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09.05.2007 Commentary

Broken Promise

An old woman called Abrewa, her husband and two teenage daughters once lived in a small town. They worked hard and acquired large tracts of farm lands and houses for themselves.

Unfortunately, Abrewa's husband did not live long to enjoy the fruits of his labour. His sudden death made Abrewa the sole bread winner for the family.

To worsen it all, Abrewa, together with her children, was thrown out of her marital home by her late husband's family. They also took over all the farm lands that Abrewa and her late husband had toiled so hard to cultivate.

They only left her with a small piece of land which was not fertile, for cultivating crops.

With nowhere to lay their heads, Abrewa and her children had no choice but to put up in a small hut built with palm fronds at the outskirts of the town.

It was a pity to see Abrewa, who in the past, gave people food to eat live without any money or food for her family.

Sometimes, they even went to bed on an empty stomach.

Times were really bad for Abrewa. Her two children became seriously malnourished because they were not eating well.

The children fell sick, and with no money to attend hospital, they died.

Abrewa was saddened by the death of her two children so much so that she wept all day long. She mostly sat under a very big Odum tree by her hut, singing sorrowful songs as she sobbed over the death of her children.

Unknown to her, an eagle which used to rest on the Odum tree had taken notice of her. One day while Abrewa was sitting under the tree crying, the eagle approached her and asked why she wept anytime she came there.

Immediately, it opened its beak to talk, Abrewa, who was shocked to see an eagle speak, was frightened. She even turned to run away when the eagle called her back and asked her not to be afraid.

After several assurances from the eagle, Abrewa relaxed and started to chat with the eagle. After Abrewa had told the eagle all about herself, it had pity on her and decided to help her.

The eagle told Abrewa that it could grant all that man needed on earth, but there was a condition attached to such favours. It said if only Abrewa could keep to the conditions, it would help her.

Abrewa, who had been through so much suffering, pondered over the eagle's request and asked what the condition was. "If you would let me have your pear tree I would grant you all that you need," it answered.

This was not much, so Abrewa readily agreed and so the eagle conjured a huge well-furnished house for her on a fertile piece of land for farming. She soon became rich, thanks to the eagle.

It happened that one day the queen of the town visited Abrewa and pleaded with her to allow them to cut down the pear tree to make way for a building project. Abrewa had by then completely forgotten about the eagle and readily gave them permission to cut down the tree.

However, before then, the eagle came to warn Abrewa of the consequences of taking that decision but she did not pay heed.She thought the eagle was being a nuisance. Abrewa had completely forgotten the promise she made when she was in dire need.

On that fateful day, immediately they started cutting the tree, the eagle flew from the tree and made a funny sound, reminding Abrewa of the consequences of breaking her promise.

By the time Abrewa turned to beg the eagle, she realised that all her property had vanished and was back in her hut at the outskirts of the town. She then realised her mistake, but it was too late to reverse it.

A promise is a promise, so fellows let us keep our promises and not end up like Abrewa.

Akua Addo-Yobo,

Corpus Christi Catholic School,

Community 18, Tema.

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