THE WIDOW’S JOURNEY.
“Burn her to death
“She’s a witch
“She’s evil. Blood sucker
“she must die
“The witch must die.
The voices went up In rage. Their voices alone would pull the walls of Jericho down. Some held sticks, others held planks, cutlasses etc. They chanted in anger, their faces welled up as they carried weapons to destroy their one enemy.
But there wasn’t any need for weapons, their eyes were enough to skin her alive leaving her inner skin to be fed on by the dogs. Their wagging tongues and comments had stacked her nude, cut her body piece by piece. And pour acid in her organs. She was in pain.
Unimaginable pain. The people continued to savage her body with their taunts as they dragged her before the entire community. Their shouts of her death for witch craft soared higher their voices could be heard around the seven villages of the community.
“Destroy the witch before she kills us all…
“She must be killed
“she is evil…
“Enough!” the king yelled and immediately a deafening silence came upon the palace. “Enough of this madness!!”
The cursing women kept mute yet still wishing evil on her in their hearts. The youths held their weapons firmly humming the song of war. It was a fight. It was a fight against her.
“You people call her a witch, You want her dead. You want her burned because she has refused to swore an oath against witchcraft?” he asked pointing to the kneeling woman.
“You accused her of being a witch. She has blood on her hands and eaten human flesh. You call her evil?” he asked with his eyes resting on every one of them.
“You accused her of murder and witch craft. But how are you people sure she is a witch. She has been a fervent Christian ever since I knew her. This woman is innocent. She is innocent…
“No!!! Igwe, she must die. She is a witch.” they screamed.
“No, I am the igwe of this kingdom. I say she is innocent and she is innocent. Respect my orders as the igwe of this land…
“With all respect igwe.” The chief priest said walking into the palace. “The people are right. This woman has refused to swear herself clean of witch craft and death of her husband. She knows what she has done. She must die, the gods have decreed it.”
“She must die.” the people screamed knocking the weeping woman down.
“No No No. She is not dying. She cannot die, she is innocent.” The igwe stood up, nodding his head negatively. “She must not die.”
“She must die.” the Villagers screamed.
“Do not defy my orders. I am the igwe of this kingdom. My words are law as long I’m still on this throne.” he thundered.
“Then you must have to choose between this woman and the kingdom igwe.” the chief priest thundered striking his staff hitting the earth.
“Eyes of the gods!!!”
“you heard me igwe. You must have to prove your love for your people or keep this woman and loose your throne.” he fired.
“Are you threatening me. The igwe of this land?” the igwe asked in shock.
“it is not a threaten, igwe. You will have to choose between this witch here or your kingdom.” The onowu said standing up with the rest of the chiefs in support.
“onowu. Even you!!! My chiefs. You are with the chief priest against I, your igwe.”
“Igwe it is time to decide between the people or the witch.” ichie Amadi said.
“Yes!!!” the people yelled in support.
“The woman or your kingdom igwe?” the chief priest said pointing at the kneeling woman.
“She must die!!!”
The igwe heaved a sigh and sat down back on his throne. He looked from the chanting villagers to his betraying chiefs and the chief priest and finally the weeping woman. He looked through her soul. He knew she was innocent, but how could he proved it. He felt pity for her but the tables were turned against him. There was nothing he could do. There was no way. Except for one.
The only option he had left, it was not a good idea but it was better than death. It was the only way.
“My people, I love my kingdom but I simply cannot allow an innocent woman to die. Here is my verdict, This woman should be banished.”
“No, she must die. She has to die.” that screamed.
“please my people, I cannot allow her to die. Eyes of the gods please help me.” the igwe implored the chief priest.
The chief priest looked up and chanted some incarnations and finally spoke “Igwe, the gods have heard your plea. But are still very angry. You will have to pacify them but this woman must be banished. These are the words of the gods.” he spoke with finality as he turned and marched out of the palace chanting the unknown language of the gods.
That was her story, she was a beautiful fair maiden. Her skin was smooth and flawless. Her eyes were blue, round and beautiful decorated with long eye lashes. Her nose was well pointed and lips pink and full.
Her hair was long and rich resting majestically on graceful shoulders.
She was a woman of curves. Flawless, a definition of beauty not only physically but character.
She was hardworking and smart. She was a graceful and caught the attention of all.
She finally won the hand of a young handsome and promising lad. Their marriage was the envy of all. But she never enjoyed it for long as her love died at the sixth month of their marriage already four months pregnant.
She was labeled a witch and banished from her village. Alone to cater for herself and unborn son In her mother’s village. She was determined. She became a farmer, traded, tailor and all to bring money into her palms.
She gave birth to a handsome son and promised to give him the best of education.
She worked hard and avoided the lazy women who gossiped all day. They judged for being a widow not wanting to get married. A proud woman who didn’t come to see them. Who felt too big to attend the meeting of the women of their village. They called her all sort of names, the talk of the town.
She heard their words, it her not that she didn’t want to join the meeting and wear expensive wrappers and singles like they did. Expensive make ups and jewelry but she couldn’t. She knew her past, present and wanted a better future.
She needed money for her son. She remembered how many nights she had went to bed without a meal through out the day after working in farms and was still paid peanuts. She would wake up the next morning ignoring the pangs of hunger and go and process cassava for sale.
She worked hard and yet still borrowed to send had son to school. She became a laughing stock and curses were rained on her daily to pay back her depts.
She finally sent her son to the city and prayed for him to succeed. He promised to return and wipe her tears away. She hoped.
She waited for him return after many years.
She later heard of his exploits and wealth. He was now a big man.
She called him and he promised to come back for her. She waited patiently.
Days, months, years passed and no sign of him. She has lost all contacts with him. But she still waited patiently for him and prayed.
She continued to work and loose her strength. Her beauty had died. Her skin became pale and rough. She looked like a man. She still prayed and waited.
Her health became poor and she struggled to work everyday. It became so Bad she struggled to breathe. She still waited.
But a night came. She was loosing it and going away. Her only breathe in her she prayed for the last time for her son and her soul. With tears trickling out from eyes and her only friend by her side. She made the last wish and died.
The went around. The widow was dead. Her son from the city heard the news and came back with his family. A wife and three kids.
He promised a lavish party and celebration and a greater party it was. One never to be forgotten in history.
It was announced that the illustrious son had lost his mother and great dignitaries flooded the occasion. A coffin made of gold and grave of diamonds.
It was the celebration of a hero and icon. The celebration lasted seven days with lavish drinks and food. Music and dancing. The women prayed to have a son lime that.
He came up the stage and made a speech about his mother. The darling woman that made him the man he is. A woman of beauty, hardwork, intelligence, dedication and God fearing. He called her a woman to be celebrated. A queen and icon. A mentor.
He praised her and called her the most adoring names could be said.
They were moved to tears.
But deep down in the mind of the only friend of the widow who witnessed her death. She wondered why a “darling” son could not pay back his mother while she was alive or send a dime to her. But ready to spend billions at her death. Here he is praising her but he didn’t respect her last wish on her sick bed to see her darling son one last time.
Written by Chinaza Jessica.