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Chapter 4

  • Without wasting any longer time, Babida hurried to the place. As he was nearing, the path became darker and darker and abruptly a thunder came off the sky and rumbled.
  • The muscular Babida was seized with fear which he tried to conceal. He kept advancing and then a ball of light appeared in front of him. From it emerged a levitating Witch who was dressed in a black hooded gown. She lowered her head and looked at the empty ground while moving her long brown nails as if she was playing an invisible piano.
  • "You, the lumberjack...Babida! What is the reason that makes you disturb my peace?" The Witch interrogated the impromptu visitor.
  • "Pardon me, your Oracle! I wished I had announced my coming here today but the circumstances did not allow me to" Babida defended himself while bowing before the Witch.
  • "You will then pay the price for your guts. Won't you?" The Sorceress demanded the reverent man.
  • "And what is that, your Oracle?" Babida inquired while remaining kneeled, his forehead and nose on the ground, his arms stretched toward the front, and his hands' palms in contact with the sandy floor.
  • "Ten imperial Batangi." The Witch replied to him.
  • "Your wish is my command, your Oracle," Babida stated to manifest his agreement.
  • "So, what can I do for you?" The Sorceress quizzed the lumberjack.
  • "There is a thin and black-skinned eighteen-year-old or plus maiden with spinning hair that I gazed at in Ekule's forest while I was cutting off logs. She wore a pink silk short dress with a butterfly knot on the front side. I have been seeking to get to know her but to no avail." Babida confided to the Witch who listened to him attentively.
  • "Hmmm, I see the big and strong lumberjack has been stung by an arrow of love." The Oracle reacted.
  • "Now, I am asking you to do the following. You will go back to Ekule's forest and inspect where you glanced at her and bring to me anything she may have touched or left behind her." The Sorceress instructed the woodsman.
  • "Your wish is my command, your Oracle," Babida repeated to her, then stood up and walked backward, spine slightly bent and face staring at the ground.
  • In a matter of seconds, he exited the Witch's street and everything returned to normality. The sun was shining again, birds were flying high in the air, people of Okala village were moving up and down, children were frantically circling the streets and vendors were enticing customers.
  • Babida took the way back to Ekule.
  • He penetrated then crossed the main areas of the village which were as lively as those of Okala. Inhabitants were busy carrying out their daily duties. They were loud. They rushed here and there. They looked after their kids. They set firewood for the lunch meal.
  • They were doing so many things but none of them distracted Babida who was focused on his mission: to reach Ekule's forest and get what the Witch had requested from him.
  • He trekked past the streets of the center of Ekule in the direction of the west till the limits of the livable zone, then entered the forest.
  • Without swirling around, he directed himself straight to the spot where Suzie was collecting the white Button mushrooms. He turned over the stones, swept with his right foot then with the left one, the dead leaves littering the ground.
  • He had almost lost hope to find a bit of the existence of the young maiden when he saw an object ten steps away which was lying on the green herbs.
  • He went near it and lifted it. It was an untied pearl bracelet. He looked at it very closely and after a brief moment of thought, he said to himself: "Wait a minute! Is it not what I believe it is?"
  • Then he declared emphatically: "Yes it is! That's a woman's anklet. There is no doubt about it!"
  • "Oh, oh! Wait, wait! Yes, yes, I'm standing in the exact location where I spoke to the miss before she vanished away as quickly as she could." The logger said convinced.
  • "So this jewel must belong to her. I am sure it detached itself from her foot, probably because she abruptly stepped back." Babida guessed.
  • "I am bringing it to the Witch in Okala." He spat out, then he left Ekule's forest.