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27.12.2010 Feature Article

How Trustful can a Wife, a Friend or a Step-Son/Daughter be? Crack on and you will be Shocked –Part I

How Trustful can a Wife, a Friend or a Step-Son/Daughter be? Crack on and you will be Shocked –Part I
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A work colleague who happens to belong in the same Agona clan as the writer narrated three tantalizing true stories told him by his uncle, to the writer. They were meant to shape and guide him through all the undulating facets of marriage life, friendships etc. They are not fictions but true stories. I am going to share two of them with you. You will be cautious in how you relate to friends, wife, etc., and also be mindful of the enemies who may cleverly seek to manipulate situations in an attempt to put asunder to your happy relationships after reading these stories.

There were two close friends who could be said to be more of brothers than friends. They were of the same age group. They went to school together and were almost always together. None was found alone without the other being around or within the vicinity. This is how close these two best friends were. They often went to a local area in their village, sat under a shady tree to drink palm wine in their spare time. There was no secret between these two pals. Each of them was always ready to die for the other. Each was ready to defend the other to the hilt.

On one evening a man who had come from a village not far off was astonished to see how these guys liked each other. He was amazed that although friends as they were, they were honest to each other. When he enquired from people and realised that they were simply friends but not brothers, he assured those standing by that he could put asunder to their friendship. Those around laughed him to scorn. They said it was an impossible feat for him to achieve concluding from how close their friendship was. The man assured them, "tomorrow by this time, they will no longer be friends any more"

On the next day, the man went to where the palm wine was sold and found those two friends. He begged to have a word with one of them. He took him a few metres away, about six to ten metres. Looking in the direction of the other friend sitting, who had also turned to look at them, their eyes catching, he pretended as though whispering words into the ears of the one he had called. Truly, he said nothing but one could see his mouth opening and closing as if he was murmuring. The friend got angry and left as he felt the man was wasting his time without actually saying anything. When he regained his seat, his friend questioned to know what the man had told him. He answered, he had said nothing. His friend insisted, surely he had told you something so please don't hide it from me as there is nothing like secrets between us. Tell me what he told you. As the other kept saying he had said nothing which was actually true, his other friend bemoaned saying,

"But I could see his lips moving up and down, whispering something into your ears". The more he tried to convince his friend that nothing was said, the angrier the other friend became. They parted friendship from that moment onwards. They both didn't understand why the other was behaving the way they did. How close and sincere was their friendship then? If their friendship was that deep or rock-solid as outsiders believed, why could they not take one another by their word? That evil man truly achieved his target to prove how hollow or shallow the guys' friendship was. It was simply like beauty which is only a skin deep but not like ugliness that cuts deep across the bones.

A couple once lived in a village. In this village anything found on the ground abandoned or mistakenly forgotten behind by their actual owner was obligatorily taken to the chief of the village. The understanding was anything that does not actually belong to you by your own sweat and toil does automatically belong to the chief. It could be the wealth of the soil (mineral resources), or any gift of God that miraculously comes your way by way of being chanced upon - "asaase deE" Failure to report such gifts to the chief is punishable by confiscation and murder if proven.

This couple and their children were poor cocoa farmers. The couple had been struggling to make ends meet. They were so poor that they could hardly send their children to school to give them any formal education. This had been their normal way of life for years on end.

One day when the couple went to their farm which they did almost six days a week if they were well, they struck their luck. A huge tree in the farm hard uprooted in the night by the probable force of the wind. When they reached the farm, the devastation caused to his cocoa trees by the fallen tree was overwhelming. They wept. The man decided to assess the damage, starting from the base of the tree. Guess what. He found a big but shattered earthen pot in the hole created at the base of the uprooted tree. He drew closer to examine the pot as he wondered what that could be. Lo and behold, there were all sorts of gold jewellery and actual gold ingots scattered about. What an oxymoronic situation they found themselves in. Were they to continue weeping or to start laughing?

The man hurriedly gathered all the God-send wealth. He agreed with the wife that the whole lot will be kept by them without ever disclosing their find to anyone. Their mutual understanding was, if the money was taken to the chief, he would keep it all and they would continue to wallow in their poverty. Would it not be right for them to educate their children as others do? Should they continue to be poor onto death? Here was the case that the chief through his implemented policy in this regard had become immensely rich. He had given the best of education to his children, married several beautiful women and threw big sumptuous parties.

