ACHIKE TELLS A STORY
The king had asked the village crier to deliver a message to the people already. Akitu and Miat were daughters of Zidi Island, and they too were gossips. They met mostly on sunny days at the river side to gossip. Sunny days were days they returned from the farm early, and it was the only leisure period of the week. It was mostly in the afternoon they met to gossip. It was on a Saturday afternoon. They had gossiped about other lands the previous days so they decided to discuss about their home land.
‘I hear that cannibalism will start this year and end a few days to the annual Uhum festival.’ said Akitu. ‘The priest proclaimed that the cannibalism will be preceded by a calamity and starvation for fifty days.’
‘Who told you this?’Miat enquired.
‘My grandmother did.’ replied Akitu. ‘The village crier is yet to deliver a message. I am afraid our lives would be in danger once more.’
‘But my father didn’t tell me anything about this cannibalism.’ said Miat.
‘Perhaps he is yet to tell you.’ said Akitu.
‘Wait a moment; I can hear a gong-gong beat.’ said Miat.
There was a sudden silence that descended upon Zidi.They could hear the village crier beating his gong-gong as if he wanted to assemble the whole world. He only wanted their attention to deliver the message of the king.
‘Hear and let it reach families and friends that the said cannibalism will start this year and end a few days to the annual Uhum festival.’ The village crier proclaimed.‘It is hereby announced to all sons and daughters of Zidi Island that tomorrow at dawn, the king would like to meet you at the Market square.’ he continued, ‘there are a lot of things you need to know. Anybody who refuses to attend this durbar shall be persecuted. I repeat anybody who refuses to attend this durbar shall be persecuted.’
The village crier knocked the gong-gong severally. There was no part of Zidi Island he didn’t go to.
‘I told you about this just a few minutes ago. The time has come.’ said Akitu.
‘I know, but it’s all because of King Zuma’s wickedness.’said Miat.‘Whenever I see him and look at his big head I wonder whether there is anything inside that coconut he is carrying. He will pay with his life’
‘Miat, you must stop these insults before we are executed this afternoon.’ Akitu appealed. ‘Let’s go home because my mother will be expecting me at home. I told her I was going to see grandma and I came to meet you.’ she added,‘she has already boiled some yam, and I promised to return home and help her pound the fufu.’ she continued,‘I am sorry for that, but next time you have to make your bag full so that we can spend a couple of hours here.’
The fact that gossip is women’s favourite, it exits everywhere. Most women who lived on Zidi Island were gossips, especially those who were hewers of wood.
Chapter Two follows....................