Thursday, October 6, 2011

had already had three sons. Now and again the cannon boomed." said Obierika.

and nodded their heads in approval of all he said
and nodded their heads in approval of all he said.Ekwefi peeled the yams quickly. He could return to the clan after seven years."Tufia-al" the priestess cursed. beat him up and took our sister and her children away. egusi soup and bitter-leaf soup and pots and pots of palm-wine. His sons brought out the pots of palm-wine. Okonkwo on his bamboo bed tried to figure out the nature of the emergency - war with a neighboring clan? That seemed the most likely reason. Ezinma. melons and beans between the yam mounds."Ekwefi. for you people."After the kola nut had been eaten Okonkwo brought his palm- wine from the corner of the hut where it had been placed and stood it in the center of the group." Ezinma offered. The fire did not burn with a flame. the interpreter. Within a short time the first two bouts were over. They sympathized with their neighbors with much shaking of the head. "The people of Umuike wanted their market to grow and swallow up the markets of their neighbors. Dazed with fear. ozo is so low that every beggar takes it.

" said Okonkwo. rumbling like thunder in the rainy season."The court messengers did not like to be called Ashy-Buttocks. If he had killed Ikemefuna during the busy planting season or harvesting it would not have been so bad.After the wine had been drunk Okonkwo laid his difficulties before Nwakibie. suddenly found an outlet. Okonkwo's youngest wife. But 1 thought you would need the money now and so I brought it. who said he should die. The suitor was a young man of about twenty-five. And when a man is at peace with his gods and his ancestors. "I know what it is??the wrestling match. and Okeke says we should pretend not to see. She nodded. who are known in all the nine villages for your valor in war? How can a man who has killed five men in battle fall to pieces because he has added a boy to their number? Okonkwo. The conversation at once centered on him. Even a man's motherland is strange to him nowadays. looked forward to the New Yam Festival because it began the season of plenty??the new year."Our father.The confusion that followed was without parallel in the tradition of Umuofia. "do you not grow yams where you come from?"Inwardly Okonkwo knew that the boys were still too young to understand fully the difficult art of preparing seed-yams.

greeted themselves in their esoteric language. But in this case she ran away to save her life. and in the end it was decided to ostracize the Christians. carrying a pot of palm-wine on his head.Okonkwo was given a plot of ground on which to build his compound. others said he was not the equal of Ikezue. It was an occasion for giving thanks to Ani. Now that she walked slowly she had time to think. And then after another lifetime these men opened the caves again and the locusts came to Umuofia. I salute you. each of them carrying a heavy bag on his head. The birth of her children. Go ahead and prepare your farm.As Okonkwo sat in his hut that night. called the converts the excrement of the clan. But on one point there was general agreement??the active principle in that medicine had been an old woman with one leg." said one of the younger men. "Life to you. She continually ran into the luxuriant weeds and creepers that walled in the path. Chielo. Soon after.

Ikemefuna was equally excited. What she had seen was the shape of a man climbing a palm tree. like something agitating with a metallic life. and sat speechless.That was many years ago. who only stayed in the hope that it might come to chasing the men out of the village or whipping them." she replied.But the most dreaded of all was yet to come." She sat down and stretched her legs in front of her. He was a good eater and he could drink one or two fairly big gourds of palm-wine. It is almost dawn. And then appeared on the horizon a slowly-moving mass like a boundless sheet of black cloud drifting towards Umuofia. young and old. Kiaga that he had decided to go to Umuofia where the white missionary had set up a school to teach young Christians to read and write. "It's true that a child belongs to its father. His name was Nwakibie and he had taken the highest but one title which a man could take in the clan. But they have cast you out like lepers.""I think it is good that our clan holds the ozo title in high esteem. But she had lived so long that perhaps she had decided to stay.""I think it is good that our clan holds the ozo title in high esteem. looking at the position of the sun.

They were possessed by the spirit of the drums."That wine is the work of a good tapper. Ekwefi tried to pull out the horny beak but it was too hard. and thank Okonkwo for having looked after him so well and for bringing him back. One of those things was gentleness and another was idleness.Okonkwo's head was bowed in sadness as Obierika told him these things. "Now they are behaving like men. which. and most of them never did because they died too young - before they could be asked questions. They had no hatred in their hearts against Okonkwo. and asked Okonkwo to have a word with him outside. whose feeling of importance was manifest in her sprightly walk.Okonkwo was popularly called the "Roaring Flame. their hoes and machetes."1 have told you to let her alone.Okonkwo's wives.But somehow Okonkwo could never become as enthusiastic over feasts as most people. Ezinma. Kiaga.- they merely set the scene. the one young and beautiful.

lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper.In the distance the drums continued to beat. Nwoye's mother and Ojiugo would provide the other things like smoked fish. Okonkwo decided to go out hunting."Looking at a king's mouth. therefore. The Ibo evangelists consulted among themselves and decided that the man probably meant bicycle. She must have heard a noise behind her and turned round sharply. "What will the heathen say of us when they hear that we receive osu into our midst? They will laugh. And when she returned he beat her very heavily. This one had only one hand and it carried a basket full of water. They had then drawn patterns on them in white. Sometimes another village would ask Unoka's band and their dancing egwugwu to come and stay with them and teach them their tunes. But it would be impolite to rush him. But he had recently fallen ill. as on that day. and for protection against their enemies. the owner of all land. therefore. Such a thing could never happen in his fatherland." they said.

because their dreaded agadi-nwayi would never fight what the Ibo call a fight of blame. empty men. Soon after. But although Okonkwo was a great man whose prowess was universally acknowledged. Men stirred on their bamboo beds and listened anxiously. and at the end of it beat his instrument again. and the polite name for leprosy was "the white skin. I shall pay you. who had risen so suddenly from great poverty and misfortune to be one of the lords of the clan. "Our duty is not to blame this man or to praise that. It was a tremendous sight. He was poor and his wife and children had barely enough to eat. For three or four moons it demanded hard work and constant attention from cock-crow till the chickens went back to roost." He laughed a mirthless laughter. white dregs and said. He presented a kola nut and an alligator pepper. When the moon rose late in the night.The drums beat and the flutes sang and the spectators held their breath. and it ended on the left. Ezinma went deeper and deeper and the crowd went with her.And now the rains had really come.

The cloud had lifted and a few stars were out. She determined to nurse her child to health. he took with him his flute. Okagbue was a very striking figure. and that first man was their harbinger sent to explore the terrain.The young suitor. whose sad story is still told in Umuofia unto this day. and Obiageli told her mournful story. no one could kill them without having to flee from the clan. When the will of the goddess had been done." she answered. he cried in his heart. But it is not our custom to debar anyone from the stream or the quarry. and offered prayers to them on behalf of himself."And why did you not say so.""That means you will see something. and four or five others in his own age group. who had given much money to the white man's messengers and interpreter. and. Okonkwo would take care of meat and yams.As the men drank.

and at the end it was decided to follow the normal course of action. Here was a man whose chi said nay despite his own affirmation. And he told them about this new God. stopped them. for his father's relatives to see. It seemed as if the world had gone mad." he said quietly to Ezinma. But good men who worshipped the true God lived forever in His happy kingdom. Nma. calabashes and wooden bowls were thoroughly washed. There were also pots of palm-wine.""In future call her into your obi.Okonkwo shook his head doubtfully. where titled men climb trees and pound foo-foo for their wives. carrying his stool and his goatskin bag. Would he recognize her now? She must have grown quite big. making music and feasting. Then the bride. In ordinary life Chielo was a widow with two children.In the distance the drums continued to beat. Three young men from the victorious boy's team ran forward.

The young suitor. the village playground." said Obierika. At first it appeared as if it might prove too great for his spirit. It was powerful in war and in magic." They laughed and agreed. 'You are full of cunning and you are ungrateful. Uchendu.It was clear from the way the crowd stood or sat that the ceremony was for men. The old man who received him was his mother's younger brother. She believed because it was that faith alone that gave her own life any kind of meaning." said one of the younger men. As the evening drew near. shrill and powerful. and at his death there were only three men in the whole clan who were older. He stepped forward. "Let us go. and sent for the missionaries. He changed them every day. and which she no doubt still told to her younger children??stories of the tortoise and his wily ways." said Ekwefi.

The neighbors sat around watching the pit becoming deeper and deeper. emerged from her hut. jumping over walls and dancing on the roof." said Mr. That was a favorite saying of children."No. building a new red-earth and thatch house for their teacher. A steady cloud of smoke rose from his head."He sprang to his feet. When he had swallowed them. and the crowd followed her. Obierika and half a dozen other friends came to help and to console him. There was so much food and drink that many kinsmen whistled in surprise. And supporting his mother also meant supporting his father." she said. Her eyes went constantly from Ezinma to the boiling pot and back to Ezinma.Okonkwo brought out his snuff-bottle and offered it to Ogbuefi Ezenwa. That is all I am good for now. they set off in a body. It ended on the right. She was peeling new yams.

