Diamond in the Forest


© Amah

Remi walked into her grandmother’s hut with a pot of water secured on her head, her grandma wasn’t around, she brought down the water from her head and poured it into another pot
She walked to the backyard shouting her grand mother’s name, the old woman who was picking firewood in a nearby bush hærd somebody shouting and knew it must be Remi her granddaughter, so she called back asking her to come down to where she was
Remi got to where her grandmother was and saw her gathering sticks for fire, she greeted
“Eku ale iya iya… (Good evening grandma)
“Eka abo, omo omo mi obirin to rewa (welcome my beautiful granddaughter)
“You praise me too much iya…, I was wondering where you might be this evening when I came in and you left your door open again…
“There is nothing in the house that can be stolen, you know I always leave my door open…be it when I’m far or near…anybody that wants to steal should go right ahead…that’s if they see anything to even steal…
Remi joined her to gather the sticks, which will serve as a firewood
“mi oria lana o (I did not see you yesterday)
“alo si afin lati jo (we went to the palace to dance)
Ooh…I remember….how was the dance
“it was good…but the princess has not make any pick yet, they only ask few of us to write down our names and few other things about us, they want to do a background check before anyone could be taken…
“I remember when I was young…I use to be the best dancer in those days…we will dance from the market square to the king’s palace….i was never tired…without me the dance group is not complete they will wait until I arrive and I’m always stationed in the front…I danced so well and almost ended up with the king’s son but my father refused because I was already betrothed to be married to your grandfather and your grandfather was a good man, tall and handsome, he was guard in the king’s palace and later became a hunter before he died…
“You must have loved him very much Iya… to have turned down a wh0le Arimo’s (prince) proposal…
“I didn’t turn it down because he did not come straight to me, he sent somebody to my father to inquire about me, and my father told them that I was betrothed, and if I was asked to chose him and your grandfather, I will chose your grandfather over again, I would have said no to the prince because he was already married with two wives, I would have ended up as his third wife, but your grandfather was never married and did not marry again after me, even after child bearing was difficult for me, it took us time to conceive your mother, I even advice your grandpa to take another wife who will bear him children but he refused and I later got pregnant with your mother. Whenever he comes back from hunting back then he will call me “Arewa…oko re ti pada si ile (Arewa, your husband has returned) wa, je ka jo (come let’s dance) hahahaha..he was always saying that whenever he comes back and I will dance to make him happy before bringing his meal, he like ewedu and amala that was his favourite…his death was so painful that I still feel lost in my own thought just imagining myself dancing for him and cooking his favourite food with bush meat…I miss him…you were little when he died so you didn’t get to really know him but he was a good man and also strong too…
“Iya you truly love grandpa, is sad that I didn’t get to eat any of those bush meat he caught…please show me how you dance in those days
Remi watch her grandma laugh before dropping the sticks in her hands, she started singing one of those old song and throwing her legs and wa-ist, Remi was clapping and also laughing while her grandma dance , she was filled with live and was still strong even at old age, she later stopped
“how is your mother…
“she is fine Iya Iya…she was peeling cassava with Dami, my brother, which she plan to use for fufu…she is not so active like you…what was her childhood like
“hmmm…she use to be very lively when she was growing up, despite she wasn’t a good dancer and hærdly associate with people but she was a good child, she loved your father but the gods did not bless them with a child on time, they waited for years before you father decided to marry iya Nike, it was during then your mother found out she was pregnant with you and within months Iya Nike also conceived but your mother gave birth to you first, your father loved your mother but he died unfortunately , your brother was still small then , his death was unexpectedly but I know who is responsible but is all in the past, je ki ife olorun se (let God’s will be done) Olorun a se idajo won (God will judge)
The old woman pause and watch as Remi pulled at a dry stick which was stuck on the ground, she smile and shakes her head
“ma se je ole (don’t be lazy) wun pelu agbara re (pull it hærd) you are stronger than you think Oluwaremilekun, you are just like me when I was at your age, a beautiful dancing strong girl, you are not like your mother because she easily get into battle with emotions, she is so emotional, and like keeping to herself…you have power…you don’t know how much power you have until the time comes, and when the time comes make sure you use it well and for good thing, no matter what people may do don’t allow evil to take over you or it will be disastrous…but with what I see in your eyes I know you will be pulled down by anger and revenge because that’s your only weakness…
