Politics Of Gender In African Folktale Performance Art: The Feminist Perspective

Dr. (Mrs) Bridget Inegbeboh 

Stevenson Omoera Osakue


Abstract Conclusion
Introduction Works Cited
The Concept of Female Resistance and Self-Assertion

Appendix 1: OGUNAMEN OF EDO

Resistance by Language and Gender Politics  

Abstract

Gender connotes the social and historical constructions of masculine and feminine roles, behaviours, attributes and ideologies which refer to the biological male sex or female sex. It is the positioning of men and women in the society, including the oral society, where folktales are told for entertainment, as well as for the instruction of the younger generation. African folktales contain the belief system of the African people, as well as other cultural materials. The men’s position in the folktales correlates with their position in folk life. Similarly, the women’s position in the folktales mirrors what obtains in the traditional society. Considering gender from the angle of positive feminists, all women are oppressed. However, they are expected to emancipate themselves from traditional bondage and assert themselves. Some women in African folktales evince qualities of being self-assertive. Others excel in the art of politics of gender power. It is within this compass that this paper explores the exploits of a woman named Osoikholor, in the African folktale entitled Ogunamen, performed by the oral artist, Igberiase Umuobuarie. In the end, Osoikholor stands her ground, wins everybody to her own side and humiliates the pretentious, self-righteous men, thus taking the issue of female assertion to the next level.

Descriptors: African feminist writers, folktales, gender, performance art, African women, Ogunamen of Edo, feminism

Introduction

Some occasions arise in African folktales where women resist oppression with every power at their disposal. These women assert themselves and demand to be heard. They fight back, sometimes to the point of wanting to eliminate the whole world, in return for any injustice done to them. These women shock patriarchal and traditional apologists into a sudden awareness by their self-confidence; they shock people by their strength of character and will power; they surprise people by their intellectual-physical actions; they astonish by their language and gender politics, by their independent mindedness; and they amaze by their self-assertion. They teach that women who resist oppression and assert themselves win recognition in the society.

The feminist perspective is the positive representations of womanhood which try to counter the preconceived prejudices in male writings about womanhood and challenge the status quo. The feminist perspective applauds a situation where men and women unite and contribute their roles effectively to build up the human society. Feminists demonstrate the fact that women and men complement one another. They address the problem of the exploitation of women and men by society. The African feminist, who is not necessarily a woman, tries to bring about social equilibrium. Davies and Graves state that genuine African feminism:

recognizes a common struggle with African men for the removal of the yokes of foreign domination and European/American exploitations. It is not antagonistic to African men, but it challenges them to be aware of certain salient aspects of women's subjugation which differ from generalized oppression of all African peoples. (9)

The African men and women struggle side by side to liberate the African continent from the chains of colonialism. Yet men turn around to marginalize and oppress women. However, some women have managed to stay afloat, and they attract the attention of feminist writers. The feminist perspective, therefore, highlights the negative experiences of women, as well as their unique and positive experiences. Feminist writers do not only pay attention to the victimization and helplessness of women in the hands of male and female oppressors; they strongly throw light on the effort women make to assert themselves; they emphasize what women do to actualize themselves, liberate themselves and get fulfilled in life. Moreover, the feminist writers expose whatever is evil and unacceptable in the lives of women, especially in their relationship with other women and men, with a view to correcting them.

The early feminists were extremist civil right fighters who, following their experiences in their environment fought the way they did to enhance the dignity of womanhood. They fought against oppressive systems. African feminist writers and researchers today raise fundamental questions and challenges about the way male-writers present women, men and life in their novels dramas, poetry and even films. Male writers in particular marginalize and paint very negative images of the African woman as a scorn and a butt. They describe the African woman as somebody who is eternally oppressed and subjugated; they portray her as somebody entangled by a very intricate predicament she can never extricate herself from. Feminist studies have identified three categories of women. Manuh reveals that:

initially, three kinds of women appeared as the obvious candidates: prominent women social scientists; women who contributed to the public life the social scientists were studying, such as queens and powerful women; and women victims of the worst forms of male dominance. (72)

From our own research on African Folktales we have discovered that there are many things women in African traditional society have done to make themselves socially, economically, politically and spiritually relevant. Their strategies can be studied and adapted to chart the way to liberation, self-assertion and self-reliance for African women today and women generally. Moreover, some women in African folktales dominate other women and men. The exposure of the activities of this category of women serves to deter potential female culprits; and they serve as an eye opener to other women and men.

From the foregoing, it is expedient to recognize and extend the list of the feminist categories of women to include: women who are oppressed and remain passive, the oppressed women who resist, the un-oppressed women and women who dominate other women and men.

The Concept of Female Resistance and Self-Assertion

Women who resist oppression as well as assert and actualize themselves are feminists. They defend their right to survive. They also defend their interest in their children, in a society that recognizes a woman only as a married female who is the mother of children. Feminists correct whatever is not in the interest of women in the society. In their interaction with men and their fellow women, the feminists prune off and change whatever is detrimental to the interest of women. Sometimes some people misunderstand the women who resist oppression. They call them rebels. Such women are aware of their capabilities and the influence they have over other people. They defend their right to exist and live a fulfilled life.

