The Village Bird by Ebele Chizea - an antique Igbo mytho-poetic lyric

This post is borrowed from http://odinanilawsofnature.wordpress.com/ 

A long time ago
in a land far, far away
I arose to distant hills
in translucent shades of blue
In the backdrop
Black birds soared
flapping their wings to the rhythm of their coos
They spread gossip about other towns
Grandma listened, nodded and suddenly went:
I only got the part about Emekuku
What happened at Emekuku?
Grandma’s lips were sealed
It was older people’s business
I long for the days when birds could talk
and we took the time to decipher
When chickens and goats co-existed with humans
on the front porch
Swearing away the heat
each in its own tongue
Longing for harmattan…
Sitting under moonlit skies
Listening to a particular tale of duality
as corn roasts with crackling sounds under the fire…
“udara mu cha nda cha cha cha nda…”
sniffling at the girl whose stepmother starved her
and who prays for the udara to ripe so she can eat
In a famine Udara dwarfs itself to feed girl
and grows infinitum when step mother sings to it
We cheer!
It’s bedtime
And with a belly filled with corn and ube
I move lethargically towards my mat
determined to rise early
to decode what the bird from Emekuku had said.

A Prayer

This post is borrowed from  http://odinanilawsofnature.wordpress.com/

We honor and greet Our Chi (God within us)
We honor and greet Chineke (Creative aspect of God)
We honor and greet Ani (Earth Mother)
We honor and greet Igwe (Sky Father)
We honor all the Alusi who stand around to guide and guard us
We honor the Alusi of the four points, Eke, Orie, Afo, Nkwo

We pray they never abandon us or get weary of us
We pray we are always able to access them
We honor and greet our sacred ancestors
We call upon the ones who lived and died for our freedoms
We pray their memories will not be forgotten
We pray they forgive us for forgetting them a lot of the time
We pray they remain with us for the healing of our homes,
communities, and the planet

We greet the elemental life in the four elements of fire, air,
water and earth
We offer thanks for their efforts in healing the planet
We pray we can learn to work with them in healing our planet
In conclusion
We pray for all humanity, all plant life, all animal life and in fact
all matter to awaken
We pray for heaven and earth to meet and dance in perfect
Now and forever more


Odinani, the sacred science of the Igbo people

This post is borrowed from http://odinanilawsofnature.wordpress.com/ 

Many people think that modern day Igbo sacred sciences (Odinani) is a good overall representation of the very ancient metaphysical systems. They are very incorrect. In fact, the decline of the divine Kingdom of Nri and the rise of the European controlled Atlantic slave trade corrupted Igbo civilization. British colonialism and the Nigerian Civil War practically destroyed what was left of Igbo civilization. What is left of Odinani is only a very faded shadow of how it used to be.

                                                                 Anyanwu (Eye of Light)
Although Odinani is one of the oldest science systems in the world, we will just briefly discuss the last one thousand years. Nri Kingdom (in present day Anambra State) was a major power in present day Eastern and Midwestern Nigeria from 1000 A.D. to 1600 AD.  Unlike most kingdoms, Nri did not gain their influence nor maintain it through military force. Nri’s influence came from metaphysical power. Their culture, tradition, and philosophy was centered on peace, harmony, knowledge, wisdom, justice, and oneness with Creation (Chi, Aja Ana, Anyanwu, Igwe, and etc) and the Creator (Chineke). Eze Nri (Divine king of Nri) was the traditional Igbo pope and he and his mediators (real Nze and Ozo men) spread peace and civility throughout the land and found many settlements abroad. The Nri are responsible for the Igbo Ukwu sites, Four market days, Ozo/Nze title systems, Igu alu, and etc. Unfortunately, between 1400-1700 Nri declined due to internal disputes, the slave trade (which was illegal in Nri), and the rise of rival states. 

In the late 17nth and early 18nth century, the Aro Confederacy (their capital Arochukwu is in present day Abia State) was formed and quickly became a major economic power in present day Eastern Nigeria. The Aro people were expert long distant traders that developed and controlled a complex trading network in the region. The Aros were also known as priests and agents for their famous Ibini Ukpabi (Drum of the high God) oracle that was located in Arochukwu.  After Aro conquest, Ibini Ukpabi was also used as an oracle to settle disputes serious disputes and problems. The oracle quickly became popular for its effectiveness, accuracy, and its useful divinations. Ibini Ukpabi became the main oracle in the region and beyond for many years until the early stages of British colonialism in the 20th century. However, shortly after Aro expansion, the Europeans increased their slave trade interests on the Bight of Biafra. This brought chaos.

                                                                    Ibini Ukpabi Oracle

Igboland and adjacent areas was very violent and chaotic in the 18th century as the result of the Atlantic slave trade. Some oracles in Igboland such as Ibini Ukpabi unfortunately became commercialized. Although many agents and priests of the oracle continued to do honest and fair work, others used the opportunity to sell innocent people as slaves. The Slave trade also introduced the outrageous Osu caste system in Igboland. Initially, Osus were very sacred and respected assistants to high priests. However, as a result of the slave trade, wars in Igboland increased and many people (including runaway slaves) sought refuge in shrines and become an Osu. In some cases, criminals also decided to be an Osu rather than becoming enslaved. Suddenly, being an Osu became a taboo.

                                                    Shrine priest (sitting) and Osu (standing)

British colonialism and Christianity tried to destroy what was left of Odinani. After the 1901-1902 Anglo-Aro War, British troops attempted to destroy the Ibini Ukpabi shrine. The British even called the Nri people, a group that has always stood for justice and peace, evil. Initially, Christian missionaries referred to Odinani as totally evil and tried to force the population to convert. Although Igbo people embraced Western education, they heavily resisted colonialism and the British efforts to destroy their tradition. While the British condemned their culture, they did absolutely nothing to help it. Many Igbo people (Osus were among the first) did convert to Christianity but there was still respect for the many good aspects of Odinani and Igbo culture overall. A strong traditionalist population was still among the Igbo before Nigerian “Independence” (1960) and the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970). After the brutal Civil War, more missionaries came to a war torn Igboland in the 1970s and began the evangelical movement. This movement has been very devastating to Odinani and Igbo culture in general. Some foolish and overzealous Christian youth have looted and destroyed shrines and priceless artifacts. And what have they gained? Absolutely nothing! Instead of creating jobs, developing Igboland, and becoming self sufficient some misguided youths have decided to take the place of the European missionaries and destroy their own Igbo culture.


OMENUKO by Pita Nwana - Chapter one

You can read this beautiful novel in Igbo language when you follow this
link Omenuko in Igbo language

translated from the Igbo by Frances W. Pritchett


    Around our town in Africa, this belief is accepted as law: if anyone goes to another town and lives there as a guest, even if things are good, or he is a merciful person, or a gracious one, or a fair judge, he will always be reminded that he is a guest in that land and he will be preparing himself for his inevitable return to the town of his birth. At any time he may be told, proverbially or directly, that he is a guest and must not fail to return home.
    This belief is strong. That is why anyone who has bad luck that causes him to be shamed in any way will pack up his things and go home. When he reaches the town of his birth, the joy he encounters will repay him more than everything he experienced in the other town where he lived as a guest. His people will welcome his return with rejoicing and happiness. In good time, he will teach his people about the interesting things he learned on his expedition, and he will have a chance to apply what he learned to work in his own town. All these things will contribute to his joy and he says, "Good town, good town," as the story in this book will demonstrate.


    Omenuko had a mother and a father. His mother bore four boys and two girls. Their parents were poor people. They didn't have much money but they had yams, although not many. Because they didn't have money, they apprenticed their sons to people who bought and sold in the market, so that their children could learn the trading business. But the boy called Omenuko stayed with the one who was teaching him to buy and sell until he was fully grown. The name of his master was Omemgboji.  His master then gave him some things he could use to start trading on his own.  Omenuko thanked his master very much. Omemgboji said to him, "May things go well with you; may your people serve you as you have served me. Farewell."
    Omenuko then began to buy things on his own, but he still associated himself with his master Omemgboji in making his purchases. When he had saved enough money, he parted from his master.
    At that time he had a small boy accompanying him, helping him to buy and sell in the market.  As the year progressed in that trading, he took on other people who were called "load-bearers." He himself was prospering and becoming wealthier.  When people saw how he had learned to buy and sell in the market, some of them took their children to him so that he could teach them how to become traders.
    During the time that he had many market apprentices, there was one particular journey when Omenuko had bought many things, which were carried by his load-bearers and by his apprentices. They all got up early in the morning in our town and traveled as far as they could. They stayed overnight in a certain town called Umuduru Nso Ofo. At dawn they resumed their journey and reached another town called Umu Lolo, and slept there as well.  At dawn they started up again and reached another town called Ezi Nnachi.  But between Umu Lolo and Ezi Nnachi they were drenched by rain, causing them to spend the night there [at Ezi Nnachi].  When day dawned they started out, but when they all reached a certain river called Igwu, that river was enormous. It was swollen on account of the heavy rain that had fallen on the previous day. The river had a tree trunk that was used as a bridge for crossing it. Omenuko and his people then climbed onto the tree trunk so they could cross the river.
    When all of them were on top of the tree trunk, all the ropes that had been used to fasten it broke completely off. Omenuko and his load-bearers and the others who were his apprentices fell into the river. Not one of them remembered where he was. Every one struggled to save himself, until God in Heaven had mercy and they all got out. Not a single one was drowned. But the reason that the river did not swallow up anyone was that everyone in our town knew how to swim.  We can know this by looking at Omenuko's wife. She was only a young woman but she knew how to swim like the others.
    The river was swollen to overflowing, so everything they were carrying to market was lost in the river. Clay or gravel and things like stones filled the river and caused it to rush with great speed. If anything fell into the river, it would carry it away immediately.  A person would be unable to retrieve it. Because of this, everything Omenuko had,  everything that made him a wealthy man, was gone in the twinkling of an eye.
    Then Omenuko opened his mouth and cried out, "God in Heaven, why have You caused me to become a person for whom death is better than life?" All the people who were going to market joined him in mourning the loss of all his belongings.
    He then told all his people that they would return to Ezi Nnachi. They returned  as he said. When they arrived there, the men and women who lived there joined Omenuko in lamenting the disaster. But what you will realize is that the news of what happened to him in that river did not reach our town  because our townspeople had traveled three days since leaving it. And nobody knew what Omenuko had in mind on that day.
    Afterwards, Omenuko called together his load-bearers and his apprentices and said to them, "If we turn back to our town without completing the market journey that we started, it will be what is called an abomination both in the eyes of our ancestors and in the eyes of God in Heaven."
    Omenuko also said to them, "Please, have patience until we reach this market, because I have learned this direct from my master, Omemgboji." He told them a story concerning a certain man whose name was Akpo, an Itu man, one of whose boats sank in the Anyim, which was a great river. All his belongings in the boat were lost, but the man Akpo did not turn back--instead, he pressed forward and reached the market."
    They all then agreed, and began their journey.  But other traders were one day ahead of Omenuko and his people. So, when the other traders would start out from one town on a certain day, Omenuko and his people would just be arriving at that town on the same day. They traveled like that until they reached the market at Bende. Omenuko and his people also entered Bende on the same day in the evening. But the account of what happened to him that reached Bende first was that Omenuko did not want to buy many things on that trip. Neither did he want to rest. On the evening they arrived at Bende he went to his market friends, those who were slave dealers, and said to them, "You must come now during the night;--I have brought some things to market." He then told them the story of what happened to him in the river, how all of his possessions were lost, and all that was left to him were these few people. His market friends then shouted, saying, "Hey, hey, if you had not bought several people on this trip, how could this story have been told?" [They thought he had bought those people.]
    He replied, My market goods would have been completely lost." So they came.  Omenuko then sold out the young people who were learning to buy and sell in the market, also sold some of his load-bearers--who were young men--and also sold one of his step-brothers.
    Not one of these people knew what Omenuko was planning to do to them. Omenuko then called together all those he had sold, including the step-brother, and said to them, "This man, whose name is Mr. Oji, has taken pity on me because of what happened to me on this journey. He told me that it's a shame the way all of my market goods were lost and the way I will have to leave here and return to our town empty-handed, I and all of my load-bearers. Because of this, he says that I and some of my load-bearers should go home together today, while my brother and some of the load-bearers should stay [here in Bende] for three days so that he can provide you all with things that you will carry back for me, so that with his help I will have something to sustain me."
    He then took all the money he had gained from the sale of all the people he had sold, bought all the things necessary for the return journey, tied up his loads, and said to the load-bearers, "Start carrying."
    He left all the people he had sold and returned home. Then he told his load-bearers that since he had not tied a heavy load on anyone, they would do two days' travel in one day, because he was really very angry. They all agreed to do as he said. While they were on the road, Omenuko kept thinking about what he would do about those people whom he had sold out.  At that time his conscience was bothering him for the bad thing he had done in selling out those other young people, because what had happened to him was not man's doing but God's doing.  Then they reached our land after dark.

