(Near the house of Oguamalam. Ukadike and Amadi are going together to fetch a pot of wine at Mr. Nwokoro's house.) 

UKADIKE: Amadi, come on, let's hurry. Father will scold us if we don't return soon. AMADI: Go on ahead, I'll call Chibunna to go with us. 

UKADIKE: Come on, let's go. His father won't allow him to go with us. 

AMADI: I'll call him from the road. His father won't know. (Ukadike then goes out. Amadi goes a little way, then starts to call Chibunna in a low voice. He calls him twice before he answers.) 

AMADI: Hey! Hey! Hey! 


AMADI: E-o! E-o! (Chibunna comes running. He holds a home-made bicycle made of oil palm fronds.) 

CHIBUNNA: O! Amadi! How are you? 

AMADI: Fine! Are you doing something for your father in the house? 

CHIBUNNA: No, but father said that he and I were going to go together to the O-ji-ofo today. 

AMADI: I'm going to go with my father. He sent me and Ukadike to go and fetch wine for him from Uncle Nwokoro's place. Come along with us. 

CHIBUNNA: Okay, let's go. My father has tapped the wine we will take with us. 

AMADI: You're lucky. My father doesn't know how to tap either nkwu [wine from the oil palm, strong alcohol content] or ngwo [wine from the raffia palm with sweeter taste]. Hurry, let's run to catch up with Ukadike. (They start to run. They then see another child, Chidi, coming along in front of them with a home-made bicycle. Amadi blocks his way.)

AMADI: Come, give me your bicycle so I can ride it a bit! 

CHIDI: No, I'm using it to do an errand for my mother. 

AMADI: You must give it to me now. Is it a law that you have to use it to do this errand? 

CHIBUNNA: Amadi, let him alone, let's take mine. 

AMADI: He must give it to me. He is as stubborn as a palm-tree rat. (Amadi then grabs the bicycle.) 

CHIDI: Mm! Mm! Leave my bicycle for me. You're asking for trouble from me. Now what have I done to you? Chibunna, tell Amadi to leave my bicycle for me. 

CHIBUNNA: Amadi, leave his bicycle for him. Is that bicycle yours? (Amadi then pokes Chidi's cheek and calls him a beast.) 

CHIDI: (Pokes Amadi's cheek too.) You are a beast yourself. (Amadi then tramples on his bicycle and breaks it. Chidi breaks out in tears and starts to fight with Amadi.) 

AMADI: Ride yourself to death on the bicycle. I will trample on that ugly bicycle of yours and break it. 

CHIDI: You will pay me for my bicycle. Pay me for my bicycle now. (Chidi then strikes him and they start to fight. Chibunna then comes to separate them. He runs between them and places a hand on each one's face.) 

CHIBUNNA: Don't fight. Come on and wrestle. No one should strike the other on the body. Now, start. (They then start to wrestle and keep on struggling. Amadi lifts Chidi by the leg, but Chidi holds him firmly by the neck, then throws him to the ground.) 

CHIDI: I've caught him. (Chibunna separates them, then grasps Amadi's hand so he does not strike Chidi.) 

CHIBUNNA: E! E! Chidi, let him alone! Now take your bicycle and run away. (Chidi takes his bicycle and runs away. Amadi then tries to escape from Chibunna's hands. Immediately, Ukadike comes in carrying wine.) 

UKADIKE: Chibunna, what is it? Take your hands off him right away. What did he do to you? (Amadi is crying.) 

CHIBUNNA: I'm not the one he was fighting. It was he and Chidi, the son of Uncle Elegalam. 

UKADIKE: Who started it? 

CHIBUNNA: Amadi kept badgering him to give him his bicycle. Chidi refused. Amadi then trampled on his bicycle and broke it. They started to fight and I intervened and told them to wrestle. Chidi then threw him. 

AMADI: Wasn't it because you held me that he threw me? 

CHIBUNNA: I didn't hold him at all. Chidi threw him to the ground. I then decided to go between them. Amadi, is that how you are? You're lying. 

UKADIKE: Okay. Amadi, let's go home. I'll tell father that you do nothing on the road except fight, fight. See how sandy you are. 

