Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Having saved enough money for the dowry, he one day joined his mother in her hut. He told her that he wanted to marry Satu. She could not believe her ears. She gazed at the roof, surprised.
“Did I hear you mention Satu’s name? That daughter of a blacksmith!” she said.
“yes, mother. What’s wrong with that?”” he asked.
She walked out of the hut, wallowing in anger. Her son joined her outside. He wondered why she became angry. “Have I offended you?” he told her.
“Ebou, you are still a child. Let’s get in and I will explain things to you, “she said. They walked into the hut. “Did I hear you mention that you want to marry Satu? That daughter of a blacksmith?” she repeated.
“yes, mother. Is there anything wrong?” he wanted to know.
“yes,” she started. ”Blacksmiths burn everything that comes their way. Luck, fortune, and progress they burn. And on top of that, you will never progress if you marry a daughter of a blacksmith.I don’t want to hear that you want to marry Satu. That will only happen over my dead body. Shame! Your father must have been annoyed in his grave.”
He was astonished when he heard this .How could she say all this about blacksmiths? He wondered. But he knew the type of person his mother was. She meant whatever she said. He had to convince her.
“Please, mother, you are now old. Women your age are no longer doing domestic work. They are helped by their daughters-in-law. Honestly, I want you to have a rest,” he added.
“But that does not mean that you should marry a daughter of a blacksmith,” she said.
“I love her, I have already given her my heart. This is what you should understand,” he said.
She became more annoyed. “If you want you can give her your entire soul, but you are not going to marry her. Get out!” she shouted.
This was a problem,he told himself .But what could he do? Couldn’t he forget about the marriage?
He walked out of his mother’s hut and went into his. He lay on his bed, looking at the roof. “I will not give up. I must marry Satu,” he told himself.
One evening, as he was coming from his farm, he ran into a friend of his. They exchanged greetings.” I wanted to see you,” he told his friend.
“It’s alright. Let’s go and sit under that tree,” Ngorr, his friend, said.They sat, facing each other. He told Ngorr the problem he had with his mother. ”I understand,” Ngorr said. “The old generation is like that. Those are unfounded. There is nothing wrong being a blacksmith. It is a profession. Ebou, I understand how you feel. Be patient. And after all, she is your mother. Try and convince her. You will succeed in the end.”
“I told her why I want to marry her but she wouldn’t understand. She is difficult to convince. The thing is this what she says is final,” said Ebou. His friend wished him success and left.
Ebou became confused when he visited Satu, who asked him to join her in her mother’s hut. “Tell me, Ebou. If you are not interested anymore in marrying me, voice it out. It is wrong to treat me like this. In fact my parents have two minds about you. They said you are not serious and that you are wasting my time. You see, a cousin of mine has asked for my hand in marriage. His uncle came here yesterday and spoke to my parents. Please, Ebou, do something,” she was heard saying. He nearly burst into tears. Was he losing her ? He would never tell her the reason for the delay.
“Sometimes you just want to kill yourself and end it all. This is a crazy world,” he said.
“You must do something,” she repeated.
“Please, Satu,”he was now appealing. “Be patient with me. It is just a matter of time, but I will marry you. Tell your parent.”
“How many years more do I have to wait?” she asked. He promised that they will get married soon. His mother one day visited her elder sister in another village. As they were chatting, she told her Ebou’s intention. Her sister held her mouth in astonishment, not believing her ears.” What’s wrong with him?” she had started.“Marrying a daughter of a blacksmith! Does he know the implication? Our ancestors never associated themselves with blacksmiths, for they burn the part to success. If he marries her, that would be the disintegration of our clan. May God forbid that. Association with blacksmiths causes backwardness, disaster, calamity and hardship. He should not mix his blood with hers because her blood is bad. May God save us.”
“Touching their blood means hell. The marriage will only take place over my dead body,” added Ebou’s mother. Ebou’s aunt, Bintu, went straight to Satu’s home. She found her chatting with her parents near her father’s workshop. Bintu did the normal greeting and was later given a seat.
