The Tale of Omekagu – Chapter Four, Igbo to English translation, Mike Ejeagha’s song, Omekagu, lyrics, Igbo folk music, Opi, Omenani, folksong, Fablingverse folktales, Igbo folktale, fabling, ọfọ na ogu, free to read, read free stories from Africa
“Once upon a time, there was a young prince, the oldest of his father’s children, and as the oldest of his father’s king’s children, he was destined to rule, so this made the prince arrogant. He never got punished for his since and never got chastised and with every passing day he felt more invincible than the last.
“One day, a new maid arrived in the palace, she was beautiful. The maid had lived a rough life before arriving at the palace. She was in love with her town’s lyricist and though they had had sex several times, he had refused to marry her. Then one day her village went to war with the next and lost, her lover was beheaded and she was captured, raped and abused by many soldiers before finally being sold as a slave to the palace.
“The slavers mentioned to the king that she was not a virgin, but skipped one important piece of information, all the men who had raped her had been struck down by the god of lightning and thunder in their homes, their houses, properties, wives and children destroyed. For unknown reasons, even to the woman, for she was beloved by the gods. But because the gods are forbidden from interfering with human acts, they could only avenge her by publishing those who had desecrated the land.
“At the palace, she tried to keep her head down and avoid trouble where she could, since had heard about the sort of man that the prince was, she also tried her best to avoid him. But the more she avoided him, the more the prince tried to get close to her.
“Finding it difficult to secure the maid’s attention, the young prince requested that the king make her his personal slave, and of course, he got what he wanted. Yet the maid remained reserved and tried her best to avoid being alone with him.
“The prince who had once thought of the maid’s avoidance as endearing was now becoming annoyed at it so he demanded that she lay on his bed and serve him. But the maid refused.
“The prince became infuriated, she was not even a virgin, she had no chastity to protect, yet she refused him, the prince, the future king! She should have been honoured by the attention he gave her, and he had even tried to be patient with her.
“She begged him not to, she told him that she had vowed to the gods that the next man she slept with would be her husband, but the prince’s pride-filled wrath would not listen, so he forced himself on the maid. And once he was done, he threw her. out of his room and fired her from the service of the Palace.
“The earth goddess was infuriated and disgusted by this act and struck the prince with a fever. For weeks the prince remained bedridden and soon it became obvious to everybody that he would die.
“As a last resort, the dibia was called, and through divination, he disclosed that the price had been cursed by the earth goddess because he had committed an abomination against the land, and the only solution was to find the maid and make things right by her.
“So a search was ordered and the maid was found and returned to the palace. Everybody begged her to forgive the prince, but she refused, insisting that forgiveness was the only thing which belonged to her and she would not give it away. The king offered to pay her a plot of land, but she refused.
“Infuriated by her insolence, the king ordered that she be flogged until she forgave the prince, after all, nothing of value was taken from her since she was not a virgin in the first place.
“So the maid was flogged, but she refused to forgive him, and with each stroke of the cane, the prince’s health became worse, until it seemed that he would die. The king became desperate, he begged her to forgive his son, and he threatened to kill her if his son died, but she stood her ground and now hated the king as well.
”Finally, the queen who had been quiet through her turmoil spoke. She asked the maid for her name and the maid told her, it was Ofornwa. Then she asked her what she wanted and the girl told her that the prince would have to marry her to undo the shame he had brought upon her.
“The king was against it, but the queen agreed to the terms and convinced her husband to allow it for the sake of their dying son.
“Ofonwa was married to the dying prince, and immediately after the ceremony was over, the curse was lifted from the prince.
“On finding out what had happened to him, the prince vow that he would never make Ofornwa Queen and he would never give her a child, but she was already pregnant. So he hated her and sought to have her killed.
“But that might, the king was found dead in his sleep, with a marking on his back that suggested that he had been flogged. The dibia was called in and once again, through divination, he revealed that the gods had taken justice on the king for his unfair treatment of Ofornwa, and warned that anybody with ill intention towards her should repent as even the king was not spared for treating her poorly.
“With the warning, all the prince could do was hate Ofornwa, regret raping her and hate her offspring, and avoid her.”
The handsome man beamed “We are here.” He gestures at the altar. There was a wooden flute on it. “Your gift from the gods.”
“What happened to Ofornwa, her child, and the prince?” Omekagu’s brother asked.
“Sing in your heart as you blow a tune into the flute and what you have requested will be granted by the gods.” The handsome man smiled, a smile that said it all, then he vanished.