Amoogu

Odududu ndufu!
Wardrum, without whose leadership there is fear on the way!
Wardrum, without whose leadership there is fear on the way!
Great spirit, Uduma Olugutu
Great spirit, Okali husband of my great mother, Aru!
Great spirit that dwells in the water at Nde-a-Awa-Ezhiema-Elechi!
Great spirit Umezurike of Ebiri-Ezhi-Akuma!
Great spirit Aqwu Obasi of Ekidi Nde Ofoali!
Great spirit Kaalu Ikpo of Ugwu-Naka-Oke-Igbemini!

We have dragged a cow by the rope and tethered it at Nde-Awa-Ezhiema-Elechi,
The cow will no longer stray into the forest.
Who will go and catch the cow that has strayed into the forest?
Who will go and catch the cow that has strayed into the forest?
Okoro, medicine-man of Ezhi Abaaba, was the one that brought the charm-breaker.

Ohafia people, they were set to go to war:
They were set to go to ’Liike, they were going to fight all the way at ’Liike,
A short-armed dwarf prevented the defeat of ’Liike.
A short-armed dwarf prevented the defeat of ’Liike.
The short-armed dwarf that prevented the defeat of ’Liike.
His proper name was ’Miiko.

On the first day of the encounter,
the short-armed one came and stood before a trench,
And when Ohafia warriors charged to chase them (the ’Liike) back,
He routed them and packed their chopped-up parts in long-baskets.
It went on until one night,
Ohafia war chiefs gathered together at Ebiri Ezhi Akuma:
“What shall we do to kill the short-armed dwarf of ’Liike?”
They went and summoned Okoro Mkpi.
He lived at Ibinaji of Egbenyi Uka.
He was a medicine-man of Ezhi Ababa.
They asked Okoro Mkpi:
“What shall we do to conquer ’Liike?
The short-armed dwarf prevents the defeat of ’Liike!”
He told them to get into a nest of soldier-ants:
“There is a nest of soldier-ants on the way.
Go and place this charm on the way.
Who among you can sit in the nest of soldier-ants and charge guns,
so the short-armed dwarf of ’Liike can be killed — Twelve guns in all!”

My great father Akwu of Abia Eteete agreed,
He said he would sit in the nest of soldier-ants and charge the guns,
so the short-armed dwarf might be killed.

My great father Iro Agbo of Okpo Ntighiri….
He said he would sit in the nest of soldier-ants and charge the guns,
so the short-armed dwarf might be killed.

My great father Iro Agbo Ntighiri…
My great father Awa Afaka of Udege Ezhi Anunu,
He said he would sit in the nest of soldier-ants and charge the guns,
so the short-armed dwarf of ’Liike might be killed.

My great father Mbu Ologho of Ibinaji Egbenyi Uka,
Said he would sit in the nest of soldier-ants and charge the guns,
so the short-armed dwarf of ’Liike might be killed.

My great father Igbun Awa!
My great father Igbun Awa,
Who is of Nde-Ezhiema Elechi,
He said he would sit in the nest of soldier-ants and charge the guns,
so the short-armed dwarf of ’Liike might be killed.

My great father Mkpawe son of Imaga Odo,
He was a person of Ugwu Naka Oke Igbe-mini
He agreed and said he would sit in the nest of soldier-ants and charge the guns,
so the short-armed dwarf of ’Liike might be killed.

Oke Ikwan Iyam Otutu of Ebiri,
Man of Ebiri Ezhi Akuma,
He said he would sit in the nest of soldier-ants and charge the guns,
so the short-armed dwarf of ’Liike might be killed.

My great father, Iro Agbo Okpe Ntighiri,
Said he would sit in the nest of soldier-ants and charge the guns,
so the short-armed dwarf of ’Liike might be killed.

Kamalu, son of Ngwo, who was of Agalado Odo Ukiiwe,
Man of Agalado Odo Ukiiwe –
People-that-run-in-herds-like-sheep —
He said he would sit in the nest of soldier-ants and charge the guns,
so the short-armed dwarf of ’Liike might be killed.

And so they set out for war,
on a Eke day which was a farming day.
When they reached the outskirts of ’Liike,
They gave the guns to Mbu Ologho,
Man of Ibinaji of Egbenyi Uka
He got into the nest of soldier-ants.
the soldier-ants bit him a little,
but the guns he could no charge.
he trembled off.

They went and called Akwu,
man of Abja Eteete,
Two guns were given to him,
but the guns he could not charge.
He also trembled off.

Guns were given to Kamalu Ngwo,
son of Agalado Odu Ukiiwe.
He tried and tried to charge the guns,
but the guns he could not charge.
Stung by soldier-ants, he also trembled off.

The guns he could not charge.
Them they gave them to Nkuma Obiagu,
man of Ekidi Nde Ofoali.
He also trembled off,
the guns he could not charge.

