In Ignorant Bliss

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His Mother's Tales

After all the tutoring and mentoring in the masculine follies of the paternalistic ways of his people, Ogbonna could still not get a hang of it all. Not even when people now looked up to him for answers. Most of the time what struck out most in his senses was his mother’s endless tales. Tales about humans, animals and spirits she regaled him each time they ended up alone. They were more poignant now that it appeared that those were days not attainable again since these post-boyhood, manhood times. When but to think of anything feminine appeared akin to a crime of unmentionable proportions.

Yet he remembered these stories most in his most trying of times. The story of Mgbagafor‘s soup that sent her packing from her husband’s house. Of the headstrong fly that ended up entombed with the coffin six foot down. Of the smallest of turds that spoils the anus more than its giant cousins. Of the coughing monkey that inflicts the tree it is hanging from, not unlike the tango of the chick and the fence it is standing on...

It perplexed him that he kept remembering these otherwise feminine tales. Even at the peak of the initiation into manhood, when all the rest had fallen by the wayside in the grand finale to find the cock of the pack, they were there to keep him company. At that particular instance it was as if his mother was there with him, telling a particular tale in first person in an ambiance programmed as though by nature so he could not but hold true and claim the coveted diadem.

It was the tale about the blunt-faced knife and how it cannot free a tethered slave that led to it. The blunt knife had accompanied the warriors to free a free born of the land enslaved in another land. After all the daring escapades, the warriors had entered the prison where their compatriot was being held, but on account of the bluntness of their one and only knife, they had to return home without the captive.

That day in question, he had thought that was the end of the story. But his mother, as almost always, was not done yet. Her stories are mostly told to fill up spaces. Once the time seeking occupation passed, the story, oblivious to her captive audience, always lived to be told another day.

Going on at another opportunity, she had explained that the warriors had not taken the knife in error. According to her, they only took it along because the razor-sharp knife another group had taken with them for another purpose in an earlier crusade ended up being the instrument of their slaughter upon their unfortunate capture by the enemy.

The story, like most of his mother’s tales, did not also end there. Not until the warriors got home, sharpened the knife and aided anew by their foreknowledge of their brother’s whereabouts, went back to free him to a rapturous welcome on their return home.

His mother it was who did tell him some very profound tales else that would take some telling; like the one about the young toad, the young snake and their either mothers. And indeed many more...

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