The Boy Who Would Not Explore

The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others, but ourselves as well” – Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace” – Jimi Hendrix

The official deadline for the submission of articles in my CDS has now passed. As earlier promised, here’s one of the four pieces I sent in. it may not feel like my typical style, but don’t forget the primary audience is different. And, I didn’t wanna do any tweaking {hence the monster quotes}. So, …….

“Once, in the ancient lands of the great knights lived a noble and famous king; a man whose every fibre was taut with valour. He lived with his family in the small town of Nabe-Nawe – and from there, discharged his royal responsibilities. His name was Chukwudi and he ruled his people with wisdom, foresight and integrity. In his time, the kingdom knew plenty – of food and wealth. It was almost perfect, but – as nothing really can be – a blemish soon reared its head. None of the king’s three wives could bear him an heir. At first, that didn’t bother him because he loved his seven daughters dearly. As time went by, however, and on seeing the prevalent greed and selfishness among the ruling class, he soon became distraught.

He knew that his success would count for nothing without a capable successor. He tried his best to dispel his fears and search out an apt successor from among his people but the more he tried, the more heartbroken he was. In spite of his best efforts to lead his people right, may had fallen victim of their own greed. He secretly tested many of those his heart would ordinarily have chosen, but they were all the same. No one cared a thing for his neighbor; only for himself and his own. Things looked good while there was enough to go round, but foresight told Chukwudi the story would change should a little adversity or scarcity come up. And, at that, he resolved ever more earnestly to find a suitable and noble heir he could, someday, entrust his kingdom to.

His loyal advisors assured him he could still have a son of his own, so he persisted in offering prayers, sacrifices and libations. He had forbidden the townsfolk from marrying more than three wives (to ensure that each man could cater aptly for his household) and with that in mind, he refused to take a fourth wife. He just continued to hope and pray.

One blessed day, all his fears were wiped away and his hopes took on flesh. His second wife, Halima, delivered a ruddy baby boy. The town was so full of joy that the king declared a week of celebrations across his entire kingdom. The young prince was welcomed to the world according to their local rites and christened ‘Arole’ (meaning “Successor”). Everyone showered him with love, care and respect as he grew. While his seven sisters refused to involve him in any of the house chores, Halima and the other wives made sure he got whatever he wanted. No one was prepared to risk the king’s wrath by inconveniencing the prince – the heir to the great throne of Ebekineje.

The king, however, refused to forget the one reason for which his asked Arole of the gods. He paid close attention to the boy’s education – academic and otherwise. And, while the young prince excelled in intellect, the same could not be said of other areas of his life. The over-pampering took its toll and the young prince fast became lazy. He got so used to having everything brought to him that he never went out of his way to achieve anything. The fibres of valour and bravery that punctuated the king’s every muscle were unfortunately missing in his beloved son.

Chukwudi, once again, became greatly troubled. Nothing he did seemed effective in draining the waters of cowardice in which his son was swimming. The king wanted his son to taste the dignity of service, the joy of exploration and the pride of conquest, but Arole was just uninterested. Nothing his father did to get him outside the tiny town of Nabe-Nawe yielded any results. “The whole kingdom is the same. Once I know this place, I’ve known everywhere else”, he’d always tell his father. The king, never the less, remained unconvinced; moreso as he noticed that his son held on to some unhealthy prejudices. Arole preferred the people from certain regions of the kingdom to the others – and as such, always favoured them in counsel or mock-judgments. He reserved particular hatred for the people of Shintika because of the stories he heard about their lifestyle. This worried his father even more; his successor had to be fair to all if he was to be accepted by the people. But, how could his son be fair if he didn’t even care to know the people – to explore the land?

One day, shortly after Arole turned twenty, Chukwudi asked his son to accompany him on a horse-ride within the town. The lad initially wondered why the king ordered all the guards back but since he always cherished any opportunity to be alone with his beloved father, he didn’t give much thought to it. They would, however, come to regret that decision. As they approached the threshing fields of Rimola, they heard some eerie whistling and jostling by the edges of the field and, before they could compare notes, they were ambushed by a pack of fierce-looking thugs. The terrified prince tried to flee but was knocked on the head in the process.

When he finally came round, he found his father’s crown covered in clotting blood nearby as he searched in futility for his father’s body. Arole cried his heart out. The kingdom had been peaceful since his birth and he couldn’t understand why somebody would want to kill his father who was loved by all. After crying himself to exhaustion, he finally started on his way back home. The town was thrown into utter disarray by the news. It would take another week for the people to resume normal operations – but Arole wasn’t prepared to wait that long. Dead or alive, he needed to find his father; he needed answers – and fast too! But how could he? He hadn’t even ventured beyond the borders of Nabe-Nawe. What if his father’s body had been taken outside the town? He dug down deep to find courage to search the seven other towns of the kingdom. He wasn’t going to stay back without doing anything!

