THE BUILDING OF THE HOUSES OF OMENUKO AND HIS BROTHERS
Omenuko had many possessions. He was a big man in all things. Omenuko was someone who would be seen as a wealthy man indeed, because he had a lot of money, for one thing. For a second thing, he was rich in wives. He was also rich in daughters and sons. It is true that I am telling the story of Omenuko, but there were four brothers including Omenuko, and their half-brother, Obioha, made five. As for Omenuko and his brothers, I would call all four of them men of means, because they all had wealth like that of Omenuko. Because of this, they considered themselves as one village and also had one chief as others had, and that was Omenuko. He then started to build his house and those of his brothers. If you saw the way Omenuko built their houses, you would be very pleased. I will try my best to describe the way they built their houses.
Listen. They built their houses like this: They surrounded their houses with a wide wall. They built that wide wall on four sides, and all the people Omenuko governed lived within it. None of them lived on the outside--rather, they all lived within the village. Here is a scene of green water--that is where Omenuko and his brothers built the walls to guard the village and the walls to guard each house. Here also is a kind of yellow water which will show how they built their houses. A kind of black water will show where they had doors at their various compound entrances. Look closely between the green water and the yellow water. You will see that it is clear space, which is a wide road going around to various places within the large compound of Omenuko and his brothers. I will use letters to name them. Omenuko had house A, Okorafo had house B, Nwabueze had house GB, Ogbonnaya had house D, Obioha had house E. Take a look at the surroundings of Omenuko's house. The first house was the house of his male residents. The second house was the house of the female residents.The two large houses in between, one on the right and one on the left, were Omenuko's two houses. One was where he slept at night, and the other was where he relaxed during the day. If Omenuko lived for a month in one house, he packed his things and moved over to the other house. If he lived one month in the daytime, he lived one month in the other house at night.
Omenuko had wives whose number no one could count except his brothers, the people of their houses, and those who lived near them.Because Omenuko had many wives, by the same token they bore him sons and daughters. His three brothers also had many wives and many children. Omenuko had many wives, but he took care of all of them like a person who had one wife. He and his wives were united.
When Omenuko had finished housebuilding, since he and the people of our land had reconciled, he then went to our land and married for Obioha three mature young women. Many people will think that these houses were houses with corrugated iron roofs; they were not--rather they were bamboo houses with raphia palm thatching.
When he had finished building these houses and the walls, he sent for the other chiefs of Ndi Mgborogwu land to come and see his house. The chiefs then decided on a day when they would go and see the house and they notified Omenuko of the day they would come. Omenuko then prepared the things he would use to entertain them; and when the day came, the chiefs arrived. Omenuko then gave them kola and took them all around his house and his brothers' houses. What the chiefs saw around the houses of Omenuko and his brothers astonished them. There were forty-five of them. They all then began to give him the gifts they had brought for those houses they had come to see. Some gave one pound, some gave 15 shillings, some gave ten shillings. Among all of those chiefs, no one gave more than one pound and no one gave less than 5 shillings. Seven people gave one pound each, thirteen people gave 15 shillings each, nine people gave 10 shillings each, seventeen people gave 5 shillings each. When Omenuko had received all this money, he thanked them very much because they had done more than he had expected.
Omenuko then brought out various kinds of food that he had cooked for them, and gave it to them. He killed a cow and several goats. The goat meat he used to prepare stew for them, but the beef he cut up and cooked a little and then put all of it into three baskets. When they had finished eating and drinking wine, Omenuko then told his people to bring out the beef, and they did. Omenuko presented it to the chiefs and told them it was for them. The chiefs then thanked Omenuko very much. All of the chiefs then shared that beef. Each one received an equal share. They then finished their wine, thanked Omenuko, and went home.
After this was over, Omenuko sent for the chiefs of our town to come and see the new houses he had built. They then told him which day they would come. On the appointed day, the chiefs knew what they were supposed to do when something like this took place. Each of them then took a gift of his own to give to Omenuko. When they reached Omenuko's house, they saw the way he had built his house and it looked very good to them. They then praised him and told him that he was a strong man. After Omenuko had entertained them, that is, when he had given them food and wine and they had eaten and drunk, they began to give him money. Some gave one pound, some gave 15 shillings, but more people gave one pound than gave 15 shillings. Omenuko then thanked them very much, went into the house, brought out beef and placed it in baskets as he had done for the chiefs who had come to his house before. The chiefs of our town then thanked him and they all gave him a praise name, calling him "Omenuko the wealthy, Omenuko the wealthy." When they had divided up the beef, they then stayed for the food and drink that Omenuko set before them. They ate until they got sleepy and then they went to bed. At daybreak, Omenuko cooked breakfast for them, they finished eating, thanked him, and went home.