Chukwuma states that "in female assertion, two main factors come to play here: first, the woman herself, her acumen and disposition which make her fight for herself. Second, is the environment where she operates in" (ix). Women who resist oppression strive to make themselves well recognized and highly honoured. They pitch camp and fight their adversaries. They do not run away from problems, instead they face them and find solution to them. The resistant women are proud to be women. They wish the society to recognize them for what they can do and what they want to do and not what the society feels they should be doing. Catherine Simpson (66) identifies various forms of feminism such as radical feminism, bourgeois feminism, cultural feminism, Marxist feminism, black feminism and lesbian feminism. These six types mentioned by Simpson throw much light on the nature of the feminist ideology (Evwierhoma 41), but we are more concerned with the cultural aspect of feminism as it relates to African folktale performance art.

Essentially, folktales derive from folklores. Okpara (88) asserts that folklore is the traditional art, literature, knowledge and practice that are disseminated largely through oral communication and behavioural example. Ibagere (1) agrees with him to the extent that folklore constitutes a part of the African traditional communication system. This system generally involves the transmission and reception of information, ideas and attitudes among individuals in society. In African folktales women manifest essentially as wives, mothers and daughters, while men manifest as husbands (who are either inconsiderate or supportive), elders and sons. In most cases the men try to hurt the women. They dominate and intimidate them. They ridicule and blackmail them in order to lower their self-esteem. They hoodwink women to feel inferior. However, some women resist all forms of oppression (Igbinovia 107). Such women emphasize that it is worthy to resist oppression as feminists. Female resistance, which is self-assertion, is synonymous with self-actualization by women. Ezeigbo emphasizes that:

It is a historical fact that, sometimes, a situation in the life of an individual or a people demands that such an individual or a people take steps to assert their humanity or even their right to existence. Some people have had to struggle to establish an identity and safeguard their inalienable right to be treated decently as human beings. (73)

Women have been under-valued and marginalized for so long that they are now beginning to fight back and resist (Evwierhoma 36). Different women groups like the women liberation movement fought in the 1960's and 1970's to demand for women's right and achieved a lot of successes. Some other female organizations like National Council of Women Societies, Women in Development and other women associations in the various communities now unite and co-operate to fight the course of women. They project the interest of women and encourage women to be engaged in money-making ventures and vie for elective political positions. Women thereby resist by their unity and their numerical strength.

They use their intelligence, their awareness and their economic power to resist all types of oppression, especially patriarchal dominance. Ezeigbo states that proper female resistance implies that "... women should strive to get all the education they can; get involved in income-generating activities to increase their economic power; and also form and sustain organizations or co-operatives through which they can unite and articulate their needs and mobilize forces to satisfy them" (63). When women are enlightened they become bold and self-confident. When they are economically balanced their men respect them and take them serious. They are then able to articulate their needs and the needs of other women and work positively to satisfy the needs.

Resistance by Language and Gender Politics

African women play the roles of wives, mothers and daughters. The women defend their rights to survive and they defend their interest in their children. This brings them into conflict with people most of the time, so they use their language as weapon and play gender politics whenever their interest is the fact in issue. In the folktale, Ogunamen of Edo, for example, the character, Osoikholor epitomizes all the resistant and assertive female qualities enumerated above. She excels in the use of language and gender politics. First, she subverts tradition by having her own choice of the husband she marries.

Osoikholor marries at the time that a man she loves and chooses arrives, not when her parents and who her parents want her to marry. She is independent minded and indignant about her parents' consulting a native doctor on her behalf. For example, when her mother, Asekhaelen grinds chalk and salt and decides to take it round her head, as a sacrifice to get her to agree to get married, she questions her: "My matter is what you want to be consulting a native doctor for?" The action of Asekhaelen shows her up as a superstitious person, while Osoikholor's question shows that she is obstinate and bold.

Osoikholor displays a great deal of language and gender political acumen in handling the problem of her temptation and betrayal by the treacherous patriarchal male, Ogbeide, and when she deals with the consequent oppression by the society. She asserts herself and exposes Ogbeide. First, the society oppresses her when her husband dies. They ask her, "what killed her husband?" They do not stop there. Despite the fact that she insists that she does not know the cause of her husband's death, they go ahead with their plan to make her swear to a juju. She has no relation or sympathizer around. Yet,

The eldest man who had all the people and the relations, called Osoikholor and told her to cook food for her to give her husband (as has been the custom) ... They brought the dead body of Ogunamen out to where the elders were. They called the new wife, Osoikholor to kneel down, they cut pounded yam and put on top of the leg of Ogunamen. They told the new wife to swear to a juju, if she knew what killed the husband, if somebody sent her to kill him, so that he would call her in the land of the dead, immediately.

This is one of the most traumatic ordeals a married woman goes through in the society of the folktale. She is usually suspected of killing her husband, whether there is evidence to support that fact or not. Yet, when a woman dies nobody suspects the husband. People usually attribute a woman's death to some evil she might have committed, such as committing adultery and stealing the husband's money. It takes the guts of a strong and self-assertive character like Osoikholor to resist this type of oppression and put up a fight, without prejudice to the fact that she still dies in the end.