Mkpawe Imaga Odo,
man of Ugwu Naka Igbemini was then given,
“You go and charge the guns,”
But the guns he could not charge.
He also trembled off.

Then they went and gave them to Nkata Ogbuanu,
Nkata Ogbuanu,
Man of Igbe Mmaku,
Son of great mother (…) of Ndiibe Okwara,
Wizard of guns for whom the gun is a plaything.
he also trembled off,
The guns he could not charge.

And so they said: “Let us go home,
Let us go home, we cannot charge the guns.
Let us go home,
Let us go home!”

Amoogu o, Amoogu o, je!
Amoogu o, son of great mother Ori Ukpo.
Son of great mother Orieji Ukpo,
Son of great mother Orieji Ukpo.
He is a man of Amuma,
He is a man of the Etum-Olumba age-set,
He is man of Irema Okpurukpu,
He is a man of Okpu-Uma-Ofu-Agbala!…

He asked to be given the guns.
“We should all go home if I try and fail!
Ohafia warriors, give me the guns!”
But they questioned him: “Of what patrician are you?”
And he said that he was a native of Amuma.
“Let the guns be given to him.”

And so the warriors of Ohafia Uduma Ezhiema,
they took the guns and gave to Amoogu son of Ologho Ikpo.
He was a man of Okpu-Uma-Ofu-Abala.
He took two guns and entered.
(…)
And so two guns were given to Amoogu.

He charged this one, and charged that one.
The ants stung his laps in their hundreds.
The ants stung his laps in their hundreds.
And so he got into the nest of soldier-ants and charged this one,
charged that one.

Great father Awa Afaka took one gun from him.
Mbu Ologho took one gun from him.
And they went and killed Mkpisi Ebulebu,
the short-armed dwarf of ’Liike.
The evil genius in the nest of soldier-ants.
They hacked him mercilessly and packed his body in a basket,
And so they killed great father Omiko.

After all these,
Ohafia warriors, all without exception,
They swooped upon those Ishiagu people,
makers-of-pots-and-what-not,
And they unleashed a massacre upon them,
And they burnt down their houses,
All without exception.

When they returned to their camp –
When at last they returned to their camp,
Great father Mbu Ologho asked: “Who was it that charged the guns?”
Amoogu said: “I am the one that charged the guns
With which we went and killed the ’Liike general.”

They said that they would give him a nice present.
And they conspired among themselves:
“Let us kill Amoogu.
We should kill Amoogu.
If we do not kill him, he shall become the leading hero of Ohafia.”

And so they lured Amoogu to a solitary corenr and killed him,
And they gave his chopped-off head to Amuma warriors,
And they took it home
And hung it in their obu.

His mother, great mother Ori Ukpo –
My great mother Ori Ukpo wept:
Amoogu, son of Ologho Ikpo,
Were you killed with a matchet or a gun?
Be it with a mtachet or a gun,
O my son, jo!
On my son, je!
Were you killed with a matchet or a gun?
O my son, iyeje!
Iyeee-je!
O Amoogu, iyeje!
Amoogu, O come to me, iye!
Iyeejee‑i!

His mother, Amoogu
She dwelt beside a silk-cotton tree,
She dwelt beside a silk-cotton tree.
The mother of Amoogu, son of Ologho Ikpo, dwelt beside a silk-cotton tree.
Kites came from that silk-cotton tree and preyed upon her chickens,
Hawks came from that silk-cotton tree and preyed upon her chickens.
She said, “O, if my son were alive,
He would have shot these kites away –
He was a wizard-of-guns-for-whom-the-gun-was-a-plaything.”

His age-mates were at watch and heard this.
They summoned everybody in Amuma,
all without exception,
men of Irema Okpurukpu.
They gave two cases of wine,
And said to them, “We plead with you, let this silk-cotton tree be felled
That the chickens of my great mother Ori Ukpo may thrive.
That man we killed is the cause of her great grief.
He was of our age-set,
He was of our age-set.

Irema Okpurukpu all agreed.
They began felling the silk-cooton tree,
They began felling the silk-cotton tree, all of them without exception.
They went on felling the tree and continued on the second day.
When it got to the third day, they drank palmwine to their fill.
And as the tree began to fall,
they said they would hold it up with their hands,
but they were shaken by the wine.
Shaken by the wine, all without exception,
Shaken by the wine.
(…)

As they tried to hold up that silk-cotton tree with their hands,
the silk-cotton tree killed four hundred of them.
And so four hundred men got lost in their clan.
They went to the diviner.
My great mother Aja Ekeke thus divined
And told them: “Whatever it was that made you people agree to kill Amoogu,
It was the spirit of Amoogu that pushed that silk-cotton tree to crush you people.”
That is why Amuma is still so thinly populated.
It is the wrath of Amoogu, son of Ologho Ikpo.

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