Il destino di Avoloto il tessitore

Komla-Ebri Anku
TRADUZIONE: KOMLA-EBRI KOSSI

IL DESTINO
DI AVOLOTO
IL TESSITORE


Prima edizione
Giugno 2018
TOUBA CULTURALE ITALY srl
via Cesare Battisti 1b 20854 Vedano al Lambro (MB)
toubaculturaleitaly@libero.it
+39 3804788847

Progetto grafico e impaginazione: Alessandra Carcano
Illustrazioni: Ivan Bigarella

Stampato in Italia 2019
proprietà letteraria riservata
©
Touba Culturale Italy srl

www.toubaculturaleitaly.wordpress.com

È vietata la riproduzione, anche parziale, con qualsiasi mezzo effettuata, compresa la fotocopia, anche ad uso interno o didattico, non autorizzata.

 

A mon petit frère Blaise Anku
Tu vois, j’ai tenu ma promesse.

 

THE FATE OF AVOLOTO THE WEAVER

A story or a proverb is yesterday's message
sent to tomorrow through today "
Amadou Hampaté Bâ

    

Old Dogo saw the horizon blush, watched the red disk take time to disappear behind the hills, also saw the shadow of the trees and huts stretching out to infinity and recognized its meaning. But Dogo didn't have the slightest desire to go to sleep.

Is it ever possible for a man to go to bed at sunset? Chicken stuff! Not! Old certainly, but not sick. And then tonight, Aunt Luna promised an intense glow that she wanted to take advantage of. That sweet light that excited him so much when he was little ... Ah! The good times!

Those happy times were long gone, so far away that no other person in the village could have known them.

     Then yes, a child was a child and an old man was an old man, a woman was nothing but a woman and a man was truly a man. Dogo sighed deeply. Everything had changed by now, why think about it again? Yet he kept thinking about it.

     Since his forces had largely abandoned him, dragging most of his teeth with him, his only pleasure was to sit under the straw hut in the middle of the courtyard,

comfortably abandon yourself on the deck chair to slip into the past and relive your youth with old companions who have long since disappeared. Often he got lost in the mazes of memories. His memory was so full of old stories, legends, tales, that he could no longer distinguish his own experience from what his grandfather had told him, who had heard him in turn from his grandfather.

     So when his grandchildren sat around him on moonlit evenings to draw on wisdom from the immense reservoir that was his memory, he avoided setting the facts in precise times or in known places. That expedient, far from taking away interest in the story, gave it a spicy and mysterious flavor.

     Thinking about it, we are less interested in the people and things around us than in strangers who live far away from us, because they wouldn't bother us with their misery. So he is ready to cry on the fate of a hypothetical unhappy princess in love, who looks away from the repulsive stumps of the beggar sitting on the threshold of his home.

     Dogo knew all this. He had lived so long among men that he knew them better than the wrinkles that furrowed his ash-colored hands. He had traveled extensively, had gone beyond the stormy ocean, there in the land of white-skinned men: this added even more prestige to the halo that his rare hair and his bearded bearded hair gave him. He had seen so many wonders and horrors that his little eyes, red with smoke and alcohol, had weakened considerably. Yet deep in those eyes, it sparked a flash of intelligence and also of malice, especially when he was ready to lavish some of his knowledge with his stories. His grandchildren, knowing him well, spied on that glow to be able to approach it and pester him with questions. In fact, the old Dogo had one characteristic: he didn't tell only to tell. Not! At first he had to ask him a question which he then answered with a story.

     And then not every day he liked to tell: "He who wants to be listened to must know how to moderate his language" used to pronounce. So most of the time he was grouchy

locked in contemplation.

     But that evening, however, the glow in the bottom of his eyes was truly alive and the moon so clear, that the children did not delay in gathering around his deck chair, those crouching, those kneeling or even lying directly on the ground. The most curious of all was certainly Sénam, a boy of about twelve years old, with slightly red curly hair and huge eyes. With his pagne knotted around his neck, his large head tilted to the side, as if it were too heavy for his thin neck, he looked for a while at the old man's parched face as if looking for an answer to a riddle, then abruptly, a request shot from his lips:

     Togbé (grandfather), please, can I ask you a question?

     What do you want to know?

     What is destiny?

     Why this question?

     Whenever something happens, people always say it's fate. I do not understand. They accuse him especially when an accident occurs, he must be so bad then!

     This is not destiny, son, this is fate, nature.

     I do not understand.

     When sowing corn and harvesting corn, it is fatal, but when sowing corn and the latter grows more or less well according to the conditions of the earth and the season, it is destiny. Both are very close, which is why we tend to

confuse them.

     The boy with the wide open eyes, stared avidly at the old man's face, trying to penetrate the meaning of the words he felt, but he felt the discomfort of his gaze that these explanations did nothing but confuse his mind. The old man, with narrowed eyes, looked at him with an enigmatic smile. He took time to light the pipe, took a look at the hearth where the daughter-in-law was poking the fire under the saucepan which gave off an irresistible scent and said:

     Listen to this rather and understand ... This happened in the days when my father's great-grandfather was still a child. In the reign of King Irbé lived a woman named Kono who traded in fabrics. Not of those fabrics that we buy today and that already fray at the first laundry, but real "Lokpo" hand-woven, rich in colors, which are used from generation to generation without losing anything in beauty and strength.

     The "Lokpo" were manufactured by her husband Avoloto who was the most famous weaver in the kingdom. The king himself purchased his fabrics from him. In the village it was claimed that he had an enchanted loom. When weaving, the shuttles sang spells:

     "Klokpa, klokpo, klokpa, klokpo,

     We are the shuttles of Avoloto

     Klokpa, klokpo, klokpa, klokpo,

     Without pause, we come and go,

     And we never get tired.