The most important thing from the feminist point of view is that Osoikholor makes her point. She refuses to swear a juju, unless her father comes. At this stage she shocks the society with her boldness and her insistence on her right to have her own relation around to make for a balanced representation and to give her a fair hearing. She slows down the tempo of action in the gathering and at least, she has some breathing space to herself, as "the elders sent two people, they told them to go and call Oyakhire her father to come." One tends to breathe a sigh of relief, as Oyakhire comes and requests to be allowed to consult with his daughter. One would have expected that he would demand that the daughter be allowed to go free for lack of evidence, but he does not help matters. He hands her over to them and tells "them to make her swear an oath, since she said that she did not know what killed him." He abandons her to her fate and goes home.

One would have expected that there would be a more humane way of testing the innocence of an accused woman, but what Osoikholor goes through makes every woman shudder with fear. The narrator states that "... they then went and called Osoikholor to come and kneel down for her to swear an oath concerning what killed him." She resists by trying to shout, as depicted in the song that follows:

If I shout, they will come,
If I shout, they will come,
My mother - e - you are welcome
If I shout, they will come.
My father - e - you are welcome.
If I shout, they will come.

However, the society proceeds to administer the deadly potion. Nobody listens to her protest. The artist states that "they incanted the curse, `if she knew what killed her husband, let her husband call her to the land of the dead.' They put kola nuts on the leg of her husband, she took it and ate it." Osoikholor faces the ordeal without flinching. Some other women are usually subjected to this type of ordeal whether they are guilty or not. This practice still goes on in some parts of Africa. Every woman looks forward to a day women would be given a more decent treatment when their husbands die.

Osoikholor's case may be just one case in a million such cases where a woman really yields to killing her loved one. Ordinarily no woman would want to kill her husband and remain alone in the world. In few of the cases where some women have been found to succumb to killing their husbands there have been treacherous men like Ogbeide who are always at the background confusing and tempting the unsuspecting women and casting spells on them. They intimidate or blackmail the women until they yield. The men deceive the women into doing wrongful acts and humiliate them. The men pretend to be very holy, while they tell people that women are evil.

However, in this case Osoikholor does not take Ogbeide's treachery lying low. She fights back. She asserts herself. She insists on seeing the Onojie (King of Uromi) before narrating her part of the story. She exposes Ogbeide and implicates him. She narrates her story as follows, "following Ogbeide's instruction, Osoikholor kills her husband and marries Ogbeide. She moves into his house as one of his several wives". Upon a second thought, Ogbeide, out of fear of the fact that Osoikholor might one day poison his own food with the same poisonous leaves he gave her arranges to capture Osoikholor, tie her hands behind her, send her to the Onojie's (King's) palace and tell the king to get her killed.

Osoikholor, despite the fact that she would naturally die for the crime of killing her husband, does one remarkable thing before she dies. She plays very sound language and gender politics to explain her role. She exposes and humiliates Ogbeide (her treacherous dupe), and avenges this callous and exploitative inhumanity of man to woman. Osoikholor refuses to accept Ogbeide's patriarchal pretence to self righteousness. She resists to the last drop of her blood. She perseveres and asserts herself. She maintains her dignity despite the fact that she is found guilty of killing her husband.

The palace chiefs (whom she had at one time or the other refused, as not fit to be her husband), ask, "... what did she do?" Osoikholor grabs this golden and last opportunity to assert herself. Undaunted, she sings (to rouse emotion) and demand that the king gives her a fair hearing. She sings:

Agbale, the king of Uromi
hear from my mouth.
Agbale, the king of Uromi,
hear from my mouth.

She scores a point by this song. She gets the breathing space she desires, as the executioners are told to delay action. With her hands still tied behind her, she questions all the chiefs and the king, himself.

She asks them one after the other, "Onogie, you first asked for my hands in marriage, I said no." She said, "Ihase, you first asked for my hands in marriage, I said no, that I would not agree." She said, "Ihaza, you came, did I marry you?" That one said, "no." She asked "you came, did I marry you?" They answered her, "no." Her questioning them and getting all of them, even the king, to confirm that she had once rejected all of them serves to make them remember that they are not her equal. She puts the men in their right position. She is superior to them, so they must take care to agree with everything she says, as true. She has no reason to tell lies before them. She is not afraid of them, so they have to be very objective and give a sound judgment, no matter whose ox is gored.

She succeeds in winning them over. They really begin to cast doubt on Ogbeide's action. One person suggests, "if one person is judging a matter you do find out the underlining truth. Let us go and call Ogbeide." A palace chief concurs, "a palace chief is what Ogbeide is, what really caused it that he did not come to the meeting?" Thus, Ogbeide is brought to the arena for a final showdown. Osoikholor stands her ground. She fights back, without mincing words. She identifies Ogbeide, as "... the man who gave medicine to "her" for "her" to kill her husband, this is he."

