Continuation from the last episode:
Queen Amara: (Smiled) That’s a perfect idea mama, make him mad if possible.
The Giant Queen: Turning him to an imbecile is the perfect fit for him.
Queen Amara: (Nodding her head) Okay mama, and please I don’t want it to look as if I was the one who did that to my son.
The Giant Queen: I know that Amara.
Queen Amara: Thank you Nne (The calabash cleared and Amara place it back under her bamboo bed.) Jidenna, you don’t know your mother. I warned you to stay clear off from Amaka and her ugly daughter but you wouldn’t listen. This will show you that in your next world Jidenna, when you have me as your mother you will listen to me (She slept off).
The Next Morning….
Cheta was seen coming back from the stream with Udu (water pot) on her head. She greeted those she sees heading to their various farmlands,
hunters and even those who also came to fetch water.
They ignored her greetings and pretended not to hear her. Those she had met on the stream moved away from her to the far edge of stream and ignored her.
Cheta didn’t care, she filled her water pot and headed straight home.
Reaching home she dropped the water pot she carried beside the others pots she had filled and went to sweep all the whole compound.
When she was through with her sweeping, she took her bath and started cooking breakfast she and her mother will eat. At her very young age, Amaka had taught her daughter everything. Cheta tried cooking for everyone in the palace once before but she was greatly insulted and humiliated by her step mother and her father, not to talk about the insults heaped on her by the palace maids. She was a princess but never treated as such. Ever since then, whenever she wanted to cook, she cooks for only she and her mother, at times her step brother do come and join them in eating.
So today wasn’t any different, she prepared egusi soup and pounded yam.
Her father had built a separate kitchen for them and another separate kitchen for her step mother to cook. She had also noticed her father doesn’t give her mother the kind of attention he gives to his second wife. She asked her mother if she was the reason why her father doesn’t care much about her.
Queen Amaka: (Sighs) Cheta my daughter, he changed ever since the day the gods told him not to kill you or throw you into the evil Forest. He just changed and doesn’t care about me or you, especially you my daughter. He is doing as if you are not his blood. I believe that one day, just one day, the gods will turn my story around, but no matter what Cheta, do not ever, ever in your beautiful life blame yourself for my predicament you found yourself in, inugo (you hear)?
Cheta: Thank you Nne, I was just sad thinking I am the cause of our problems. I noticed that people in this village doesn’t associate with you because of me.
Queen Amaka: Cheta, always bear it in mind that a lot of people won’t like you no matter how nice you are to them. But do not relent on doing good to others no matter the circumstances you find yourself in. All I know is that Chukwu, you see ChukwuOkike he sees everything and one day he will remember us.
Cheta: I hope so mama.
After she has finished preparing the pounded yam and Egusi, she went to wake up her mother and told her food is ready.
Queen Amaka quickly took her bath and Cheta swept the hut and arranged everywhere inside the hut. By the time she had set the raffle mat and their food and was waiting for her mother to come and join her, the sun was shining brightly.
Queen Amaka: (dressed in her queenly attire sat down on the raffle mat and opened the cover plates of food) so you prepared my favourite nne.
Cheta: Yes mama, I know you love pounded yam with Egusi soup a lot.
Queen Amaka: (Nodding her head and tasting the food) This soup is very sweet ooo Cheta.
Cheta: Mama, you taught me well. I take after your footsteps.
Queen Amaka: (Smiled) my beautiful Princess, the morning sun, this one is sweeter than mine. I know when you grow into a very pretty maiden in Ogidi village, you will have a lot of suitors coming for your hand in marriage. I can’t wait to see that day.
Cheta: (Smiling) Mama you are a good mother. In spite of the fact that I am ugly, you said things to brighten my spirit. Thank you ezigbo nne mu (my good mother).
Cheta started singing:
Nne m nne m oh ezigbo nne mu eh
Nne m nne m oh, nne m mara mma ewo
Nnem nne m oh ezigbo nne mu eh
chukwu biko nna mu gozie nne mu nye ya oganiru
Nne m a maa mma, obu nne mu eh Nne m a joo njo, obukwa nne mu ewo
Mu na nne m e se okwu obukwa nne mu eh chukwu biko nna mu gozie nne mu nye ya oganiru
My mother, my mother, my very good mother. My mother, my mother, my beautiful mother. My mother, my mother, my very good mother. God please my father bless my mother and make way for her.
If my mother is not fine, she is still my mother.
If my mother is too ugly, she is still my mother.
If my mother and I quarrel, she is still my mother.
God please my father bless my mother and make way for her.
Queen Amaka was just smiling and laughing with happiness as Cheta sings for her.
Unknown to the duo, Queen Amara was at her hut hearing them and heard Chetas song.
