DIAMOND IN THE FOREST.
Story written by AMAH
The prince could not sleep that night as judgement was passed on Remi, everything became so still in the palace.
He lay awake all night thinking about Remi and how he will convince his father and his cabinet men to lessen her judgement but they may think he has another agenda
But he decided to try
Early the following morning the prince went to his father to plead, while he was there the Queen mother came in too and started pleading to her husband
“E sa nu ee… Kabiyesi.(please have mercy on her) the punishment was too much and she is pregnant… she will die with her unborn child in the forest…I know you don’t have such a cruel heart… the princess has being so sad and refuse to see anybody ever since the sentence was passed on the maiden, the palace is deadly quiet, is as if the maiden left with the beautiful color of this place when she was banished out of here…please do something…
The Oba looked at his son who was nodding as his mother plead on behalf of Remi who was already sent out of the palace.
He turned to his wife and said
“She did not only sin against me and challenge my kinship, her sin was against the entire kingdom and against the gods, I did not pass judgement on her, the king makers, the cabinet men did… do you understand the gravity of her offence, they could have make her to eat that poison but I stopped them instead I handed her over to the gods… whenever one is banished is just like asking the gods to deal with him or her according to the person’s punishment… well, my cabinet men came up with the punishment befitting…
“But you put out your seal which makes every sentence on her to stand, you have the power to undo or reduce her punishment… The Queen added.
“I can’t undo what has being done, it only makes me a weak ruler I can only reduce the punishment but if I do such the evil minded ones among us will not learn or have serious fear…I needed to do what I have to do…
The prince spoke to his father with a saddened voice
“You are the king and you can change a whole lot of things if you so please, if not for anything please father consider her unborn child, who is innocent of all this..
“Is the child yours… why so much attached to a common maiden…I have not seen you like this before..is there anything you aren’t telling me my son…
“The child is for Leja he confirmed that himself and there is nothing between me and the maiden I was only trying to be considerate… I’m not asking you to undo or cancel the wrongs but to reduce the punishment… being banished is a very serious curse… maybe you should send her away but not to the forest maybe to another kingdom but definitely not to a dangerous forest because she will not survive it, she will die within a month and have you ever thought of she being innocent, I know everything points right to her but what if she was actually saying the truth when she said she is innocent… father, Remi is only a maiden, a young woman who can’t defend herself in the thick forest…
“I don’t think so…do you witness what she did to those guards, she is not afraid of anyone or anything… she have a very strange strong presence if you notice…it took two to three guards to put her down when she attacked one of them…I never knew that she was carrying a child yet throwing hefty men like nothing to the ground… you can’t compare the forest, an abode for animals, the hyna, the antelops, crawling and flying animals and many others, the habitat of many dangerous animals and also the evil spirits, I’m certain she will not be able to survive but her fate has being decided, I could have said if she survived after five years then she can return to the kingdom since you all are pleading for her sake but that maiden can’t survive a year there no matter how strong she is…I can’t do anything more than this…her fate has being decided let us focus on other important things and leave every other thing to the hand of the gods.
Remi sat hard on a chair and held her head in hand, her mother’s body has being prepared for bury and lying lifelessly in front of her, her grandmother has said they should quickly bury her since Remi is still around and mostly because there was no point in preserving the dead, the dead is gone and has no place among the living again.
Iya Remi’s death was a shock to most people in the kingdom who knows how safeless and kind she was.
Remi couldn’t believe it when she was told until she saw her mother and remembered the dreams she had
Remi has broken down for the first time, she has being accused and tortured in the palace yet she did not cry.
