Apemso palace sat in all its royalty. It was the only wooden structure in the whole Akan Kingdom. Made up of a cluster of storey buildings constructed by some foreigners Ohene Asaa’s father brought getting to the end of his ruling, Apemso Ahenfie was the heaven on the Akan earth. It had sixteen rooms to a storey, four in all. The King’s, Queen’s, Princes, Princesses and workers. Since there was only one heir to the throne, and a Princess at that, the Prince’s building was a white elephant, and now the princess’. The light in the palace was off. King and queen both felt bored at all times, one or the other called maidens to ask about the well-being of the princess in their confusion only to be respectfully told she had been taken away by her husband.
Ohene Asaa was lost in thought when his praise maker’s beautiful appellations woke him. He saw one of his spies kneeling in front of him. The leopard skin on which his knees tasted shook somewhat. He knew there was trouble in paradise. There was friction just three days in the marital camp of the princess. “It seems her husband is not happy about something and dislikes her guard like no man had ever shown.” The king’s heart leapt. He dismissed him and proceeded to his wife’s chambers.
The meeting was arranged in the Apemso palace. Ohene Abrokwah Gyan sat in one of the beautiful stools in the secret chamber sipping palm wine in a polished calabash, awaiting the King of Akan Kings. He was always glad to be in the presence of the great Ohene Asaa. One whose appellations could drug a hardened opponent.
“King of the royal gods of all lands, one with the mind of the blend of an ant and hare, face of a lion, claws of a tiger, bones of an elephant, eyes of an eagle, heart of a conqueror, and a body of a spirit! One whose footsteps bless the earth, spittle serves serenity on the heads of fertility, urine is the best drinking water even in rain, approaches.” Nana Abrokwah stood to welcome him and the pleasantries followed until they were sure they were alone.
“A house surely needs a spark. What is a house where fires are never lighted? Of what use are trees without fruits? Even strangers can try cutting them down with certainty of getting away with it. My good friend and in-law, the elders say we speak in proverbs to the wise and I know you have grasped what I am driving at. When nuts fall from your hands into mine, there is no loss because we are standing at the same place, at the same time, trying to feed the same mouth. Let’s try securing the biggest because you know the hosting lacks nothing in security even if its golden couple fly hither. My mouth has fallen.”
Nana Abrokwah was always intrigued after Ohene Asaa spoke and what came out of him did not surprise him. If anything, it made his respect for him soar.
“Who is a bird to battle a big and heavily rooted tree, when a small stone from a young hunter’s catapult can snuff the life out of it? You have spoken well King of the Royal Gods. From the day those birds were put in one nest, they had been even more of yours than mine. I know the gods blessed me with many birds but they did put many eagles in a perfect soul just for you. Every minute I spend with your treasure is a pleasure I can’t measure. But I know this is the better soil to plant those two seedlings, so they can get better care. For we are all farmers but aren’t you the best of the best and the highest? Thank you for considering my permission important. I know you did not need it. I will treasure this courtesy forever.”
With that, the conversation was over. Nyamekye and her husband were to stay in the Apemso palace until they officially gained the stool. Kumnipa was not enthused. The first thing that came to his mind was “they want to bring me closer in order to bully me”. But after carefully considering the words of his father, he saw the prospects in the idea.
“Why live beneath the anthill while your seat idles above? Consider that even little ants bite better if they taste a different skin. You are fortune’s best pick. One who fought the giants for a hand he was never to have and won. Do you know the nightmares I had when the battle was announced? A man is he who keeps his fears in his pillows. No matter what your fears are, you will have to sit and drown them in your determination. A word is enough if it is to the ears of the wise.”
He tossed and turned. Obviously he had no idea about his plight. No man could stand carrying a drum for someone else to beat and take the glory. Yet what his father had told him that day after his outburst at breakfast did make sense.
“A man is he who smiles even if his woman spits on him in public. Why? Because one who loses his grasp in chambers is sure to lose his face in the midst of friends while playing draft. A woman feels respected if issues of discomfort are discussed without a fifth eye. A man who gets a woman like the one you have, can never eat his food and expect a full plate there and then. Trust me, you can only have that in a vomit. If you need the love of your subjects, respect from your followers, dignity for yourself, treat your woman as you would treat yourself no matter the circumstances, at least in public. You did not buy her, you earned her with your life.”.
The night was cold; harmattan whistling through the dark and biting nostrils in delight. In the mind of Kumnipa, the battle continued and promised no end. He was to choose to stay close to his powerful blackmailer king of a man, with one he earned with his life. One whose beads would never willingly submit to his touch. What was worse? He could not open up to anybody, not at all. He regretted asking for Ama as a token. She was never a compensation. Not at all.
Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © August 2018
Photo Credit: Google Pics