Chapter4: First Fast Taste of Victory
The next morning I had mixed feelings. I was excited and at the same time confident. I challenged ‘my team’ that since our side did not have enough pasture, we should cross the border and graze our animals in the lands of the rival community. Everyone declined. I pondered on the next course of action to take. This was the worst drought in years. It looked like it was only going to get worse. Our animals were continuing to grow thinner by the day. Others succumbed to the drought. Last week, Apiko lost two animals. Two days ago, Kadidi’s also died. I said to myself, I am not going to sit down and watch my father’s cattle die. I bid them goodbye and told them that I would start my journey early in the morning.
The next morning when everyone else was still asleep, I assembled my animals. It was very easy because now I was able to communicate with them. I rubbed my hands and the smoke came forth. In a blink, myself together with the animals disappeared and we were in the enemy territory. I let the animals graze and drink to their satisfaction. At midday, I heard some war cries. Louder and louder they became. Then to my astonishment, I was surrounded by the enemy. Their leader asked me, “what makes you have the guts to cross the border and devour our pasture and water?” I replied by saying politely that the pasture and water here was in abundance and that their animals alone could not deplete. Furthermore, we are neighbours and it is high time we started living peacefully. “Nonesense!” Their leader answered back with a tone suggesting that all was not well. I tried to plead with them but my pleas feel on deaf ears. He then continued by saying, “thank you for gifting us your animals.” Then suddenly their large herd of cattle appeared from the thicket behind us. I have never seen such a large number of cattle! You could not tell where the last one in the herd was. They tried desperately to control them so that they do not mix with mine. It seemed like they were losing it. The animals kept charging forward and towards my animals. I decided to step forward and whispered to them and the whole herd turned back and started moving in the opposite direction. They looked at me and their leader did not like what I had just done. He came running with his gun pointed towards me shouting, “are you the one …who are you?” Amongst our community, the elders warn against visiting the cave, whilst amongst them apparently, they are reminded that a day will come when the son of the neighbouring rival community would be able to communicate with the animals. This would symbolize the beginning of their end unless they make peace!
Just like me, their stubbornness and intrusiveness helped to make the prophecy come true. They all fired their guns at me but to their surprise, the bullets went through my body and the wounds healed immediately. I rubbed my hands and the smoke suddenly made me invisible. They stopped firing and communicated loudly. They were afraid and were thinking of retreating. But their leader had other plans. He commanded them to continue with the attack even though they could not see the adversary. I tricked them and decided to test their determination by prolonging the smoke. There was silence for a short while then once again they started communicating. “Let find his animals,” their leader suggested. “He is a coward with magical powers,” he continued. I said to myself, “let me teach these fools a lesson. Never again will they look down on our community. This is for my departed ancestors.” I clapped once and suddenly they could see me again. They shot at me, this time they were determined. It was evident by the sound that was being made. I raised my ‘herding stick,’ aimed and fired. Every bullet for every rustler, no wastages. I was outnumbered but at the end of it all they were dismembered. Rather than save on the bullets, I decided to avenge the ancestors and this I did in a manner that would serve as a warning to the rest! I therefore pulled the trigger and a stream was formed by the enemy blood. I knew my ancestors were appeased so I decided to spare one of them who was kneeling and begging for his dear life. I told him to go and spread the word…
Now, my father’s animals had increased immensely. They stretched far and wide, you could not see the first and the last. If it were not for my ability to communicate with animals, there is no way I could have managed to herd them. I stayed in the enemy territory for another three days and on the fourth day after seeing our original cattle gain strength, I communicated with the animals and we were on our way back home.
Back home, the other herders had given up on pasture and decided to let their animals die at least in their own backyard. My dad was worried and he wondered what had become of me. My team had told him everything that had transpired and he was already mourning knowing I had no chance of coming back alive after venturing into enemy territory. I said to myself, “let me surprise them,” so I let the cattle lead the way while I stayed behind. I was nowhere to be seen until after about quarter of an hour after the leading bull had arrived. The whole village was dumbstruck! My dad was over the moon. No one had ever seen such a large number of cattle, more so, healthy and fattened cows. My status in the community was about to change.