An Excerpt: The Grasshopper Race by Folarin Olaniyi

Apologies. I know. It has been a while I sat down and pen something for you. Don’t blame me. Emotion Press has kept me so busy. But this is new year. Happy New Year! And I have promised to re-write my first book, The Grasshopper Race, this year 2015. Maybe we should start from that. Let me share with you some few lines of the first draft of the book. Mind you, it is a first draft. I hope to keep you posted. Be generous with your comments. And feel free to share on Facebook and Twitter. Enjoy the rest of the day. Cheers.

There were days in my village when people don’t fall sick, and if they did all they had to do was to look up in the sky, at the mid day sun, and they would be healed. It was no miracle but the norm, for the people were closer to the gods and the gods in oneness with Eledua.
Mama had told me.
It was during these days that my great grandfather was born. His name was Akurente. He was a powerful herbalist, who solved people’s problems by consulting Iwin, who in turn seeks solution from Esu.
Esu odara is God’s handiwork of craftiness. He has mastered the art of influencing God’s decisions to his favour. Iwin is Esu’s seventh offspring, who does not need goodluck before his prayers are answered.
Mama had told me.
There are seven rivers in my village and three roads lead to these rivers. These roads meet in one junction, and it is in this that Esu is believed to be domiciled. The seventh day of the week, my grandfather would take a long trek to this same junction and pay homage to Esu, whose seventh offspring, Iwin, will pay his father a visit. During this time, corruption had not arrived. The people of Kurente clan were fishermen and fruitful worshippers of the River mermaid.
Where I come from, there are two seasons – the season of the wet and the season of dust. Our people believe that during the season of the wet, the river mermaid, Iyemoja, is always seated on her riverine throne looking for whom to bless.
The season of dust, Iyemoja is at rest thirsty for worship and praises from the people she has blessed with bountiful harvest. Because of this, the Kurente clan observes a seven day festival in honour of Iyemoja during the season of dust; it is a moment of worship and self deprivation. The priest clad in all white regalia, sanctifies the whole community. He is accompanied on a distant journey by a young maiden, who must be a virgin. She carries the white sacred calabash, accompanied by the community in an energetic performance of the sacred dance and the beating of the favourite drum of the river goddess. It is always a delight.
The season of the wet, our fishermen harvests the best of fishes in the river and the farmers brings the biggest of the yam tubers and sweetest of corn. But as days went by, Akurente became more powerful and that was how the problem began.
I remember mother’s words; humans are ungrateful beings. We lust for ephemeral things and get lost on the road of life. My great grandfather like every other great priest did not just become powerful, all of a sudden. Because he had been a faithful of Iwin for decades, the gods were pleased with him. Esu, crafty in his ways, had found a way to impress the name of Akurente in the hearts of the gods. But it was only Iyemoja that had insisted Akurente swim along with her Priest, to the source of the seven rivers and pay her homage. Esu had agreed but Iwin disagreed.
‘If Akurente pays homage to Iyemoja, the people will say Esu has become a woman’s subject. This must never happen!’ Iwin had convinced Esu.