She presses her point home, as she continues to say "he told me that if he died, If I should stay for seven days for him completely, I should come and marry him.” She" did as he told her, "she" did not know what caused it that he brought `her' here to kill "her" now." Osoikholor implicates Ogbeide completely. She does not look passively on and weep like a baby, while Ogbeide takes advantage of her. He cannot deceive her into committing a grievous crime and, at the same time, turn around to condemn and kill her. If she must die, she must not die alone. If she must die for poisoning her husband, Ogbeide, the source of the poison must die, too, before the society can be purged faultlessly clean.

Osoikholor speaks on behalf of other unfortunate women in the wider society who suffer this type of mental torture, patriarchal deceit and undeserved betrayal. This category of women is subjugated and demeaned by men who tempt them and tell tall lies against them. They are intimidated into suffering alone in silence, without telling the world the truth. Some of the women are tormented by the society and branded witches and adulteresses, while the patriarchal male culprits remain untouched. These men glory in bringing highly successful women low. While the affected women earn eternal public ridicule and condemnation, the men become famous and are referred to with a type of endearment and partiality. These men are carried high for being able to humiliate women, while they bemuse themselves coquettishly.

Men must play a fair game. The example of Ogbeide serves as a warning to men who cherish unreasonable phallocracy. They must stop using patriarchal power and treacherous diplomacy to bully women and confuse them to yield to sexual or economic exploitation. On the other hand, women must learn the lesson of defeat and bounce back to assertive positions. They should eschew passivity. They should refuse to be deceived into doing what is wrong. They must not do what would bring shame to them, to their families and to women generally.

Conclusion

A woman who is skilled in the art of language and gender politics influences other people to see matters her own way. She is able to make her impact felt and bring about changes in the course of unjust laws and traditions. Womanhood is therefore advanced a step forward. Overbearing patriarchal males are the targets of female self-assertion. It is high time the African woman is given her space in the mainstream of activities and governance. It is on the strength of the foregoing that the following recommendations are made, that:

Works Cited

Appendix 1 

OGUNAMEN OF EDO

Story-teller sings

song 1 How will they go about this?
                        How will they go about this?
                        Ogunamen,
                        How will they go about this?
                        Ogunamen,
                        How will they go about this e e e?
                        Ogunamen.

song 2 Sense is what the native doctor uses to return.

                        Sense,
                        Ogunamen, sense,
                        I say, be patient.
                  (5) Sense,
                        If they are not patient,
                        they do not have sense.

Ogunamen was living; Osoikholor was living. Asekhaelen was living, Oyakhire was living. Asekhaelen and Oyakhire were husband and wife. They had one little child that they called Osoikholor. That child only was what they just had.

Story-teller sings
   
                     If they do not trouble a child, he does not grow
                        strong.
                        If they do (10) not trouble a child, he does not grow strong.

    Osoikholor became a young girl. All the breasts erupted like those of a grown up woman. Anybody who saw her felt like appealing to marry her, following how she was beautiful. As grown up a girl as she was then, she had no husband, she had no body who wished to marry her. She had no body that pleased her that she would marry. Kings (15) tried their hands at the matter of Osoikholor, she refused; palace chiefs came, she still refused.

Story-teller sings

Play oracle, still sacrifice, oracle playing
does not work again.
Play oracle, still sacrifice, oracle playing
does not work again.

Her father said that they have again seen what has never been seen, that this child of his does not want to marry a husband. Her mother said that they have never seen this one

before. They asked her, "all the people that still come, you have not (20) still found the one that you like among them?" She answered, "no" there is none." When she talked like that, her father and her mother went to the native doctor. They asked the native doctor what they would do so as to find that this child married a husband. They told the native doctor that if she had a child now they would be happy for her because another child was not there, so that it would be that they had a grand child. The native doctor told them,

"when you get home, grind chalk and salt, add the king of palm nuts, for you to do something for her, you are told now".

(25) The native doctor told them, "the day they see a you boy come, she presents him with kola nuts, she puts a mat to sit down, you will know that is the husband she is going to marry. When you take the king of palm nuts, grind chalk and salt and blow into the air. Her mother asked the native doctor, "If I do this, will she have a husband to marry?" The native doctor told her that a good husband was coming. He just mentioned his name to them, he told them that

Ogunamen is what they call the husband that is coming. He told them that life is difficult for that child, that his (30) father died, his mother died, he had no friends, he had no brothers. He said, this is the husband that Osoikholor will marry. Osoikholor was weaving at the frontage of her father. Ogunamen also took cloth in his house, he said that he would go out, too.

Story-teller sings

song 1 A child does not dance and point, looking up the sky.
                    Be pointing, looking,
                    Be pointing, looking,
                    Be pointing, looking up the sky.

A SONG

song 2 (35) If the world is not difficult for someone
                    they do not know one's friend.
                    If they are not sick,
                    they will find what they are able to do.
                    The friend one chose earlier is the best.

Asekhaelen got home, she ground chalk and salt and kept. She decided to take it round Osoikholor where she was sleeping, she woke up. She asked her,"my matter is what you want to be consulting a native doctor for?"

The mother told her, "sleep (40) I am not watching you atall".

Story-teller sings

If the mind does not think a thought,
the eyes do not make tears,
If the mind does not think a thought,
the eyes do not make tears.
If the mind does not think a thought,
the eyes do not make tears.

