Once upon a time, a very long time ago,
there lived a man, a very wealthy man, this man had seven beautiful wives and
all his wives were fruitful having seven children each except for his sixth
wife who had only one child, a boy.

All the children of the other wives were
strong healthy and sanguine which made it much easier for them to be loved by
their father. But the sixth wife and her son weren’t necessarily loved by her
husband because she had only one child and to make matters worse he was different
from the other children. The sixth wife could see her son’s potentials and so
was never bothered to complain about what her husband did to her or her son,
she also never seemed to be bothered about what the other children got from
their father but prayed to her chi day and night so that her child could be

Igho was his name, he was a very quiet and a
thoughtful lad, Igho was a very contented youth, he was happy and ruddy in
appearance, and as much as he loved the good things of life he never worried himself
about the good and necessary things that he lacked. All he did was hangout in
the fields tending the herds of his father’s sheep. His only comfort was his mother’s
gift to him which was advice of diligence and a harp which he used to sing to
himself and his chi.

The village had suffered losses upon losses
of illustrious sons and warriors due to the terrorizing of the community by a
very mighty and mysterious beast called IGOLO. Warriors, mercenaries, hunters, wise
men and even sorcerers had always been summoned to destroy this mysterious
beast but to no avail as they always failed or died. This increased the threat
in the village because all the men became afraid of this beast that had so much
power to take life and had defiled powerful men of the world. The village began
to become deserted as villagers ran away to save themselves from impending

No one had seen IGOLO because those who
went to fight it either died or got injured and deformed beyond ever being able
to describe it. Except I the story teller who have seen IGOLO as old as I am I
took it upon myself to study these mysterious creature after it attacked my
people. My years of study have led me to its nest on the highest mountains and
caves packed with treasures discovered by none. I have seen it sleep, I have
seen it awaken. I have seen it scales, I have seen its tail, I have seen its eyes
which is like amber diamonds of fire which if you peep into you might be forced
to see the future, I have seen its ears and I have seen its nostrils which
breathes out smoke as if it were a blacksmith billows. I have seen its teeth
which are as white and sharp as an elephant tusk. It has two horns and sharp
talons for finger nails and sharp claws. It has wings that it uses to fly, it`s
size is that of seven lions put together. Igolo was a horrible creature which
out of extinction found man a predator of the earth. It was the last of its

The king of the village was disturbed about
the circumstance; the villagers were abandoning their homes and moving to
nearer villages or caves to hide for they feared impending danger and death by
this mysterious beast. Famine was threatening the village; the villagers could
no longer go to the farm to do their farming as fear covered the whole village
as darkness covers the night. The king thought of what to do and even had to
contact the high priest of the oracles of the seven seas to get solutions to
the problems affecting his village and people.

The oracles of the seven seas told the king
this “little is the lad; mighty is the slayer”.

The king thought about the meaning of this
riddle and could not sleep for many nights, he called for his cabinet of chiefs
and the wise men of the land and told them the riddle “little is the lad;
mighty is the slayer.” None of them seemed to know either. That night the king
had a dream and in that dream the high priest of the oracle of the seven seas
told him once again “little is the lad ruddy! Ruddy!! Ruddy!!! Mighty the
slayer; slay! Slay!!” He then saw the mountains crumble and on top a lad in
shining armor. The following morning he summoned his cabinet and wise men and
told them about this dream. The king and the cabinet called for Nnaola the gold
smith. Nnaola was told to make shining armor in the likes of which the king saw
in his dream. Nnaola did as he was told. Secondly the king asked his cabinet to
assemble all the remaining youths of the village. The king then told them that
if anyone could kill IGOLO he will give half of his village to him and also the
hand of his beautiful daughter Adamma in marriage.

Adamma the king’s daughter was very
beautiful. She on a daily basis went for a stroll in the fields with her
maidens. So one day as she was taking a stroll she heard a beautiful voice
singing a beautiful song played by a beautiful harp in the fields, in all her
life she had never heard such an enchanting music in all of her father’s
palace. She sort to look for the maker, as destiny would have it she set her
eyes on this beautiful lad tending to the herds of his father’s sheep. Adamma
fell in love with him instantly for he was handsome to behold and the tune he
crafted out of his harp brought every creature in the habitat to a standstill.
Even the singing birds of the fields never gave her so much music as she would
have wished for this ruddy lad to come play in her father’s court.  Adamma sent her maids to call him, on the call
igho looked up to behold his caller and to his surprise it was Adamma the
king’s daughter who happened to pass by his pasture.

The youths of the village summoned up
courage, some said that they will not abandoned their land, some agreed to
fight because of the king’s stake.