But seeing her precious mother about to be laid to the earth, she weep uncontrollable. she has cried her eyes out until her grandmother came and held her like a child
“Be strong now my child because strength and braveness is all you need for the journey ahead…
“Why do the gods chose to punish me this way, wasn’t it enough trouble that I was banish why will they also struck maami with death, she was a good woman and hates trouble, she can give you her cloth and go naked, her last meal to go hungry, her only sin was being who she is…so maami is really gone and I’m being banished for a grave sin I know nothing about iya…iya why do the gods chose me to pass through this… why me… why will they struck me so hard and stripe me of my skin…
“The gods are wise Remilekun…and they alone knows why… you and your mother has a common enemy and the rot of the gods will decend on them just at the right time… whatever hidden can not be hidden forever… the gods are always with you and even right now they are watching over you, the strength you posses is to be used for a time like this… you will be fine…
“I don’t know if i will ever be fine Iya… I’m sent to the forest to die for a sin I know nothing about…I will never be able to call anyone Maami, the only one that I have called such is lying in State about to be put into the ground…why… they would have focused on me and hurt me all they could but they should have left maami alone… anyone that has a hand in this it will never be well with them…ko ni dara fun won…(it will not be well with them) oju ma ti awon ota mi (my enemies will be destroyed) mo fi ifa mi bura wi pe…won o jiya… Won o so ku… won o kabamo…iyaiya yoo wa fun ille ita…mo koirira gbogbo won.. aaah(I swear by the gods of my ancestors, they will suffer, they will die, they will regret, the land will bleed…I hate them all…all of them)
“Otito omo mi, (is okay my child) Olorun a maa so e(the gods will protect you) maa beru (do not be afraid) gbokan le Olorun maa gbo kan le eniyan (trust no one except the gods) Olorun maa to e Sona(the gods will direct your path) you will not die… nothing will happen to you or your child… you are carrying the seed of crown…a precious diamond that will only be found in the forest where you will pitch your tent…you are safe my child… and you will return a hero…it will take time but it will happen…
“Will you still be here when I return… will I meet you iya or do the gods has another plan…
“Me and your brother will be here… patiently waiting for your return…I will meet the crown to the throne which is the seed you carry, you and your unborn child are precious diamond which will be sorted for… your name will be engraved in the sand of time because you are a great woman chosen by the gods…cry no more and get ready for the journey ahead…
Dami sat at one corner of the house, far from everyone, he was tired of crying and watch as his mother was laid to rest, he has being blaming himself for not following his grandma’s instructions, he had delayed and even bath at the river when his grandma had asked him to rush home with an antidote which could have saved his mother
He felt worst, knowing his mother could have being alive if he had hurried up as his grandma instructed
He knew who killed his mother despite how she tries to cover up her track, Dami knew that it was because of the food iya Nike gave his mother and she happily collected and it and ate killed her and he could have died too but the gods spared him and his grandma made him to vomit all the black thing that could have killed him
His grandma has asked him to leave vengeance for the gods
Remi his sister was also being banished for a crime she did not commit his grandma said that Remi will be fine that he shouldn’t cry over her yet all he wanted to do was to cry
His mother has trusted iya Nike, enemy who suddenly became friend with a hidden agenda, and that has taking her to the grave.
Iya Nike was crying so loudly as few women console her, tears poured down from her face
“Aaaah, iya Remi… why do you have to go now… now that peace was finally restored in our homes… we were together that night, I even prepared food and we both ate just as usual… we ate and talk about how strong our husband was when he was alive… before I went back home that evening, it was in the mid afternoon when I didn’t see her… or hear from her I started wondering what could have happened, I even thought she has gone to the market…aah, Dami started screaming that afternoon and I quickly ran over to her place only to see iya Remi lifeless body… aah… whoever that has a hand in this…aah..I just don’t know what to say to that person… aah, so iya Remi is finally gone… and Remi was caught trying to poison the Oba… and she was banished…why has calamity decided to visited this family and wipe them all off…aah…iya Remi… why… why do you have to go… please somebody should tell me this is not true… all this is not happening… iya Remi oo..
Dami watch from a distance as iya Nike kept on performing, he held his fist in anger as he watch her, she acted as if she was more pained than everyone else.
she sat on the ground crying so loudly, people kept on rendering their sympathy to her, they console her as she put up her fine performance.
After the burial Dami moved to stay with his grandma
The Oba’s guard came the third day and escorted Remi out of the kingdom into the forest.
They got to the boundary between the kingdom and the forest early the next morning and stop
Leja the chief guard who was among them stepped forward to where Remi was standing
“Uhmmm…Remi… I know how difficult this most be for yo…
“… Leja I don’t need your sympathy, you have done your job go back with your men and leave me to the gods…
“I’m sorry Remi..I never knew things will get so sour… this is like death sentence, Nike supposed to be the one getting banished not you…you are innocent of all this trouble…I wish I could go with you or correct the wrongs… I’m deeply sorry Remi… please forgive me for…
“Enough… take your plead and remorsefulness to the gods to preserve it for you Leja… because you will be needing alot of it in the future to come…go back with your men…I will continue my journey from here…
Remi looked straight ahead, crowded bushes and tall trees, she put her little bundle on her head, she will need a cutlass to clear her part as she proceed, Leja sensed it and offered her his sharp cutlass.