OMENUKO by Pita Nwana - Chapter fourteen - fifteen


    Omenuko then selected eight men and sent them out to go and tell the chiefs of our town what had happened. He told them to go by twos to the homes of all the chiefs in our town, because there are fifteen families in our village and each group of villages has its own chief. Omenuko told those emissaries to ask those chiefs of our town to help him by sending several people to come and move his things, because he was preparing to return to our village as soon as his belongings were moved out, whether it be today or the next day. When the messengers arrived and delivered Omenuko's message, the chiefs of our town received it. No chief who heard the message thought of anything else from then on. All the chiefs then sent messages to each other that each chief should take the drum and call the young men and tell them to prepare the next morning to join Omenuko and his brothers in moving their belongings, and that they should work for him until all of his belongings were removed from Ikpa Oyi.
    When all the chiefs who had met together had dispersed, their drums began to beat everywhere, "Boom boom, boom boom"--if you listened in one place they sounded, if you listened in another place they sounded in the same way. On the following day, if there had been a weak person blocking the road, the young men and women would have trampled him to death. From the day they started going and moving those things, there was no week that people were scarce on that road, for nine days, until they were finally resettled in our village.
    On the tenth day, Omenuko went and told the District Commissioner that on the next day he would return to our village. The D.C. said to him, "What you want to do is good, but what will you do about your people and all your belongings?" He then told him that all his belongings had been returned to our village. The D.C. then asked him, "What will you do with your houses?" Omenuko said, "I will abandon those houses, so that the forest will grow over them and they will fall down." The District Commissioner told him, "It is too bad to let those houses of yours go to ruin." Omenuko replied, "I will give several of my friends other things, but there is no one to whom I can give my houses." The D.C. said that he regretted very much that all of those houses would be wasted, and that it would be good if Omenuko's friends could buy them and pay for them.
    Omenuko then said, "Anyone I see in my house I will deal with separately after all of those houses have fallen to the ground. If anyone wants to live there let him go and live, but right now, I do not consent." The D.C. then said to him, "All right, after you have reached your land and have rested, when you want your warrant, come and see me so I can give you a paper which you will give to the District Commissioner of Okigwi." Omenuko then said to the D.C., "I will come, but do not expect me this year or next year, because anyone who is a chief will have a house where his friends will be coming to see him." The District Commissioner then told him that would be all right. Omenuko then thanked him, they shook hands, and Omenuko left.
    On the eleventh day Omenuko brought out four large guns called cannons, packed them well with gunpowder, took the four guns and climbed to the top of a hill, placed them in a row, chose sixteen strong young men, and told them to wait until the four guns were fired and then carry them back. Then the time arrived when Omenuko was ready to get going and start his return to our land. One of those strong young men then took a torch and ran to fire up the cannons. The first one sounded, the second one sounded, the third and the fourth sounded. Omenuko then told everyone standing near him, "I have shot off these big guns so the people in this town will know when I am starting out; whoever wants to rejoice let him rejoice, whoever wants to cry let him start now to cry." At that time the strong young men who had been chosen came and carried off the four cannons, and it was time to leave. When Omenuko and his people reached our village, the four cannons were fired up again and shot, so that everyone should know when Omenuko and his brothers arrived in our land.
    I cannot say exactly in which year Omenuko left our village and escaped to the Mgborogwu people. But the year that Omenuko came out of his exile and returned to our village was 1918, at the end of the tenth month. When Omenuko stayed a rather long time without asking the white people anything concerning his position, some people began to question his intentions. Omenuko then told them that it was not very important to him to be a judge from that time on, and that he would continue to assist the government officials any time they needed help. But the people of our village did not like to hear that Omenuko refused to be a paramount chief as the white people wanted him to be. Omenuko then said, "I have been made a paramount chief, the public has acknowledged my government and has praised me; because of this I will become a peacemaker in my village and support the government officials. This will help me in my life." Omenuko then kept his word.


