At midnight, the stars where shining above the huts which were formed in a circle. The moon took the shape of an arc. The village was fast asleep. Only my grand-mother was awake. She was renowned for her magic power because she was as strong and courageous as lion and had the secret wisdom of our ancestors. That secret knowledge she psossessed made her all the more special and gave her a mysterious appearance. People from far villages came to her for advice.
– Dide omo mi. Wake up my child. Our ancestors have come and spoken to me. I want to share their precious knowledge with you.
– Mo su. I am sleeping mama. Our ancestors can wait till morning to speak of their knowledge.
– Di de le omo. Knowlwedege is more important than sleep and comfort. Knowlegede is more important than the air you breath. Wake up at once child before I send a great wrath upon you.
With this said mama went out of the hust without waiting for me. I followed her slowly not in a hurry to hear what she had to tell me – as far as I was concerned it could wait till the morning. She was a powerful woman, full of secret wisdom even though at time like that I doubted her.
I sat next to mama in facing the fire. She started singing shaking her side to side as if reporving sombedy:
– Obnly a fool despises the poor. Oloshi gan ni. What a follish man he is for despising Oloruba’s creature?
Mama turned her attention to me
– Tomorrow I want you to make friends with Idiaban
– Shola, emi? I always obeyed you because of my love for you but mama ele ke koshe le she. I can do that.
– Why? – She asked offended.
– You see first, the boy has only a leg. He had no mother. His father is a drunkard. He is poor. He smells rotten. Look how skinny he is. He is an insult t our gods.
Mama shook her head from side to side and looked greatly disappointed:
– Ah! Mo bow! O da be. Mo row ki yo o ban gan. I thought too highly of you maybe.
– Mama, I am good girl I know I am.
She started again:
– Oh! Well you see, once upon a time, aleper lived outised our village. He was an outcast. Nobody ever spoke to him. He avoided people because of his ugliness. Hyenes were his only companions. He ate whatever fruits and herbs he found. One day he decided to cross he other side of the river but his lesions would hurt severely if he did so without someone to help him. So he waited by the river bank for a villagers that would help him. Each time someone passed by, he asked: ‘Daku. Could you please carry me your back to the other side of the river?’ At that question, some people became disgusted with irritation and insulted him. ‘How dare you, a leper ask me such a thing. Do you want to soil me?’. Some people threw stones at him at the leper. Some villagers just ignored him as if he didn’t exist at all. Days went by and no one helped the leper. Then seasons passed by… The leper started giving up hope and implored his ancestors. ‘Well I am only a leper. A leper I shall de. If no human brother of mine can help me, I will let myself perish this day and join my ancestors.’
A young boy heard the leper and approached him. “ My brother, why would you let yourself perish?’ said the boy.
The leper sighed: ‘I need to go on the other side of the river bank. I have been waiting here for seasons for somebody to gelp but all I receive are insults because odf my deformities.’
The boy didn’t seem surprised at all.”if that is your only worry there no need to talk about your own deth. I will cary you.’
‘How can you? You are too small a boy; no mopre than 7 seasons.’
The boy showed his little muscles and added confidently:
‘ Have faith, I will carry you no matter how long it takes for us to get there.’
The leper who had lost all of his fingers and had one ear as as a few toes jumped on the boys back. The boy struggled to carry the lepr on his back to the other side of the river. When they reached the others die of the river bank at night, the boy became dazzled with a white light. The leper no longer gad his skin disease. All his fingers and toes were restores. He was handsome. His brown skin had the most beautidul glow that would any woman to shame.
He spoke to the boy: ‘ Since you helped me cross the river side, you will have a long happy life. You will even ask Orisha himself to take you from the surface of earth so much your life would be filled with longevity.’ The former lepr walked away and was never seen again.
The boy grew and lived a happy and very long life. Often he asked Orisha to take and that he had sufficiently enjoyed his life on earth and that he would be happy to join his ancestors since he had fulfilled all his life purposes. He died at the reap age of 300 seasons.
Mama finished saying:
– Only a fool despises the poor.
– I won’t be a fool mama. Tomorrow I am befriending Idiaban.
Idiaban the one leg child became my closest friend. Indeed, he was poor and smelled sometimes of fish, sometimes of bush meat but he was the loyal ad truthful friend I ever had. Everyday he shared his watery fish soup with me even though his stomach gargled with hunger. He fought tooth and nail with his one leg and kids that provoked me. He never envied me for being richer or healthier than he was. Everyday he saw me, his face lit with a smile and he thanked his ancestors for having such a good friend. Deep down, I felt I was the one with the good omen to have him.
Harmonie Loko (Sade Farotade) Copyright 2010