“Here… take this…it will be very useful for you in the main time…I pray the gods…
“…in the main time before I finally die right?… that is exactly what you wanted to say… Because non of you believe i can make it alive here, but is not in your place to say…let the gods decide that.. keep your cutlass and also your prayers…I don’t need anything from you…
Remi placed her wrapped up bundle on her head properly before proceeding, the guards wanted to start going back but Leja asked them to wait
Leja and his men stood watching Remi as she gently walked into the deep side of the forest, she picked up a strong stick from the ground and held it like a weapon, she kept walking until the over grown plants covered her and they couldn’t see her anymore.
Leja waited a little maybe Remi will scream for help and he will rush to her rescue but when he did not hear anything, he looked around the forest boundary, bushes, trees and sound of forest crickets every where
It was as if an invisible eyes was watching them and just thinking of that alone he felt cold and goose pimples all over his body, one of the guards came to him
“We need to leave this place now, we have done our rightful duty as the Oba assigned… this place spells of evil… is an ungodly place, we have journeyed all day and night, which we don’t suppose to go this far but you insisted we follow her this far, the maidens fate has being decided, she will die anyway… she can’t survive it here and you can’t save her either… let’s return back to the palace… can’t you feel this… this strange feeling moving around here… this place is an abode for the evil spirits… that maiden will not last two days here…
Leja quickly turned and his men followed immediately with speed, they all left.
Remi walked with her stick in hand and her small wrapped load secured on her head.
She just kept going ignoring all the strange noise and animal cry coming all around.
She used the stick in her hand to clear the bushes and thorns on her way, she have a bottle water which her grandmother gave her and the water in the bottle has almost finished, she drank up the remaining one up but still needed more
her journey was far yet she doesn’t have a destination it was as if something wanted her to keep going and none stop
As she move she kept looking around for fruits or eadable plants
She got some wild fruits and sat under a tall palm tree to eat
She looked around and saw dry palm fruits scattered around, she started gathering them together after which she found two strong rock and began to break the palm kernel
Remi ate out of the palm kernel and left the remaining for later
She need to look for any near by river, where she can get a drinking water but she felt tired as evening came she decided to pitch tent close to the palm tree and sleep for the night.
She gathered dry sticks, both big and small, palm dry branches lying carelessly all around, she spread the palm kernel waist on the place that she planned to set up fire before removing the two shining stones that her grandmother gave her from her load, she strike the stones together severally on the fire woods but it did not catch up immediately with consistent trial the fire was set
Her grandmother has said that night fire in the forest scares off animals
Remi couldn’t pitch a proper tent so she spread out the prince stained wrapper which she took along on the floor close to the fire that will keep her warm all through the night
She used another one to cover up properly
She planned to look for a near by spring or river first thing tomorrow, she plead to the gods to grant her favor and not allow her to die of taste
As night settled the cry and sound of different animals increased, the big stick which she used for weapon was lying close to her.
She felt a warm presence right there with her, Remi wasn’t afraid as she shut her eyes and imagined her grandmother sitting with her and telling her tales by the moon light, her grandmother seems to always have an interesting stories, despite that she sometimes speaks in riddles
Remi quickly opened her eyes and grabbed her stick, there was a strange noise coming towards her
She looked at the angle where the strange noise filled and saw four yellow shinning big eyes staring right at her in the dark, Remi cleared her throat and held unto her stick, she was tired from the long journey but still not scared of anything
The strange creatures moved towards her she removed one of the big fire wood that has hot burning coal, she quickly threw it straight at the creatures and their strange cry filled the night cool air, she stood and walked to the spot where whatever creatures it is was crying, Remi used a burning stick as torchlight
She saw that it was a very big hedgehog covered in sharp spikes, it look so much like a grass cutter, they were two but one ran away while the other was struggling with it’s life, Remi hit it over again before dragging it back to her fire place
She smile to herself because the hedgehog which she believes was a grass cutter was a big meat that Will last for a long time
The animal has a very sharp spikes all over which was like a weapon and it was so heavy, Remi engaged herself in working. this will keep her busy through the night, with the help of the fire she pulled out all the sharp spikes from its body and set them all aside
An idea came to her, by tomorrow she will look for a bole, a tree trunk to make a bow and she will convert the spikes into an arrow
She will make a bow and arrow, and practice with it until she perfect in hitting the rightful target without missing
It will be a strong weapon in defending herself, she knew the gods are protecting her but she also needs to protect herself from dangerous animals.
