(In Ikekwem's house. It is Orie morning. Ikekwem and his two wives and two sons are inside the house.) 

IKEKWEM: You all have seen with your own eyes the way the moon stays in the sky as though a person had placed it there. This matter concerning the "Main farmland" bush does not let me sleep a wink. It will be an abomination that the Okemkpi household, being only one person, defeated the children of Okpuruka who are three hefty young men and three women. Shame has left you all, but it is on me. Look at what happened yesterday! Chei! (He chews his fingers.) Not having people has undone me! What I have is only good-for-nothing, come-eat-the-food-is-cooked people, and talk-heads. If chicken feathers fill the basket it is still not heavy. What I want to tell you all this Orie-ikpa morning [Orie is a day of the Igbo week, ikpa a name of a market] is that the children of Okpuruka must take hold of this "Main farmland" bush. Rather than this not being done, I will kill you and myself as well. Beginning from this Orie day, anyone who sees Oguamalam should kill him. If it pleases heaven, let it fall on my head. That is all I want to tell you this morning. 

UKADIKE: Father, may you not die early. All of us here now have heard everything you said. The sons of Okpuruka who did not hear it, Dede and Amajuoyi, are those who in the city. I am your eldest son. If you start to do anything that I do not support, won't you abandon it? I want to tell you that I have investigted and questioned everything concerning this "Main farmland" bush. I have questioned the elders in our compound about this land and have discovered that the "Main farmland" bush does not belong to the children of Okpuruka. (Ikekwem then slaps his face.) 

IKEKWEM: Shut your mouth, beast! Foolish son! Who told you to speak this abomination? Indeed, if I hear these foolish words from your mouth again, I will no longer acknowledge you as my eldest son. 

OBIAGELI: Master, it would be good to listen to what Ukadike is saying. 

IKEKWEM: Close your mouth! See how you look like a spirit-slave. What is he saying? I don't want to hear any woman's voice here. You all were made to be seen, not heard. (They all then murmur among themselves.) 

UKADIKE: Father, wait, let me finish what I have to say. Don't stop me. I won't do anything that the spirits will find me guilty of. Let me say it now. I have no desire to struggle for this "Main farmland" bush. It is the land of the children of Okemkpi. Since Oguamalam is the only one left in that family, that land belongs to him. I will not support anyone who would cheat him because he is the only one. God forbids it. Amadio ha forbids it too. The land of Akabo will not allow it. Women and Amadi, if you want to follow Father, go ahead and follow him. I want no part of it. That is all I have to say. The person who swats the wasp is the one it will sting. 

AMADI: I support what Ukadike has said. 

IKEKWEM: Close your rotten mouths, you sheep. If you all say another word, I will take a knife and cut off yur heads now. (He draws his knife and waves it in front of them. Just then there is a knock on the door.) 

OGBUEHI: Knock! Knock! Knock! 

IKEKWEM: Who is it? Come in. (Ogbuehi enters.) 

OGBUEHI: Greetings to all. 

IKEKWEM: Ogbuehi, good morning. (They all then greet Ogbuehi.) 

THE OTHERS: Good morning, father. 

OGBUEHI: Good morning, my children. 

IKEKWEM: Nwaibari, bring me kola so I can eat with Ogbuehi. 

OGBUEHI: Never mind the kola, my brother. The ofo-title-holders of Ihenweorie want to see you and Oguamalam and your households before Amadioha tomorrow morning, which is Afo Amadioha. You all should arrive before the market drum sounds. That's the message I came to bring. 

IKEKWEM: May you not die early. We will come. Are you saying that you will not wait for morning kola? 

OGBUEHI: All right. One does not refuse morning kola. 

IKEKWEM: Nwaibari, what about that kola? 

NWAIBARI: I am coming. (She enters and brings Ikekwem kola in a clay bowl.) 

OGBUEHI: (Ikekwem gives him kola.) May you not die early. This kola is white kola. (He breaks it open and chews it noisily.) I must go. Remember tomorrow morning. 

IKEKWEM: All right. Go well. Ukadike, go to Nwokoro's house and ask for some wine for me to carry to the ofo-title-holders tomorrow morning. Tell him to save me two gallons or four half gallons. 

UKADIKE: All right. Amadi, come, let's go. 

AMADI: Good, let's go. (They go out.) 

IKEKWEM: Nwaibari, and Obiageli! Is someone going to eat your food today? 

NWAIBARI: Let me go and see what I have on the fire. (She goes out.) 

OBIAGELI: Husband, I would like to go to Nwosudo's house, so he can rub medicine on my arm. It is hurting me badly. 

IKEKWEM: Why haven't you gone before now? (Obiageli goes out. Ikekwem sits down, peering at the ceiling. He gets up and wanders around inside the house, talking.) 

IKEKWEM: Drat! God forbid! What am I going to tell people to explain my weakness? Is it because I heard the voice of a child not yet weaned that I should have a shameful fight? Chei! Ikekwem, I have suffered greatly. Who is Ukadike? Isn't he the child I bore with the sweat of my body? Is he the one to decide what I should do? Am I going to be a coward? My father Okpuruka was a strong man in his lifetime. The fox does not bear a cowardly child. I will not bring shame on myself because of a small child who interferes in a matter that adults are supposed to handle. It would have been possible for me to abandon the matter if Oguamalam had not humiliated me before women and other people. See how he tossed me around before the public! If I leave the matter this way, everyone will laugh at me. They will call me a woman. Never again can I come out to speak in the village square and have my words taken seriously. Does one refuse to fight a war out of fear of being killed? No! My heart is strong. Whether good or bad, whether this land belongs to my father or not, what I know is that I will contest for it to the very end. I am a strong man. Whatever a strong man can do, I will do. Rather than a strong man suffer shame, let him die prematurely. (He stoops down, takes out a snuff-grinding stone, puts his hand into his medicine bag and takes out snuff and some powdered snuff or potash, places them on top of the grinding-stone, then starts to look for the top or hand stone.) Where have those children of vipers put my hand stone for my snuff? Ukadike! Amadi! Amadi! Really, they have thrown away my hand stone. (He reaches under the bamboo chair and brings out the hand stone.) Now see where those bad spoiled children and their mother Nwaibari have put this hand stone, and I have been groping around all the time. (He then takes it and starts to grind the snuff. While he is grinding it, the curtain falls.)


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