FOWLS’ REVOLT

FOWLS’ REVOLT – By Raphaelmary Chukwudi

Brother Chike had a big fowl. That fowl was a giant among dwarves. Other fowls in the house both local and Agric worshipped it like a god and would always run amok anytime it approaches them due to how heavy its claw steps were.

Villagers would jokingly remind brother Chike of how big the fowl was and hence ready to be stewed but brother Chike would smile at them and cunningly promise them a share anytime it enters the pot. I wondered how the whole village was going to share just a single fowl, the size of the fowl notwithstanding.

Elders of my village came severally to appeal to brother Chike to release the fowl as a gift for the elders in the next council meeting but brother Chike jokingly volunteered to kill a goat just to appease them.

Even Okezie the village potter had tried to batter the fowl for two of his local breeds, four tubers of yam and some cowries. He even went ahead to threaten brother Chike not to implore his services after brother Chike vehemently stood his grounds of not giving out the fowl.

The village gossips even rumored that our grandmother must have reincarnated as a fowl and that’s the sole reason brother Chike refused all offers for the fowl. Despite all these, brother Chike was unruffled.

He went about his normal business like everything was perfect, fed the fowl its usual tripple ration and sampled deaf ears to gossips.

Then my father had hosted the monthly village meeting. The meeting began when the light of the day was fading. There were no clocks then so I couldn’t tell the exact time it was.

The meeting was raucous and boisterous as usual. The elders argued, debated, cursed, laughed, joked, drank, insulted each other and demanded more wine to my own detriment as I always waited for the leftover wine.

Then something very normal which the elders called abnormal happened.

When the tax collector stood to give the report of expenses, all the elders kept mute as they strained their ears to pick out even the smallest detail on how their money was spent and everywhere was totally silent.

Amidst the silence, bro Chike’s fowl crowed and its voice rang out throughout my father’s house.

Storried Fowls' Revolt

The second silence that followed was frightening. It was a silence of two compositions. The first composition being the lack of movement, speeches, mobility and liveliness in the elders and other animate things around while the second composition is as a result of the first composition in which the stools, cups, plates, floor, caps, jars and other inanimate things were mute because the animate things which would have transferred life to them and broken the silence were also mute so the first blended with the second and made a bigger silence and a frightening one.
Even the tax collector’s words were left hanging from his lips. I wondered what could have interrupted the elders’ meeting till Okezie the village potter gently demanded that the fowl’s left lap was his.

I stood confused and was unable to comprehend what was going on. I crept to my father and quietly asked what the quietness was for. That was when he opened up that the elders declared it an abomination for a fowl to crow before supper and the penalty for the crime is immediate death of the offending fowl and distribution of its sacrilegious meat amongst the elders.

I felt surreal and dizzy. Tiny pins danced around in my head. I feared for what bro Chike would do when he gets back and sees his precious fowl gone. I watched the elders as they dropped their caps and canes and gave the fowl a chase themselves. I closed my eyes as they mercilessly and hastily twisted the poor thing’s neck perhaps, to avoid being caught by bro Chike. The expenses and any other monetary issue forgotten, I watched with astonishment as they quickly made fire, dressed the fowl and roasted it.

I stared with watery mouth as the fowl dripped delicious smelling fat into the fire. I swallowed several gulps of spittle as the elders grounded pepper which they brought out from their bags, made a sauce and feasted on the fowl amidst merriment and laughter as grease dripped down their hands and from their mouth through their cheeks and down to their throat. I wondered what business pepper had to do inside the elders’ sack or maybe they came really prepared for the meeting.

I startled with terror as brother Chike marched into the house like a soldier on duty. I gazed with shock as he looked at the other fowls in the house, shrugged and picked a piece of meat from Okezie’s share. I sighed in relief and released the breath I didn’t know I was holding thinking everything was over as bro Chike chewed happily and entered the house without any comment.

It took a fortnight for the repercussion of the death of bro Chike’s fowl to dawn on us.
The other fowls in the house and the whole village decided to vent their anger on us for the death of their chief.

They refused to crow at all, the female fowls refused to lay eggs and they all began looking like sacks of bones making them unfit for consumption. Even the chief priest that uses fowl eggs for his divination had to source for a substitute though he complained bitterly of how the gods wouldn’t harken to his pleas as they have a preference for fowl eggs. The eggs never gave me a bother as I was seen immature for eggs anyway.

The fowls continued their abnormal attitude for three days after the stupid decree was abolished and suddenly, everything returned to normalcy.

Now, fowls crow anytime they want; early morning, mid-morning, noon, evening, midnight… and no one sees it as an abomination.

 

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FOWLS’ REVOLT

By Raphaelmary Chukwudi

Brother Chike had a big fowl. That fowl was a giant among dwarves. Other fowls in the house both local and Agric worshipped it like a god and would always run amok anytime it approaches them due to how heavy its claw steps were.

Villagers would jokingly remind brother Chike of how big the fowl was and hence ready to be stewed but brother Chike would smile at them and cunningly promise them a share anytime it enters the pot. I wondered how the whole village was going to share just a single fowl, the size of the fowl notwithstanding.

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