She wanted to roast the animal but she need to make a bigger fire
Remi was too tired and slept off
She woke up when something ran past her leg, she thought it was a dream but the creature ran past again this time around it jumped on her body and disappear
Remi woke up immediately and sheild her eyes from the harsh reflection of the sun light
It was day already and the sun was up, she robbed her eyes to understand where exactly she was as she wonder what she was doing in the bush
She saw the dead bush animal and the fire she set overnight which was off by now, she Saw the spikes from the animal and breathed deeply
The environment became familiar to her and the reason why she was there, she silently thanked the gods for keeping her safe through out the night
She wondered the kind of creature that jumped on her body severally while she was asleep,
Remi did not know what to do as she sat staring at the animal and how to get water to drink and wash herself, she stood and move faraway to go and ease herself
When she returns she saw a monkey scattering her things.
“Whaaaat… you are so dead today… do you see this dead grasscutter I killed it last night and that is how I will kill you now if you don’t disappear from here… do you see bananas or fruits here… leave this place before I roast you alive…
Remi picked up a stick and gently throw it at the monkey with no intention of hurting it, just to scare it off, the monkey laugh and ran away and later returned again, it sat on a branch right opposite the palm tree that Remi was.
Remi saw an opportunity to talk as the monkey sat there eating nuts
“I wish I can get water around here… I’m very tasty…my throat is dry and I need to wash myself… you don’t have to say anything… you are just an animal… you don’t have sense…I need to roast this big meat but I need a big fire…hmmm…
The monkey started laughing, Remi shakes her head before going to gather dry stick and leaves to make big fire, she was surprised to see as the monkey joined her in gathering dry sticks
It later disappear and came back with fruits and dump it far from where Remi was before disappearing again, Remi went and picked up the fruits
“Thank you… that was very thoughtful of you…I thought you don’t have sense but I can see that you have little…
She started eating the fruits which was very juicy, and it helps in reducing her patched throat
She went back to work and the monkey came making some strange noise that Remi couldn’t help but laugh out
“Hey…I don’t speak animal language…I speak human… and I understand little sign language but definitely not animal noise…
She sensed that the monkey wanted her to follow him and she did
She kept on following while wondering if she was stupid by following a common animal but something kept pushing her forward as the monkey took the lead, jumping from tree to tree while Remi followed, clearing bush track and cobwebs
She hard sound of water and rush in the direction of the noise
Remi happily exclaimed joyfully as she saw water gushing out from a spring, she spread out her hands and danced around
She noticed the monkey was also laughing
She rushed to the spring and had her fill, she drank deeply as she cuped her hand and drank from there, she turned to the monkey
“I will call you Ore, it means friend in my dialect. Thank you Ore, let me wash up and…
Remi noticed a pieces of cloth spread not far from the spring, she moved closer and saw a basket, a pot and a charcoal, she knew that those things belong to a human
She has thought she was the only human in the wild forest but seeing those things worries her and same time gives her joy.
“What could a human be doing here… is the person insane… who in his right mind will want to live in a forest,”
Remi quickly Wash up and took the pot she found there to take some water back
The monkey was already waiting for her as she came back
Remi quickly looked for a three trunk to start her bow and arrow making, the monkey stayed with her, closer now not far again
“Ore… move those things closer to me… and come and sit on this rope… don’t stand up until I ask you to…I don’t know the kind of human living in this forest…I don’t want to be taken unaware… let me get my weapon ready… move those things closer to me..Ore..
The monkey stayed where he was without moving, Remi repeated herself before using her hand to give sign and the monkey did exactly what she said
After she was done, she created a strong arrow with the spikes from the animal she killed
“Ore, is time to set up our real fire and roast the meat before it will spoil.. step outside… Ore… move…I said move away from there…
The monkey later obeyed
Remi set up the big fire and move her things away from there, she sat with her bow and arrow opposite the big fire as she watch it go up in flames
The monkey sat on top of a tree far from the fire but close to Remi
It later started making a strange noise
“I told you that I don’t speak animals I speak humans… stop making those noise Ore, I don’t understand what you are trying to say…I would have love to share this bush meat but you don’t feed on animals just fruits and nut…
Remi hard a noise coming from a bush close to her she stood up and station her arrow in that direction
She opened her eyes in shock when she saw a little girl not more than eleven years, bare footed, beautiful with a weaved back hair, Remi lowered her arrow as fear griped her,
She noticed the girl also have an bow and arrow striped across her chest
She approach Remi
“I saw the fire and wondered how possible, and my pot is missing from the spring too, I told my father he said we are the only one here untill I saw the smoke coming in this direction…my name is Mikai, I live here with my father at the other side of the forest…he has gone hurting… who are you and what are you doing here…
“Remi… is my name… I’m roasting a bush meat and that is my friend Ore… on top of the tree…
Mikai looked up the tree and smile when she saw the monkey, the monkey jumped down to stand with Remi
Mikai moved closer and came to stand beside Remi and Ore the monkey.