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The Arrogant Prince And The 80-year-old Farmer

In the Umueke Kingdom lived two Princes. One was called Ajobi, while the other was called Obiora.

Ajobi was the elder prince, though he was not of the same mother as Obiora, for King Ude, their aged father married two wives.

When their aged father became sick and was incapable of presiding over cases, he vetoed some of his powers to the prince.

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Ajobi was very hard and arrogant. He had no regard for anybody in the Umueke Kingdom. Both men and women, young and old speak ill of him.

One day, while he was presiding over cases with Obiora, an elderly man who is believed to be eighty years of age walked into the balcony where the trials were going on.

He was leaning on a staff made of ojinosh tree, and intermittently coughing like one suffering pneumonia.

No doubt, the old man was a symbol of poverty. By merely looking at him, one needs not ask if he needed help, as he caught the attention of Obiora.

"How may the throne help you, father?" Obiora sympathetically asked.

"I have a barn of yams which I sewed. When the seedling tendrils grew and were doing well, an unknown herder led his beasts into the farm and destroyed it.

"How does this concern us?" Ajobi arrogantly asked. "Do we resemble herders or did you hear that King Ude of Umueke Kingdom owned the cattle that destroyed your farm?" He angrily questioned.

"No, my prince," replied the old man, "I only came to seek help."

"Which help?" Ajobi impatiently asked with such an intimidating voice. "Just say what you have to say and get out here."

The old man, being frightened already, stammered in response, "If… If… it pleases the throne, should I be favoured with one hundred and fifty yam seeds? That will save me from going hungry in the coming year. I will pay back as soon as the next harvest is made." He appealed.

"What about your children?" Obiora asked, "I know that a person of your age should have children that will care for him," he added

"Prince of Umueke Kingdom, I am childless. The two sons of mine, Nwadike, and Dimgba, were warriors. They fought and died in defense of this kingdom."

"It's a pity," Obiora said, "We will give you yam seeds, just as you demanded."

Ajobi did not agree with the younger prince as he interrupted, "We are not giving you any yam seeds. Won't the throne go bankrupt if we give everyone who came to us with this flimsy excuse a hundred and fifty yam seeds? Just go. God will take care of you."

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The old man hopelessly went home, though Obiora could not let him go without a comforting promise, "I'm sorry for what happened in the palace," Obiora said as he intercepted the man on his way home.

"I promise not only to personally give you the yam seeds, but also to pay for those who will cultivate the yams."

The man was excited. He told Obiora that the gods have chosen him to succeed his father.

"Nothing will stop this from happening. If Uvuru, the ancestral god of Umueke Kingdom is with you, then who will be against you?

"You shall be celebrated in no distance time," he prophetically said before disappearing into the air.

Obiora was shocked. It was very clear to him that a spirit had visited the palace. "Should this be Uvuru, our god?" He rhetorically asked.

A few months later, Obiora went to marry from a neighbouring village. He was led by the King's cabinets and other important persons in Umueke Kingdom.

Ajobi knew his brother had wooed the support of the kingdom, and if their father dies, definitely, Obiora will rule over him.

He conspired with the royal guards and got the king strangled. He also arrested and detained the queen, Obiora's mother.

He marched together with the guards and laid an ambush against Obiora. He was to attack and kill him to pave way for his kingship.

Uvuru, the ancestral god disguised into multiple beings: elders,

maidens, royal cabinets, gift animals, etc. One of the spirits was a replica of Obiora. They played and danced with musical instruments, as they returned from the traditional marriage.

Ajobi launched an attack with the hope it was Obiora. The guards surrendered them while he went into a fierce battle with the spirit mistaken for Obiora.

The fight lasted for several hours. At a point, the spirit transformed into the same elderly man who came to the palace to seek help.

Ajobi and the royal guards were frightened as every other being including the animals penetrated the man before he vanished.

In different directions, Ajobi and the royal guards made it to the palace.

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"Forgive me, people of Umueke Kingdom for I have killed your king" Ajobi began to confess as he met the elders of the kingdom crowning the younger prince.

Though, his confession was not important to them because Anuka, the priest of Uvuru had already told the kingdom what happened to the king.

He was arrested, together with the guards, and taken to the Uvuru shrine, where he was treated like a commoner, and made to dance naked in the market.

© 2022 Chigbo Douglas Chiedozie

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