ON THE LIONESS TAIL.
By AMAH’S HEART.
Before the midwife will rush down Opa was no more where the maid left her.
“She was here excruciating in labor pain… before I ran down to fetch you. She has probably gone to see the Queen mother like she intended. Let me quickly go and check her there.
The maid said to the midwife in a confused State.
” Maybe the contraction was not intense. Although her time is almost due but she will be fully due by the fourth teki market day which is towards the end of next month. Please keep an eye on her and let me know whatever happens. Remember the child in her womb is no ordinary baby.”
Said the mid wife as she turned and left
Opa was relaxing in an armed chair, holding her stomach in front of Bambira, her mother in-laws house when the maid arrived.
The maid stepped out to wait for her.
“I was thinking of coming over to see you but one thing or the other takes my attention. How are you doing my dear?
Opa yawned tiredly.
“, Let me get you something to eat… the yawning is a sign of hunger.
Bambi said as she stood up and gently touched Opa’s forehead.
“I’m not hungry… just tired. Tired of everything and everyone. Their high hopes for me and the child I carry sap the little strength left in me.
Bambira excused herself, She called her personal maid, said something to her as the maid left she shifted her attention back to Opa.
“I do understand what you are going through Opa. Having Dre was a blessing from the gods which I don’t take for granted. The Chief’s patient was running out. Although he was a very patient and loving man but it got to a time he was almost out of patient but he never blames me but he blamed the gods. I didn’t conceive in time and when I finally did it was a girl… Shira. I saw many disappointed face staring back at me after Shira was born, I was equally disappointed in myself too because I wanted a male child just to please Zukumo people and my husband. I weaned Shira and was still hoping for a male. Years kicked in and no sign of pregnancy. His Royal highness was asked to marry another wife but he turned down the offer and stood strong that I will give birth to a male child. He was and still a good man. I got pregnant but my joy was cut short after I miscarried few weeks later. It took another year for me to conceive and our wishes and dream came true when Drema was born. His father named him after the seventh chief of Zukumo land. His father shortened his name with “Dre” and we all got comfortable with it. Drema took shame and mockery out of our faces and returned the respect that I nearly lose. Listen Opa, a female child doesn’t count not just in royalty it also affected the mentality of the entire kingdom. Shira is married off to a chief in another kingdom and have three children for her husband. That is where the story ends for a female child. Maybe the gods will truly smile at you this time as they did for me… Be hopeful Opa”
Another contraction strike through her. She held onto the chair and try to avoid her mother inlaw noticing her pain.
She breathed it after the pain disappeared.
Opa sighed heavily before saying.
“I’m very hopeful Queen mother. Dre said in his dreams the baby in my womb wore a crown and was fierce looking. He is anxiously looking forward to welcoming a male child. I really don’t want to disappoint him or Zukumo people but I have fears….deep fears. He said his uncle Mario is eyeing the throne. Is probably why Lord Mario wanted a male child by all means and has to take another wife after Salabi failed him. Tira paid me a visit early today just to remind me that her son Romo is a chief in waiting just in case I fail as a wife to produce a male child. Lord Mario refers to girl child as hens who’s only worth is to lay eggs…
Bambi was silent. A servant girl brought something in a covered bowl. She uncovered it and hot steams can be seen going up.
She stretch it towards Opa.
“Drink this… drink it all. I asked them to prepare it with enough sissi seed. It will help you relax and also good for the baby.
Opa obeyed and took the plate of hot soup from her.
“Mario should be hiding his bones like a cat digs the ground to hid its feces. There’s a lot of scary tales about him that you and many people don’t know. Mario is an ambitionist. He has always has a feet in the clay…. give him enough rope because very soon he will hang himself with it.
Opa wanted to ask what she meant but it appears that Bambira was done talking.
She finish her soup and thanked her mother inlaw.
As she remain seated, she felt light headed and her eyes began to close gradually.
She told her mother inlaw that she was going home.
She want to be home before her husband returns from his journey.
He has gone for peace meeting in a neighboring kingdom on behalf of Chief Pasi, his father.
They bid each other goodnight.
Opa’s maid lead her into the house.
She went straight to sleep.
Dre returned late from his long journey.
He freshened up, had his dinner and when he came into the room again his wife was still asleep.
He bent over her, removed a strand of hair off her face.
He checked her feet and saw that it was swollen due to her condition.
He raised her leg up on a handmade knitted pillow just the way he has seen the midwife do.
