Monday, August 15, 2011

The Story Of A Night

“Son, jump off this roof, trust me I will catch you…”
“But daddy I am scared”
“Boy, I am your father, trust me …I am right here, I will catch you”
Son jumps and breaks his leg (Moral lesson: Never trust anyone…not even your father.)
I shook my head, as I looked up from the TV. What kind of a moral lesson was that?
Adjusting my body to a resting position on the sofa as I wait for my TV show, “When You Are Mine” to come on.

The story of two lovers…seemed so fascinating to me and apparently to the others who ran from their room to join me in the sitting room. Just then the program came on, eagerly waiting for the *Last time on –when you are mine* part to be over, the power was interrupted!!! “Oh not again”, my mom screamed from her favorite couch… “Bode, try turning on the generator, maybe we could still catch up on the show”. Bode jumped eagerly from the couch as he had been previously awaiting permission to use the last drop of fuel in the generator for our dear TV show as we predicted the interruption of power, like every other night. As he jerked the engine of the generator, we heard a cranky noise…. what was that? Mummy asked, a bit frightened, “ermm mum, I think the fuel is finished”... “But I thought I specifically said no one should use the fuel left in the generator”, she replied furiously. Not that she was mad she was not going to see the show, she was mad that one of her offspring had disobeyed her. We all had on the innocent face at that time.
Judgment time: "who used the fuel up in the generator?" I could sense it was a mass crime as all the guys in the house stole glances at one another…. "Errm mum, Uncle Keji did"… Wale replied… And why did you people not tell him what I said…when I said nobody should use the fuel, I meant nobody!!...You all used it didn’t you?
“Mummy they were watching ball replied” Teni, the sharpest kid in the family… "And you were watching Hannah Montana” replied Temi, her twin brother.
"Now there is fuel scarcity, it is your Punishment Wale and Sheye to go get some fuel from the filling station so we could have some light for the rest of the night". Wale and Sheye, the two oldest boys in the house, took the big jerry can and headed out of the house giggling. As they left, there was dead silence in the house. The house lightened up after Temi, Timi, Bode and I began arguing on whose school was best. Temi and Timi were the twins in the house, who wore the same clothes, kept the same friends and lived the same lives until recently until they clocked thirteen and a half and decided it was time they “went their separate lives” Temi watches Chelsea and Teni, Hannah Montana…which I find interesting. As we sat and argued about whose school was best, I decided my seventeen years old ears wanted hearing something new.
Mummy how was school like in your days? Oh honey, I will tell you this, it was far better than yours nowadays… “No mummy”, we all chorused. "I bet it wasn't" Teni added.
Shhh…let me tell you how a typical day went in my days- We: myself and your Uncle Jide woke up at about 4:30 am, i went to the nearby stream to fetch some water and Jide is busy on the grinding stone, grinding some pepper for breakfast. Then we sweep the house, usually the kitchen, the parlor and our bedroom, the last room was swept by your Uncle Sheye. After doing our chores, we took turn in the bathroom, I went to the kitchen to prepare red stew for the left over EKURU of last night, while Jide goes in to take a shower, after we are done and ready for school, we woke grandma and grandpa at 6, grandma gets up and goes to the back of the house to continue with her maize cobs while Daddy goes to the farm to bring home any animal caught in his trap. Jide and I walk an hour and 30 minutes to school while Sheye stays at home to help mummy cater for the goats… After school, we walk to the farm to help Daddy bring home his harvest, and stop some places to fill up the baskets we were given with the ripest fruits.