“jo,rora maa soro Iya Iya ( please speak more slowly grandma) Ko ye mi (I don’t understand) just tell me what you mean, you usually say strange things like this to me anytime I come around but I seriously don’t understand
“oti ya to ju (you are very special) oni agbara omo omo obirin trewa (you have power my beautiful granddaughter) you will not understand now until the time comes (gbakele mi) believe me, mmm…ohun gbogbo yo dara (it will be alright)
“my step mum hates us, Nike fought me again yesterday on our way back from the dance…she said I wanted to take Leja from her, Oba esho, (kings guard) the one I spoke to you the last time that want me, but I don’t want him, I don’t feel anything for him, I have explained myself severally but she doesn’t believe me, after the dance yesterday Leja came to me…just to congratulate me …that I dance so well and on our way home Nike refuses to talk to me, and she really dance well too, I thought her and I was glad to see her doing fine, when we got close to the house she started calling me names an
d she sometimes calls Mami bad names and I don’t like that…if I complain to her mother…she will support Nike…I just wish Leja will even leave me alone…and go for Nike…I’m tired of the constant fight between us, when I thought we are getting along she will just switch into another mood…unexpectedly, sh…
“otitu (is okay) is not Nike’s fault…is her mother…iyawo babai koirira iya re (your step mother hates your mother) oburu gan (she is very wicked) I pray to the gods to guide you because history is about to repeat itself but in a total different way, ohunkohun ti eniyan ba gbin ni o maka. (Whatsoever a man sow so shall he reap) Olorun a se idajowon (God will judge).
They kept talking until they finished gathering the firewood, Remi tired it up and carried it to her grandma’s hut, she set the fire before coming to meet the grandma who was seated outside the hut
“What do you want to cook, let me help you and prepare it
“egusi ati eba ( melon soup with cassava meal) check in,side the basket that is hanged over the fire place you will see everything in there and remember to tell your mother to give you some fufu (cassava meal) so that you can bring for me, I like the way she prepares her fufu, I don’t have strength this days to make mine, maybe whenever you are free you can come and help me prepare mine, I just finished the last one you made for me with ewedu soup
After Remi finished cooking she ate with her grandma before returning back to her house
She thought of what her grand mother had said earlier while she lay at her mat in the night, she wondered what she meant by history was about to repeat itself but in a different way, Remi thought of Leja being a guard and her grandfather was also a guard before he became a hunter, does it mean she will end up with Leja who she doesn’t feel anything for, the prince ones fell for her grandmother but she was already betrothed to be married,
“but the prince doesn’t even know if I exist, he doesn’t know me, even if he does am only a commoner, there’s nothing to my name, the Prince has his league and class of royal women, I don’t belong and I’m comfortable in my world, somebody like me can not even get close to him, there are other good dancers among the maidens of the land not just me” Remi thought within herself
She knows her grandmother has some strange power and she usually say things she doesn’t understand, she is believed to be a diviner, she was close to her grandmother than her mother, all the things she said rings in her ear that night until she fell asleep.
The following morning Leja and his guard came to inform her that she was chosen to be the princess personal maid and Nike was among the four girls chosen to work for the princess in the palace, but Remi was going to be her personal maid which makes her higher than the other maidens, she will serve the princess for three years and also live in the palace for this period of time.
The prince asked Leja about the strange beautiful girl that caught his attention but Leja did not give much details to him, he was not happy that the Prince has eye for Remi, the beautiful maiden that he loves,
He will do anything to make sure the Prince will not have her, Remi was coming to live in the palace he wondered how he will prevent her from seeing the Prince, he wanted to have Remi all to himself and doesn’t want anybody competing with him on that, not even the Prince.
The Prince hærd that the young maiden that caught his attention has being picked to become his sister’s personal maid, he was already thinking of how he will see her again until the news broke out, the prince was really happy as he looked forward to having Remi all to himself.
 To be continued… 
NEXT  (episode 3)                                                                               PREVIOUS (episode 2)

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