Son of the Tortoise. Act II

ACT II, SCENE IEjike and Ogwueru are sitting on the trunk of a big tree in the forest. Dried black and brown leaves and small plants cover the ground on which their legs rest. The

Ejike and Ogwueru are sitting on the trunk of a big tree in the forest. Dried black and brown leaves and small plants cover the ground on which their legs rest. The afternoon is cool under the shade of the big tree. Birds chirp over their heads inside the tree. Ejike hands a gourd of water to Ogwueru to drink first before drinking. He further brings out a wrap of cocoyam leave, he unties the dried rope around it, unfolds the leaves, they begin to eat roast pink cocoyam soggy of palm oil. Ejike rolls his eyes shamefully at how Ogwueru widens his already wide mouth.

EJIKE: (Soliloquising) Greedy pig! Hieeh, see his wide mouth, won’t he take it easy on my food? I should just ask him now if his wives doesn’t feed him well. 

OGWUERU: Why is your face swelling this child, if you don’t like the cocoyam, leave the food alone.
EJIKE: I do, is it not my food? Eeeeerrr, do you still want to go ahead with what you said yesterday?
OGWUERU: I know you will ask me this. I’m hunting with you yet I am knowing your guts. Ishi’s daughter is mine. (Looks ahead into the bushes) A great warrior may have deadly scars on him but his rewards are the most precious.
EJIKE: You already have a princess for a wife, Aku is a good wife. How do you want to have two princesses as wives? Are you the greatest of all warriors? My father was…was..

OGWUERU: (Interrupts loudly) Oweeeh! Yes, I am the greatest. That is exactly what I want to achieve now. Your father tried but he couldn’t, we are happy that he survived that heavy fight with the leopard of Iroh forest.
EJIKE: (Pauses) Ehem, you just remembered something for me. When shall we go hunting in Iroh forest?
OGWUERU: (Eyes him in irritation) So the state of your father does not pinch your elbow, Ejike!
EJIKE: A son should be greater than his father.
OGWUERU: When you get to his hut, say it loud in front of him.
EJIKE: I will.
(Ogwueru slowly looks away, using his eyes to map out their next march into the bush. Ejike eyes pinch him.)

The days are slowly creeping into dried season. Children stay awake longer playing on the dried earth. Ejike is in one side of the play ground, sitting with his mates beside an orange tree.

KACHICHI: So who is going for our village?
MANZE: Ejike!
(They all laugh)
KACHICHI: Manze, it is too early to joke with the walking stick of an old woman eh.
EJIKE: Tell him! But if I kill a leopard tomorrow, then I shall go.
(They laugh again.)
MANZE: The head of the talk is you will kill leopards, leopards won’t be the ones to kill you.
ALL: Oweeeh!
EJIKE: (Soliloquising) Should I tell Kachichi about Ogwueru’s greedy quest to marry the princess or…. I shouldn’t. I should ask him what he thinks. No, not yet. I can’t start, it’s not my concern now.

MANZE: The only warrior on our mind is Ogwueru and he already has two wives.
EJIKE: He might be a greedy fellow.
MANZE: Three wives is not greed. That is why I started my own journey early, by next two farming seasons, I should take in a second wife.
EJIKE: Dimgba!
MANZE: That is me.
KACHICHI: So why not go for the princess immediately, mushroom hunter.

Kanu is awake and alone in front of his hut. A low burning fire stick Illuminates where he is sitting. Ejike walks to him and quickly blurts.

EJIKE: A son should be greater than his father.
KANU: (Marvels but quickly answers.) Oweeeh! Heh! My son, have you just eaten gizzards from the village square?
EJIKE: (Laughs heartily) No Mpa! I just wanted to tell you that I will be a good hunter, Ogwueru thinks so too.
KANU: I think so too.
EJIKE: But Mpa, did Ogwueru really kill the leopard that almost killed you?
KANU: (Suddenly silent) Hhmmmm, yes he did although, the leopard was half gone with the heavy blows of my matchet on it.
EJIKE: That means he killed a half dead leopard not a leopard.
KANU: (Amazed) The head of the talk is that he killed the leopard and saved your father’s life.
EJIKE: Hmmmm.
KANU: That is it.
EJIKE: But has he killed any other leopard since?
EJIKE: And he hasn’t killed any other big animal, Iroh forest must terrify him too.
KANU: Do not speak of that forest again.

(Ejike twists his mouth to the left and right, stood for a while, then greets his father goodnight.)

Inside Ogwueru’s compound, Aku and Uwah face each other for talks in front of the open kitchen.

UWAH: Between you and the princess, who will greet first?
AKU: Uwah! Have you eaten shit? I am the head wife in this compound, why do you ask that?
UWAH: Forgive me, but our husband seem to be placing too much importance on this one more than he placed on you.
AKU: You are not a good person, you, leave my side now before I curse you!
UWAH: I will. At last, I will rest in this home from bearing the burden of living in my husband’s house like I have come to serve you.
AKU: (Angrily) I still will not curse you!
UWAH: (Walking away slowly) Curse, is that something? I have already received enough curse from my own family and our husband so yours is not like a new day.
AKU: (Loudly) Child of wickedness! I don’t know how you found your way into my home. Is it not what Ogwueru is bringing in. He will go out and keep bringing evil spirits in form of wives. Oh, owhor, gods of our land. What can I do? What can a helpless woman do? I am not the first to have co-wives oh!
(She slumps onto a stool and begins to sob. Uwah peep her from a side, a sudden wicked laughter on her face.)


MANKOR and OBIM display excitement, Mankor is dancing to Obim’s fast native songs.

MANKOR: Heeeeh! Tell me why this compound will not be the greatest to come in this Akarah village?
OBIM: My mate, nothing to tell. Our husband is far the greatest man in all the clans and villages around us. Even people from Mvamini tells so. Ishi’s daughter is ours!
MANKOR: She is ours!
(They sing and dance again.)
MANKOR: I heard King Ishi gave his word since thirteen nights now, all the markets have bought so the news must have travelled even down to Mvamini.
OBIM: You are right. But what if great warriors from far kingdoms that we haven’t heard of come for her hand too.
MANKOR: Do you believe any other man is greater that Okorgbule? Okorgbule our husband, the last to die in battle if there must be death! The one that pulls necks out of other warriors’ bodies!
OBIM: He ate with spirits on a night hunt in the forest of Iroh!
MANKOR: Eh heh! That is it! A man who has single-handedly killed all animals including his fellow men. Hah! Look at this compound, skulls hanging about. Okorgbule is the strong man that married me so he deserves even more princesses.
OBIM: It is true. A princess, hah, this compound must be the greatest!
MANKOR: Oweeh! The gods of Akarah are with him. Go and check the meat, I smell a burning.
OBIM: Cheeeh! Saico! I have followed dance and forgotten the meat our husband just killed.
(She laughs proudly and unecessarily while running to the kitchen.)

Son of the Tortoise, ACT III

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