"sounds like boredom Mummy, what did you do for fun?" Asked Teni
Oh that’s easy, when night comes, grandpa comes from his little hut and tells us tales by moonlight, we play games like ‘Woru oh’ and we sing to each other… its usually fun dear.
Why is it called tales by moonlight, I asked…oh dear, because we sit outside the house, under the moonlight and my grandpa tells us stories?
“Mummy tell us one story”, Temi requested, she looked up at our pleasing faces as we nodded in agreement.
Ermmm, let me see: Do you know why the tortoise has a bald head? Oh no mummy why? Il tell you that story…
Call: Story, Story?
Response: Story
Call: Once upon a time
Response: time time
“But mummy, why don’t we go out and sit in the moonlight so we could enjoy the story more,” Bode suggested.
We squirreled out of the house and took position on the tiled floor directly facing the beautiful skies that was adorned with the cutest stars I had ever seen.
The tortoise was a cunny and proud animal, he had the most beautiful wife in the village and everyone got jealous and hateful towards him because he was proud. He had just one friend, Mr. Squirrel. Mr. Squirrel was the nicest man in the village; everyone loved him, including his best friend, Mr. Tortoise. No one in the village approved of his friendship with Mr. Squirrel because Mr. Tortoise had been mean to everyone in the village except Mr. Squirrel, and no one could trust him anymore.
One time, famine struck great in the land, everyone began to die of hunger. Mr. Squirrel and his wife were looking healthy while every other person in the village was dying of hunger. When Mr. Tortoise saw his friend was healthier and healthier, he went to visit him and asked him, My friend, what is your secret? We have been starving and you have been enjoying, what can I do to be like you. “Tortoise my friend”, answered Mr. Squirrel, “I cannot tell anyone my secret but…”
The Power came on just as mummy’s story got interesting. Should we go inside and complete our TV show? “No Bode let us finish mummy’s story, besides this people can take off the light anytime.” “Okay mummy, continue”, chorused Temi and Teni: but what…
But I can help you said Mummy as she drew Temi and Teni closer to herself, I will give you some food, said Mr. Squirrel. My wife is preparing some yam porridge, you can join us for dinner, but I must fetch you some yam for the week, wait here my friend. Mr. Tortoise, as curious as always, sneaked at Mr. Squirrels back and watched him as he sneaked through a secret tunnel that leads to a huge farm. “My God, so this is what my friend has been hiding from me all these years?” He sneaked back to the living room and waited for his friend to arrive, when his friend did, he told his friend he wouldn’t mind some of the porridge his wife was preparing. Mr. Squirrel ordered his wife to serve his friend Mr. Tortoise some food. Mr. Tortoise ate his porridge hungrily, bade his friend goodnight told his friend he would be back tomorrow to pick up the food supplies. Mr. Tortoise sat at the door for a few minutes till he was sure Mr. Squirrel was upstairs with his wife, and then he slowly sneaked back into the house, ran to the kitchen and emptied the hot porridge pot into his cap. As he sneaked out of the kitchen, he hit the pot close to the stove, the noise woke Mrs. Squirrel and she squirrelled across the stairs, “who is that”? she asked in fear….
The light was interrupted and Temi and Teni both chorused “thank God” … “why Thank God?” mummy asked… “Because we did not bother to go inside when the light came back on. Oya, mummy please continue,” I said eagerly….
Hearing Mrs. Squirrel’s voice, Mr. Tortoise quickly wore his cap.

He lied that he had forgotten his cap and bade her goodnight. As he ran out of the house, the people noticed his face was red and gathered around him wondering what was wrong with him….when they found out it was his cap that was causing him such pain and agony, they ordered him to remove his it. As he did, the porridge fell from his head and so did his hair too…Hahahaha…. So mummy what did they do for Mr. Tortise, Teni asked,
“Well, a wise man said, ‘he who is greedy in the evening, lives to be bald forever…let him go …his baldness shall remain with him forever’.” Mr. Tortoise walked away with his head bent in shame so everyone could see his baldness. He lost his friend and his wife ran far away from the village. That’s the end of my story.”
Just at the time, Wale and Sheye walked in, “so mum, what did the story you just told them teach us? “ Well, thou shall not be greedy". "Mummy is that even in the bible”… “Yes Wale, now fuel the generator so we can have dinner”… "Mummy, we bought Suya and Bread…. we can all much on that before we go to bed, we aren’t that hungry, are we?” “No we aren’t”, I answered…let’s make it “food by moonlight” Teni screamed in excitement…. “'Alright then' … Mummy smiled, 'go wash your hands and let’s eat'”. As mummy said the prayers, I realized I was lucky to have such wonderful family. I wasn’t looking forward to going back to school any more

…. at least not the boarding house…. Interrupting my thoughts, “So Ore, have you written your School’s need list?”, mum asked !!“Oh no…not school, mummy” I screamed in my mind…. “Mummy, remember no talking while eating”, Temi said giggling as she munched her Sauced-bread. 

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