It was the first day of the new yam festival, and the masquerades of Mbammili had not gotten the 40 tubers of yam and five chickens which were promised them by the diviners of the Icheku Oracle.
One of the elders, Ichie Atumah, came to the abode of the spirits to inform the masquerades that it was time for them to entertain the entire village. He tried to hurry them, but his news and request were not accepted nor granted, for the spirits needed their yams and chickens. The spirits were hungry!!!
Meanwhile, at the shrine of Icheku, the diviners, Uduakommili and Igirige had divided 120 yams and 45live chickens amongst themselves. They both loaded the gifts into sacs and left for their Individual homes. The Obi of Mbammili had sent Osuofia, the town crier, to fetch the diviners to perform the rituals before the new yam was put into the pot, but on getting to the shrine Osuofia met their absence.
Osuofia hurried to the Abor forest where the masquerades resided to enquire if the diviners had gone to feast with their fellow spirits. On getting there, he met Ichie Atumah begging the masquerades to follow him to the village square. He greeted the masquerades with parables and enquired from them if uduakommili and Igirige had come to dine with them, but they said “mbaka kwa o.”
Osuofia told the masquerades that Uduakommili and Igirige were nowhere to be found and that the Obi had sent them 120 tubers of yam and 45 live chickens. At this news, the leaders of the masquerades, ‘Akilika’ and ‘Mmụọ bụ àjà’ flared up and screamed ‘alụ’. They high jacked Ichie Atumah’s motorbike and headed for Uduakommili’s family compound…
*To be continued*
Short Story By Chuka Nduneseokwu