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Poster source: The more Ngbechi gazed upon the giant serpent, the more it faded into the early morning darkness. Whe...

Poster source:

The more Ngbechi gazed upon the giant serpent, the more it faded into the early morning darkness. When she recovered from shock she began to wonder if she had truly seen a real serpent or if her mind played a game on her. But her heart was beating very fast and she could hear the sound of it. She ran back into her husband’s house and woke Kelechi to stay by her side while she went about her morning chores. She did not mention the serpent to him; her intention was to bring it up with her husband much later in the day. The day passed and Ngbechi did not mention the serpent incident to her husband Ude, and that was very much unlike her. The next morning she woke up as usual and went about her business, having strangely forgotten about the serpent. She went toward the Oha tree to pick Apkii pka (dry palm frond) to sweep her compound and then she ran into the monster reptile. Ngbechi went down to the ground in shock; the snake bared its teeth revealing a set of fangs longer than nine inches nails and its eyes flared with rage and flames of the netherworld. From the depth of her human core, she managed a scream, “Chi m egbue m o!” (“My God has killed me o!”) and passed out. Her scream woke Ude, his two sons and the entire neighbourhood. People ran to Ude’s compound and began to bang on the gate to his house. When Ude and his sons dashed out of their rooms they saw Ngbechi lying on the ground lifeless. She had fainted from the shock of the horror she beheld. Kelechi ran to open their gate to neighbours who were outside calling Ude’s name. There was no way to tell what Ngbechi saw which made her shout and faint. There was as many suggestions about what might have happened to her as there were sympathizers. 

A neighbour volunteered his car so they could rush Ngbechi to a hospital. With much anticipation, Ude, his two sons and their neighbours waited for Ngbechi to recover from her shock to narrate what she encountered that morning. Days after Ngbechi had fully come round, with bated breath many hung around her to hear her tell her story. “The first time I saw it I did not believe my eyes. I thought my mind played tricks on me. I was minded to tell my husband, but somehow I let it slip through my mind or something made me not to remember, because on a good day, I Ngbechi, will not fail to mention such a thing to my husband. But the next morning which was the day I fainted, I saw it again. It was a serpent, a very huge serpent. Believe me I lie not; the snake was larger than my water drum and could have swallowed me whole if it cared to. Its eyes burnt with flame and its mouth was filled with teeth longer than a baby’s arm. It coiled itself around the Oha tree in our compound, the very place I saw it the previous morning”. “Ngbechi, your account is horrifying. How did such a creature come into my compound?” “Di m (my husband), what I saw was no serpent. O nmuo ka m huru! (what I saw was a ghost!). Our enemies are at work again. They must have sent the serpent to kill our children seeing they did not die in the war”. “Tufiakwa! (God forbid!) If the war did not kill them, then no man can kill them”.

Nda Ego who was far more knowledgeable in spiritual matters and tradition than Ude and his wife volunteered, “I doubt that there is a medicine man in all our community and nearby towns who is capable of invoking the kind of serpent spirit Ngbechi just described. I fear that there might be more than just your enemies at work in this case. I think as a matter of urgency you should go and make enquiries about why a serpent of this nature has decided to be visiting your house. If the spirit has been offended, then there must be something which can be done to appease it. Act fast Ude! An old woman does not watch while a nanny goat gives birth with the rope around its neck!” “Nda Ego what else do I do? I have already invited the Reverend Father in our parish and he prayed around the Oha tree and commanded the serpent to stay away from my family. He also sprinkled some holy water on the tree…” “And after that what happened? Tell me Ude”, interjected Nda Ego. “This morning Ugonna saw the serpent again on the Oha tree”. “Ude! Ude! Udenna! How many times did I call you?” “Three time Nda”. “This matter is not for church people and their holy water. It is a traditional matter; it must be dealt with traditionally”. “Nda are you suggesting I go to a medicine man for help?” “Exactly and you should do it now!” “Mbanu Nda! (No Nda!) Our Reverend father will frown at that. In fact the church will excommunicate me for doing so”. “The choice is yours Ude. But be assured that if the church does not excommunicate you, the serpent will exterminate you and your household. Choose one!”  Nda Ego stood up and left the hospital. Later that day Ngbechi was discharged from the hospital. 

By night Ude invited the legion of Mary to pray against the serpent; after the prayers Ude and his family retired to their bed for some rest. About three am in the morning Ude was startled from sleep by a weird noise in his compound. He tip-toed to the wooden window in his room and peeped through a hole to see what might be making the noise outside. What he beheld was alarming; there was in his compound a pool of gigantic serpents with flames in their eyes and resting on their tails in circular fashion as if in a meeting. As Ude peeped at the serpents in shock, one of them turned, looked his way and bared it teeth. Ude felt a paranormal force sucking him through the window into the widely opened mouth of the serpent. Ude shouted, “Chi m o!” (“Oh my God!”) and did his best to resist the energy trying to suck him into the mouth of the serpent. His shout must have offended the congregating serpents; they turned in anger and charged towards his building. Ude ran towards the members of his family shouting his head off. His shout awoke his wife, two sons and their neighbours. While Ude and his family members ran around their house looking for where to hide, their block building began to shake. It seemed as if the serpents were throwing their monstrous weights against the building to uproot it. Ude and his family members began to pray and call to God for help. Suddenly there was silence; the snakes must have been scared off by the name of the Lord as Ude and his family prayed earnestly against the swarm of serpents in their compound. By dawn Ude left for a neighbouring town to see a medicine man, nick named Aziza (broom). His medicine was so potent that people compared its efficacy to that of a broom which sweeps dirt away.

“Ude what brings you to a native doctor’s shrine this early morning? I know you to be a church man. You are exactly like your father and grandfather who chose to follow the white man than partake in masquerade festivals”, said Aziza. “Aziza, when something greater than the pigmy cricket enters its hole, it takes off”. “Huh! So what is after you that the God of your church cannot handle?” “A serpent of colossal size and power is after me and my family; and as I speak, it is bringing other serpents into my house”. “Tufiakwa! Aru! (God forbid! This is evil!) You are from a lineage of men who boldly refused to plant their feet in tradition, so why would a serpent spirit be after you? Besides we do not worship serpents around here. We worship Ekwuigwe”. “Aziza that is why I have come; I want to know why this serpent spirit has chosen to besiege my family?” Ude removed two shillings and dropped them on the floor. Aziza broke into a chant of proverbs, “At whatever age a child gets a problem, at the same age the child has to shoulder the responsibility”. “What gives the child the itch has already given him the fingernails to scratch it”. “A man who is in his house waiting for a visitor does not get tired or develop waist pain as a result of walking a long distance”. Aziza studied the cowries on the floor and shook his head, “Ude, the serpent is a legal visitor. One from your loins invited it. I must warn you, the serpent must not be disturbed”… 


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