    Omenuko built numerous houses for himself and for his people. He sent all of his sons to school, but some of his children wanted to leave school beginning from the time they returned, because several of them had passed primary six at that time. From the year 1918 on when they returned to our village, no year passed when you would not have seen one or two of his children in primary six. Neither was there a year when you would not see one of his children going for a white collar job. Several of his children worked for the Railway Corporation, and some were traders.
    Omenuko used to go to court, but he was not a chief of the court. If he went to court, he would go and sit quietly watching the court officials like a lawyer. If the court chiefs ruled unfairly when Omenuko was present, even though he was not a warrant chief he would not be pleased to see something like that going on. Therefore, whenever the court chiefs saw him in court, each one would be careful in words and deeds.
    You  know very well that there are different kinds of people in this world of ours, and not everyone liked Omenuko, because some people are always wanting to take from others but they do not want people to take from them. Because of things like this, Omenuko did not have a chance to treat everyone who knew him as they wanted to be treated. Thus, some people loved him, and some hated him. But anyone who knows good from bad will know that Omenuko was a man of the people; because of this, there were more people in our village who loved him than there were those who did not love him, to this day.
    I have written this book or this story concerning the life of Mr. Omenuko so that anyone reading it will be sure to learn something through it. There are both laughter and tears in the world, which will cause anyone seeking wisdom to become wise. Omenuko had had money from the time he was a young man,  but when he  became an adult his money was gone. Anger and sadness told him to go and die, and have rest, but peace and love told him to wait, not crying about something called death which was in the future.
    Omenuko is still alive today. He is still doing good deeds during all his long life. Any time he wants to do something, he looks for a suitable time so he can show his wisdom. Everyone will learn something about the scarcity of money these days. From the year 1929 until today, some people tied their money up with rope and hoarded it so it would not get away from them. Omenuko was one of those people. Some people cry about the scarcity of money, but I think Mr. Omenuko, any time he wanted to do anything, waited for the right time so he could show his wisdom.
    Now money is very scarce, it is true, but what this name Omenuko means in translation is, "One  who can do things when wealth is scarce." That is the name his father gave him. On account of Omenuko's having a name like this, anything he wanted to do, he was sure to do it wisely. Omenuko began to build a storied house in a year when money was scarce, so that he would live up to the name his father had given him: "One who can do things when wealth is scarce."

~~~~ The End ~~~~

OMENUKO by Pita Nwana - Chapter thirteen


    Twenty-six villages conspired against Omenuko. They said in their meetings that they would go and make war against Omenuko and his people; and whatever resulted, they would take the responsibility--whether it be life or death, they would accept it. Some of them then thought, "Since Omenuko is a difficult person, perhaps he will overcome us in the war." These people sneaked out and went and informed Omenuko of what they had said, so they could curry favor with Omenuko. The expectation of those informers was that Omenuko would surely go first to tell the government people, and then the government people would prevent the war. But they did not know that Omenuko and his people were courageous and would prepare to fight the war against those twenty-six villages.
    Omenuko then called his people together and said to them, "We shall not fail to fight these people if they really come. But there is one thing we must understand before the fight, and that is that the white people will not be pleased with me if I fight, but still I shall fight because they carried the fight to my house. A war like this is not a premeditated war, which I will be blamed for joining, saying that I ought not to have joined it, but this is a case of my enemies seeking to attack me and my people so they can wipe us out completely. Therefore, we shall save ourselves. I know that if it is fought, we shall surely return to our town." Omenuko and his people then prepared  thoroughly while keeping on the alert.
    The day  came that the twenty-six villages had appointed to fight the war, so they came and began by digging up  plants that were on Omenuko's farm--cocoa, plantains, and bananas. That is when Omenuko said to his people, "This is the time." Omenuko's people then went and got their guns, shot one man and wounded several others. The one who had been shot fell down dead. When the people of the twenty-six villages saw that one of their men had died, they tried hard to kill one of Omenuko's people. One of their men had died, one of Omenuko's men also had died. Thus the debt was balanced. Those chiefs took their man and went to Awka; Omenuko also took his man and went to Awka. When the two factions took the people who had been killed and reached Awka, the District Commissioner came out and saw the bodies of the two men and asked what had happened to them.
    Omenuko then said to the District Commissioner, "White man, please, ask the twenty-six villages what I have done to cause them to conspire to kill me and my people. Because of what they said in their secret meeting, they invaded my home today, and when my people went out to stop them, they struck and killed one of my men and tried to find a way to carry off the body. Perhaps they saw a deceitful way to say that they had not killed anyone. But several things will bear witness against them. They came and began to uproot cocoa, plantain and bananas I had planted on my farm. While they were doing these things no one from my house stopped them, until several of them came to the front of my house. My people then went out to stop them, and they then struck and killed this man. This caused me to tell my people to shoot one of their men. My people did so, and they ran off. But my people captured three of their men who had lost their way. When these chiefs heard my people's gunfire and saw that one of their people had fallen dead to the ground they ran, because they had not brought along their guns. Those who were carrying away that man of mine whom they had killed then saw that their companions were retreating, and they then threw the man's body to the ground and fled. I then told my people to go and retrieve his body, and they did. While these chiefs were running for their lives, they abandoned the corpse of their man and left. Three of their men whom I captured I told to carry off the corpse of their man and leave. They then took the corpse and left. Another thing I will say in addition to this is, ask the court messengers and the court clerk of my village and they will tell you what they saw."
  The District Commissioner then asked the twenty-six villages, "Have you heard what Omenuko just said?" They said, "Yes, we have heard." The District Commissioner asked them, "Which is the truth?" They then said that some of his words were true and some were false. The District Commissioner asked them, "Which statements were false?" They said they had told Omenuko to return to his village. The District Commissioner then said, "That is not what you were asked--listen, did you or did you not invade Omenuko's house?" They said that they did not invade, rather that they went to his cocoa farm and dug up the cocoa and the bananas and the plantains that were in it; Omenuko then gathered his people and came out and began to shoot at them, and shot down that man who was killed.
    The District Commissioner then asked them, "Do you know that it is you who will be blamed for this war?" They said, "Yes." The District Commissioner said to them, "Do you know what the consequences of this war are for you?" They told him that whatever came out of it they would face, until they found a way to kill Omenuko himself, and then they would listen to what the District Commissioner said. The chiefs then said to the District Commissioner, "If you want to kill all of us because of Omenuko, who is a foreigner in this land of ours, it will be better for us than to allow something as unusual as this to happen." The District Commissioner heard all these bad words they spoke without any cowardice or fear. The D. C. then said to them, "Take these two corpses and go and bury them and come back in four days." They took those who had been killed and went away.
    The next day, the District Commissioner sent out his messenger, a policeman, and told him to go and call Omenuko. The messenger then went and called Omenuko. He accompanied the messenger to Awka on the same day. The District Commissioner then led Omenuko into the house and asked him, "Tell me the truth concerning what these people are saying. They are insisting that you are a stranger in their land and that your village is in Okigwi." Omenuko said, "I will not lie to you. My village is in Okigwi as they said." The District Commissioner then said to Omenuko, "I do not know what I can tell you that will please you, but what is the worst for me is to see that these twenty-six villages risk death and jail and the onslaught of the white people's soldiers against them and the removal of their chiefs from the bench. What convinces me that something bad will happen is that they were not afraid to agree that they attacked your house, neither were they afraid to say that they will not rest until they kill you. That is why I said earlier, what will be the worst for me will be to see that these twenty-six villages are risking death to kill you, because they can find someone who is a worthless person, and that person, not caring about dying, will take a gun and shoot you down. Then what can I do except kill that worthless person, because he will confess willingly. Remember, it is not only here that your name is known, but your name is known in Okigwi and other places. That is why I will tell you to get ready and return to your village in peace. I have not found anything against you that is so bad that will cause you to lose your position of leadership."
    Omenuko then said to the District Commissioner, "What punishment will you give them for their invasion of my home, because if you do not give them a heavy punishment, will they not look at a thing like this and do other bad things that will be worse than this? From today on I will get my things ready and notify the people of my village that they should come and move my things. I have heard your words, therefore from this day on you may be sure that I have agreed to return to my village, because there is no one in my village to whom I owe a debt."
    The District Commissioner then said, "When you are ready to return, be sure to let me know." Omenuko thanked him, returned to his house, called together all his people, and told them what he and the District Commissioner had said. They all then rejoiced. "It is better that we go home alive than go home dead."
    Omenuko then said to his people, "Truly, we will not fail to return to our village, because if any man starts a fight, he will find out what issue is causing the quarrel, and he will find out what benefit he will get from that fight; but in the quarrel between me and these people there is no benefit for me and I do not see any benefit for them. Therefore we should return to our village, so that these people who are seeking our return will eat the land of their ancestors and will eat it to their death."

OMENUKO by Pita Nwana - Chapter twelve


    Omenuko advanced in his prosperity and in his chieftaincy. After the white people saw that he was a very sensible man in the way he governed, they made him a paramount chief above all the other chiefs. The white people gave him authority to judge some cases in his own house, and he continued to do that from then on. When the white people saw that he was progressing, and that he was a good judge, they gave him more power than they had given him at first. They gave him a clerk  and some court messengers. While these things were taking place, all the other chiefs were subordinate to Omenuko.
    All the chiefs then said, "No, this will not happen in our land--a stranger being the head over all of us. If he is going to be the government, let him go to his own village--he will not stay in our village." (Remember that Omenuko lived in Ikpa Oyi; he had not yet returned to his native land.)
    They then began to envy him, and went to the white people at Awka and told them that he should not be their paramount chief, that he, Omenuko, came from a different place. But the white people did not listen to them, because Omenuko was not the kind of person of whom one would say that he should not be a paramount chief. When the chiefs saw that what they were saying did not set well with the white people, they went and started to wait for a chance to do it by force. While they were waiting, Omenuko continued to prosper.
    When all the people surrounding the town saw that in no way did Omenuko show concern that he had twenty-five chiefs envying him, many of them changed their minds and wanted Omenuko to be their friend. It was not done deceitfully, but out of sincerity. Omenuko then agreed that he and those people should be friends, and they were very pleased, because if Omenuko had refused, saying that he did not want to be their friend, it would have been very bad for them and they would have been in a dilemma. Because of this, everyone who wished Omenuko well went to him and helped him in every way. All those who went to Omenuko and who were farmers cleared his land for him; when planting time came they helped him plant his yams; when the time for weeding came, the women of those houses also came and weeded for him. When the time came to prepare covering for the walls, those farmers helped to cover them. When it was time to change the roof thatches on the houses, they went and changed them. After these things went on for seven or eight years, the chiefs found another way to vent their envy.
