16 April 2009

The King, his wife and their son Safudu Kwaku

The King, his wife and their son Safudu Kwaku

Le Roi, sa femme et son fils Safudu Kwaku
Fia, Sroa kple via Safudu Kwaku

Once upon a time a jealous and cruel King accused his son of offending him by his behavior towards his mother the Queen. To prove his innocence, Safudu Kwaku proposed to his father that he would submit himself to the judgment of God.
The King accepted this proposal and sent some of his men to Gè with the order to buy him a sword and a spike. When these objects were brought to him, the King had them sharpened for seventeen days.
When they were sharpened, he had the spike and the sword driven into the earth under a very tall Baobab tree. Then he invited everyone to come attend the judgment of God. The King, his wife and the prince were transported in a hammock to the location where the ordeal would take place.
When they arrived at their destination, the King ordered Safudu Kwaku to climb the great tree and throw himself down onto the points of the sword and the spike. The mother of the prince cried from fear for her son; but as for the prince himself, he was unafraid because he knew that he had not committed the fault for which he was being reproached.
Safudu Kwaku climbed to the summit of the tree and began to sing, calling out the names of his powerful ancestors and asking them to let him die if he was guilty but save him if he was faithful and innocent. He invoked all the powers of the ancestors with his beautiful song.
Dedende manyimoto
Safudu Kwaku dedende manyimoto
Samafa hinihini
Dedende somapa wo mampa
Dedende manymato
When he had finished his song, he hurled himself to the ground and was not hurt at all. But the King declared that he had not seen him climb up or fall down from the tree because, he claimed, “I was taking a bath.”
So Safudu Kwaku climbed up again to the very top of the tree and, after having sung like the first time, he threw himself to the ground. The King then declared that he’d only just gotten out of the bath at that moment and his son would have to climb up a third time.
So Safudu Kwaku climbed up a third time. The King declared he was receiving a spa treatment after his bath and, therefore, had not seen anything.
Safudu Kwaku began again the same actions as before. The King declared, “I was putting on my sandals.”
So Safudu Kwaku climbed up again a fifth time to the top of the tree and hurled himself down to the earth. “I was busy filling my snuff box with tobacco.”
When his son fell down from the tree for the sixth time, the King declared “It’s only just now that I can come to watch” and he ordered his son to climb up a seventh time.
All of the attendants by this time had taken the side of Safudu Kwaku, seeing that the power of the ancestors was with him. The murmured against the king, and urged the prince to ignore his command. But the prince climbed up once more – for the seventh time. While he was falling to the ground the great spirit Dzingbe grabbed hold of him and transformed him into a sunrise.
This is why when the sun rises and one wishes to see his face, he veils himself in brilliance saying “Seven times, I was treated unjustly”.
This is the reason why we cannot look into the face of the sun.

Recounted by F N’S ABGLEMAGNON

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