hoarse voice:
“Till the prisoner is fast,
And her doom is cast,
There stay! Oh, stay!
When the charm is around her,
And the spell has bound her,
Hie away! away!”

On a sudden Jorindel found himself free. Then he fell on his knees before the fairy, and prayed her to give him back his dear Jorinda: but she laughed at him, and said he should never see her again; then she went her way.
He prayed, he wept, he sorrowed, but all in vain. ‘Alas!’ he said, ‘what will become of me?’ He could not go back to his own home, so he went to a strange village, and employed himself in keeping sheep. Many a time did he walk round and round as near to the hated castle as he dared go, but all in vain; he heard or saw nothing of Jorinda.

At last he dreamt one night that he found a beautiful purple flower, and that in the middle of it lay a costly pearl; and he dreamt that he plucked the flower, and went with it in his hand into the castle, and that everything he touched with it was disenchanted, and that there he found his Jorinda again.

In the morning when he awoke, he began to search over hill and dale for this pretty flower; and eight long days he sought for it in vain: but on the ninth day, early in the morning, he found the beautiful purple flower; and in the middle of it was a large dewdrop, as big as a costly pearl. Then he plucked the flower, and set out and travelled day and night, till he came again to the castle.

He walked nearer than a hundred paces to it, and yet he did not become fixed as before, but found that he could go quite close up to the door. Jorindel was very glad indeed to see this. Then he touched the door with the flower, and it sprang open; so that he went in through the court, and listened when he heard so many birds singing. At last he came to the chamber where the fairy sat, with the seven hundred birds singing in the seven hundred cages. When she saw Jorindel she was very angry, and screamed with rage; but she could not come within two yards of him, for the flower he held in his hand was his safeguard. He looked around at the birds, but alas! there were many, many nightingales, and how then should he find out which was his Jorinda? While he was thinking what to do, he saw the fairy had taken down one of the cages, and was making the best of her way off through the door. He ran or flew after her, touched the cage with the flower, and Jorinda stood before him, and threw her arms round his neck looking as beautiful as ever, as beautiful as when they walked together in the wood.

Then he touched all the other birds with the flower, so that they all took their old forms again; and he took Jorinda home, where they were married, and lived happily together many years: and so did a good many other lads, whose maidens had been forced to sing in the old fairy’s cages by themselves, much longer than they liked.

Categories
Love and Christianity Nature

Christmas Stories 1

There’s twinkling stars across the dark night,
Tiny, shiny dots adorning the wide firmament
Then sang the Whistling pines a song, so sweet
That the Woodpecker with his beak started a beat
And all became amazed, even the Nightingale family
Now up the dark skies three bold stars shine gracefully
The shepherd was about to tell his daughters a tale
“Freda, Brenda, look” and upon his weary face a smile
“Do you know why they shone more than the others?”
“Because they are to guide the Magi to the Master?”
“Ah! Exactly!” The shepherd answered, nodding
And he went on to tell of the Galilean
That once graced and blessed this earth
It was that time of the year to celebrate His birth
The night was cold, wool blankets warm
But all slept well dreaming of Bethlehem