    They went and asked the chief who owned the land of Ikpa Oyi, where Omenuko had cleared land and built his house, to tell Omenuko to leave that land. The chief of that land said, "No, not unless you all swear me an oath that you cannot go back on your word about Omenuko leaving our land when we begin to speak with him." They agreed and swore a solemn oath saying, if anyone should go back on his word about Omenuko's departing, let the spirits kill him. They then accompanied that chief to the white people and told him to tell the white people what he needed to tell them. The chief told the District Commissioner that that land where Omenuko had built his house was his land, that he had told him to leave his land, but he had refused. The chief then said to the District Commissioner, "I told him forcefully and I told him politely, but Omenuko did not listen; therefore, if he does not understand Igbo, please tell him in English--perhaps he will listen to that and leave my land."
    The District Commissioner questioned the chief, saying, "How many years has it been since Omenuko moved his household there?" The chief answered, "This is the seventh year." The District Commissioner asked the chief, "During those seven years, how many times have you told him to leave your land?" The chief replied, "At no time did I tell him to leave my land; however, I  told him to pay me the rent for that land but he did not listen." The District Commissioner then said to the chief, "I think you have said now that you told him forcefully and told him politely to leave, but he did not listen, but the last thing you said now is that you still have not told him to leave your land from the beginning, rather that what you told him was that he should pay you the rent for that land, but he did not listen. As between your two statements, which one is true?"
    The chief then said, "The first one is true." The District Commissioner then said to him, "Then the second one is a lie?" He said, "Yes." The District Commissioner then said to the chief, "Isn't it you people who judge liars, telling them to go to jail because they have lied--isn't this so?" The chief then said, "Sir, forgive me for this one mistake; I will not make false statements again." The District Commissioner then said to him, "All right, I forgive you for this, but remember that you made two statements, afterwards backing down and saying that the last statement was untrue, but I will not be pleased if, when Omenuko comes here and you and he testify before me, I find out that all of your statements are false. That means that your statements now should be true because if afterwards I discover that they all are false, be assured that you will go to jail."
    The chief then said to the District Commissioner, "Omenuko is an expert speaker; perhaps when he comes here he will deny it all and you will also say that I am a falsifier and that I have made an untrue statement." The chief then quoted a certain proverb, saying, "Rather than fill my stomach and fall down in the road, let me go hungry." This meant that instead of his taking Omenuko to court and then going to jail, both the first and the second statements would be withdrawn. The District Commissioner then asked him, "What do these words of yours mean?" The chief said, "I think that both of those statements should be withdrawn, because I do not want to go to jail. Omenuko will deny me when he comes."
    The District Commissioner then told them to leave, go and think things over, then return and tell him the truth. They agreed and went away. The District Commissioner was expecting that they would come back to tell him what they thought, but they did not come for many days. Finally the District Commissioner sent a message to Omenuko that he wanted to see him, and he sent a message to that chief to come on the same day. When Omenuko and the chief came before the District Commissioner, he asked them both if there was any quarrel between them. Omenuko said, "There is no quarrel between me and Chief Ike except for the jealousy of the chiefs here." The District Commissioner then asked the chief, "What do you have to say about the questions I asked you all?" He answered, "There is no quarrel between me and Chief Omenuko."
    The District Commissioner then asked the chief, "Has Omenuko left your land now? Has Omenuko paid you the rent?" The chief said, "Sir, forget about it, that matter has ended." The District Commissioner then asked Omenuko if there was any time when he and Ike had discussed that land where he had built his house. Omenuko said, "There was not, sir." The District Commissioner then said to them, "Leave then," and they went. But Omenuko kept on thinking about these questions that the District Commissioner had asked him and Ike. Since they were only questions, there was no way he could get an  explanation, so Omenuko went to the District Commissioner and told him that regarding those questions he had asked him and Ike without giving an explanation, when he went home and thought about those questions he was uneasy because he did not know what they meant. Omenuko said that  was why he had come to ask him to explain to him the meaning of that matter. The District Commissioner told Omenuko it was not important for him to explain the meaning because the person he interrogated knew what caused him to ask such questions.
    The District Commissioner then said, "But if you are worried about it, I will tell you, because I know your behavior. Since it is a case of falsehood, I trust that you will not make a big thing of it or take any action. The reason I asked you both those questions is that our friend, Ike, and the other chiefs came to me here and told me falsehoods, saying that that place where you built your house was Ike's land. Because of that Ike told me that he told you to leave his land but you did not listen. Ike also said that perhaps you did not understand Igbo, so I should tell you in English that you should leave his land, because he told you to pay him rent for the land and you refused. Afterward, I then discovered that all of his words were untrue, and I gave him time, telling him to go and think things over and come back and tell me the truth, but he did not come back to tell me anything more about it. Therefore, I sent for the two of you, so that you could come together before me and I could then ask you those questions.You heard how he replied--he told me to leave off, that the matter was finished. That is why, according to what he said that the matter should be abandoned and that it was over, I agreed that the matter should be closed."
    Omenuko then said to the District Commissioner, "You are between me and them just as a door is between the back and front of a house; you receive our cases, and you also know our misdeeds. That is why I tell you that you yourself are like a back door which sees what is happening at the back and also sees what happens at the front of the house. I agree, if you tell me to forget about it, I will." Omenuko then thanked the District Commissioner and left.
    When Omenuko reached home, he called in all of his people and told them what Ike and the other chiefs had gone and told the District Commissioner, but the District Commissioner had not listened to them. "Therefore there is nothing to it except the jealousy of the people of this land toward me." This was what Omenuko told them. He also said, "There is no one to whom I owe any debt either here or in our land. The debt that I know I owe to people is a debt of good will and a debt of love because God has made me a very great man, but I did not steal to become great. If a person would say that I committed a sin because of selling those people in our land, this would be true. But there is no one among the chiefs here whose child I sold. We shall return to our town if there is any way the white people will tell me to return to our town, because as I see it there is nothing they [the chiefs] can do to me. But if I should die [if I am sought and not found], I think it would be bad." All the people of Omenuko's house said, "We will be glad to return to our town, rather than having quarrels all the time." Omenuko then said, "Then let us keep it in our minds that we shall surely return." Omenuko continued to prosper, and his reign was very pleasing to the government officials, because in their view he governed very well.

OMENUKO by Pita Nwana - Chapter eleven


    Omenuko had many possessions. He was a big man in all things. Omenuko was someone who would be seen as a wealthy man indeed, because he had a lot of money, for one thing. For a second thing, he was rich in wives. He was also rich in daughters and sons. It is true that I am telling the story of Omenuko, but there were four brothers including Omenuko, and their half-brother, Obioha, made five. As for Omenuko and his brothers, I would call all four of them men of means, because they all had wealth like that of Omenuko. Because of this, they considered themselves as one village and  also had one chief as others had, and that was Omenuko. He then started to build his house and those of his brothers. If you saw the way Omenuko built their houses, you would be very pleased. I will try my best to describe the way they built their houses.
    Listen. They built their houses like this: They surrounded their houses with a wide wall. They built that wide wall on four sides, and all the people Omenuko governed lived within it. None of them lived on the outside--rather, they all lived within the village. Here is a scene of green water--that is where Omenuko and his brothers built the walls to guard the village and the walls to guard each house. Here also is a kind of yellow water which will show how they built their houses. A kind of black water will show where they had doors at their various compound entrances. Look closely between the green water and the yellow water. You will see that it is clear space, which is a wide road going around to various places within the large compound of Omenuko and his brothers. I will use letters to name them. Omenuko had house A, Okorafo had house B, Nwabueze had house GB, Ogbonnaya had house D, Obioha had house E. Take a look at the surroundings of Omenuko's house. The first house was the house of his male residents.  The second house was the house of the female residents.The two large houses in between, one on the right and one on the left, were Omenuko's two houses. One was where he slept at night, and the other was where he relaxed during the day. If Omenuko lived for a month in one house, he packed his things and moved over to the other house. If he lived one month in the daytime, he lived one month in the other house at night.
    Omenuko had wives whose number no one could count except his brothers, the people of their houses, and those who lived near them.Because Omenuko had many wives, by the same token they bore him sons and daughters. His three brothers also had many wives and many children. Omenuko had many wives, but he took care of all of them like a person who had one wife. He and his wives were united.
    When Omenuko had finished housebuilding, since he and the people of our land had reconciled, he then went to our land and married for Obioha three mature young women. Many people will think that these houses were houses with corrugated iron roofs; they were not--rather they were bamboo houses with raphia palm thatching. 
    When he had finished building these houses and the walls, he sent for the other chiefs of Ndi Mgborogwu land to come and see his house. The chiefs then decided on a day when they would go and see the house and they notified Omenuko of the day they would come. Omenuko then prepared the things he would use to entertain them; and when the day came, the chiefs arrived. Omenuko then gave them kola and took them all around his house and his brothers' houses. What the chiefs saw around the houses of Omenuko and his brothers astonished them. There were  forty-five of them. They all then began to give him the gifts they had brought for those houses they had come to see. Some gave one pound, some gave 15 shillings, some gave ten shillings. Among all of those chiefs, no one gave more than one pound and no one gave less than 5 shillings. Seven people gave one pound each, thirteen people gave 15 shillings each, nine people gave 10 shillings each,  seventeen people gave 5 shillings each. When Omenuko had received all this money, he thanked them very much because they had done more than he had expected.
    Omenuko then brought out various kinds of food that he had cooked for them, and gave it to them. He killed a cow and several goats. The goat meat he used to prepare stew for them, but the beef he cut up and cooked a little and then put all of it into three baskets. When they had finished eating and drinking wine, Omenuko then told his people to bring out the beef, and they did. Omenuko presented it to the chiefs and told them it was for them. The chiefs then thanked Omenuko very much. All of the chiefs then shared that beef. Each one received an equal share. They then finished their wine, thanked Omenuko, and went home.