She took up the sacrifice again and look it round her head for her and she left there. (45) This young boy, all his relations died. He alone was going in the world. He said that he heard that kings went to look for Osoikholor, palace chiefs went, she did not agree. He said that he would then go.

Story-teller sings

Help me appeal to my mother,
Help me appeal to my mother,
Help me appeal to my mother,
(50) So that they would not make me become a child
that has no father.

The song that Ogunamen sang when he was going to meet Osoikholor is the one

I am going to sing to show you now:

Story-teller sings

Will you not marry me young lady?
Will you not marry me young lady?
Will you not marry me young lady?
Will you not marry me young lady?

When he reached there, Ogunamen met that Osoikholor was outside, she was weaving.

Story-teller sings

It remains a little poor man
It remains a little poor man
It remains a little.

He took a small cane, he used it to tap the top of her buttocks a little. Osoikholor asked him, "how are you (60) going? What is it?" Ogunamen told her,"your house is where I have come. I want to take you for a wife". Osoikholor asked him, "since kings have been asking for my hands, since palace chiefs have been asking for my hand and since young boys have been coming where were you?"

He told her, "it was not `his' fault, life was what put cobwebs in his eyes, his mother died, `his father died,' all his relations died, he had no time to come out". He said,

(65) he alone remained in the whole line. Osoikholor got up and put a mat on the bed, she took kola nuts to him after he had finished sitting down. Ogunamen sat down and was looking at Osoikholor's face. Ogunamen prayed over the kola nut that the two of them would live long with each other.

Story-teller sings

May we not be killed for our own thing.
Ologhodo!
May we be counted among those who do good
Ologhodo!

(70)             Osoikholor started a song:

Story-teller sings

My mother that is my mother,
tell my father that I have married a husband
my mother that is my mother,
tell father that I have married a husband,
my mother that is my mother,
tell my father that I have married a husband.

When her father heard this song, he carried a goat and he gave to his daughter for saying that she had found a husband that she would (75) marry. Her mother was using her mind to rejoice that her daughter found a husband that she would marry.

Her mother carried fowl and gave to Osoikholor to keep for finding a husband that she would marry.

Story-teller sings

song 1 I tell you to come, Osoikholor, come o, come
            It is not the fault of some one, I say come, come o,
            Come,
            Osoikholor, I say come, come o o, come!

song 2 (80) I do not know how this world looks like,
                    different things happen,
                    I tell you to leave me, let me become successful.

Her father who was called Oyakhire called this young boy. He told him, "this child, I give her to you". Ogunamen told him, "oh, thank you

our elder". He also told him that he wanted the child to follow him home.

    (85) Oyakhire called Osoikholor and asked her, "Is this the husband you are going to marry?" Osoikholor told her father to believe it that he is the one she will marry. Ogunamen and Osoikholor then left for home together, as husband and wife. When Osoikholor reached the house of Ogunamen finally, she was looking to and fro, as if the house was not beautiful. Ogunamen told her that he “earlier told `you’ that `his’ house was not beautiful when `he’ was courting you”. Ogunamen told Osoikholor (90) that she would, by herself, attend to herself; he had not at all that would attend to her how people attend to a new wife. This very Ogunamen, a farmer only was just what he was, he had no other job. Osoikholor herself attended to herself for the seven days that they attend to a new wife in Ishan land. When she cooked she would call her husband to come let them eat. After eating one day, Ogunamen called his wife, he told her; “this (95) soup you cooked is too delicious”.

    She told him that as long as they lived, as long as they lasted, the two of them would be eating together every day. Her husband asked her what of if he went to the farm? She told him, “`she would wait for `you’ to return from the farm first.” He asked her, what of if they went to a meeting? Osoikholor told him that she would wait for `you’ to come first. He asked her, “what of if `he’ went to the market?” The wife told him that she would wait for `you’

(100) “my husband!!” He told her, “you cannot”.

Story-teller sings
            Omonoyan (a proud child), how will they go about this?
            Omonoyan, eh, eh,
            How will they go about this, Omonoyan?
            Omonoyan what of if you break a pot, e e e?
            How will they go about this, Omonoyan?

    When it was (105) day break, Ogunamen took things and went to the farm. After he had gone to the farm, one man came in the afternoon, who was called Ogbeide. A young boy was this Ogbeide. He was still handsome like Ogunamen who married Osoikholor. Osoikholor started cooking in order to keep food for her husband. This person touched the door. She asked, who was that? Somebody told her that he was the one, that she should open the door. Osoikholor opened the door. This Ogbeide was a palace chief of the king of Uromi. (110) Osoikholor met that young boy that was handsome was there. The man asked her, “where is your husband?” She told him that he had gone to the farm, he told her that he wanted her to marry him. Osoikholor told him, `no’, no, I say I have a husband.” He asked her, “You have a husband?” she said “yes”. He told her, “Good, see you later”.

Story-teller sings

song 1 O, see what they use a child to do
                See what they use a child to do
                Children of Modern age
                see what they use a child to do,
                see what they use a child to do.

song 2 I tell you, see Iseghohimen, oh, oh,
                One person that took fight to the street,
                Iseghohimen.

    (120) Another day, Ogbeide went again to the house of Ogunamen.