     The threads by our will,

     They will become beauty items

     Who will adorn kings and the rich,

     Because we are magical shuttles.

     Klokpa, klokpo, klokpa, klokpo ... "

     So sang the Avoto frame and its fabrics were truly the most valuable. Yet he remained poor. This fact surprised everyone. He had practically nothing and his family ate poorly. Bad tongues said he was very stingy and hid his possessions in the bottom of a hole in his ruined house. Others claimed that his wife robbed him and kept the fruit of sales for himself and his lovers.

     Avoloto did not care about the chatter because he said: "He who has not put his hand in the hole, cannot know if it contains a rat or a snake". He trusted his wife and above all knew why he was poor.

     In fact, it hadn't always been this way. Seven years ago he was very rich, there in his village of Gbato. He owned many goods and a lot of easements, his home was larger and more luxurious than the palace of King Irbé. In those days, in addition to selling his own fabrics, he went to distant countries to look for velvet and brocade canvases that he returned to sell dearly to the princes of the kingdom. His cattle, supervised by the Peuhl, people who knew how to make themselves understood by animals, counted thousands

of leaders. It had fields everywhere in such a way that its vast barns, despite thieves, never emptied. He was very wealthy until the day he went to consult the oracle of Afa, the great fortune teller.

     Why would such a rich man go to consult the oracles? You will ask me. In fact, don't they say that "a full heart ignores the sorcerer's door"? Well! Know that if Avoloto was rich, he wasn't happy about it. Because at thirty-five, he had no children. Ouch!

What a calamity!

He had first married three young virgins one after the other, but after two years of marriage, none gave him a son, not even an aborted pregnancy. He then took three other women who had already given birth; but nothing changed.

     What a shame! What a disgrace! Is a childless man really a man? And the gossips didn't spare themselves: “Avoloto is not normal, he sold his manhood to become rich. Ugh! He is not even a man and makes a step! " they said everywhere around him.

In the streets, on the public square, in the fields, at the fountain, especially at the fountain, everywhere, I say well everywhere, even ... even where husband and wife deal only with intimacy, Avoloto was

become a laughing stock. And those who said they were his friends for the parties he offered, nevertheless chatted behind him. And those who were jealous of his wealth consoled themselves of their poverty in slander. And soon some of his brides on the advice of envious "friends" became lovers.

     One day, a slightly crazy beggar, who was walking around the village and called Kpono, went to see Avoloto early in the morning and said to him:

     My lord and master, every time you pass in front of my bowl, my heart leaps with joy, because I know that that day I will eat to satiety. When I need a new "pagne", I

just lie naked in the doorway of your home and the next day I'm better dressed than the others in the village. In a nutshell, for me, you are Providence. Yet I am happier than you, no doubt because I am wiser than you. I hope this speech does not irritate you, my lord!

     You don't offend me, but that's enough, Avoloto said angrily If you need anything, go get served and go

ttene!

     No, my Lord, you did not understand me, I did not come to beg, but to give. I know it is difficult, especially when you are powerful like you, to be indebted to someone poor like me.

You have always been good to me, let me offer you something that is perhaps more important than all your riches.

     Then speak without words!

     I get there sir! Haste is the mother of confusion, running without respite is perishing without profit. This is what it is about: for five years you have been fishing in six different rivers, all fishy, ​​yet you haven't caught any fish, not even ... a little fish. Your servants have traveled the kingdom far and wide to find who could take away the evil eye that has been done to you; the cauri throwers have crossed the threshold of your home several times, the cola chewers have spit brownish juice on your hands; the roots and bark have more than once left their bitter or sweet taste on your tongue. Yet it was not worth anything ... Your hooks have always returned the worm intact and your nets have always brought back only a few drops of water. And you are unhappy. Your tables are overloaded with food, but you don't eat anymore. The swallowed palm wine in liters makes you neither smile nor sleep. You possess wealth, but this is not what your heart seeks.

So why don't you go out looking for what you want so much?

     Where will I go again, when all the charlatans have already come to me?

     I know my Lord, but the voice of wisdom says "He who truly possesses does not run after the one who asks"; it is up to the needy to reach out; "Only those who offer wind run after a buyer". I know a man who lives only on the mountain of the seven wisdoms. The extent of his knowledge made him prefer to live far from men. He sees what no one can see and hears the words that have not yet been said. If you wish, I will accompany you to him. He will not ask you anything and if he judges you worthy of his services, he will help you.

     Ahem! Are you sure what you say Kpono? What man in this world is capable of doing such a great good without demanding anything?

     Every man of the heart would do it. Lord yourselves, when you give alms, what do you demand in return? Nothing but Akpé (thank you). For the man I'm talking about, wealth doesn't have the same meaning it has for us. In its context you will be for him what I am for you.

How?

     Oh yeah! You will only be a beggar of wisdom, a soul blinded by the vanity of the world. All you are able to offer him is exactly what he escapes from as if it were the plague.

     Avoloto, his hand on his chin, pondered Kpono's words for a long time.

Could he be trusted to say that beggar? But it must be admitted that the beggar spoke so sensibly that it was difficult not to be convinced. After all, what did it cost him to try? Didn't he have everything to gain and nothing to lose? Too many people had deceived him that one more would certainly not have ruined him. On the other hand, the man who was described to him seemed so extraordinary that he was very curious to know him. Raising his head he said to Kpono:

     Okay, we'll go. When can we leave?

     Tomorrow at dawn, my Lord.

Search