    After this was over, Omenuko sent for the chiefs of our town to come and see the new houses he had built. They then told him which day they would come. On the appointed day, the chiefs knew what they were supposed to do when something like this took place. Each of them then took a gift of his own to give to Omenuko. When they reached Omenuko's house, they saw the way he had built his house and it looked very good to them. They then praised him and told him that he was a strong man. After Omenuko had entertained them, that is, when he had given them food and wine and they had eaten and drunk, they began to give him money. Some gave one pound, some gave 15 shillings, but more people gave one pound than gave 15 shillings. Omenuko then thanked them very much, went into the house, brought out beef and placed it in baskets as he had done for the chiefs who had come to his house before. The chiefs of our town then thanked him and they all gave him a praise name, calling him "Omenuko the wealthy, Omenuko the wealthy." When they had divided up the beef, they then stayed for the food and drink that Omenuko set before them. They ate until they got sleepy and then they went to bed. At daybreak, Omenuko cooked breakfast for them, they finished eating, thanked him, and went home.

OMENUKO by Pita Nwana - Chapter ten


    Omenuko then purchased everything the chief of the land and the chief of the spirits told him to purchase. When he was buying these things, he did not buy the eagle feathers because he had two eagles he was raising in his house. After he finished buying the things, he sent for Igwe. When Igwe got the message, he came. Omenuko then told Igwe that he had bought everything he had been told to buy. Igwe said, "I will go back and tell the chief of the land and the chief of the spirits, and then they will tell me how it should be done." Omenuko then told Igwe that his plan sounded  good, that it should be done that way.
    The next day, Igwe departed. When he reached home, he went to the homes of those two people and told them that Omenuko had purchased everything he had been told to purchase, and asked them how things should be handled. They told him to tell Omenuko to gather everything and come himself because it was not something to send by a messenger, because  they would take a chicken egg, touch it to the mouth and throw it away, and some people would eat little bits of it. All of those things are involved in the ritual eating together of man and spirits. Those things would all be killed and cooked, everyone would eat a little bit of them, each item in turn, from the first person to the last, at the same time. So Igwe said that he agreed, and that he would return to Omenuko and tell him what they had said. At that time Omenuko would decide when he would come. 
    But Igwe sent a young man of his household to go to Omenuko and tell him what they had said. When the young man arrived and related to Omenuko what those people had replied to Igwe, Omenuko took two people from his household in addition to the one from his friend Igwe's house, gave them the cow and told them to give it to his friend Igwe to keep for four days, when he would be coming. He also asked that he [Igwe] give directions to  those two people, as he would not fail to come in four days' time. So they started out and went as he had told them. Omenuko then called his brothers and said to them, "Help me now, so that we can decide how I should make this journey of mine." They all then agreed that Omenuko and Nwabueze should go together.
    When the appointed week arrived, Omenuko packed up all of his things and took one of the two eagles he was raising. Rather than pluck out the eagle feathers as he had been told, he traveled with the eagle itself. When he reached our town, he entered the house of his friend Igwe. But when he arrived it was nighttime, so he sent a message to inform those two people [the chiefs] that he had come and that the meeting would take place the following day. When the news reached them they said that it was good, saying, "If one stays at home to wait for someone, his waist will not pain him." Omenuko then asked his friend, "Please, my friend, how will we handle the problem of the wine for the meeting, because I forgot to send you a message about it on the day that I sent the cow." Igwe replied, "Don't worry, we can buy as much as we want if we cannot obtain any [from anyone in this village]." He added that his responsibility now was the wine in a pot whose bottom had not touched the ground. He then went away and came back again. Omenuko and Igwe did not sleep that night until daybreak, because they were discussing all their concerns. Nwabueze and Elebeke and Arisa stayed awake almost as long as Igwe and Omenuko.
    The next day, Igwe sent out people to go and find wine. After they came back, Igwe and Omenuko sent out a man to go and tell the chief of the land and the priest of the spirits that they would be coming right away. They then got ready and went to the house of the chief of the land. They then sent someone to go and tell the people who were involved in this matter that Omenuko had come. When those people he needed had all come in, they did not give kola to Omenuko because they had not yet held the ritual eating together they had come to perform. They then told Omenuko to do what he wanted to do. Then he brought out the cow and the eight chicken eggs and one white cock and eight large yams and eight small yams, and told Igwe to take these things and give them to the people of his town so that he and they could hold the ritual eating together, in order to reconcile them from that day forward.
    Omenuko then said to them, "Please, everyone who sees me, let him remember that I belong to you and you belong to me. From today on, if there is anything I did wrong in the past, tell me how I can remedy it; I will not fail to do as you want. There is no law in our land that I do not remember, even in the place where I live now; it is the law of our land that I am following." Igwe thanked him, took all of those things and offered them before the chief of the land, saying, "Here are these things Omenuko was told to buy for the ritual feast. Again, these are the words we have heard now." The chief of the land then took all of those things and presented them to those who had come to the meeting, and repeated what Igwe had said. They thanked Igwe and also thanked Omenuko.
    Then they chose some young men and told them to take the cow and kill it. They took the cow and killed it, and also took the white cock and killed it. They cut off the head of the cow and placed it and the chicken together, took a pot and began to cook the head of the cow and the whole chicken. That was for our ancestors. After that,  they took four chicken eggs and put them into that same pot, took eight large yams and peeled them, cut them into small pieces and put them also into that same pot. When the cow's head was cooked, they took it out of the pot and put all of those things on one large tray. They then removed the flesh from the cow's head, cut the chicken into pieces, and divided up the four chicken eggs. These were the things that would be used to thank our ancestors so that they  would be pleased to take some of those items or the foods that were cooked and placed on top of the large ofo [wooden staff representing the god of justice] belonging to the chief of the land.
    Afterward, children came and nibbled at those things that had been placed on the ofo. After this was completed, they took out the chicken eggs that had not been cooked and placed them in front of the people. The chief of the land came out, took those chicken eggs and lightly touched them to his mouth four times, saying, "Whether I spoke well or spoke ill of Omenuko and his brothers, it is that bad thing that we are wiping out today. We and they have become as father and son. Our ancestors, hear! The voice of man is the voice of the spirits, and we and they have become one. What we forbid is what they [Omenuko and his brothers] will also forbid now. What we eat is what they will eat now. What saves our lives will also save their lives now. What kills us will also kill them now." After the chief of the land had finished saying this, each person got up, took one egg and touched it to his mouth, and repeated what the chief of the land had said, until all of them had done the same. Omenuko also said everything that the others had said.
    Following this, one person was told to gather up those chicken eggs and go and throw them into the bad bush. That person went and did it. Then they began to eat the meat of the chicken and the cow's head and the cooked chicken eggs. They sliced them all onto the meat tray, mixed in pepper and oil, and everyone ate a little of the meat and the yams. They then cut up the cow and gave each one his appropriate share. They brought out all of the wine they had set aside and began to drink it. While they were drinking it, Omenuko said to them, "Please, my brothers, I cannot wait until all the wine has been drunk, because I must go to the house of the priest of the spirits today." They then gave him permission to go. Omenuko and Igwe got ready at once and went to the house of the priest of the spirits. When they reached his house, they brought out everything he had been told to buy, which was: one female sheep, one hen, one cock, eight chicken eggs, a duck egg, a basket of yams, a basket of cocoyams, one pod of kola, one pod of kola pepper, forty pieces of native chalk, wine in a pot whose bottom has not touched the ground, a pot of raffia palm wine, a pot of oil palm wine, and an eagle. 
    Omenuko then told Igwe to take these things and give them to Iyiukwa, that he did not want any other bad thing to happen--he wanted only to reconcile the hearts of humans and spirits toward himself, so they would feel good will toward him. Now what he had come for was to hold the ritual eating together between man and the spirits. Igwe then said, "Priest of the spirits, here are the things Omenuko brought as he was told to bring. You see now that he was told to bring eagle feathers, but he has brought a living eagle; also he was told to bring a duck egg but he has bought many duck eggs. These things show how sincere he is. Here are all of those things you listed." 
    The priest then got up and shook hands with Omenuko and Igwe and said to them, "Both of you are strong people." The priest of the spirits then entered his house and took his small bell that he used to call the vultures, went outside and said, "I will find out now if the spirits are happy." He then rang the bell and it resounded, "Ding! ding! ding! ding! ding! ding! ding! ding! ding!" In a short time, vultures were coming from all over the place. Iyiukwa then ran back, took a chicken and quickly killed it; he cut it up into very small pieces, threw them out to all those vultures, and they carried them off and swallowed them. At that time, Iyiukwa returned to the house and said to Omenuko, "Take my hand.  Everything will be all right."
    It's true that he rang the bell and the vultures came, but you know that even the stupidest animal you have in your house, no matter what name you want to call it, will soon begin to answer to that name. That was the situation concerning Iyiukwa and the bell and the vultures. The vultures knew that any time that Iyiukwa rang that bell, it was they who were being called. After these things were over, Iyiukwa took the cock and killed it, killed the female sheep as well, took the chicken and began to cook them in the same pot, took a few yams and peeled them, took them and began to cook them with the sheep and the chicken, took the four chicken eggs and put them into the same pot. 
    While they were cooking them, Iyiukwa also took the other four remaining chicken eggs, took the pod of kola and cut it open, took out one kola nut, split open four pods of kola pepper, took forty pieces of chalk, took out the jar of wine whose bottom had not touched the ground, put them all together in one place, then began to take the chicken eggs and touch them to his mouth, saying, "From today on we take back the bad things that were said; the mouth of man is the mouth of the spirits." [The spirits sanction man's words.] He also took the kola nut and did the same thing. He took the chalk and did the same thing, took some wine from the jar, rinsed his mouth seven times and told Omenuko to do the same, and Omenuko did it. 
    Iyiukwa then gathered up these things, went and threw them in the bush, and returned. He also took the duck eggs, began to cut one of the legs of the duck, and hung it up in front of the shrine; he took the forty pieces of chalk and put them also in the shrine, plucked out four eagle feathers and put them in front of the shrine. He then took out one kola nut and started an invocation, saying, "Omenuko came to you so that you and he might eat together; the mouth of man is the mouth of the spirits. These things that he brought pleased me, then I asked you whether you agreed as I myself agreed, and you showed me that you agreed by sending vultures to come and eat all of the sacrifices we presented to you; because of this, I pray you that from today you will look kindly on Omenuko and his people."
    He then split a kola nut and gave some to Omenuko, Igwe, and the others who were there. Iyiukwa also took kola pepper, chewed his own kola, and spit on his ofo. After this was over, they took the cooking-pot off the fire. They then cut up the sheep and the chicken they had cooked. They took a few pieces and threw them out before the spirits, then began to eat the remainder and drink the raphia palm wine and the oil palm wine, which meant that the covenant between humans and spirits had been fulfilled. When they were tired of drinking wine, Omenuko asked the chief of the spirits to allow him to leave. They all then said their goodbyes. Omenuko and Igwe then started out for Igwe's house.
    The next day, Omenuko said to Igwe, "I will go home now; you be thinking about when you will have a chance to come to my house, so we can sit down and discuss how our journey went." Igwe told him that was fine. Omenuko then got ready and left. And when he reached home he called together his brothers and told them about the journey he and Igwe had taken. They all were delighted. 