    Ogunamen went to the farm again that day. Osoikholor heard again somebody knocked on the door, she said, "who is that?" He said he was the one. He met that she was cooking soup. Osoikholor asked her "was it not you who first came here the other day?" He told her that he was the one. He told her that he wanted her to marry him. The woman asked him if she did not tell him before that she had a husband? Ogbeide asked her, (125) "This your husband, suppose there is something that can be done to him?" The woman told him, "unless that".

Story-teller sings

I am a child of God, halleluya, halleluyaib
I am a child of God, halleluya, halleluya
No one can kill us who are the children of
God, halleluya.

Ogbeide took her hand and they entered into the backyard of the house of her husband. They plucked leaves, he told her to (130) use them to cook soup and keep for her husband, "if he eats it, he would die". Osoikholor told him to wait first for her to ask him a question. She told him that the two of them eat together, "what would she do so that the leaves would not killed her and kill her husband?" He told her to wait first, "he would tell `you' what `you' would do so that it would not kill you. "He told he,r "you will tell him that you have not been well, since he left for the farm since morning". He told her that she should remove necklace and ear rings from her body, she would loosen her hair and say (135) she is not well. He told her to pour ashes on her head that she was not well. Osoikholor used the leaves to cook soup and keep for her husband. She put the soup down in front of the fire. Ogbeide went home.

Story-teller sings

                God brings children, God brings children,
                God brings children, God brings children,
                God brings children, God brings children,
(140)        God brings children, God brings children.

She heard, `dii!' Ogunamen returned from the farm. He threw down the firewood he carried home. Osoikholor removed things from her body. She was in front of the fire that she was not well, even still she was not ill at all. Ogunamen entered the house, he asked the new wife why she wa shouting. She told him that she had not been well since he left for the farm a long time ago. Ogunamen went to the (145) back yard and bathed. After bathing he entered the house.

Story-teller sings

Sorry o Ogunamen, do not forget yourself for her o e e
Sorry o do not forget yourself for her o e e
Sorry o Ogunamen, do not forget yourself for her o o e
Ogunamen sorry o, do not forget yourself for her o o e.

(150) Ogunamen called his wife to come let them eat. She told him that she could not eat, for the illness really gripped her strongly. Osoikholor went, `ganghan, ganghan', and put food for the husband on the table.

Story-teller sings

                    A new wife that is a new wife, come and eat food.
                    A new wife come let us eat food.
(155)           A new wife come let us eat food.

Ogunamen cut the pounded yam. His hand was shaking. It fell away.

Sings

                New wife I cannot eat the food
                If I say let me eat the food l become weak
                New wife I cannot eat the food
(160)        The new wife was also singing:

Story-teller sings

My husband please eat food.
My husband please eat food.
There is nothing in the soup.
There is nothing in the soup.
My husband, please, you please eat.
pounded yam.

Osoikholor called her husband and told him that, "since `she' reached `your' house, this is the first time `she' is becoming ill like that, and "you say you will no longer (165) eat `her' food; you said that what I use my hands to touch nauseates you". Ogunamen thought about his, he said, "this woman, if `he' missed her like that, since `he' did not eat food for her, he would no longer find a woman as beautiful as that to marry forever. Ogunamen then cut some pounded yam and ate it. He forced himself to take the food and eat because of what his mind told him. The pounded yam hung on his chest, it did not go down.

(170) Ogunamen fell on the ground. He was struggling. He died on the ground. Osoikholor was looking at him from the corner of her eyes.

Story-teller sings

                Do not sleep, do not sleep, do not sleep,
                Do not sleep, a good person does not sleep in a town,
                Do not sleep, do not sleep, do not sleep,
(175)       Do not sleep, a good person does not sleep in a town.

Ogunamen died as soon as he touched the ground. Osoikholor fell on the ground, and cried that her husband was dead. The street watchers said, "somebody that has just passed on his way from the farm just now, how would he just die?"

From the street they sent some people to go and find out how it was. When they got there, they used hand to touch him, they found that he had (180) died. They asked the new wife how her husband died. She said that he just came from the farm, he finished eating and died. They went and called all the relations, they carried Ogunamen to where the relations were. They put him down and told the new wife to say what killed him.

Osoikholor said that she did not know anything about how her husband died. The eldest man who had all the people, the relations, called Osoikholor and told her to cook food for her to give to her husband (as has been the (185) custom). Osoikholor cooked. They carried the dead body of Ogunamen and put at the backyard, and they covered it. They bathed him and they wrapped him. The new wife finished cooking, she carried it to where the elders were in the village meeting place. They brought the dead body of Ogunamen out to where the elders were. They called the new wife, Osoikholor to kneel down, they cut pounded yam and put on top of the leg of Ogunamen. They told the new wife to swear to a juju, if she knew (190) what killed the husband, if somebody sent her to kill him, so that he would call her in the land of the dead, immediately. The new wife said that she would not swear this juju unless her father came around. The elders sent two people, they told them to go and call Oyakhire her father to come. They told Oyakhire, he came and found that all the relations of the son-in-law assembled, they wrapped Ogunamen and put on the floor. Oyakhire greeted all the elders. He shouted since he met that his son-in-law died.