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
Poetry Series

The Witch’s Lair

Once there was a traveler, weak and weary,
Fatigued with the burden of travel and bag on his back,
And many tiny painful stones hiding in his shoes
He carried a bag which held a guitar for he could play
But faint was he, clinging closely to his life,
Hoping to see an inn or a well of water
He sang all the way and so he was exhausted
Evening was fast upon his heels while
Darkness; a vile and unpleasant creature
Which found joy leading tired travelers astray
Clung to every signpost he passed
The clouds gathered, strong winds rehearsed,
Further away, the road walked away from the man
Casting shadows of smoke rising from chimneys
But when he came to each bend, it was rocks,
Huge rocks sitting all about the open field
Adding to the fears the traveler’s heart held
In the growing darkness, he finally found a place
So with his final strength he dragged himself to the door,
As a silent prayer left his breath, then on the wall he leaned
Grasses stood at this doorway with patched gravel
And quarried stones lay littered about, carelessly
He thought someone was counting, counting numbers, numbers…
Then the door flung open!
Alas a miracle, he cried
A young lady peered out…
She brought out an arm
A leg, then other parts of her body followed
In instalments…
“There will be a storm soon, night is here
And if the rain storm came, you won’t find your way
Stay. Come in, have some warm tea… ” She offered
Surely great winds, the emissary of the rain came
Followed by lightnings that tells of a coming storm
There was little time to think, so the traveler went in
During the night it rained heavily, the roads were not seen
Pieces of grass, torn from plants squashed at the window
The house lamps glowed in the thick darkness
Rain drops beat up the window, roughly and hard
But the traveler took fancy of tea and lady’s beauty
Then as he laid his bags down, a chord struck on his guitar
Reminding the traveler of a story about trust and strangers
So he refused the lady’s warm bath offer
And will not take the nut bread she gave too
Lying down at the window, he observed the open fields
From whence he came, he was glad he found a place
His eyes gave way to slumber and he almost slept off
Lightning cracked up shaking the wall, cold kept him awake
The fire licked the wood in the chimney when sleep worried him
No one could say though if the lullaby came from rain
Or from the sugared tea cup offered by the lady,
He thought he saw a fiery creature in one of those lightning
And decided to keep himself awake through the night
“What’s the matter?” The lady asked
She must have perceived the traveler’s unease
”I get fever in storms, do you mind if I played my guitar for a while?’
”I don’t mind, so far you won’t get me sleeping!’ the lady laughed
So the traveler pulled out his guitar and stroke the lines gently
Closing his eyes he began to sing as his fingers worked,
He sang of the crazy fat frog which stole a pretty maiden’s voice,
And the poor orphans who got lost in the Wild woods,
He sang of the three cunny wolves up the rock cleavages
And the pain of traveling alone…
As the rain’s cold grew, he sang the tale of love
Taking his time to romance his guitar’s chords
Finding true words to fall in with the rhythm
And before he could raise his eye the lady was fast asleep
Snoring away, in her sleep a knife dropped from her dress
So the traveler played more until the morning sun
But as he woke the lady to bid her farewell,
She became worried, blushing at the traveler’s bye
Wondering why she slept so long
The traveler found his hat and bags
And before you say Jack was on his way home.
Surely, a man’s gift may save his life

Categories
Africa Poetry Uncategorized

Muse: Swift Stream

The blue stream flow swift
Three patient toads sit aghast
Waiting for the current to pass

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!

Categories
Poetry

Three musings:  Evening, wet Earth and Love

One: The evening tide

Fast falls the evening tide

So gather around the fireside,

Let us savor this taste of Nature; 

Her soft songs, breezes and lecture
Two: The wet Earth

The sun set before our eyes

The wet earth is left to dry

For the days heavy rain has left

And with her, all benevolent escorts
Three: Love

Now the night fast approaches

Let us pride on humble speeches

Exhalting the need to love more

And welcoming all to our doors

Categories
Uncategorized

The Shepherds Tale

Lonely stars filled the cloudy night

Crickets quizzed behind the rocks

But the lonely Shepherd stayed awake

Watching the glittering from the star light

Listening to the bleating of sheep, his lullabic songs

Sniffing wet and mild airs that came from the lake


He lays on his soft pillow of wool

Wrapping his arms about his slim self

And wandered off in a fine dream

…to a place where the skies are blue,

And the grasses, green, fine and straight

With flowers; red, pink, orange, cream


The morning welcomes a golden sunshine

The Shepherd prays, dines and leaves his tent 

Through the hole in the barn door he tries to see,

Grinning at the sight of the sheep which was awoken

Quickly, he carefully descends into their midst

Waking the weak and nudging them lovingly


‘Wake, wake’ he calls out, the sheep knew his voice

And it came upon them, another day of feast had come

So in delight, the sheep bleat and head toward the forest

He picks one of his lambs,  his favorite choice

Whistles, sighs and talks to the fine little lamb

Now when the day will go the Shepherd retires to rest

Categories
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!

Categories
Uncategorized

A Poetale: Night and the Wind

Flirty
Breezy wind of the south
Woo my candle light
Which danced like a mad man
She paint the wall
With the silhoutte of the light
Drawing pictures of many objects
Showing a magnified view of shapes
Scary and gigantic. Titanic!
The curtains are thrown up
At each blast from the wind
And her underwears revealed
The wind surged forward
Re-echoing the song of the Pine
Driving hard upon the street poles
And pulling the rooftops viciously
Making crazy men of the beer inn yell

And just outside, by the window
Dogs raced home to their forts
Even the trees knew some danger
The wind danced about the street road
Riding on newspapers and cellophane,
On every stray thing upon the Earth
She roamed about the street
Like a little hurricane
Upon the quiet fields of farms
And no one dared stand before her!

The grip of the quiet night,
Clouds which won’t rain
The firmaments when darkened
And the appearance of the wind
Upon which asunder came with
The dirt that flew into eyes
The songs of the Whistling Pine
And the disturbed roof tops
All tell this tale tonight…

A tale I love to write about

Categories
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.