    After a few days, Omenuko called together all the people he governed and said to them, "I want to let you know today that the people of our land and I have been reunited from this day on. Let us start dreaming about traveling back to our village at any time. Anyone who wants to go to our town can go. Anyone who wants to marry in our town can do so. Anyone whose daughter the people of our town come to marry, let him consent, if it is a good man coming from a good family, because I and the people and the spirits have performed the ritual feast. Also, I wanted to redeem all those people I sold, but I did not redeem all of them, because one child, whose name was Oti, has died. One of my bearers I have not found and I do not know where they resold him; because of this I will be blamed for what I did in the past. But I will not be blamed now, because I told the family of that person who has not been found that if there is any way he can be found, I will not fail to find out where he lives and redeem him. Since that time when I left my village, it is true that  the place where I live and my life did not please me as they should, but now I am happier, and if death should come to me now, I will not be afraid of it, because I will not feel remorse before I draw my last breath. That is all I wanted to tell you."

OMENUKO by Pita Nwana - Chapter nine


    When Omenuko sought reconciliation with the people of our land, he sat down and thought about how he could bring about this reconciliation. Omenuko then said, "It would not be right for me to go and beg people from another land to come and act as mediators between me and the people of my land, because it is not a quarrel between me and them which requires me to invite people to come and judge between us. Rather, I know that I wronged the people of my land. I will find a way to go and meet with them, both living men and spirits." Therefore Omenuko said, "I will send my friend Igwe again, because the task that I set for him concerning the people I sold away was successful."
    Omenuko then sent a message to invite his friend Igwe to come. When the message reached Igwe, he came to see his friend Omenuko. When Omenuko saw Igwe coming, he greeted him with, "The finder of the lost!" Igwe then returned the greeting with, "One who does what he says!" The two of them then laughed together, and asked about various people. Omenuko then gave his friend Igwe kola nut. After they had chewed the kola, Omenuko said to Igwe, "My friend, when a human being has an itch, other people scratch it for him, but if a wild animal has an itch, it goes and rubs its back on a tree. Please, when I first appealed to you, you came running and fought like a man. Shake my hand." Igwe then shook his hand. Omenuko then said to him, "Listen now. I did a bad thing in our land against men and spirits a long time ago, because all my thoughts at that time that were unknown to the people were known to the spirits. Therefore, I want to satisfy both men and spirits."
    Omenuko then quoted Igwe a proverb, saying, "If a child old enough to wear a cloth drinks from his mother's breast, what shall be done with him?"  [This is a highly unusual problem.] Igwe then said to him, "Although a thing may seem impossible to do, there must be a way to do it." He also said to Omenuko, "You are aware that we have in our town a chief of the land and a priest of the spirits.  Aniche is the one who can placate the people. Iyiukwa is the priest of the spirits who can placate the spirits." Omenuko said to him, "Please, go and find out for me what I must do so that the minds of humans and spirits will be appeased, so that I and the people and the spirits will be reconciled." Omenuko then gave Igwe money to buy wine and go to see the chief of the land and the priest of the spirits, so they could enumerate for him the things he would need to appease the spirits. Igwe then agreed and left.
    When he arrived home, he bought wine and went to see the chief of the land. After they had drunk wine, Igwe told the chief of the land why he had come. The chief cried out, "It is not only my ears that must hear this, so go home today and come back another day so that I can call the elders to join me in hearing this thing." Igwe then asked him, "Do you want me to come tomorrow?" The chief told him that it would be all right for him to come the next day. Igwe then went home. At daybreak, Igwe got some more wine and carried it with him. When he reached the house of the chief of the land, they greeted each other. Igwe then asked him, "What about those people you said were going to come?" The chief said  they would arrive soon.  So they waited a while, and then they came. Igwe then took the wine and gave it to the chief and also told why he had come.
    The chief of the land then said to everyone there, "This is what he told me yesterday, and I told him that I would summon all of you. This is why you have come now--speak your minds, because it is not something to consult privately about." They then said to the chief, "Say what you think about this--your words will be our words." The chief then said to Igwe, "Listen to what you will tell Omenuko. Tell him to bring one cow, eight chicken eggs, one cock, eight large yams and eight small yams." The chief continued, "If he does these things, the hearts of both humans and spirits will be cleansed toward him, provided that he approach the chief of the spirits as he approached me."  Igwe then said that Omenuko had told him to go also to the chief of the spirits, Iyiukwa, and ask him too what he should do to please the people and the spirits. Igwe then departed.
    The next day he got some wine, carried it to the house of the chief of the spirits, and said to him, "Please, these are the things Omenuko told me to  ask." Iyiukwa then replied, "Go back and tell Omenuko that I said to him, "If the female sheep is to grow horns, the back of its head must be strong." Igwe  asked him what those words meant. Iyiukwa said, "If Omenuko wants to make peace with the spirits, will he be able to do everything he is told to do?" Igwe replied, "He will do it. Please, list the things now so I can hear." The chief of the spirits agreed, and began to list for him, "One female sheep, one hen, one cock, eight eggs and one duck egg; one basket of yams and a basket of cocoyams, a pod of kola, a pod of kola pepper, four kola nuts, eighty pieces of native chalk, wine in a pot whose bottom has not touched the ground, a pot of raphia palm wine, and a pot of oil palm wine. If Omenuko does these things, it will be good." Igwe  thanked him and went away.
    But afterward Iyiukwa, the chief of the spirits, remembered that he had forgotten to tell Igwe that Omenuko should not fail to bring four white eagle feathers, so he sent a message to summon Igwe. When the message reached Igwe, Igwe then went to Iyiukwa's house. When they met together, Iyiukwa told Igwe that there was one thing he had forgotten to tell him. That was that Omenuko should not fail to bring four white eagle feathers. Igwe then departed, got ready and went to Omenuko and recounted for him what the chief of the land and the chief of the spirits had said. Omenuko then received all the news joyfully. He said to Igwe, "After I have collected these things, we will sit down and think about how this should be done." Igwe replied, "Yes, what you have said is good." Then Omenuko  told Igwe that his own reward would come at the end. Igwe replied, "Don't worry about mine--let us find what we need." The two of them  agreed on that, saying that they should let it be, because when you finish work you enjoy the fruits of the labor. 

OMENUKO by Pita Nwana - Chapter eight


    Omenuko knew a certain man in our land whose name was Igwe. He was a market trader, good-looking and well-behaved. So Omenuko sent a message to invite this Igwe to come and see him. When the message reached Igwe, he got up quickly and started out, so he could go and find out why Omenuko was summoning him. When he reached Omenuko's house, he entertained him very well. In the evening, Omenuko said to him, "Igwe, my friend, the reason that I sent for you is really very important to me; it disturbs my sleep constantly.  Since you are not a stranger to our land, of course you know what I did which was bad--a terrible thing in our land. Please, I want to find out, through you, if there is some way I can trace all those people I sold."
    Then Omenuko and Igwe met together privately. The two of them made a covenant and took an oath. Omenuko then quoted a proverb to Igwe, saying, "The bow that shoots the small bird should be rewarded with twenty arrows." Its meaning was that if anyone should find a way to locate those people, whatever that person wanted to be given to him he, Omenuko, would give it. Igwe then said to Omenuko, "Do not fear, God is alive, according to educated people."
    They then killed the goat they had used in making their covenant, divided it, ate some of it, and took the remainder to their homes. Igwe told Omenuko that he would look for some information, and if he found something he would let Omenuko know. Omenuko told him that was good, and he went home. But Igwe already knew where two of the people who had been sold were living. One who was their half-brother lived in the house of Mr. Oji in Aru Ulo. The other also lived in Aru Ulo but the name of the person who bought him was not known. Igwe tried to find out where the others lived, but was unsuccessful at that time. He soon returned  after that journey, went to his friend Omenuko, and related to him that he had found two of the people in the group. Omenuko then asked him, "Please, what are the names of those people?" Igwe said, "Obioha, your brother, is one; he lives in Mr. Oji's house. Another is Elebeke Okoro, but I do not know which house he lives in."
    Omenuko then said, "My friend Igwe, it is not only a matter of your begging those people to agree that I should buy back those people as I said before, but rather what I promised you was based on your persevering and discovering where every one of them was." Omenuko also said to Igwe, "I will tell you now that the promise I made was a real one." Omenuko then entered his house, took money from a kerchief, came out, and counted out to his friend Igwe ten pounds, telling him that it was five pounds for each person. He said, "When you find out where the others are, come and tell me and get five pounds from me until they are all found, if you possibly can."
    Omenuko then asked Igwe the times when Bianko, Agbagwu, and Oge Nta markets would be held. He told him the times of each. Omenuko then said to Igwe, "You can go home, but keep a watchful eye out." Igwe then thanked him and left. When Igwe had gone, Omenuko called his brothers, told them what had happened, and they rejoiced.
    Omenuko then asked his brothers, "Who will go and ask Mr. Oji how much I must pay him in order to buy back my kinsman Obioha? Also, Mr. Oji can direct that person to the house where Elebeke Okoro lives, in order to ask the master of that house how much I must pay for Elebeke." Nwabueze said that he would go. So Omenuko selected other men in addition to Nwabueze and told them to prepare for the day when he would tell them to start out.  Omenuko then started to count out the days for the journey according to what Igwe had told him.  He told Nwabueze which day they would start out so that they should not meet travelers on the road.
    But there was one thing that Igwe forgot to tell Omenuko, which was that the market was no longer being held at Bende and had been transferred to Ozuakoli. Another thing was that earlier it had been Bianko that had the big market rather than Agbagwu, but now Agbagwu had the big market rather than Bianko. Omenuko did not know about these events, so he counted the day when the traveling toward Bianko market should start, and also counted that of Agbagwu and that of Oge Nta. Therefore he miscalculated the day he expected Bianko market to open, as it was not at Bianko but at Agbagwu. Because of what Igwe had told him, he sent out Nwabueze and the others at the time he thought the road would be quiet, but it was not as he thought, because Nwabueze met travelers on the road, asked them which market they had gone to, and they told him, "Bianko."  Nwabueze then asked those travelers, "Is it not Agbagwu? that will be held sixteen days from now?" They replied, "No, on the contrary, it is Oge Nta." This surprised Nwabueze.
    They then looked for a house where they could rest and think. While they were thinking of what to do, Nwabueze learned from the local residents that the market times had been changed around and that Agbagwu held the big market rather than Bianko now. But when they had left home, they thought they had started their journey between Agbagwu and Oge Nta markets; they did not know that it was between Bianko and Oge Nta that they had started. They therefore stayed in that town, which was Ugwu Aku, waiting for the travelers to finish going through. They stayed three days in Ugwu Aku until the travelers had gone through, and then  resumed their journey. When they reached Bende, Nwabueze thought that he would not recognize the road, so he looked for two people in Bende to carry their loads for them. But you know that it was not really for carrying heavy loads that Nwabueze wanted those Bende people--rather he wanted people who could lead them to Aru Ulo.
    These two people then led Nwabueze and his people to Aru Ulo. Anyone who is an Aro but goes to live in another village is sure to have an obi [man's house] to call his own in Aru Ulo. Because of this, Nwabueze wanted to go to their compound, but he remembered that bad thing his brother, Omenuko, had done against their kith and kin. He was then afraid to go into their compound. He then went to Mr. Oji and stayed in his house. But Obioha was not at home--they had gone to the Itu Agbanyim market. Nwabueze then told Mr. Oji that he was Omenuko's brother. He shouted loudly, "Whoa! Are you really his brother?" He then told him the story about his brother, Omenuko. He asked, in turn, "My friend Omenuko, is he alive?"