“We have not seen you for a long time, Bintu. What is your mission?” Satu’s father, Wally, said.
“I came to inform you that my nephew, Ebou, will not marry your daughter. Ebou is from a noble family. In fact, you know that his great- grand father was the king of this region. You also know that his great- grandfather had fought many wars and won them,” Bintu told Satu’s father.
“Yes, there is no dispute about that,” Wally said.
“You also know that since Ebou is from a noble family, he cannot marry a daughter of a blacksmith because it causes backwardness. We are from a noble clan and we should not associate ourselves with blacksmiths and anything that has to do with blacksmiths. We are the descendants of a royal family and our blood is pure,” said Bintu.
Satu could not believe what she heard; she wept bitterly. Her mother started to console her.”But mother, it is Ebou that I love,” Satu said, still crying.” I want to marry him.”
“May God forbid that! Ebou will never, never marry you. He is not your match. A descendant of a royal family cannot marry a daughter of a blacksmith. Oh! The world has turned upside down,” Bintu shouted.
“I have heard you well, Bintu. As a blacksmith, I respect my profession. This is how I earn a living and I am proud of being a blacksmith. Being a descendant of a royal family means nothing to me,” Satu’s father said.
“You, Satu, Ebou will never marry you. The blood of a slave is running in your body,” Bintu said, pointing at Satu. She then returned home. Satu cried her heart out.
Wally had tied the knot between Satu and Amat who had asked for her hand in marriage. The wedding ceremony was well attended. People from the neighbouring villages could be seen alighting from horse – drawn carts to witness the wedding. There was drumming, dancing and singing. Food was in abundance.
Satu felt that justice was not done to her. She had been deprived of the man she loved dearly. How could she marry a man she never loved? she asked herself. She cried, cried and cried.
Ebou was engulfed by sadness, annoyance and bitterness when he heard that another man had married his fiancée. He could not believe it. He had lost the battle, he thought.
At her matrimonial home, Satu would not cooperate with her husband. She decided not to share the same bed with her husband. She would rather spend the night on a mat on the floor.
“Why are you treating me like this?” her husband asked her one night.
“Because I don’t love you. You know that I was never happy when you asked for my hand in marriage. I will make sure that you will never be happy while we live together,” Satu told him.
Amat, Satu’s husband, visited his father-in- law and complained about his wife. Satu’s father was not happy at all. He summoned his daughter and advised her to be patient with her husband.
“You see, I have married your mother for thirty years now and she has been always obedient. She would not do anything that would offend me. Satu, go back home and treat your husband nicely so that when you bear children, God will bless them,” Satu’s father said.
But Satu did not pay head to what her father had advised her. Things got worst at home. She made life miserable for her husband, who had no alternative but to divorce her.
One day Ebou ran into Satu who informed him that her husband had divorced her. He could not believe his ears. Happiness engulfed him.” But how can my mother consent to my marrying Satu? “he told himself while he was on his way home.
As days passed, Ebou’s mother complained that she was not feeling well. Her illness was getting worse as she moaned in agony. He stood before her, tears rolling down his cheeks. He rushed her to the hospital where he was told that she lacked blood and might lose her life. He offered to donate her some blood but his did not match with hers and as a result, it was not possible. He could not stand it when he saw the way his mother was suffering. What could he do to save her, he thought. And in the ward, he marched to and fro, confused.
When Satu heard that she was admitted, she visited her and found Ebou there.” She needs some blood. They have tested mine but it does not match with hers,” he told her.
“Let them test mine,” she said. And when they tested hers, it matched with that of the patient’s. It was through this very blood that Ebou’s mother recovered. She was then discharged.
” It is Satu who donated you blood,” Ebou told his mother.
“Do you mean she’s the one who has saved my life?” Ebou’s mother asked.
“Yes,” he said.
“You will marry her, “the old woman said.
Ebou’s aunt, Bintu, and his mother visited Satu’s parents. Bintuapologised to them for looking down upon them. Ebou’s mother thanked Satu for saving her life.
At last! Ebou and Satu got married.
Author: Dawda Faye, Author, The Broken Reed