Planting Season 1894 – My Coast adventures
I have just beheld a ghost; every bone in my body is trembling so bad that I can’t stop shaking. I am saying my prayers right now but I not getting any relief; ‘Oh please Osanobua, God almighty, make haste to deliver me from these terrors’.
Yesterday, Ama and her sister Omosegho had promised to take us to see the Ebo (Whiteman) and Uwa, Edugie and I were so looking forward to this adventure that I do not think any of us slept a wink. But things seemed to have taken off to a slow start on that matter this morning, I was not about to let it rest, I was desperate to observe the Ebo going about his daily business or else what would I tell when we returned home to the palace.
Chief Irriah and the other chiefs set off pretty early for their business in town with the Ebo and all the female adults had seemingly arranged to visit their families on this day, we children were therefore left to our own devices.
‘Well, can we go now? ‘I enquired of Ama after she had adorned herself with some very impressive beads.
‘We need to hold on for a bit for one never knows if any of the adults is going to come back to check on us; if we are not here we could get into very serious trouble and be grounded for many days to come, better not to risk it.’; ‘I will tell you when.’ Ama promised.
After what seemed like ages, Ama finally called out ‘Ready!’ I sprang up from my seat and made to join the others. The weather had just begun to warm up a bit.
We walked excitedly through the town, chatting about what we would say to the Ebos when we met them. Oblivious to the greetings from people we met, I marvelled at the big compounds of the chiefs which stood in the middle of town, I secretly wondered if they were as rich as Edo chiefs.
Shortly, we came to a freshly cut path on the outskirts of town and walked along this until we came to a large clearing where in the middle were about twenty Ebos playing with slabs of wood and a round object which Ama says is called a ball. The Ebos were taking turns to hit the ball and run from one end of the clearing to the other, it looked like they were trying to see who got there first.
At first, Ebo waved at us when they noticed us then completely ignored us carrying on with their game. We just stood there and watched and when the sun bit into our skin, we sat under a tree shade. Our giggles and laughs did not seem to interfere with their concentration on their game ; once in a while, one of them would stop to wipe the dripping sweat off his face and neck; poor things, how hot they must feel. They carried on thus till the sun was right overhead and they stopped and went into a house nearby.
‘I was enjoying that; Ebo, come back!’ I uttered to no avail, they just went inside.
‘It is too hot for them to carry on playing now, they will return when it is cooler or on some other day; they are not used to all this heat you know.’ Ama explained.
‘I don’t care; I just want to see more of the game!’ I uttered.
‘Actually, we need to be getting back for some food now.’ It was Edugie.
‘What a splendid idea; we can come back later’ Ama added.
‘Later when?’ I wanted to know.
‘Later tonight.’ Ama promised; that sounded good enough for me and dropped the matter. We were soon on our way home.
No adults had returned by the time we got back to Ama’s house; we had the parlour to ourselves and as I was tired and not particularly hungry, I sank into a chair and soon dozed off into dreamland. In my dream, one of the Ebos was smiling at me and holding out his hand with a juicy mango; as I reached out to collect the mango from him, it suddenly turned rotten and full of gigantic viscous looking red soldier ants, they were soon crawling up my arm, dreading the deadly stings, I screamed. I woke up to find Edugie kneeling over me; ‘What happened?’ she asked.
‘I had a really nasty dream about the Ebo.’
‘You and your dreams! Would you like anything to eat now?’
‘No thanks!’ still trembling from the terror of my dream, I had quite lost my appetite. Ama invited us to her back garden where we spent the rest of the afternoon, plucking various fruit from trees.
It was after dinner that Ama held good her promise and we went back to see the Ebo in his house this pitch black dark night. Our walk there was uneventful; we were quiet as we did not want anyone seeing us go there. Ama took us through a path she says she knows very well, the plan we were going to spy on him from the window of his parlour. On arrival, we sat still staring at the pitch black window, there was nothing to see. Then without any warning, a light came on and there in the middle of the room was a ‘ghost’. I screamed as loud as my vocal cords would allow; ‘Who’s there?’ It was the Ebo, time to beat a retreat; we turned and ran as fast as our legs could carry us.
‘What was that about?’ Ama asked as we slipped back into the compound as if we had never left.
‘I thought I saw a ghost.’ I stammered.
‘Well the Ebo can look like a ghost when a light is shown on him in complete darkness.’
‘You tell me that now, thanks for nothing, I could have had a heart attack back there!’; furious, I turned and left them standing there, calling it a day.
I am clearly still much shaken from the ‘ghost’ experience, I just pray that I do not have any more nightmares about the Ebo tonight; I have certainly had my fill of him for now.
I just want to go back home now!