Cycle of Kindness

by Ben Ige
(Ibadan, Nigeria)




Cycle of Kindness

The actual demise and the sad circumstances that surround his father's death was a bitter pill for him to swallow. He padded the hoof round the grave for several times. How could he have gone so soon? He thought. His father had laboured hard and saw to it that he was educated. The boy had been trained as a physician. He had endured many years of rigorous training. He had deliberately declined an offer to join the royal army; he refused also to become an astrologer. So he signed up for the third of the three noblest professions in the land.

He is now qualified. What is more, he is the best of the scholars his trainer, who is also the royal physician, had ever produced. "The royal household has its eyes on you," the old physician has told him times without number, "you will take over from me when I'm retired."

The tutor's retirement is due in a few months time; the scholar would soon start dining and wining with the king. But the man, his father who had paid through the nose for his studentship had given up the ghost without having a bite of the delicacy he'd prepared.

He took one more glance at the fresh tomb and then walked away. He was trying to console himself with the thought of his mother who being alive would eat of her late husband's sweat. And just then he woke up to the hard reality.

The gurgle of the stream, the howling of the wind and the singing of the birds reminded him why he was where he was. It suddenly dawned on him that his mother too may not live to have a taste of the good time coming if he didn't act fast. The dream; lock, stock and barrel had gone as if everything was all right with her mother, whose strength, voice, vision and hearing had become impaired. The unceasing tears she shed for the deceased had caused the whole lot. In fact, the poor boy had slept off right there on the verdant weed at the riverside because of her. He needed to cross the river to get her the cure. The river, which in the normal course of things, was knee-deep but was now chest deep of the second man if one man stands on the shoulders of the other. He wouldn't know when and how the sleep had held him under its sway while he sat by the bank waiting for the water to ebb. He must cross the river to get a tree's sap which would restore his mother's sight and voice. This is his third trip. He had gone the first time to collect some leaves from the same tree to cure her deafness; and in the previous day to pluck its seeds that revived her strength. Now, he must go for the last time to get its sap but the water would not let him pass. It had rained cats and dogs the night before.

He stood up after the nap and moved towards the stream. He made up his mind to take the bull by the horns. Even though he understood that discretion is the better part of valour, he couldn't bear the thought of returning home without the sap. So, calm as a cat, he stepped into the deep water.

*******

Back home, the mother couldn't bear the waiting any longer. To this end, she set out to trace her only son. She isn't afraid of death but "who is going to mourn me at death? The only one that will bury me, weep at my funeral and..." She burst into tears. She scrambled through narrow footpaths and clambered on steep, muddy terrain. She had plied this route through to the stream for years. She knew all the twists and turns. But she sometimes went astray despite her mastery of the tracks.

Her blindness would not let her know the heavy rain had made river of the bank she thought were dry land. She suddenly plummeted into a pool of water and riveted to the spot. How would she proceed? Her son had only informed her the tree was at the other side of the river. Even if she could help crossing the river where would she turn? She wasn't used to the other side of the stream which was a forest of sort. "Where is my son? Where is my son? She started to whimper. In tears, she waded through to the deeper area of the water. She got to a point where the water was waist-deep and fell. She struggled for her life despite her scorn for death. She made every effort to save her neck but...


*******


Abu lived not too far from the palace. As the royal physician, the king built him a nice cottage; gave him two horses and a handful of menservants. He lived a good life.

One evening as he set for bed, a visitor came by to seek his help."Great physician, I've come to seek your favour. I know this is difficult but if you can help me, I will very much appreciate and forever be indebted to you."

"What do you want?" Abu cocked an eye on the visitor.

"My old lady is sick. I've been nursing her myself for sometimes. Her condition deteriorated this day and I think she need an urgent treatment of an expert. I would have brought her down here but I don't have a horse of mine..."

"Where is she?"

"I came from Abolu village."

Abu gestured the visitor. "Let's go."


*******


Goodness begets goodness; kindness, its kind. This is the philosophy on which Abu based and lived his life. On getting to Abolu Village, Abu was led in to where the frail woman lied helplessly on a mat. The physician squatted to feel the woman's temperature. He took her hand in his to feel her pulse too. But on deeper examination, Abu discovered he was holding his mother's hand. His spirit drooped and at the same time flooded with ecstasy. "This is my mother." He cried.

"Your mother?"

"Yes. A few moons back..."

"I found her almost drowned while fishing a while ago. I took her into my boat and..."

"Can she talk now?"

"I'm afraid she'd lost her voice and sight. But she could hear and respond through gestures."

"It was the sap that will cure her blindness and restore her voice that I went to..."

"Swiftly carry her on horseback to your town, I'll join you as soon."

Three days later, Abu's mother found her voice back and when her eyes opened she found herself in affluence.



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Feb 01, 2015
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Thank you
by: Kristina

Thank you to Ben for his submission from Nigeria. We appreciate the different writing styles and stories from across the globe!

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