The next day, after hand-picking a group of ten loyal and skilled fighters to accompany him, he saddled his horse and set out. His first objective was to consult the great oracle who resided in the nearby mountains of Khandin. He needed to know who could have murdered or abducted his father – and what their motives were. The oracle was not the cleanest of men; neither was he the most eloquent. Arole, however, got what he wanted. The attack had been carried out by a vicious band that was now assembling in the border-town of Akamor – the farthest of the seventeen towns of his father’s kingdom. He was to go through every one of the other towns and raise an army of a hundred men in each. The oracle further told him that his father was still alive, but was to be killed exactly eight weeks from that day.

The young prince had more questions than answers on leaving the oracle. How come the oracle said his father’s kingdom spanned seventeen towns as against the seven he knew? Well, he had the basic information he needed and time wasn’t a resource he had in excess. On that note, he set out without delay. If only he knew the magnitude of the task before him, he would have brought along more men from Nabe-Nawe; the time for that was well behind him now. He and his mini-army had to go through fifteen strange towns in two months, adding a hundred men at every stop.

As he went along on that distressful journey, he realized that his task was made easier by respecting the prevalent traditions of the people of those different towns. He observed, more importantly, that most of his previous prejudices were false. In fact, those he had once baselessly despised offered him the greatest assistance. He had been told that the people of Shintika ate raw meat and were hostile to strangers – but they welcomed and showered him with love before even knowing who he was. He began to understand why his father always encouraged him to explore and see life for himself. More than ever, he saw why his father always insisted he gave balanced and unbiased judgments, in spite of personal convictions. He fought back the tears that accompanied that epiphany; he just couldn’t let his men see him in tears.

His army was now quite large and he only needed to visit two other towns to be ready for the big confrontation. He wasn’t to be deterred now; he was going to find the scoundrels that abducted his father, retrieve him and then make them face the ugly repercussions of their mutiny.

The day was finally upon them and, after talking his army into war-readiness, they marched noisily towards the ‘hostile’ territory of Akamor. Strangely, though, the closer they got to the town’s centre, the more peaceable the people appeared. He was almost tempted to head back to the oracle’s cave in annoyance – but he took the advice of his comrades. They decided to, at least, pay the town chief a visit before turning back! To their inordinate amazement, the one who sat on the throne of that town was none other than his beloved father; looking as affluent and glorious as ever!

Chukwudi’s eyes lit up with pride and joy as he saw son; his heir had now conquered his crippling fears. As tears began to pour uncontrollably down Arole’s face, the king ran towards him and embraced him. The last thing he wanted was to put his son in harm’s way – but he needed to be sure that the heir to his kingdom was a noble and courageous man, who would rule with justice and not prejudice. That experience taught Arole, above all else, that for continued peaceful and progressive co-existence, what unites a people (love) must outweigh whatever separates them (creed, culture or religion). Arole would later go on to become one of the greatest kings that ever ascended the throne of Ebekineje on account of that one lesson.

 

-Imisi

Editor, EnP CDS”

 

† Dedicated to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice while exploring and serving their motherland †

 

 

Btw, the wacky poems should follow shortly. Maybe it’ll finally be obvious why the first one didn’t make the publication!

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This entry was posted in EnP CDS, Prejudice, Unity. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Boy Who Would Not Explore

  1. Hmmm…a king named Chukwudi married to a wife named Halima and named his son Arole…subtle much? Great read, u could have it published for the next generation…

  2. Imisi says:

    Hehehe! Ok, you caught me! #busted. Glad you liked it. It should get good consideration for the June edition.

  3. Kennisblegad says:

    hmmmm. Good read! really good read n good job Editor in Chief Imisi

  4. Was thinking more in the lines of the 'catch them young' thingy…might be a bit late for our generation to unite but we could start opening the next generation up to the idea of "what unites a people (love) must outweigh whatever separates them (creed, culture or religion)"…see where I'm going with this?

  5. Simon says:

    I agree that love bring people together, but first we need to establish what is meant by unconditional love. The Bible defines it "Whosoever does not love, does not love God because God is love." In other words people cannot truly begin to love one another, until they first love God and learn the width, height and depth of love!

  6. Imisi says:

    Thanx, bro! Funny how quickly "editor-in-chief" becomes "editor-in-thief" if your team don't have your back. Thankfully, the guys in my CDS r simply 7-star-rated. Gotta say I'm proud to even be a member. How's ur end?

  7. Imisi says:

    Gbam. You've said it all. "All commandments r summed up by this two: 1) Love the lord ur God. 2) Love ur neighbour AS URSELF!!!". Thanx for sharing, bro!

  8. Imisi says:

    Sorry for the delay! Beautiful point, sis! Sub-fortunately, the publication is directed at out-going corps members; still, I c ur logic.I believe the task of shaping the future (d kids) is one none of us should ignore. We should stress the point whereever and whenever a chance shows itself. But, leadership is best by example; that's y it's good that we remind ourselves every now and again to believe and practise what we preach.Thanx again, sis!

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