Fiction-Ewa-The Women and the king
The women ran into the palace, panting like they were
being chased by furious masquerades. This made some
of the men scatter in total disregard for the presence of
their king. Kabieyesi had to stand up to restore order.
“Who has set fire on your bosom? What has made
you leave common sense on your beds this morning?”
His explosive voice rang through the palace, causing
the walls to tremble.
It took the women a few minutes before they could
catch their breaths. They knelt in exhaustion as well as
greeting. Arike spoke with everybody’s mouth.
“Kabieyeeeeesi, may you live long in the land of your
fathers. We saw something, Kabieyesi. We saw
something that almost blinded us.”
“Arike will not hit the nail on the head. That is how
she does; she cuts words like one who cuts yam.”
Akande said with evident distaste.
“Let me talk or will you come and say what is inside
my mind for me?” She answered him. As usual, they
had forgotten to leave their family drama at home. He
was about to throw a curt rejoinder but remembered
they were in the palace and sighed instead.
“Go on, woman.” The King tried not to lose his
“My senior and I, together with two other women
went to fetch water this morning but to our shock, we
did not meet the Oluweri at the river. We decided to
look around but we saw something strange.” She
stopped talking and folded her arms across her chest.
“What did you see?” They all wanted to know.
“What I saw? It is too difficult to say.” She clamped
her thick lips shut in finality.
“A matter cannot be so hard as to resolve to cutting
it with knife, it is still with the mouth we will say it.
What did you see?” Baba Agba asked. He was the King’s
“What? Why are you begging her? Are the other
women dumb? Or was she the only one that saw what
she saw?” Olasunbo’s patience was ebbing.
Sade did not like how things were sounding. She
stole a glance at the king and saw that he was
deceptively quiet. “Your highness, we saw a strange
child. Abami omo.”
“What do you mean? If you see a child at the river,
that does not make her strange. Her mother could not
have been far from the river. Women are too fearful.”
Olasunbo said dismissively.
Aduke did not think so. “The child was found in the
middle of the four rocks.”
The King’s eyes bulged slightly in shock. He clenched
his irukere tightly and listened.
“Four rocks?” Everybody within hearing distance
echoed fearfully. The four rocks were for the goddess
alone. The villagers were forbidden from fishing there
or swimming close to the area. The rock enclosed
twirling water which could rise high at anytime to
“Yes, the forbidden part of the river. She was playing
with water. She did not even cry. She smiled, and looked
at us as though she understood what we were saying.”
“I could have sworn she laughed when I almost
slipped and fell.” Iyabo added.
“There is something strange about the girl, if not,
we would have brought her here.” Arike pointed out.
“Brought whom where?” Iyalode was stunned at
“Here, Iya wa. We are women, if she was normal,
we would have carried her and fed her.” Arike answered.
“Kabieyesi, I know I dare not tell you what to do
but I think it would help matters if we ask about the
child first, before deciding on what to do with her.” Sade
suggested calmly. Her husband, Akande smiled proudly.
He had always told her it was wisdom that filled her
“Ask about her as how?” Adisa wanted to know.
“She means we should consult those who see with
the eyes of the gods, those who enter our minds and
carry our thoughts to Eledumare, People like the
Oluweri.” Baba Agba further explained.
“Baba, do not forget we said the river goddess is
missing.” Arike said.
Her husband slapped her on the head. “You do not
say that. She cannot be missing. How can a woman
not know how to talk, eh?” He shook his head and sent
an apologetic look to the King.
“Oh, sorry, the river goddess has travelled.” She
rubbed her head and eyed him.
“Enough! Akande get a grip on your wife. Arike,
have you no manners? Or do you think this is your
house?” Baba Agba did not try to hide his resentment.
“I do not blame him, if one has a wife like Arike,
what do you expect?” Iyalode eyed Arike with contempt and Arike boldly returned the look.
“I will send Oluwole and Ojo to look for Baba
Onala. He will definitely know what has happened. But
while we wait, you women should go back home and
feed your children. I will advise you stay away from the
river till everything is resolved.” King Adegbemi said.
“Kabieyesi.” The women knelt and left.
Kabieyesi did not waste any more time. He sent two
of his guards to fetch Baba Onala.
“Carry him if you have to but be careful he does not
call Sanponna on you.” His voice followed them out of
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