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The Story of Oba Bojuri and The Strange Woman

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Long time ago, in the land of Asese yoorun , there lived an Oba , Oba Bojuri. He was a warrior Oba and very powerful. The land prospered during his reign and his subjects loved him. But he had one weakness…

As was the custom, Ifa was consulted regularly to know if there were any unforeseen problems and the sacrifices to offer to avoid such problems. Fagbemi, the land’s Ifa priest, was summoned to the palace to do the consultation. Oba Bojuri and some of his chiefs were present. Fagbemi brought out his divination articles: opon Ifa, iyere-osun

and opele, spread iyere-osun on opon Ifa and chanted: ’Ifa olookun , the wisest of all deities. He who knows all, we come to you. Illuminate what is hidden from us mortals.’ Fagbemi threw the opele on the opon Ifa, hesitated, spread the opele with his right hand and sighed. ‘Hmm. What is revealed is disturbing kabiesi ,’ he said. ‘Words cannot be so big to cut it with a knife. Tell us what you see’, Oba Bojuri said. ‘Ifa says a strange woman will come to the land and cause your death, kabiesi,’ Fagbemi said. ‘Strange woman? My death’? Oba Bojuri asked. ‘Yes kabiesi. Ifa says you should offer a sacrifice of a ram and plenty of kola nuts to avert this calamity.’ Oba Bojuri smiled superciliously and said: ‘Fagbeemii, what can a woman do to a king like me’? He continued: ‘Have you forgotten so soon my days as a fearsome warrior. Who could dare me? ... ‘But kabiesi…’ No buts Fagbemi. You may leave.’ Fagbemi packed his things, bowed in respect to Oba Bojuri and left. Hmm…

Not long after, a woman came to the land. What a beauty! Moderate height, hazel eyes, fair-complexioned, sonorous voice… She was a head turner. As custom demanded, she went to the king’s palace to pay homage.

‘Who are you’? Asked Oba Bojuri.

‘My name is Arewa and I’m a trader’, she replied. On her knees, head bowed.

‘Look up. Where do you intend to stay’? Do you have a friend here’?

‘No, my king. I don’t have a place for now’?

‘You stay in my palace then.’...

They got married. Arewa and Oba Bojuri became inseparable; she became the favourite of his oloris . She was indulged; Oba Bojuri gave her whatever she wanted. One afternoon, in the Oba’s chamber, she told her husband she wanted only meat as her meals thenceforth. She had become kolokolo. The flesh eater! Oba Bojuri said she could take from any animals in the palace. Who dared complain?

When she finished all the animals in the palace, Oba Bojuri spent so many cowries buying goats for her meals without complaints till there was a large hole in his pocket. He was ruined! What could he do…’What can I do’, he thought. He had to satisfy her…

There was news that a leopard had been killing the goats in the land. Fear swept through the land. All efforts to protect their goats failed. The case was taken to Oba Bojuri who decreed that the land’s powerful hunters should form a vigilante group to patrol the land every night. Hmm…goats were still missing! Something drastic had to be done. Patrol was intensified until one night…the moon was dim…

There was a goat tied to a tree in the market square; a bait. The hunters hid…they waited… the moon was dim…something approached…the hunters stifled their breaths… dane guns at the ready. It pounced! What? The leopard! The goat shrilled and…Boom! Boom! There were gunshots, the leopard shrieked in pain and fell. As the hunters approached it, it stood and ran leaving a trail of blood behind it.

The hunters followed the blood; it led them to the palace. The sky was bright when they got there and they saw people gathered round something, wailing. What could it be? The leopard of course! The hunters thought. Paga! What they saw was heart-rending! It was half-human half-beast. Half-Oba Bojuri half-leopard! Breathing painfully, the half-human half-beast said he had been using charms to change to a leopard to hunt animals for Arewa. He continued: ‘My people, this is what arrogance and fornication had done to me. Learn from me.’ His breath stopped. What a shame! They looked for Arewa. She had run away.

It is said that a dog that would get lost would not hear the hunter’s whistle.

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