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Sons of the gods #3

Continued from #2

By Mutebi Wilson

“So, what happened next Grandpa? Did the sons have to break a rock? Or fetch water from  a basket?”

“My boy, those were tasks of endurance. Kintu had to come up with tasks of cleansing”

“Shwenkuru, there you go again, confusing me with riddles” the little boy sighed dramatically.

“This is no riddle boy. When your mother treats your wound, she first rinses it with water, exposing the damage before applying the herbs. Kintu had to do the same”

That morning, he sat on a large rock, with his staff resting on the nape of his neck. It was a morning of endless chores and with some unexpected luck, he had accomplished everything in time. Exhaustion seeped into his bones ,reminding him that the years of youth were long gone. But, that was the least of his worries.

His face wrinkled in thought as the details for his son’s tasks ran through his mind. 

“Today is the day,” he muttered to himself.

“Father, father!” a cry came from behind him.

Kintu turned as he withdrew the staff from his shoulders and looked at the new arrival. Kano the third,panting in exhaustion.

“What is it Kano?” he asked curiously.

Kano bent with his hands on his knees. Kintu could see beads of sweat had formed on his son’s forehead. He anxiously waited as Kano caught his breath.

Eventually,the young man stood  to answer his father. He was not breathing heavily anymore,though he still had to take a breath every after a second or two.

“Father,” he managed to gasp, “One of the cows is dying.”

At the mention of the word die, Kintu’s eyes went wide, almost popping out of their sockets. 

He walked slowly towards Kano whose legs quivered due to his father’s reaction. The look on his face could only be described as a mixture of anger and anguish. He had never seen his father in such a state before.

“What have you just said?” he demanded.

“One… One… One of the cows is dying?” Kano stammered.

The two marched through the compound of the house to the kraal that could be found a few meters away. The rest of the boys and the servants stood around something in the middle of it,murmuring amongst each other.

On noticing the crowd, adrenaline took over the old man. He threw away the staff and ran towards the disturbing circle. His servants did not dally. He had made sure to put this point across several times. 

His youngest son followed him with swift short steps. He flung the wooden door of the kraal with so much force, that it broke off its hinges with a crack that caught the  attention of the onlookers and the murmuring stopped instantly.

He paved his way through the small crowd,everyone giving him way. No one wanted to intentionally face the wrath of Kintu.  In the middle,he found his beloved cow,her eyes wild, trying and failing to stand, and with foam gathered around her mouth.

“What has happened to you?”, he whispered as he knelt down to caress her hide.

Tears formed in his eyes,and his heart sunk.The situation was even worse than he had anticipated. His beloved cow with which he had walked on the face of the earth as a lone-man was dying. By winning the favour of Gulu, he had acquired a lot of wealth but this cow was his greatest possession. It was the only remaining mark  from his past.

Kintu continued to stroke her hide, murmuring re-assurances to ease the pain in her last moments.

It was not long before he was joined by Nambi, her entrance to the kraal, announced by the murmurs that had begun to emerge among the servants once again. All this, Kintu did not notice until he felt her hands wrap around his shoulders. He liked the warmth of her embrace but even that was not enough to lighten the situation.

He did not know what had happened to his cow but whatever was happening showed that his sons were partly responsible. Judging by his wife’s actions, he knew that he was not far from the answer. He just needed to confirm who exactly it was.

“What happened?” he croaked. His voice laced with unshed tears.

Nambi withdrew her hands upon realizing that her embrace was not helping the situation at all. Kintu stood up quietly and looked at her. His veins were popping out of his face and his eyes were red. 

“I told Kano to go get water for the cow but he did not go.”

He turned, and faced his sons with a cold gaze. They stood together, dumb-founded. No one had anything to say.

“I thought it was him,” said Kano the first,pointing to the second. The second, pointed to the first and repeated his elder’s statement. Kano the third looked as though he was lost of a reply. He slowly lifted his hand, directed his gaze to the eldest and pointed at him.

“Well played,” said Kintu, “I do not know who is responsible but one of these days, I will be able to tell.”

 He got his wife’s arm by the wrist and pulled her closer to himself urging her to walk with him. She followed him and after going a short distance from their sons, they paused and faced each other.

“It is time,” Kintu whispered to her, ” It’s now or never.”

Nambi, with a slight nod acknowledged her husband’s plan. The fate of her sons was to be determined that very day.

TO BE CONTINUED

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Written by The Muchwezi (3)

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