AMADI: I will not go home. Go home yourself. 

UKADIKE: All right. I'm leaving to go and tell this to father. (He goes out. Immediately, Oguamalam starts calling to Chibunna.) 

OGUAMALAM: Chibunna-e! Chibunna-e! 

CHIBUNNA: O! (He runs out. Amadi then slowly follows Ukadike. The curtain closes, then quickly opens again.) 

In Oguamalam's house 

OGUAMALAM: Where have you been since morning? 

CHIBUNNA: I went to answer a call from the road. 

OGUAMALAM: Who was calling you? 

CHIBUNNA: It was Amadi, Uncle Ikekwem's son. 

OGUAMALAM: I've been telling you for a long time to stop associating with Ikekwem's children. But you don't listen. Not listening to what they are told is what kills children. The day Ikekwem will hit you on the head on account of his children is the day you will find out that the fly that has no one to advise him follows the corpse to the land of the spirits. Just keep it up. (Chibunna starts to frown and mutter.) 

OGUAMALAM: Have you swept the house this morning? 


OGUAMALAM: What you are good at is playing. I would have loved it if your mother had been alive now. (Chibunna then takes the broom that is leaning against the house, and begins to sweep it. He sings a song while he sweeps. Oguamalam then goes out.) 

CHIBUNNA: Hawk! Hawk! Leave my chicken for me. Hawk! Hawk! Leave my chicken for me. What did my chicken do? Its mother brought it along to scratch for food, leave my chicken for me. Your relatives, don't they eat food? Leave my chicken for me. My trap, catch and kill a hawk for me, leave my chicken for me. Hunter, shoot the hawk for me, hawk leave my chicken for me. Let the bones of my chicken kill you, leave my chicken for me. Hawk, hawk, hawk, you are a thief-o-o-o. 

OGUAMALAM: Chibunna! Chibunnanwolu! (He calls him from outside.) 

CHIBUNNA: Father! 

OGUAMALAM: Have you finished sweeping the house? 


OGUAMALAM: Come and carry the wine and let's go to the court in O-ji-ofo Orie-ikpa. 

CHIBUNNA: Am I to go without eating first? 

OGUAMALAM: All right, go and get your food and eat it quickly. If you like, you can pick at it slowly like the partridges, until it's afternoon. (Chibu nna then takes the food that is on a plate and molds it with both hands.) 

CHIBUNNA: Father, I have finished eating. Thank you. 

OGUAMALAM: You're welcome, son. Come, let me lift the wine to your head. (He lifts the wine pot to his head.) Is that all right? 

CHIBUNNA: Yes, it is settled. 

OGUAMALAM: Now, let's go. (They then go out.) 

(In the house of Ikekwem Okpuruka, the drum sounds loudly.) 

IKEKWEM: Nwaibari! Nwaibari e-e! Obiageli! 

NWAIBARI and OBIAGELI: Our husband! 

IKEKWEM: Isn't it dawn yet in your eyes? Didn't you hear the drum sounding? 

NWAIBARI: We heard it. Obiageli, Amadi, quickly come out, let's go. (They come out, dressed alike as the women of their house do.) 

IKEKWEM: What about Ukadike? Nwaibari, I am asking you, where is that foolish son of yours? 

NWAIBARI: (She calls Ukadike.) Ukadike! Ukadike! 

UKADIKE: Mother! 

NWAIBARI: Your father is calling you. (Ukadike comes in.) 

IKEKWEM: One-who-says-something-and-that's-it, father of Okpuruka! What are you doing? Do you not want to go with your age-mates to the court in O-ji-ofo of Orie-ikpa? 

UKADIKE: Father, I am not going. Tomorrow we start school. I want to wash all my clothes today, and then iron them. I will return to our school early tomorrow morning. 

IKEKWEM: I knew you wouldn't go. Beast! If I win this land, is it I, Ikekwem, who has trodden the road of spirits and humans, who would reap the benefits of it? Look at your book and read, let the book read you. A person will not remind one whose mother has died that he should start crying. Amadi, carry the wine. Now let's go. It's getting late. (They go out.)


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