In Ignorant Bliss

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The Reincarnate

Though the litany of the insane of Hometown remains ongoing, some do not come as new as fresh. Ever since the day Nnyikiriputu joined their number, there had been tales linking him to one of the number in time. So much that even many whom their mothers had not achieved puberty by the time of this past mad man lived, could not but join in spreading the tale. Somehow, all in Hometown knew with undiluted certainty that there had in the past existed a semi-mad man who had saved the town from external aggressors single and empty handed.

The story, however, was quick to veer to the reality that while the one that had saved the town time immemorial had been a kind of ascetic, the present incarnation of him was always on a tipple – morning, afternoon, evening and night time. While the former had a habitation by the woods bounding the town’s farthermost frontiers, the latter had nowhere to lay his head; passing the nights wherever night caught him drinking.

Given his chin-wagging potentialities, none would have dared compare him to the revered ancestor who was even ascribed extraterrestrial powers. However, their two characters merged as it concerned the new man’s ability to tell stories about Hometown that no one else could fathom. Like the story about what transpired on the night of Amalgamation Day.

“So how on earth are we to believe this tale of yours?” a surprised Osondu the hunter asked on a day he repeated the tale of priests and priestesses using different digits to stimulate themselves. “Were you born then?”

“Poor you,” a bemused Nnyikiriputu countered. “I wonder how you are able to kill any animals with the breath of your reason. So you think I must be there to know it?”

“How else could you have, Nnyikiriputu?”

“Let’s stick to the mundane that you can grasp, Osundu; before you refuse me to drink from this overflowing cup of yours.”

Osondu had just hosted his age grade in announcement of his forthcoming initiation into the prestigious ozo title and a lot of wine was left in the pots. Nnyikiriputu never missed an opportunity as throat-wetting as that. In fact, it is believed that all his brain had space for was a roster of who was up to what celebration; and when it was bound to end, if ever. As a rule, he never surfaced while the occasion was in swing, always waiting till the invited had left the host alone to his household.

He had surfaced as Osondu made to lock the wooden door into his compound to. He had cleared his throat, wondering aloud whether they thought he would not make it again – as if he had been expressly invited like the departed age mates. Playing along, Osondu had replied that he thought he no longer attended functions in Southern Kingdom like many of his compatriots from the North. As if on cue, that had been the trigger for the umpteen tales he unwound to tell as they settled down to the remnant drinks of the day.

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