The night’s bell rang silently to indicate that it was time for assembly. It was time for the assembly of students in the night school of storytelling and the committed teacher was none other than Baba Agba. Baba Agba was an aged man whose bones were surprisingly still strong. He lived with his wife, Iya Agba, and they took good care of themselves. Sometimes, their children came to visit from the city and the villagers would come over to help them with chores and other tasks.
Baba Agba was always the first one to reach the school which was located under the Igi Orombo at the front of his hut. He would sit under the tree, with his eyes closed and his mind wandering through the folktales and the stories passed down from generation to generation. Then, the children would come one by one and the story would be dished out in carefully molded plates of words.
This night was no different as the children happily marched to the night school, eagerly anticipating the story and the lessons they would learn. Baba Agba welcomed them with smiles and then proceeded to tell the story of the night.
Once upon a time, there was a king known as King Wicked. He was an evil ruler who always got everything he wanted. He was a lanky man with a funny-looking face and an over confident personality. It wasn’t as if he had muscles or magic but he had money. On one of his travels, he had given money to a magician to cast a spell on the strongest man on earth. He did this so the strongest man could be his bodyguard thereby giving him the courage to unleash his reign of terror.
The strongest man on earth was known as Peace of mind. He was a calm warrior and an excellent huntsman. Since he was under a spell, he lived to serve King Wicked.
No one dared to threaten the king or withhold anything he asked of them. They knew that their heads would be gone the very day they disobeyed the king. As soon as a man dared the king, he would just whisper to Peace of mind “Kill so and so”, and it would be done before sun set.
This reign of tyranny went on for some time. The people cried to Eledua to save them from King Wicked. Eledua, being kind and compassionate, sent a saviour to the people.
One fateful day, a stranger entered the land. She was a very beautiful and charming lady. The men stared and the women, filled with jealousy, wondered who she could be. She went to the king’s palace as was the custom for strangers. As soon as she stepped into the palace, the first person who set eyes on her was the king’s bodyguard, Peace of mind. As soon as she looked into his eyes, there was a spark and deliverance as well. Peace of mind looked around, confused and wondered where he was. The lady, whose name was Karma, explained all that had happened to him. He wanted to kill the king but she told him not to for the king’s blood was not to be shed by him.
Karma and Peace of mind left the palace. They told the villagers that the king could no longer hurt them. The villagers were very happy but angry too; they stormed the palace with cutlasses and sticks. As soon as the king saw them, he called out for his Peace of mind but there was no reply. He attempted to run but he was cornered on all sides.
Baba Agba ended his story with this sentence “The wicked may seem to have peace of mind at first but at the end, there will always be no peace for the wicked”.
The children applauded and proceeded to state the moral lessons they had gotten from the story. They greeted the old man goodnight and walked back to their various homes. Baba Agba also retired to his hut and speedily snored his way into dream land.
How about the night? The night wasn’t sleeping for he had been assigned to keep watch over the earth for some hours before the next watchman, the day, would take over.
Igi Orombo – Orange tree
Eledua – God