THE LION HAS EATEN GRASS 1

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Adebisi the Prince of Ilaro land paced in his room angrily. Garbed in his agbada, he looked like a clown performing a stage show. His anger was not because he thought he could not have Abike, but because of the guts the chief priest and council of chief had to defile him. That was his pain, how dare they? A knock interrupted his thoughts and he angrily turned to the door.

“Who is there?”
“My prince,” a young gangly guard came in and bowed to him. “The chief priest is asking for you.”
“Tell him to wait for me.”

“He said…”

“Tell him to wait for me!”

The guard hurriedly left and Prince Adebisi sat on his chair and wiped the perspiration from his face with the back of his hand. Then suddenly he burst into laughter, a cynical kind of laughter. Who would dare defy Adebisi? He sprang up and left his chamber and went straight to where the chief priest was waiting for him.

“Chief priest,” he said with an air of arrogance, still wearing a small smile on his face. “I hope you are here to tell me what rites need to be performed for my marriage?” The Prince sat on a chair and stretched his right leg on a stool in front of him.

“Your highness,” the chief priest barely gave a nod. “I am here to tell you that the time is nearing for you to take a wife so we can perform the coronation ceremony.”

The Prince looked at the chief priest’s face, the long white beard, but darkened with what he was sure was dye. He noticed the wrinkled face and the matching tribal marks on both cheek. It reminded him of a Cheetah he had seen in the bush when he went hunting with his father, and then he began laughing.

The Chief priest stared at the young Prince and shook his head.

“Chief priest, I never knew you crack jokes, the gods might me so mighty to have blessed you with more talents apart from telling lies.” He said the last part quietly.

“This is no joke your highness, you need…”

“But you are aware I have chosen a wife.”

“A wife you cannot have.”

“Says who?”

“Says the gods.”

“And who are the gods anyways?” The Prince stood up suddenly. “The gods we made?”

The chief priest was shocked to hear such words and was silent for a while.

“Chief priest kindly leave my palace, I will call you and the council of elders when I am ready for the rites to be performed.”

The chief priest looked at the retreating back of the Prince. “The fly that refuses to hear word will soon…”

“Yea yea,” the Prince waved him away. “I know I know, will soon follow the corpse to the grave, and the chief priest that refuses to hear word will soon cease to be a chief priest.” With that he banged the door at the startled chief priest, who then turned on his heels and left.

Prince Adebisi was the only child of late Oba Adegbenga 11 of Ilaro land. Up until his illness and death, the late king had upheld the land with strictness, but the people loved him still, for he had done his duty as a king wholeheartedly. He had trained his son with the same iron hand, but it turned out that Prince Adebisi was not really starting on the right foot. The chief priest and the council of chief feared for him and their land. They feared his ways may lead to their destruction. They prayed he doesn’t bring them to their doom.

That same evening, Prince Adebisi sent for Abike his maiden he intended to marry. She came, beautiful as usual, adorned with waist beads and the brightest of smile. Her dark skin shone brightly in his chamber and her succulent skin begged to be caressed. But he held himself, he knew of course it was a taboo to lay with the woman he intend to marry before the rites are performed. So he took hold of her hands as they sat on his bed and stared at each other.

“My fairest Abike, your beauty never ceases to amaze me.”

“Your highness,” Abike shyly lowered her eyes. “You just shower me with words, I’m not fair.”

The Prince laughed, but not mockingly. He laughed at her innocence, even of poetry. “Your dark is fair to me.”

Abike looked up and she couldn’t help admiring the Prince’s face, it was so sweet to behold. It was smooth and she was sure soft and velvety like the skin of an infant. She wanted to cress it, but she knew boundaries and knew it must not be crossed. She didn’t know why she couldn’t marry the Prince. Her parents were saying a lot of things that were jargons to her. But the Prince promised to take care of things and soon they would be together. That thought both scared and excited her. In as much as she wanted the Prince badly- who wouldn’t want a Prince, heir to a kingdom? She couldn’t defy the gods. So she hoped he did right.

The Prince was kissing her palm and she almost withdrew it shyly.

“I can’t wait to make you my queen,” he stood up and helped her up and then led them outside. “Come let me send gifts to your parents.”

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