The children of the wealthy man heard of
this for they also went for the assembling. They told their father and mothers
what the king had said about giving half of the village and his daughter’s hand
in marriage to the man who shall kill IGOLO. Their father told them “death is a
loss, but victory is glory”. Their mothers blinded by the vast fortune about to
come, encouraged their children not to be afraid for they will pray to their
chi for strength and victory.

The news about the king’s offer had spread
like wildfire. Igho was still tending to his father’s sheep and therefore had
not heard the news until he got home where his mother told him about the king’s
offer. Igho slept that night and had a dream, in that dream he saw himself
talking with himself, in the dream it says “you can do it, can you do it? Yes I
know you can do it, surely thy redeemer.” Igho thought about this dream in his
mind and the following day he told it to his mother who did not like the idea
of the dream and told igho to forget it as just the recess of his mind and the
king’s splendid offer. Igho knew that duty had called.

All the youth of the village assembled. I
akuko the great story teller was summoned It was I that would lead the youths
of the village to the caves of IGOLO. The youths wear bound in strong amulets
the likes of which if a machete is sharpened to the sharpest bit would not even
pierce the skin. The time had come. We all set out to the caves of IGOLO, all
men singing a warrior song as if by their chants IGOLO would flee. We awakened
it but before we got any closer I urged the youth to make camp in the open
fields where IGOLO comes to ease himself. We made camp fires; the youths were
so much blinded by their exuberance that they drank palm wine and danced. Thus
within myself I heard “strong wine is not for the children of men, but for the
gods” this only did not allow me to partake of their reveling. I had with me a
magic portion which could make one invisible so I brought them out and kept
them so close to be prepared for when IGOLO should strike. I was glad that day,
that the moon was full and that the sky was clear and the songs of the youth
was intoxicating that I nearly jumped out of my old age to join in but wisdom
preserved me for at that moment, the blowing of the wind changed and began to
blow away logs of woods from the camp fire. IGOLO had arrived.

IGOLO flew in the air, the flap of its
wings could be described as the hurricane of the seas which blew house tops
away. Youths who were too drunk were blown away by sudden gush of wind that
came to them unprepared. I quickly shifted to the boundaries of the field and
drank my portion thus I became invisible. IGOLO blew fire from its mouth. The
youths not relenting began to fight it they threw spears, arched arrows, and
macheted but to exhaustion. One flap of IGOLO’s wings blew them away; his
breath of fire scorched them. They were left with no choice than to flee. I too
fled because I had never seen IGOLO as furious as this.

The news of their defeat got to the
village, this only made the king more disturbed because nothing more he thought
could be done. Many youths were killed by IGOLO, some were never even found. This
loss grieved the king that he became so worried sick; he stopped to eat and
even to attend his cabinet meetings. It was like he had left his village to
fate. More villagers deserted the village. Those who could not find their
children cried day and night at the king’s palace of what the king would do for
them, this only made the king more depressed. Adamma who saw the king’s
condition became worried of what this might do to his health; she summoned the
palace musicians to come play music that could lighten the king’s countenance.
The palace musicians were beaten and asked to leave because their music only
depressed the king the more. Adamma knowing how music changes her countenance
whenever she was sad could not comprehend why the king acted this way; it was
then one of her maids reminded her of Igho.

Igho was sent for by Adamma, at first he
was shy to go, he said to himself ‘of what importance do I have with the king
and his daughter. I am just a quiet boy’. Adamma was angry because igho refused
to come, she asked her maids to come with her, she was going to go to igho’s
mother. Igho’s mother was attentive to the cry of the king’s daughter for she
said of her father’s depression on account of the village loss. She told of how
she and her maid had taken a stroll one evening and had seen igho play music so
enchanting that even the singing birds and animals stopped to listen. She told
of how she herself was captivated by such music, that is why she had come to
ask igho to come and play for the king perhaps he too might seem enchanted and
get better. Igho’s mother called for igho and told him of what the king’s
daughter said, she gave him good reasons to help.

The next day igho rose up early and kissed
his mother good morning, he left for the king’s palace. He took his harp along.
On his arrival he was ushered in by the king’s guard. The king’s daughter was
already waiting for him, she had already told the king about him. Igho entered
the king’s palace and greeted the king as custom demanded. He was welcomed.
Adamma, now then asked him to play a beautiful tune that could ease the king
from his depression the likes of which she heard him play in the field, for she
was dying to hear the song that so made her fall in love with him. Igho played.
Not five minutes after he had begun the king began to smile so cheerful, a
smile that seemed like the crescent moon in the starry sky. The king’s
countenance was change to cheerful, indeed igho’s music had got effect on him
and adamma had succeeded in hearing the one she love; play. Immediately the
king asked of igho parents, he was told who they were; he employed igho to
become his chief royal musician. Igho found favor in the king’s sight.

