The Feather of Glory (Novella )

Posted: February 16, 2015 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in David Aoloch
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By David Aoloch Bion

Chapter One

Madut Kuol was the only boy among the girls. The rest of the boys had died in their infancies. Under these mournful circumstances, his father Kuol Madut (in the Riet Clan tradition, the son is named after his grand father) had entrusted him to the most powerful god in Akoi Village-the Spear of Melar or Ringdit in local mouth. The grand father Ringdit as he is sacredly known gave a divine order to the father and the mother of the boy that their son’s hair had never to be shaved all throughout his childhood.

“Shave but leave three small rings of hair at three corners of his head” Ringdit recommended. “One at the left side corner, one at the right side corner and one in the middle. Bring him to my shrine when the new moon appears” Ringdit added.

“By the snake bite, we shall obey your words” Akur Swore

“Long live my grandfather Ringdit” the father of Madut acclaimed cheerfully as he looked down to avoid eye-to-eye contact with his god

“ if his cow is milked, the boy shall pour down some milk and he can drink his milk” Ringdit said

“Do as I say, the boy will stay well and grow well” Ringdit assured his ants (the people in the village are ants before Ringdit). “You boy if  you are leaving, you shall pick fifteen pieces of an elephant grass from my hut, every morning you shall throw one piece away. When all the grass pieces will have finished, that is a time to come back” the god explained as he tapped the boys head. “You my wife (all women in the village are Ringdit’s Wives) you must shave the boys head and smear with white sorghum flour before he will come back” Ringdit advised.

“Long live my grand father!” Akur Wel, the mother of the boy said in a cheerful way

“Long live Mayom Piny! Long live our chief, long live our protector! Long live the rain bringer! Anything you said is what you said, Kuol chanted many names of the god-Ringdit.

“I have brought for you a small long tailed one” Kuol announced to Ringdit. He described the big bull he had offered to Ringdit as a small one because Ringdit is the one who has big things and is the one who gives big gifts either. Ringdit was satisfied with the bull and he expressed his gratitude by giving a lasso to Kuol meaning that his cattle would increase in number. Ringdit sent his service-ant to collect the bull that was haltered out side the shrine. Kuol, his wife and son left in amazing mood.

In their home, both Kuol and Akur were deeply concerned with social conditions and physical health of their son. They had to remind him to return to the shrine for the ritual he was entrusted for. If he arrives at the shrine he would run around the hut many times and he would pass between the legs of service-ant or the magician of Ringdit under Ringdit, the grand father holly shadow Madut had been growing up healthily and had become strong in the flesh, in the bone and in the muscle.

In this cattle-rearing community, if a boy had grown up like that, he had defined duties-these duties included collecting, crushing, drying and burning cow-dung to give out smoke as repellent of mosquitoes, flies, and other insects that would bite cattle. He must know each cow lasso and stick for tying it on in there herd of probably more than a hundred cattle.  He must learn cleaning gourd and milking cows. He must perform women’s duties before achieving a status of being initiated to adulthood. Madut learnt these tasks instantly. He was principled boy. Whenever he was playing the “Don’t laugh game” with his friends he would never have a victim until the game finished. In the game, a humorous boy could narrate the finniest story and no body should laugh, if you laugh, you have broken the rules of game and you are punished by scratching with fingers until you cry. If Madut is asked why he didn’t laugh during the game, “what I think and I intend to do it, I just do it” Madut replied.

“How do you control in your feeling” his friend inquired.

“Leave your talk like the talk of women, the characteristic inside the man is not easily understood” Madut scared away his friend. His friends started fearing him so much. One day Madut stepped on the toe of a girl, the girl said “Why has he stepped on my toe this bad boy whose teeth like the teeth of crocodile”.

“Why do you abuse me, I am beating you now”. Madut threatened

“Go away, you coward who feared his teeth being removed” The girl said. On the following Morning Madut with his friend went to the one who removed teeth. Their teeth were removed. One boy cried in their group.

One afternoon Madut and his group were grazing calves; it had happened that Madut wrestled with one of the boys, he threw down the boy, the boy’s arm fractured instantly. The boy Malek Lim ran quickly to his parents crying terribly.

“What is it?” His mother questioned him.

“Madut” he said

“What has he done?”

“We were wrestling with him, my arm is broken”.

“Dog! What do you say we shall do?” His mother protested with a long jeering.

“Weak, go back, make revenge, and wrestle”

“My step wife, why are you doing that? Do you see the boy is dying said the neighbour who intervened and persuaded the mother who was angry to stop the revenging tone. “Console your son first” The woman continued.

Lim, the father of arm fractured son came and attacked Kuol Madut, but the community elders stopped him.

“Don’t fight, we are one people” one of the elders said. “Don’t involve in children affairs’ he advised Kuol and Lim.

“The boys are from family branches of one tree” Another elder said.

The case was brought the clan chief. The chief said that it was a children affair no much to be discussed. It is only Lim who have a great part in the problem. “I will just say one comment and Lim will look into it. It is an accident Lim so there is no fine-no compensation” The chief said.

“No, no, this is not an accident” Lim refused. As a result, a chief passed the fine verdict. The chief fined Madut with six cows as compensation for an arm breaking.

Kuol Madut had many beautiful daughters who were married by rich men that had given him dozens of cattle herds. On the account of this great wealth of cattle, he behaved arrogantly. Because of six cow fine on his son he composed the following song.

Madut my son

You‘re wise

You’re a son of fox

Madut my only son

You’re brave,

You’re a son of cheetah or Leopard

Madut my only son

You’re strong

You’re a son of Lion

Madut my only son

Do whatever

Good or bad, foolish or wise

Any responsibility I fully take

Cattle I have

Giving out, I will do!

For about month Madut didn’t go to play with his friends. Community elders asked him and Madut said that his father warned him not to play with the Riet clan boys any more. His uncle said how he would stay away from the community; he should go and play with them. Madut started playing. When the boys requested him to play, “You are the ones who wants to play with me and if any thing happens later, the community would blame that I am the one who troubled you” Madut complained. Some of the boy says “we are witnesses, if anything went wrong we shall defend your back”. So Madut agreed and went into the game. The game was a spearing of one another. The boys divided themselves into two groups and they started spearing with long shrub sticks. Madut was very sharp and accurate in spearing. He didn’t spear earth. Immediately during the game, he speared one of the boy’s eyes. An eye of the boy dropped down like a broken egg. All the boys ran away. An eye-fallen boy ran to his father

“What gored your eye?” the father of the boy asked.

“Madut”, the boy answered.

“Good. His father will not forget. I will do to him what a he-goat kid never does to its mother” Ajong the father of the boy said.

Ajong moved secretly and silently to Kuol the father of Madut and gored out his eye. The case was taken to the chief and the elders. It was found from witnesses that Madut was not guilty, because he was persuaded by other boys. There was no good game without Madut one of the boys said. The chief said all the boys who were playing would contribute cows to compensate of Ajong’s son, and Ajong would compensate Kuol’s eye. Kuol said that he did want bloody-cattle among his herd, and walked away with his son Madut.

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