Picture courtesy of google pictures.
MY STORY- ASABI
It was the market day and Asabi woke up early with a start. Her empty earthen pot for drinking water. A testament of her inability to fetch water the previous night. This was due to the “oro festival” going on in the village. She tried listening to the cock-crow but everything seems fuzzy. She has never disobeyed the tradition. But some circumstance beyond her is pushing her in that direction now. Necessity is the mother of all invention as they said.
She will need to get her drinking water at all cost this morning. She need to dash to the sacred river some six miles outside the city wall. She waited patiently, putting her ears to the ground trying to pick up any sound from her surroundings. All look serene though she suspects there is more to the serenity than meet the eyes. The calmness was unnerving her.
She balanced her water pot on her head. Pick up her chewing stick and carefully open the back door that lead to the farm road. She took a tentative step like a chick stepping out of the shell.
Her traditionally weaved hair was cast in a hue due to the overshadowing moon. She tied her wrapper to her chest. Walking in quick steps that evoked her bosomy back to swing this way and that. After walking in the light of the moon for like three miles. She noticed that she has not seen any living being. Fear gripped her heart clamping down on her like a vice.
Her heart jumped into her mouth at a sound of a hiss from the nearby bush. She quickened her steps and re-tie her wrapper. Today is the market day and no woman is permitted to go to the river before sun-down. Her mind keep repeating in an accusing gloomy doomy inner voice.
She heard her name from far away. She couldn’t look back as she was too scared to even precede the tabooed journey. She heard the hissing again. But this time more pronounced. Her earthen pot dropped in slow motion from her head shattering on impact. She tried to move her feet but they seem entangled with warm bodied creature breathing fire into her cold legs. Can they be snakes or dragon? The question popped up in her head.
She heard her name mentioned once. This time, more distinct than the previous hissing. The voice was the voice of her dead mother. “What are you doing in this time of the night, my daughter? The voice queried her”. I thought it is predawn my mother she replied.
You have trespassed my daughter and the punishment for this offence is banishment into the evil forest.
But I have interceded on your behalf my daughter. A form begins to percolate in front of her. The face emerged first from the cottony cloud, followed by the bodice. She blinked repeatedly to see if she was hallucinating but lo and behold the form in front of her was a living thing. The living and speaking object was levitating.
She look at the forming formlessness. The form morphed into the cloudless night dissolving like a gaseous being it was. With a trailing echoing words “your kindness to the old woman at the last market saved you”. ‘Quickly turn back and run to your house without looking back before I change my mind’ the voice quipped.
She remembered immediately how she has gone out of her way. In the last market day to help an old woman bent double trying to carry heavy tubers of yam into the market early in the morning.
She was scared but she turns back and ran the four miles back to the house panting like a banshee goat. From that day onward, Asabi makes it a point of duty to always go out of her way to help others. Especially the helpless and the people who cannot repay her.