(195) All the elders greeted Oyakhire, "welcome". Oyakhire asked them what they said that it was. They told him that when they saw that the death of Ogunamen confused them, they told `your' daughter to come and swear to a juju, if she knew what killed her husband, she said unless you came". Oyakhire told them to allow him consult with his daughter.

Story-teller sings

                Iroko does not grow leaves straight, straight.
(200)       Iroko does not grow leaves straight, straight.
                Iroko does not grow leaves straight, straight.

Oyakhire took his daughter aside to consult with her. He told the relations of the son-in-law at that time that she did not kill her husband that died. Oyakhire told them to use 9’621her to swear the juju, since she said that she did not know what killed him. He then went home. After he had left they then went and called Osoikholor to come and kneel down for her (205) to swear juju concerning what killed him.

Story-teller sings

If I shout, they will come,
If I shout, they will come,
My mother e- you are welcome
If I shout they will come
My father, you are welcome
If I shout they will come.

They chanted the curse, `if she knew what killed her husband, let her husband call her to the land of the dead. They put (210) kola nut on the leg of her husband, she took it and ate it.

Where she was kneeling down, she still swore to the juju as she was told to swear.

Story-teller sings

New wife will know
New wife will know
New wife, you will know, new wife you will know,
New wife, you will know, new wife you will know,
New wife, you will know, new wife you will know.

(215) They carried Ogunamen and buried him. Ogbeide earlier told Osoikholor that if the husband died, if they call it the seventh day, she should come and meet him. After the had finished burying Ogunamen, Osoikholor mourned her husband for those seven days. When the seven days were over, she bathed, she put on earrings and necklace. She went to meet Ogbeide along.

Ogbeide asked her, "how did you do it that day that he ate the food?" Osoikholor told him (220) that he did not agree to eat at first, she had to talk to him before he agreed to eat it and he died. He told her, "move on, you have become my wife".

Story-teller sings

            Caring for farm does not allow us farm weedy,
            weedy farms. Caring for farm,
            caring for farm does not allow us farm weedy,
            farms, caring for farm,
            No, it does not allow us farm weedy farms,
·           caring for farm does not allow us farm weedy farms.

Ogbeide took Osoikholor and took her home. He called everybody for he had taken a wife, newly. He called his wives, all, and still told them that he had taken another wife. When those ones came, they found that the woman was beautiful, `yayaya!' they said, "if this one is in this house, will they still see `them' there?" He told the women that when the (230)night would come, they should be dancing that their husband had married another wife. When night really came, the women were dancing. Ogbeide and the wife who was new, after watching dance a little, went into the room to be playing. After dancing for a short time, they went to sleep. Ogbeide and Osoikholor played till it was day break. It was morning.

Story-teller sings

                Ogbeide, thought is what he is now thinking
(235)         Ogbeide, thought is what he is now thinking
                How will they go about this one?
                Thought is what he is now thinking, Ogbeide!

The thought Ogbeide was thinking was that this woman, the leaves which he gave to her to kill her husband, he did not squeeze them before he gave them to her. Fear then gripped him that the woman knew the leaves, she would still use the leaves to kill him,

(240) one day when they would quarrel.

Story-teller sings

A proud child suppose you broke, a pot, e e?
How will they go about this, a proud child?
A proud child suppose you broke, a pot, e e?
How will they go about this, a proud child?

(245) Ogbeide went to call his first child and the second one, early in the morning, one day. He told them that, "when it would be day break tomorrow, this wife that `he' had just married, you catch her, you tie her hands and legs". One of his children asked him, "what exactly has she done that they would catch her and kill her? He told him that he said,

"you should catch her and kill her, do not ask `him' questions!!!" He called them again and told them that, "he would tell the truth to `you.' That man that died that day, Ogunamen `he' gave some leaves to her to kill him. "The reason (250)why I am saying that you people should catch her now is that the leaves, he did not squeeze them; I do not know the day that we would quarrel so that she would not use the leaves to kill me". One of his children was

asking him, "Baba, you, too, also have the leaves for killing someone?" He said to him, "it is your child you tell something to".

He told them to catch her and carry her to Agbale, the King of Uromi to kill her because she is a murderess. In the morning, Osoikholor woke up and took a broom and was sweeping along. They pursued and held her from behind. When she (255) checked who they were, she found that they were her husband's children. She asked them, "what is the matter?" what have I done? They tied a rope on her two hands. They told her, "When you reach the Onojie's house you will know what you have done".

All the palace chiefs in Uromi gathered in the house of the Onojie, on this very day.

Story-teller sings

                    Onojie, please, please,
                    Do not roam the street
(260)            Please, please, please, please,
                    Do not roam the street,
                    Do not roam the street.

The palace chiefs saw that they were dragging somebody to the Onojie's palace. They came out and found that a young lady was the one. The children of Ogbeide told the Onojie that their father said that they should kill that woman, for she was a murderess.

(265)The Onojie asked the palace chiefs if they had heard. The palace chiefs replied, `yes', that they had heard. They said, "before they kill her, what did she do?" They went and called the sword bearers that kill people and they stood by. Osoikholor then sang one song:

Story-teller sings

Agbale, the king of Uromi, hear from my mouth
Agbale, please, please, please, hear from my mouth,
Agbale, the king of Uromi, hear from my mouth!!