Initially the wife was scared that they were going against the chief's standing policy. But the husband who was smarter told her, what is good for the goose is also good for the gander. He hid the wealth in the bushes. They had a place in the farm under a tree where they rest, cook, and prepare their farm produce for the day whenever they were ready to go home. This is what is called "Ahyehye ye". The man asked the wife to stay by the newly found wealth whilst he went home to spy if all was well for them to sneak it home. Actually, he had a second agenda he would like to keep secret from the wife.

He hurried to the village, purchased some canned salmon (Geisha). He rushed back to the farm, climbed up the tree under which they rest as aforementioned, attached the items randomly to the branches as though they were its fruits. He climbed down. He went into the bush where the wife was keeping watch over the wealth. He made her understand they could only take it home under the cover of darkness. He asked the wife to cook them some food. While the food was on fire, he looked up the tree and said, "Akosua, God really loves us. He is merciful and wonderful. Look up the tree! She looked and exclaimed, "God is great, a tree bearing Geisha?"

The man climbed up the tree, collected all the Geisha and opened up two tins when the food was ready. They enjoyed the meal as never happened in their lives before. They carried the God-send wealth, the rest of the Geisha with a quantity of the farm produce home. God has made their day, they said.

They hid the wealth until after six months. The man travelled to the city to sell them for liquid cash. He started putting up houses, purchased vehicles to run public transport and lived a life reflecting his new status of a rich man. Tongues started wagging, questions asked about how this poor family has all of a sudden become immensely rich. The whole villagers were curious to know the source of the family's sudden wealth. As is usual in Ghana, many were opining that the man had acquired what in the Ghanaian parlance is "Sikaduro" - acquiring wealth through dubious spiritual (juju) means.

The chief of the village, an "Odikuro" to be precise, charged his elders to conduct secret investigations into unearthing the source of the family's wealth. They secretly arranged with a woman to lie to the man's wife saying her husband was having an affair with the aim to divorce her. The woman acting on the spur of the moment, without exercising patience, picked up a fight with the husband. She started shouting; threatening to reveal the secret of their wealth should it ever be found out that he was truly indulged in sexual activities with another woman as conveyed to her attention. The man who had not known any woman apart from her wife was furious at her momental madness. He screamed at her, saying; continue manifesting your madness in public for all to see. "I am ashamed to have you, a mad person for wife. What could you do if I was having an affair?" he said. This was the last straw that broke the camel's back.

The woman rushed to the chief's palace to tell him it was not through any hard farm work of theirs that they have become rich but by finding abundant hidden jewelleries on their farm. The chief summoned his elders, broke the bad news to them, and arranged to get the man arraigned before him. The next morning the man was called to the palace and charged with stealing what belongs to the chief. The source of his wealth was revealed to him according as narrated by the wife. It was an offence to have kept it without taking it to the chief in line with standing law in the village. This offence carries the death penalty if found guilty. The man challenged the chief and his elders as liars scheming to rob him of his wealth. In the end the chief said it was the man's own wife who had told them about it.

The wife was sent for. The man told them his wife might have told them that nonsense whilst suffering from one of her usual mad seizures. The woman being the principal witness narrated how they found the jewelleries and decided to keep it to themselves with the aim of breaking their poverty cycle. She was challenged by the husband for lying and accused of suffering from her usual but intermittent moments of madness. The woman insisted she was telling the absolute truth. On crossing examination, the woman asked the husband, "Have you forgotten when on that day the tree we cook under was bearing so many tins of Geisha whereupon you climbed it, plucked all of them and we even ate two tins and took the rest home?" Upon mentioning and insisting that the tree bore tins of Geisha, the panel dismissed her as being truly mad as repeatedly claimed by the husband. They annoyingly asked her, "Where on earth have you seen or heard of a tree bearing tins of Geisha

since your parents gave birth to you?" They chased her out of the palace, pleaded with the husband to pardon them for falsely accusing him of stealing by way of keeping found wealth as his. The man accepted their apology and left.

The man continued to live happily with his wife and children thereafter without anyone bothering to disturb them. The woman became more submissive to the husband ever since. She never gave room to rumours any longer. People wondered why the man did not divorce her for the ordeal she made him go through. "She has toiled with me through thick and thin. She needs to enjoy the fruits of her sweat despite committing a monumental blunder that could have cost me my life". "To err is human", the man said.

To those women or wives who out of sheer jealousy, absurd rivalry, momental madness or mere stupidity allow themselves to be manipulated, I say, you don't value what you've got until you've lost it.

Rockson Adofo

Rockson Adofo
Rockson Adofo, © 2010

The author has 2157 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: RocksonAdofo

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