Queen Amara: (saying to herself) I will see to it that you don’t smile or hear that your miserable laugh again.
It was mid-day….
Jidenna who was coming back from one of his friends home greeted his father in the throne room and mother who was seen seated and discussing things with her husband.
Answering his greetings he walked past them and went to the hut of Queen Amaka and saw her plaiting Cheta’s hair.
Jidenna: (greeting Queen Amaka) Good afternoon Nne.
Queen Amaka: Afternoon my son.
Jidenna: (Sitting next to his step sister) Cheta, Nne (mother) is making you look more beautiful ooo.
Cheta: (blushing) You mean I am beautiful with the hair mama is making for me?
Jidenna: Yes my sister.
Queen Amaka: Your sister even prepared what I ate today Jidenna.
Jidenna: What did she prepared Nne?
Queen Amaka: My favourite of course Nna (son).
Jidenna: Your favourite? Gaa wetara m nri nke m ugbu a Cheta (Go and bring me my own food right now Cheta.)
Queen Amaka: I know you will ask, I kept some for you.
Jidenna: How do you expect me not to eat pounded yam and Egusi soup odiro (it’s not) possible.
Queen Amaka excused herself and went to bring a plate of pounded yam and Egusi soup and drop it in front of Jidenna. Cheta stood up and went to bring what he will use in washing his hands. Jidenna quickly wash his hands and started eating immediately.
Jidenna: (Shaking and nodding his head and licked his fingers and stopped eating) This is really good Nne, are you sure Cheta was the one who cook this delicacy?
Queen Amaka: Yes ooo.
Jidenna smiled and resumed eating, he was about to swallow the third pounded yam when it happened.
Jidenna suddenly fall down from where he was seated and started vibrating, thick spit started coming out of his mouth, his lips was bent and his two hands were shaking in the air.
The sudden shout of Queen Amaka draw the attention of everyone in the Palace including Igwe Ofordili and Queen Amara.
Igwe Ofordili rushed and saw the way his son was laying and turned to Amaka.
Igwe Ofordili: Amaka, what happened to my son? (The guards tried lifting the Prince up to his feet, they succeeded but he wasn’t normal any more.)
Queen Amaka: My husband I don’t know, Jidenna was eating the food I cooked and fall down and started behaving this way.
Queen Amara: Amaka you lied, you gave Jidenna your food and poison it to turn my son, the heir apparent to the throne of Ogidi to an imbecile. Chai Amaka what have I done to you? I warned my son, I warned Jidenna but he wouldn’t listen to me, now look.
Queen Amaka: (going to her knees) i swear to Amadioha, I did nothing to Jidenna. What will I gain if I made him like this. May the gods punish me if I have a hand in this, Jidenna is like my own son.
Igwe Ofordili didn’t say a word, he left and went to his throne room, he called one of the guards to call all the elders immediately.
The elders didn’t waste time in coming and Igwe Ofordili told them what happened.
They summoned Queen Amaka immediately.
Queen Amara came and sat next to the king greeting the elders.
Onowu: My Queen, the Igwe told us something and we called you here to confirm if it’s true or not. Did you turn your step son into an imbecile?
Queen Amaka: (Crying) My elders I greet you all.
Elder Udo: Hold your greeting and answer Onowu question.
Queen Amaka: I did not.
Elder Okoro: But he ate your food and your food turned him into an imbecile.
Queen Amaka: He ate my food but I didn’t put anything in the food. I don’t know what is wrong with him.
Elder Okeke: You are lying. The food was prepared by you and you gave him your food to eat. All evidence are pointing to you.
Queen Amaka: Believe me my elders, I did not do anything to Jidenna.
Queen Amara: It was Cheta who had cooked the food and not this witch. Both mother and daughter planned it all.
Queen Amaka: it wasn’t Cheta who cooked the food, it was I. I made the food not Cheta.
Onowu: You know the tradition of this village. You tried to kill your step son and you know we must abide to the tradition.
Queen Amaka: I am innocent, the gods knows that I am innocent.
Elder Okeke: Then redo what you did to your co wife son and your punishment shall be reduced.
Queen Amaka: I cannot harm Jidenna, he is like a son to me.
Igwe Ofordili: Enough of this, since you still have the guts to lie to our faces, we will treat you according to our traditions. A woman who tries to kill or harm her child or someone else’s child will be taken around the whole Village naked and after that will be…
Cheta came and knelt down.
Cheta: (Crying) Papa, forgive mama, she didn’t do do that to Jidenna.
Igwe Ofordili: Shut that your ugly mouth up. Who asked you to come here? Guards take this ugly disgusting thing away from here and take Amaka around the whole village naked, after that take her to the evil Forest and behead her. That is our tradition.
C.H.E.T.A ( I Am Not Ugly)