Continued from Chapter 1: Part II
‘I don’t need any more gifts, tributes that rot and stink. Unless you brought more ale, get out!’
‘I am no admirer’
‘What are you then, some poor-know-it-all hoping to strike a bargain?
‘Yes. A know-it-all. I have some information that I am sure you want’
He opened his jar full of drink and let the smell fill the room. The response was sudden. The dark round hut was lit, the beads that separated the room into halves jingled, a wooden window was opened, a dove flew out through the window and a huge man with one eye stepped in front of Bandi.
‘Any one can lay their hands on coconut ale, what is special about you?’
‘I am no admirer’
‘Give it to me’
‘Give me my ale’
‘I have a proposition’
‘You bargain with me?’ He made to punch Bandi in the face but he was fast and stepped out of his way.
You may wonder where all this fits in a small peaceful village. I will explain. Every people throughout history have had some form of deity; the Greeks had their plethora of gods, Zeus, Horus, etc; the Romans had their re-mix of the Greek gods Jupiter, and the rest; some people had gods they did not dare name, or gods that they did not know and only accorded worship to ‘the unknown god’. The Acrostians were not any different. They had their own god who was only reachable from the said hut by the said person.
This is how things worked in the village; if you had a problem befitting of divinity, you took it to the hut and presented it to the one-eyed guardian who as a matter of fact was not known by any name. For the sake of this story though, I will refer to him as ‘the keeper’ from here henceforth. You went there with gifts such as nuts, meat and milk. It is only special acrostians who could go there with coconut ale, accorded their status by their ability to travel long distances to find any coconut, their strength which they were supposed to have to be able to harvest any coconuts (In order to do this, they needed to bring down the tree so that they could be worthy of the fruits) and their ability to keep mum when in the presence of the keeper. These acrostians, upon the presentation of the ale would then sit and wait for the keeper to speak for the gods.
In the event of a problem in the village that exceeded particular individuals, say like the appearance of three-legged, brown-skinned menace, it was one of these people that would make petition on behalf of the village.
‘You’re lucky I am willing to bargain. I am not sure you have noticed, but you are very unimpressive of late’
For many days since Mr. Mbale had discovered his gift, things had been spiraling downwards. It had all started when the rumor had been spread that the keeper had been seen wandering in the village at dusk carrying with him a small sack, when he was struck by a falling twig and winced with pain. This may not look to you like a big deal, but it was quite the mountain there. First, the keeper, before then, had been said never to have left his hut. This had added to the villagers’ idea of him as a mysterious power whose only communion was with the gods. Secondly, he had winced with pain! Winced! Him, the keeper! If the pain from the fallen twig had not been enough to humble him then his fall from his pedestal had, you would think.
But no, the keeper was a proud man. Not a lot was known about how he had achieved his station, and he prided himself in that.
To be continued….