Igho filled with happiness ran home to tell
his mother about what had happened to him. His mother was filled with joy and
they both rejoiced and gave thanks to their chi for favor. The following days
were routine, igho made the king happy always that the king never allowed him
out of sight.

One day while igho was playing for the
king, the king narrated to igho, about the troubles of his kingdom, and that
while he spoke he knew not what to do. The king told him about his offer of
half his kingdom and his daughter as bride to the one who is able to put an end
to this deluge. The king also told him of the failure of all the great men that
have tried. This inspired igho for he remembered the dream he had, he remember
also when he killed a lion that came to attack the herds of his father’s sheep.
This he told to the king who gaped in so much awe. Igho told the king that he
would fight this beast that has put his kinsmen to this dreaded fear and
defiled their homeland.

The deal was set the die was cast. And
because igho was much favoured by the king, he was giving special warfare training.
The golden armour cast by nnaola was brought for him to test on. Igho tested
the armour, it was too heavy for him, he could not carry himself talk more of
walk. Igho told the king that he would not be able to fight in the armour but
implore the gods of the land to fight for him. The king agreed to this. Igho
made sure his sling and harp were ready, that night he put round pellets of
iron into fire and allowed it to get red hot.

On the fourth night igho and I Akuko set
out to fight IGOLO, we went up to its caves. On getting there igho began to
play his harp, of a truth even I in my entire aged live have never had such
music which he played, it was so beautiful to hear that even I was awe
stricken. It was like poetry out of a harp. Suddenly the caves became quiet, I
could hear the footsteps of IGOLO approach silently like saying “who is thou
that has come to seek his death so soon”. Igolo showed from the corners of the
caves, looking as fearful as ever, he breathed and smoke came forthwith from
his nostril, his scales shown like icy mirrors because I saw myself shiver
through their reflections. To my uttermost surprise, IGOLO did nothing but
sought from where such sweet music came from, at seeing this igho played better.
As IGOLO brought its head towards the sound of music igho was playing, igho
with a mighty forces struck the head plucking out one of its eyes. IGOLO in
pains of anguish screamed so loud that the caves shook terribly; as it opened
it mouth wide in screams igho took that opportunity to use his sling to cast
the red hot iron pellets into its mouth. IGOLO swallowed hard and as soon as it
got to it belly, it melted it stomach. That was the first time I saw IGOLO the beast

We chased after IGOLO and after two days we
found him already dead and beast of the air tearing up it carcass. Igho took
out his machete and struck out the head of IGOLO. Then out of happiness he
knelt down and shouted a prayer of thanksgiving and praise to his chi. we
returned to our land.

The king of the village, igho’s mother, his
father, his brothers and sisters, their mothers and all people of the land
waited for igho’s return, for all the people of the land had heard about igho. Not
forgetting our beautiful princess adamma who was all ready dressed in her
bridal clothes. The tension would have gone on when the sun began to set and
out of the yellow horizon igho and I emerged with the head of IGOLO.

Igho’s mother was the first to hear the
song igho sang.

“mama abua’m igolo

Gbam gbam igolo. Igolo.. igolo…

Gbam gbam igolo.

Ezem abua’m igolo

Gbam gbam igolo. Igolo.. igolo…

Gbam gbam igolo.

Alam abua’m igolo

Gbam gbam igolo. Igolo.. igolo…

Gbam gbam igolo.

When igho’s mother heard this song from a
distant she doubted in her heart thinking that the gods wanted to deceive her but
when she listened closely to the voice; motherly love told her that it was her
son who sang so beautiful a song of victory. She screamed “chimoo…!” and ran to
meet him. When the villagers saw her do this they wondered if she was insane
until her chi opened up their ears to hear the song and out of the horizon igho
emerged. When the king saw this he shouted for joy and even fell off his throne,
he took off his crown, ran towards igho, embraced and kissed him on the cheek
then he put the crown on igho’s head. Then as igho played the harp the king
danced joyously. The people of the land rejoiced. Igho’s father rejoiced, his
step wives with their children rejoiced. There was more joy that day in the
land than joy could be named.

The king fulfilled his promise; he gave
igho half of the kingdom to rule and his daughter adamma as his bride. Thus
igho, the king, adamma; his beautiful bride, his mother and relatives lived
happily ever after.


told by njum oji.

One thought on “Igolo” by chisom oji (@chisom)

  1. Poetry? Story? Stoetry? Not bad, but reformat and edit..

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