“I know how hard this is for you Opa…is not easy on me either. I believe the gods will see us through and our child will be the chosen one who will find favor before God and man. He will be filled with wisdom and will rule with strength and might. The gods won’t shame us…no they won’t. And just a little time we will all be free from preasure, panic and worries…
Dre said more like a whisper so that he doesn’t wake Opa.
He bent over kissed her forehead and her stomach before standing up to leave.
As he walked away Opa who heard every word he said but still pretend to be asleep opened her eyes.
She breathed deeply before closing them up again.
As the birth of the child drew near, expectations remains high.
Opa went into real labour one evening, the midwives were quickly fetched and they were around attending to her till the following morning.
She laboured all through the night till the following morning.
The baby didn’t come out despite all the works of the midwives.
That morning, information has traveled round the village that Opa was in labor. She was about to give birth to the expected prince.
Villagers troop in, some of them were waiting outside.
Some took shelter at the palace meeting hall.
They were singing happily while waiting for the news of the baby.
Opa who was weak from all night pain couldn’t push as the midwife ordered her.
“You have to push harder my Lady. Your long labor is only a sign that the baby is a great seed. Just more push and you will have your prince, the most expected baby of Zukumo kingdom. You don’t know how happy we are that the gods chosed us for such a time to birth a Chief in waiting. Is a great privileged my Lady. The villagers are singing in chorus… your husband is not stable. He’s pacing up and down outside the birth house… everyone wants to hear the cry of a baby. You are doing great with all the contraction pain… you are a strong woman. The gods has already favored you… the people are waiting to see the new chief of Zukumo…
The first midwife was still talking when Opa gave in to another push and the head of the people showed forth.
The second midwife cuped her hand and the most sweet looking baby slipped into her palm.
Just as expected but the difference was glaring into their faces which left both of them speechless and in shock.
The baby’s cry filled the room and traveled out to where the people gathered.
They all started jubilating and jumping happily as they heard the cry of the new born.
Dre was happy yet anxious to see his baby boy.
The people did not stop jubilating as they waited for the true son of Zukumo land to be presented to them.
“Maybe we should strangle the baby with it’s code and tell the people that it was a still born…
Said the second midwife who’s face was covered with disappoinment..
Opa stared at her in total disgust. She felt like getting up to strike her heavily on the face.
She stretched out her hand ordering them to bring her baby to her.
The first midwife wrapped the baby and gave it to her second to give to Opa while she engaged in cleaning up the messy place.
The second midwife took the baby like she was an abomination to Opa.
She continued talking and did not pay attention to the angry look Opa was giving her.
“…is better than presenting another female child to them. If I knew it was going to be so I wouldn’t have come close. You don’t know what is at stake. Think of the people, your husband and even the Chief. No one will ever regard you again my lady. Is just three of us in this room… nobody else has to know what happens to the baby.
Lula, the first midwife was looking all confused, fear and tired said.
“Didi, we can’t possibly kill a strong, sweet healthy baby because of what people will say. I understand what is at stake but yet nothing justify killing a baby. Even the gods frowns at it. You saw what she went through just to bring her forth. You want all that suffering to be in vain? May the gods forbid such idea of yours…
Didi rolled her eyes at what the senior midwife said and kept talking.
“I have another good suggestion though. The town crier’s wife will be due today, she has two boys already and I know this third one will also be a boy. I can carefully exchange the baby. I will bring her baby boy here and take this baby to her. She won’t even know… all I’m trying to do is to save the day. I don’t want to be tagged along any of this disappointing birth. I want to still retain my honor and let the people accord me even more when they see that I also helped in birthing the most expected baby. We have to choose one out of the two suggestions I raised, either to end the baby here and now or to switch with a male child becau….
“Because you still have a mouth to talk how lucky are you. How lucky are you that I’m still too weak to strike you real hard on that stupid mouth of yours. How lucky are you woman that I can’t get up and shuff your nose into your anus this instinct so that you will smell how disgusting your every word sound and smell. You are indeed lucky Didi…
The young midwife ignored her.
somebody was knocking hard on the door.
She went to meet her senior partner.
“We have to do something quick Lula. I’m trying to help her and she’s is not even appreciative maybe she doesn’t know the deep trouble she is into. Is better that baby was born dead than to present her to people. Think of how disappointing and sad it will be for everyone. Is probably her husband, the next chief of Zukumo that’s hitting the door. You have to try and convince her quick because we can’t stay in here forever. We have to tell the people something…we have to think of a lie. Something has to be done and fast. Lula… you are the only one that can convince her… Let’s not waste further time.
The knock on the door was becoming more intense.
Lula stood looking all troubled and confused.
While Didi was fuming angrily at Opa and the baby nursing beside her.