    Mr. Oji treated him very hospitably. When night came, Nwabueze said, "Mr. Oji, your friend Omenuko sent me to ask you about something of great importance to him, and that is whether you will allow him to buy back my kinsman Obioha. If you agree, name the price that he should pay you to get him back."  Mr. Oji then shouted  and said that it was Obioha whom he had made his chief servant because he was a person of humility, and  he was the one whom Mr. Oji trusted in everything. Nwabueze then said to him, "I am sure that is true, but you must realize that it is not only Obioha whom he wants to buy back. He also wants your help in finding out where the others he had sold are now living now." Mr. Oji then said, "Well! That will not be too difficult to do; the one called Elebeke lives in Ezuma's house; when the others are sought they will be found." Nwabueze said to Mr. Oji, "That will be your task, to accompany me to Ezuma's house and to tell him the same thing that I have told you." Mr. Oji agreed.
    Afterwards, Nwabueze asked him when they would go to Ezuma's house. Mr. Oji said it would be the next day. Nwabueze agreed, saying, "Let  it be tomorrow." But Mr. Oji went first to see Ezuma and asked his opinion on whether something like this should be done. Ezuma then said to Mr. Oji, "We must agree because these children are also our children. We ourselves who live at home and Aru people who live in other places are all united, and because of this must agree with our friend Omenuko, if he treats us well." He continued, "In addition, these are the times of the white man--if these children themselves want to go away, they can go, even if we do not agree that they should be bought back now. Perhaps it will cause trouble, and when they go home they will not pay any money at all."  Mr. Oji saw that Ezuma was right. He then asked him, "What do you think we should tell them to pay us?"  Ezuma replied, "It is only when a speaker starts to speak that you  know what you will reply to him." They left the matter there until the next day.
    Mr. Oji and Nwabueze got ready and went to Ezuma's house. After they had entered and exchanged morning greetings and eaten yam and performed the chalk ritual, Nwabueze began to speak, saying that it was Omenuko who had sent him to meet them and ask them to tell him what he needed to pay to buy back Obioha and Elebeke. The two men, Oji and Ezuma, said that they would confer privately and then make a reply. They went out and conferred quickly, returned and said that they should wait until tomorrow, and at that time perhaps Obioha, who had gone on a trip, would return; then they all would come to a unanimous decision and give their answer. Nwabueze replied that it was all right to let it wait until the next day.
    Obioha returned home in the evening and saw that his kinsman Nwabueze had come. He acted as though his kinsmen had not done anything bad to him at all. Obioha took his kinsman Nwabueze to his house, and while the two of them were conversing, Nwabueze related to Obioha the reason for his coming. Obiha was very happy to hear this kind of talk out of the mouth of his kinsman--whether or not the proposition would bear fruit, he was still happy.
    Obioha then told Nwabueze that Oti, another person who had been sold, had died during the past year from stomach disease, and that if he were to see Arisa he would not recognize him, because his leg was killing him. Nwabueze asked Obioha where Arisa lived, and he said, "He is living in Obinkita in this land."
    At that point, Mr. Oji summoned Obioha and he went to see him.  Mr. Oji related to him what his kinsman had said. Obioha said, "That's up to you--if it's all right with you, it will be all right with me."  Mr. Oji then said that when they saw Ezuma and Elebeke, they all would arrive at a unanimous decision. Obioha agreed. At daybreak they all met together in Mr. Oji's house and brought up the matter again. After they had spoken briefly, Mr. Oji and Ezuma and Obioha and Elebeke went out to confer. When they reached their meeting-place, Ezuma spoke a proverb, saying, "One to whom secret information has been revealed is joyful; but one who is accused, has he agreed?"  He also said, "You two people, Obioha and Elebeke, speak your thoughts." They then said that it was they who were their masters and owners, and they should say whether they agreed or not. Mr. Oji then said, "If your kinsman wants to buy you back, that is not a bad thing. Aru Elugwu and Aru Ulo are one and the same, and because of this we will agree." 
    They then returned to the meeting and told Nwabuze that they agreed and that he should tell Omenuko this. In addition, they would help him to obtain Arisa. Nwabueze then thanked them and returned to Obioha's house. The next day, Nwabueze went to Mr. Oji and Ezuma and said to them, "Please, tell me what Omenuko should pay you." They then consulted in private, came out, and told Nwabueze to tell Omenuko that those young men belonged to them and to him, and he himself knew how much they had paid him per person when he had sold those two people. Nwabueze returned to Obioha's house rejoicing because their discussions looked hopeful. The next day, Nwabueze returned home so he could go and tell Omenuko how far he had gotten in the matter of the people he had sold. When he reached home he related to Omenuko how he had fared on his journey. Joy filled Omenuko's heart. He thanked Nwabueze very much.
    Their journey had gone very well, but one thing had happened on the night they reached home--a snake had bitten Nwabueze. When he reached home, the snakebite was paining him badly. Because of this, Omenuko said to Okorafo, "Please, I don't want to wait. I beg you to take those people who first accompanied Nwabueze and return to Aru Ulo." Okorafo then agreed. Omenuko also told him, "When you arrive, go to Mr. Oji and pay him forty pounds and pay Ezuma forty pounds as well. You must also find the person whose house Arisa lives in and pay him forty pounds. You are not a child--try to find a way to obtain the others." Okorafo then got ready and started out, with the others who had accompanied Nwabueze the first time. Omenuko then brought in a certain herbalist, who gave Nwabueze medicine for his snake-bite.
    But when Okorafo and his people reached Ozuitem, the people of that town arrested them. These things happened at night, because Okorafo and his people were traveling at night more than in the afternoon. The Ozuitem people then said that Okorafo and his people had spoiled their Ekpe masquerade. Okorafo told them that he himself was a member of Ekpe. They said to him, "Come and show us the isi udo dance." Okorafo went with them and showed them what every Ekpe member can demonstrate. They then let him alone and said, "These people accompanying you--are they Ekpe members?" Okorafo said that those people had not entered Ekpe. They then said, "What can be done about them, because we are performing Ekpe?"  Okorafo told them that it was their decision. They then fined Okorafo five shillings for each of the four people accompanying him on that journey. The Ozuitem people then freed them, they passed through and traveled until they arrived at Aru Ulo.  When they reached  the Oji house, Mr. Oji recognized Okorafo and called him by name. Later on, Obioha led Okorafo to his house.
    At daybreak, Okorafo told Mr. Oji that he had come again for the same reason that his brother Omenuko had sent Nwabueze a few days ago.  Mr. Oji said that was all right and they would send for Ezuma, because they could not talk about anything without his presence. Okorafo then agreed, and they sent a message to summon Ezuma. When Ezuma came, he and Mr. Oji went out, conferred privately and returned, telling Okorafo, "Now let us hear again what you all have said." Okorafo then said, "Please, my brothers, it is Omenuko who has sent me to meet you in regard to the things Nwabueze told you the other day, concerning Obioha and Elebeke and Arisa."  They replied that they had spoken their minds on that day when their brother Nwabueze had come. They also said, "These youths are yours as well as ours and because of this, if the youths agree to go with you that is all right, if you return to us what we paid to get them."
    Okorafo then thanked them very much, took out his money-holder and counted out forty pounds, saying, "Mr. Oji, this is for you." He then counted out another forty pounds and said, "Mr. Ezuma, this is for you." They then thanked him very much. Obioha and Elebeke then got up, bowed to Mr. Oji and Mr. Ezuma, and thanked Okorafo very much as the representative of Omenuko. After that was all over, Okorafo asked them about Arisa.  Mr. Oj said, "That will not be difficult to do." Mr. Ezuma said, "I will send someone out now to tell him that Okorafo is here, wanting to see him." He then sent out Elebeke to go and call him. When Elebeke returned, he said that Arisa would come after he finished tapping the palm wine he was preparing to tap.
    Later on, Arisa came and saw Okorafo and started to cry. Okorafo begged him not to cry. He then began to ask Okorafo about all the people in the house of their master, Omenuko. Okorafo told him that everyone was still living except for their sisters, Nwanu and Udeola, who had died. Arisa was very sorry about the deaths of Nwanu and Udeola.  Okorafo told him that the reason he had come was to take them home, that that was why he had sent someone to tell him to come there. Okorafo then asked him, "I  want to ask if you too would be happy to return to our land?" Arisa said, ""What did Obioha and Elebeke say--did they agree or did they refuse?"  Okorafo then replied that Obioha and Elebeke would answer this question. These two then said, "Arisa, agree, because we have agreed;  Okorafo will settle with your master, Okpara, because Okorafo has settled with our masters." Arisa then told Okorafo that he would agree when he and his master had discussed the matter, and if it happened that day he would agree, or if it happened the next day he would agree. Okorafo said to Arisa, "Go back to your house.  Tomorrow we will come to meet with all of you, and I will be sure to send someone to tell your master that Mr. Ezuma will come to his house tomorrow."
    Arisa then went home to prepare the things he would give Okorafo when they came. When the messenger came to Okpara's house, he then told him that Mr. Ezuma said he should not go out the next day because there was someone who would be coming with Mr. Ezuma to his house. He then replied, "That's all right, if one stays at home waiting for a person, his waist will not pain him [he has nothing to lose]."  Okpara then called Arisa and told him that he should give him the palm wine that he would be collecting on the following day. Arisa said  all right, but there was something else he was planning to do with the next day's wine; he said he would give Okpara one pot of wine and would take one pot of wine for his own purposes, since he collected only two pots of wine each morning.
    At daybreak, Mr. Oji, Mr. Ezuma, Obioha and Elebeke and Okoraf and some of their people went to Okpara's house. After he had given them kola nut and sauce and they had eaten, Okorafo said to Mr. Oji, "Proceed with our business."  Mr. Oji said, "It is all well and good, Okorafo, but there is a proverb that says, "The one who owns the corpse carries it at the head"; in view of this, it is up to you to speak." Okorafo then agreed, and said to Okpara, "Please, sir, I came to your house for this reason, entreating you in the name of my brother, Omenuko, because he is the one who sent me to come and meet you and Mr. Oji and Mr. Ezuma, that you three people might allow him to buy back our brothers, these three people, Obioha and Elebeke and Arisa. These two chiefs and I have reached agreement concerning Obioha and Elebeke--that part of the matter is finished." Okpara then told him that he wanted to confer privately with Mr. Oji and Mr. Ezuma. Okorafo said that would be all right. 
    They then went aside privately and the two men told Okpara that they had already accepted their own money. Okpara said to them, "How much shall I tell him to pay me?" They then said to him, "Tell him that you have agreed to what he has told you, and then we shall see." They then returned from their private consultation and told Okorafo, "We have consulted and returned. Okpara has agreed. He also says that since you and we have settled up, what it boils down to is that "if a child is treated the way his companions are treated, he is satisfied."  Okorafo then told them he had no quarrel with that. They decided that they would leave off the discussion until the next day, because when the palm tree bears fruit and  ripens all on the same day, it is not a good thing. While they were preparing to leave, Okpara went into the house and brought out a pot of wine and presented it to them, saying, "This wine is for you." While they were busy enjoying Okpara's wine, Arisa then went and brought his own wine, saying, "My master Okpara, take this wine and give it to those who have come to our house."   Okpara did so, and the guests thanked them very much. 
    While they were drinking wine, Arisa asked his master, "Why didn't you ask me how I felt about this matter?" His master then said to him, "It's true, but the reason I didn't ask you how you felt was that Mr. Oji and Mr. Ezuma and their people had already agreed. Therefore, I agreed as the others did; also, it was because of discussing it with you that we postponed the matter until tomorrow." Arisa then said, "Fine! I am satisfied now." They finished drinking as much wine as they could, and then went home. While they were on the road, Okorafo said, "Mr. Oji, do you think that what Arisa said was not true? It does not seem right that Okpara failed to call Arisa so the two of them could discuss it before he said he agreed." Mr. Oji replied, "He will do that; you yourself know that it was not his own money that he used to buy him, but only a benefit he got from his father's house." 