Two little groups of people stood at a respectable distance beyond thecheap uggs for sale stools. and piling up his debts. into a healthy. and in the end they were received by them They asked for a plot of land to build on. or Evil Spirit. I cannot live on the bank of a river and wash my hands with spittle. Near the barn was a small house. The yams were then staked. Kiaga. one of the people of the sky came forward and tasted a little from each pot." said Obierika. for he knew certainly that something was amiss. The bride-price had been paid and all but the last ceremony had been performed. persistent and unchanging. Then came the voices of the egwugwu. They went outside again. rubbing off the grains of sand that clung to his thighs.The last match was between the leaders of the teams. Sometimes Okonkwo gave them a few yams each to prepare."We have now built a church. "Blessed is he who forsakes his father and his mother for my sake.

He hit the bottle against his knee to shake up the tobacco.- the only thing worth demonstrating was strength.When all the egwugwu had sat down and the sound of the many tiny bells and rattles on their bodies had subsided. by Okonkwo's brusqueness in dealing with less successful men. Never make an early morning appointment with a man who has just married a new wife. And so they each took a new name. She put back the empty pot on the circular pad in the corner. meanwhile. but in doing so he would have taken something from the full penalty of seven years. roots and barks of medicinal trees and shrubs. Two little groups of people stood at a respectable distance beyond the stools.Go-di-di-go-go-di-go. "They had been warned that danger was ahead. and he was soon chosen as the man to speak for the party because he was a great orator."The missionary ignored him and went on to talk about the Holy Trinity.' said Mother Kite. gods of wood and stone. It was then that the one-handed spirit came. and the burial was near." said Okagbue."Where did you bury your iyi-uwa?" Okagbue had asked Ezinma.

" said the old man. and we shall all perish.That was years ago."Sometimes I wish I had not taken the ozo title. "If I had a son like him I should be happy. Now and then a cold shiver descended on his head and spread down his body.Obierika's compound was as busy as an anthill. "on an Eke market day a little band of fugitives came into our town. and old men and women would remember their youth. which had been stretched taut with excitement. armed with sheathed machetes." the medicine man told Okonkwo in a cool. and asked Okonkwo to have a word with him outside. He knew it must be Ekwefi. Her arms were folded across her bare breasts. We do not dispute it. I have learned that a man who makes trouble for others is also making it for himself." They all laughed. Kiaga stood firm. His mind went to his latest show of manliness."Ekwefi went to bring the pot and Okonkwo selected the best from his bundle. his sixteen-year-old son.One day a neighbor called Okoye came in to see him.

The bride's mother led the way. But it would be impolite to rush him. It was after such a day at the farm during the last harvest that Nwoye had felt for the first time a snapping inside him like the one he now felt."Your half-sister.""Ee-e-e!""Prosperous men and great warriors. When all the birds had gathered together." Ofoedu agreed."After the kola nut had been eaten Okonkwo brought his palm- wine from the corner of the hut where it had been placed and stood it in the center of the group. It all began over the question of admitting outcasts. close to the Great Shrine. or how. The barn was built against one end of the red walls. But the really exciting moments were when a man was thrown. Ekwefi's mind went back to the days when they were young. Once she tripped up and fell. her wrath was loosed on all the land and not just on the offender. Ekwefi hurried to the main footpath and turned left in the direction of the voice. Some people even said that they had heard the spirits flying and flapping their wings against the roof of the cave. and he pointed to a man who sat near him with a bowed head. Ekwefi hurried to the main footpath and turned left in the direction of the voice. Okonkwo. Ekwefi brought her to the fireplace. The thick dregs of palm-wine were supposed to be good for men who were going in to their wives.

As soon as he heard of the great feast in the sky his throat began to itch at the very thought. It was a brief resting period between the exacting and arduous planting season and the equally exacting but light-hearted month of harvests. Surely the earth goddess would not visit the sins of the missionaries on the innocent villagers?But on one occasion the missionaries had tried to over step the bounds.""What will I see?" she asked. elina!SalaEze ilikwa ya Ikwaba akwa ogholi Ebe Danda nechi eze Ebe Uzuzu nete egwuSalaHe sang it in his mind. The child was called Onwumbiko. He made him feel grown-up." he began. condemned for seven years to live in a strange land. as a sullen husband refuses his wife's food when they have quarrelled. "Our own men and our sons have joined the ranks of the stranger. Nobody knew how old. His younger wives did that. He does not belong here."Who taps your tall trees for you?" asked Obierika. which was strengthened by such little conspiracies as eating eggs in the bedroom."I am Evil Forest.Okonkwo sat in his obi crunching happily with Ikemefuna and Nwoye. I am worried about Nwoye.Ezinma grew up in her father's exile and became one of the most beautiful girls in Mbanta. And so although Okonkwo was still young." replied Obierika." He brought down his staff heavily on the floor.

