THE LONELY FOREST
As the evening gradually took her place in the scheme of things, farmers observed it was rather too late to continue their ambitions on the hillside. Thus, they began to journey back to their proud heritage—the countryside that they called home. As they walked, the bush paths felt their coming, and their wild hits of feet wrote frustration on the face of old Earth. Rickety legs would do no harm to such a hard Earth—she would laugh if such feet would keep treading all day.
Gubado also had his share of a good day and was returning home --pride hung from his neck like an Olympic medal. Those who knew what pride could do also assumed that his high mindedness was because he was going to be given a piece of land that set him apart from his brother, Goudonas, the father of Nihu. This transfer of property would render Nihu’s father as one of the poorest in the family.
As the farmers reached their various destinations, Nihu, a young hunter who was known for playing flute in his local district, was out that evening with bow and arrows. It all began well for him, for an opportunity came his way immediately. As he advanced into the forest, he ran into an antelope that was busy grazing near a bush path void of human activity. Nihu squinted his eyes and took aim, but his shot went wide and the arrow stuck into a tree. Meanwhile, the antelope rose, noticing the action that was against its poor soul, and faded safely into the nearby bush. As for Nihu, he did not go to recover the arrow that struck the tree. He drew another arrow from his quiver and went another way, still in search of an animal for the night. When all effort to get one failed, he retreated home to grab his dinner and put the day behind him.
After Nihu had gone, a robber, who had seen the shot to the antelope, was lying in ambush, awaiting his prey of the evening. He got hold of Nihu’s arrow to use as a weapon if, eventually, he ran into anyone. Like any thief that would never want to be caught or seen, he took cover like a militia in the woods, knowing that his prey would be along shortly.
When Gubado emerged from the evening’s shadows, the pride of a champion was still alive within him. One could see the high look standing far taller than the pair of legs that carried him. That pair of rickety legs could provoke laughter in a congregation of people with dark conscience. Laughter would reign gloriously on their faces because of what nature made out of him.
Pride and fulfillment walked on the most precious streets of Gubado’s heart. Perhaps an orator had sold the new look to him. The glory within the noble farmer did not encourage him to take a careful look here and there. Maybe Gubado would have seen the robber when he came out briefly to see if a victim was on his way.
As Gubado got close, the robber fell upon him. They had a fair struggle. Gubado fought back with the cutlass he hung around his neck, but his blow came late as the robber had already driven the arrow into Gubado’s chest. As he staggered, his cutlass fell to the ground and he began to battle very hard to overcome the cruel hand of death that gradually enveloped him. The robber got hold of the cutlass that was lying somewhere in the dirt and zapped off Gubado’s head.
The deal was done. Gubado’s body rested peacefully on the bare chest of the Earth as his head rolled unto the edge of the bush path. Quietly, the thief collected all that was on the severed countryman. Rings, beads and all his belongings were placed in his pockets. A future of plenty emerged from just a few minutes of assault. The robber fled into the night, carefully looking to every side to make sure that no one saw him carry out such an evil act.
A few days later, Gubado’s body was found. The massacre had tongues wagging in the countryside. The arrow that stood in his left chest was still there and the severed head invited flies and ravenous animals to have their share of the free meal. Before the bald vultures could eat what the robber had served them, the people began to cry for justice to take its due course.
The news reached the King who sent his soldiers to get the body for proper examination. Gubado’s corpse was brought to the palace, Nihu’s arrow still sticking in his chest. A farmer, one who had seen Nihu shooting arrows in the forest, visited the palace to report the incident. With this confirmation, the King and his council of elders concluded that Nihu was the murderer. He must have done it so that his father, Goudonas would finally be in possession of the land that had set brother against brother.