Forests: Nature At Your Service (Grandfather Story)

Stories my grandfather told me are countless but how he once proved the blood of warriors flowed in his veins, I can never forget. On a cloudy afternoon when his father, my great grandfather, took a journey to the realm of the dead, tens of lightning sparkled in the sky heralding a worthy son. My grandfather became the new village doctor; he inherited the beaded staff and the tons of herbs in the forests. He would then call up the benign spirit that breathes in the leaves to heal the sick.
On a sunny day as he walked among the shrubs to get leaves for ritual, he saw Chief Sekere and a light skinned man from the Northern tribe talking seriously. They stood in the forbidden forest of the village pointing fingers at its interspersed branches. He wanted to walk away but he summoned courage to ask what they wanted in such sacred jungle. They mocked him wondering how uncivilized he was with thick medicinal herbs he carried. Grandfather knew what Chief Sekere could do as he had trampled on all revered traditions and the gods in rare display have not struck him dead. Now, he is about to sell trees from the forbidden forest of the gods – the dense cover that housed trees and numerous nameless birds.
Grandfather walked back home quietly wondering how traditions were crumbling fast. As he lay on his bed, he recessed in deep thoughts. He stood up and found the beaded spear with jangling cowries. He was visibly angry like a thousand of spirits pushed him to kill for their sake. He took a quick dash to the forbidden forest wanting to thrust the metal into Chief Sekere loins. He was lost in deep incantation ready to preserve tradition and cause the gods to smile on him.
As he made across the river, people ran off the pathway wondering if he was mad or deeply involved in a ritual. It was the sight of his surging body and how he trampled on shrubs like a warrior that feared Chief Sekere who sighted him afar. Sekere and the buyer ran for their lives. As he got to the site where they were negotiating the price of sacred trees of the village, he heaved heavily with the mighty gush of wind hitting him.
I later asked him where the preserved forests were. I wanted to catch a glimpse. His sunken bloody eyes were heavy with tears. At evening, in a sagged frame, bending on a walking stick, he took me what his villagers had made the forbidden forest. It was no longer what it was. Few tall trees scattered around and he marveled how man had crushed the tents of the gods. Two men in white regalia were dancing in the lean forest. He wondered if their own gods listen and why did it not stop the raging storms that blew hundreds of village roofs last night.
I knew forests were the cover that protects the village when it shudders in cold. The dreaded animals were stripped of their habitat and the herbs lost their charm after the soil was eroded. Little are the pains of grandfather, but for I his grandchild, many are my worries about what will be left for the children to come. I will now do my best to plant more trees and preserve the trees left. I am the new servant of the gods that preserves the forests that were once forbidden for the saws.


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