(270) The woman said that she had something to say. The palace chiefs told the sword bearers to hold on. She said that she had something to say. That rope they tied on her hands were not yet removed from her hands away. She said, Onogie, you first asked for my hand in marriage, I said `no' she said, "Ihase you first asked for my hands in marriage, I said `no', that I would not agree". She said Ihase, "you came, did I marry you?" That one said, `no'". She asked the palace chiefs that were remaining, "you came, (275) did I marry you?" They answered her, `no.'" She told them, one young man she loved was whom she married. She told them, "this one that has brought `her' here now for `her' to be killed, he gave medicine to `her' that she used to kill him.' She told them how Ogbeide came to her to say he wanted her to come and marry him. She told him that she had a husband. Then he asked her, "suppose they find something to do to her husband still?" She told him, `unless that'. He then took her hand to the back yard, he plucked some leaves and gave to her to use to (280) cook food for her husband, so that her husband could die. The leaves were what `she' used to cook for her husband that he died. They said this word, the whole Uromi people opened their mouths, they were looking at this woman.

Story-teller sings

                    This word opens people's mouths o o o.
                    This word weakens people's bodies o o o.
(285)            This word weakens people's bodies o o o.
                    This word weakens people's bodies o o o.

She told the Onogie that she saw that she was sweeping this morning, that was how she saw that they held her `bili!' and they brought her here. She then decided to also say what happened. That was how one person then

(290)stood up and greeted the Onogie. He said, "if one person is judging a matter you do not find out the underlining truth, let us go and call Ogbeide to come. Onogie said, "the truth is what he has said". He really sent two people to go and call Ogbeide to come. One person said, "a palace chief is what Ogbeide is, what really caused it that he did not come to the meeting?"

Story-teller sings

                    The laughter they laughed, he fell inside,
                    Ogbeide see one thing.
(295)            The laughter they laughed, he fell inside.

The Onogie told them to go and call him to come, for, "the woman he said that we should kill, what did she do to warrant killing her?"

Story-teller sings

Respect is it, respect is it, God is with me,
A surprising thing is it, God is with me,
Happiness is it, God is with me.

(300) They told Ogbeide that the King of Uromi said that he should come. Ogbeide then came to the house of the Onogie. He greeted, `Zaiki,' The Onogie answered. The Onogie told him that, "a palace chief of mine is what you are". When Ogbeide met Osoikholor there, his countenance changed with fright. Onogie called Osoikholor, he told her, "that word `she' told `us' when Ogbeide had not been here, let her say it now. Osoikholor greeted the Onogie and the palace (305) chiefs, and she told them to see the man who gave medicine to her to use to kill her husband, this is he. "He told me that if he died, if I stay for seven days for him completely, I should come and marry him. She did as he told her, she did not know again what caused it that he brought `her' to come here to kill her now.

Story-teller sings

                They told me before that a person is not more
                than another person.
                The head is the king of everybody,
(310)       They told me before that a leaf is not bigger than
                another leaf,
                The leaf of plantain became bigger than all leaves.

The Onogie went to call Ogbeide. He told him, "you have heard what this woman said, now about `him'. Ogbeide said, "the word she said, it is the truth, for she did not tell a lie".

He said that the reason why he brought her to you to kill her was, "I do not know the day that myself and herself would (315) quarrel, so that she would not use the leaf to kill me, because she knows the leaf". He said, "that leaf, he did not squeeze it. The Onogie told him, "Ogbeide, you just said the truth. This matter is not difficult. He said Osoikholor, what she experienced was what she narrated exactly as you did. There was dead silence in the whole of Uromi because what they have never seen was what it was.

Story-teller sings

                You look at the world, as it has fallen o o
(320)         Osoikholor, look at the world, as it has fallen o o o.

The Onogie chose four palace chiefs, he told them to go and decide the case; so that they should come and tell those remaining. Ihasele, Ezomon, Ihaza and Uague went to decide the judgement and come. They went and came back. They greeted the Onogie and all the remaining palace chiefs.

They said, "when the Onogie gives a person a chieftaincy title he does not tell him to use it to be oppressing people, all along.

Story-teller sings

(325)         Do not spoil the world, so that they would
                    have a world to be coming to.
                    The reincarnation they would come back to
                    is what one prepares for.
                    Do not spoil this world, Ogbeide.
                    The reincarnation you would come back to is
                    what they repair the world for.

They said, this is their judgment:
"Ogbeide should be (330) killed where a man is killed. Osoikholor should be killed where a woman is killed".

They said, "the reason why `they' talked like that was that only the two of them knew this leaf used for killing a human being in the whole of Uromi land. `They' would kill the two of them because only the two of them have known this leaf yet." That was how they killed Ogbeide where a man was killed and they killed Osoikholor where a woman was killed. This (335) judgement spread through all the streets of Uromi. Everybody was praising Agbale, the king of Uromi. They were calling him a good judge. The popularity of Agbale really soared high. This is where this story would be anchored.