What she had seen was the shape of a man climbing a palm tree. Okonkwo cleared his throat. who sat next to him. Nwoye's mother was very kind to him and treated him as one of her own children. and even now he could still hear it as it grew dimmer and dimmer in the distance. suddenly changed his mind and agreed to take the message. or obi. of all people. Some said Okafo was the better man. and the smallest group had ten lines. panting. Sometimes he turned round and chased after those men. or "Mother is Supreme?" We all know that a man is the head of the family and his wives do his bidding. and sometimes two rainbows. stood immediately behind the only gate in the red walls. "We are going directly."Outside the obi Okagbue and Okonkwo were digging the pit to find where Ezinma had buried her iyi-uwa." was joyfully chanted everywhere. because it judged a man by the work or his hands. And although she believed that the iyi-uwa which had been dug up was genuine. and he was grateful. or Holy Feast as it was called in Ibo.He was by nature a very lively boy and he gradually became popular in Okonkwo's household.

Go and see if your father has brought out yams for the afternoon. and they ran for their lives."Look at that wall. Uchendu. Ukegbu counted them. "1 have brought you this little kola. There was a long break. And so it was time for the final ceremony of confession." said Mgbogo's next-door neighbor. Indeed he respected him for his industry and success. But it is not so. At last Sky was moved to pity. And so it was time for the final ceremony of confession. children sat around their mother's cooking fire telling stories. The man who dug it up was the same Okagbue who was famous in all the clan for his knowledge in these matters." she answered. He tried in vain to force the thought out of his mind. He was reclining on a mud bed in his hut playing on the flute. and he who could feed his family on yams from one harvest to another was a very great man indeed. Nwoye would feign annoyance and grumble aloud about women and their troubles. Nwoye's mother. and none of them died. clay and metal instruments went from song to song.

The elders consulted their Oracle and it told them that the strange man would break their clan and spread destruction among them. but they are too young to leave their mother. But his whole life was dominated by fear. and his happiest moments were the two or three moons after the harvest when the village musicians brought down their instruments. That was his fifth head and he was not an old man yet. the god who cut a man down when his life was sweetest to him. They guarded the prison.' But my wife's brothers said they had nothing to tell me. A sickly odor hung in the air wherever he went. "I remember now. But before he could answer. indeed." Ezinma said. No." she said. whose sad story is still told in Umuofia unto this day."I wish she were a boy. That showed that in time he would be able to control his women-folk. Her mother consoled her and promised to buy her her another pot."Their clan is now completely empty. beginning with the eldest man."Come along. mother.

Even the very little children seemed to know.The young suitor. She greeted her god in a multitude of names??the owner of the future. "Let us go." he said. especially these days when young men are afraid of hard work.The nine villages of Umuofia had grown out of the nine sons of the first father of the clan. nor even a young wife. Their children carried pots of water. They were mostly the kind of people that were called efulefu. There were only four titles in the clan. Of all his children she alone understood his every mood. And if anybody was so foolhardy as to pass by the shrine after dusk he was sure to see the old woman hopping about. Ani. and was not given the first or the second burial.- the only thing worth demonstrating was strength. The same thought also came to Okonkwo's mind. Perhaps he had been going to Mbaino and had lost his way. And then from the center of the delirious fury came a cry of agony and shouts of horror. "But I cannot understand these things you tell me. thus completing a circle with their hosts. You stay at home. were whispering together.

Ekwefi tried to pull out the horny beak but it was too hard. "My father told me that he had been told that in the past a man who broke the peace was dragged on the ground through the village until he died. As our people say. It was the justice of the earth goddess. It was a gay and airy kind of rain. He wanted first to know why they had been outlawed. Some women ran away in fear when it was thrown. and we would be like Abame. He turned again to Ezinma. At first it appeared as if it might prove too great for his spirit. Ekwefi quickly moved away from her line of retreat.The nine villages of Umuofia had grown out of the nine sons of the first father of the clan. Tortoise's wife sent for him and he gathered all the bits of shell and stuck them together. the emanation of the god of water. It is good in these days when the younger generation consider themselves wiser than their sires to see a man doing things in the grand.'"Parrot promised to deliver the message. He then roused Ezinma and placed her on the stool. and it seldom did. Idigo was the man who knew how to grind good snuff. where his friend gave them out year by year to sharecroppers. Her husband's first wife had already had three sons. Now and again the cannon boomed." said Obierika.

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