Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bitter Waters

Later, she wished she had made Obierika’s cousins drink his mmili ozu before the oracle. She had witnessed this once, when a wealthy man died and his family forced his rival to drink his mmili ozu. Nwamgba had watched an unmarried woman take a cupped leaf full of water, touch it to the dead man’s body, all the time speaking solemnly, and give the leaf-cup to the accused man. He drank. Everyone looked to make sure that he swallowed, a grave silence in the air, because they knew that if he was guilty he would die. He died days later, and his family lowered their heads in shame. Nwamgba felt strangely shaken by it all. She should have insisted on this with Obierika’s cousins, but she had been blinded by grief and now Obierika was buried and it was too late.
[The Headstrong Historian]


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