    Okorafo said, "It is true, sir, something like this happens with married women, when your parents have married a wife for you and afterward your personality and that of the woman do not blend well. Because of this, you will say, 'If I had looked for a wife on my own, I would not have married a foolish person like this.' But if the man marries a wife on his own, even if the wife eats raw eggs, her husband will not say a harsh word, because he is the one who chose her for himself." Okorafo then said that he thought that anything he gave Okpara in exchange for Arisa he would not fail to accept, and that it would please him more than it pleased the others. Mr. Oji said, "It is true, my son." 
    When they reached the house, Okorafo called Obioha and Elebeke and asked them when they thought they should get started. Elebeke said, "We are yours now; as I see it, we should do what you say, because whatever our situation is now, it is up to you, since you paid back our owners the price for us, we belong to you." Okorafo then told them that it was the journey they would make the next day that would determine when they would travel. They were agreeable. Okorafo told them that definitely tomorrow they should start to pack their things, and they agreed.
    On the following day, Okorafo asked Mr. Oji if he would accompany them to Okpara's house and he agreed. Mr. Oji and Okorafo then got ready and left. When they arrived, Okpara gave them kola nut. Arisa brought wine and gave it to them. When they had finished eating kola and were drinking wine, Okorafo entreated them, "Anything that will be said today, let it be said in timely fashion." Okpara then said to him that all the speaking was up to him, because he had asked the one living in his house and they were in agreement. Okorafo then said to Okpara, "What comes next?" Okpara said to Okorafo, "I think I told you that if a child is treated the way his companions are treated, he will be pleased." Okorafo then took out thirty pounds, saying, "Okpara, take this--in addition, you know that Arisa belongs to me and to all of you." At that time Mr. Oji said that that was the very thing he had said at first concerning the member of his household, Obioha, that Obioha was both his and theirs. 
    Okpara then thanked Mr. Oji and Okorafo, took the money, and asked them when they planned to start back. Okorafo told him, "Tomorrow." Okpara then said, "Oh!  Master Arisa, did you hear what they said?" Arisa said, "Yes." Okorafo then told Arisa that early the next morning  he should be ready to go, leaving everything, so that there should be no trouble between him and his master, as Omenuko was prepared to do for him everything a person could do for another to make him happy, because he was always thinking about them, he was unable to eat or sleep, and the only thing he could touch was his pipe. Arisa agreed and said that he would come out early the next morning. Okorafo then thanked Okpara, said that everything should be as they had agreed, and that he would leave. Okpara said that there was nothing else, and tomorrow the young man from his house would come out.
    They then returned to Mr. Oji's house. After they had rested from their journey, Obioha told Okorafo that he [Obioha] would call all of their family members, tell them that they would travel home the next day and that there was no trouble--on the contrary, it was a peaceful thing, because the one who had caused them to stay in that place wanted them to come back, that he had settled with their masters, and that his master Oji had agreed out of his own good will. Mr. Ezuma on his part had agreed concerning Elebeke; Okpara Udensi had also agreed concerning Arisa. Some of the Aru Ulo people wept because of their leaving, but some said that it was good that they did a thing like this peacefully and without causing a quarrel, because if it were to cause a quarrel it would be a war between a mother and child, since Aru Ulo and Aru Elugwu were one people. Okorafo told him that he had done well in calling them and telling them a thing like this. Okorafo then told him that they would not fail to start out the next evening, and Obioha said, "It's up to you--whenever we are told to start out we shall agree."
    The following day, Okorafo told one of his people to go with Obioha to Mr. Ezuma and tell him that Elebeke should come out that morning. They started out to fetch Elebeke. When they arrived, Mr. Ezuma greeted them. They told him what Okorafo had said and he replied, "All right, my children." Then he called Elebeke in. Mr. Ezuma entered the house and brought out one pound and ten shillings and gave them to Elebeke, telling him, "Son, take this and buy tobacco and soap to give to your people when you reach home." Elebeke then knelt down and thanked him very much. They then returned to Mr. Oji's house. Mr. Oji called his household member, Obioha, and gave him two pounds and ten heads of tobacco and told him to take that tobacco and use it as gifts for his people. Obioha knelt down and said, "My master, I kneel and bow down to you," and thanked him very much.
    Okorafo then said, "Mr. Oji, it is not things like this that we wanted from you--rather, what we wanted from you you have already done for us. Arisa arrived just now and showed me one pound which Okpara had given him; Elebeke also arrived and showed me one pound and ten shillings that Mr. Ezuma had given him; you yourself have taken two pounds and given them to the one from your house. Oh, thank you, sir."
    Okorafo and his people then busied themselves with preparations until evening. Okorafo, Obioha, Elebeke and Arisa then went to Mr. Oji's house to say their final farewells. Obioha said, "Elebeke, go with me to thank my mistress." They then entered the house of his mistress, who began to cry. Obioha then cried with her. Elebeke then begged them to stop crying because it was not as though they were going to die, and they would be coming at times to visit them. The woman then said, "Oh! my son Obioha, is this really happening?" She then sighed, saying let it be, because it was not death. Then she called Obioha and told him to come, and he drew near. She embraced Obioha saying, "One who has been given a name resembles his name.  [Obioha: well-loved by the people]. Obioha my son, go in peace."
    They started out that evening and completed their journey safely. There were no troubles on the road during the journey  home. When Omenuko saw Obioha, Elebeke and Arisa, he joyfully went and met them in the compound. After greeting them well, he said, "My children, you must rest." Omenuko then called  his three wives and gave them one goat each, saying, "Take them and cook food for these three people." He also gave them five shillings each to buy fish to make the soup very tasty. He then called Obioha and said to him, "I have found out that your mother is alive." He also told Elebeke that his mother and father were alive and said to Arisa, "Your family are alive. But I want all of you to stay here with me for one month." Omenuko then said to Obioha, "This woman will give you food whenever you like. Elebeke, this woman will give you food whenever you like. Arisa, this woman will give you food whenever you like." He then told them that everyone should eat whatever he wanted up until the end of that one month.
    They then thanked him for  remembering them again, and said that they knew there had never been a quarrel between them and him, and because of that they knew his conscience would trouble him. They said, "You lost control of your good conscience and you did something you would never have dreamed of doing. We ourselves did not invoke death for you, but rather we invoked life."  Obioha then said, "If we had invoked death, clearly if Elebeke's and Arisa's invocations had not been effective,  my own would have been effective, because you know that if I had invoked something bad in the names of your brothers and your companions, it would have touched you personally." Omenuko said, "My brothers, now I am happy about everything. I see that you have found out for yourselves that my good conscience was not in me when I did these things. Also, since I have you back now I am very happy. Rest well, my children." Omenuko then told them that they should forget the bad things of the past, and that he was going to treat them very well.
    The next day, Okorafo went to tell Omenuko how he had traveled to Aru Ulo, told him how Mr. Oji had helped him in every way, and also told him what he had paid Mr. Oji and Mr. Ezuma and what he had paid Okpara on behalf of Arisa. He also told Omenuko what Mr. Oji gave Obioha and what Mr. Ezuma gave Elebeke and what Okpara gave Arisa. He told him how they had met the Ekpe masqueraders in a town called Ozuitem and what they took from him on account of his people. After he had finished relating these things, Omenuko thanked Okorafo very much and called him "One who does as I do." He told him that he did what he himself would have done if it had been he who traveled.
    Omenuko then sent a message to invite the families of two of the people. When the message reached them, they came and saw Elebeke, Arisa and Obioha and shouted, asking, "Who are these people?" Omenuko told them that he had invited them to come and join them in finding out. The families of the two people then were thinking about what that was going to mean afterward. When Omenuko finished giving food to the families of Elebeke and Arisa, he said to them, "Tomorrow you all will go home but Arisa and Elebeke will not accompany you--they will stay in my house for one month." Omenuko then called the family of Elebeke and said to them, "Go now and find Elebeke two attractive young women, and when all the talk has been taken care of, come and tell me how much money is needed and I will provide the money to be paid to the parents of those young women so that they can be Elebeke's wives. And to the family of Arisa I am telling you the same thing." The families of these two people thanked him very much. They went to sleep, and the next day they went home.
    When Omenuko invited the families of Arisa and Elebeke, they were not afraid to go and answer the call, because Omenuko's friend, Igwe, the first one he called to help him find out where the people that he sold were living, had told the families of Arisa and Elebeke what Omenuko was wanting to do for them. Therefore, when he invited them, they were hopeful, saying, "Perhaps this invitation of Omenuko's will be a call for a peace talk." So they had  traveled in answer to it without apprehension. When the two families arrived home, it was not a difficult task to find wives for their relatives as he had told them to do. They went back and told Omenuko the amount they had decided on for the four young women, two for Elebeke and two for Arisa. He then gave them money according to what they told him, and they went and made the payments.
    When the month had come to an end and it was time for the two men to go home, Omenuko gave them seven pounds each and various gifts. He sent messages to their families telling them to come, and they came. Omenuko then cooked as much food as he thought would be sufficient, and they all ate together. Omenuko said to them, "Please swear an oath for me so that bad things of the past will no longer be in the hearts of any of you." They then swore, saying, "Let things be good for you, let things be good for us. Let the bowl of salt and oil not harm you, neither let it harm us." Omenuko then said, "My children, you will go home with the people of your households, but I would like to see you any time you can come, so that we can keep in touch with each other." They said, "Thank you, sir."  Their families thanked him in the same way, and they went home.
    When they had gone a short distance, Omenuko sent out a man and told him to call them back. When they came in, Omenuko said, "Please, my brothers, I beg you not to rejoice too loudly about these things, because it is not all of them that I got back. I think that it would cause the families of those two men whom I was unable to find to be sad if you rejoiced too much." They then told Omenuko that they would do as he wanted. He then thanked them and they thanked him again. Then they left.
    One day Omenuko's younger brothers, Ogbonna and Obioha, traveled to visit Ogbonna's in-laws. When they were returning, Obioha asked Ogbonna, "Why did our master allow Elebeke and Arisa to return home but did not give me any additional consolation?" Ogbonna told him that Omenuko would do something for him, because he did not need reminding to do something good. Obioha said that was good. One day Ogbonna told Okorafo this, and Okorafo told Omenuko. He then called Obioha and said to him, "My son, I am remembering you, but one thing happened which you do not know about, and that is that at first, we escaped to the home of the chief of the Mgborogwu people. After the chief died, I became chief in his place.  Afterward, the people of that town were jealous of me and I left there and came to live in this forest, and because of that I was not one of the Mgborogwu, nor did I belong to the people of our land. Now, what I have in mind is to find a way that I and the men and the spirits whom I offended in our land can be reconciled. At that time, if there is anyone who wants to marry, let him go to our town and marry. It was different for Arisa and Elebeke because they were returning to our town. You know it is not a good thing for a person to take a wife he has married in a foreign place and make her his senior wife. After our people and I have come to agreement, I will marry you to a wife." Obioha then said that was good.