When the Village Wizard Got the Better of Himself

He was feared in Kasaana, our village. His name was Ssedyabanne.

Stories were told of him ordering trees to bow down to him and they would oblige. Whether this was true or not, I don’t know. But we lived in fear of the most powerful wizard in the whole wide world. Many people had died in mysterious ways, and fingers were pointed at Ssedyabanne.

Every morning and evening, as we passed near his compound, trekking to and from school, we would make sure we were in a group. The older boys would give us the order to run, but make sure we didn’t leave any of the group members behind.

From school, we would all wait at a nearby shop, and take a roll call, and then set off. It was the kind of solidarity that could not be found anywhere else inspired by the great fear we had for Ssedyabanne.

In the group of school children who went to Tiger primary school, was one Nakidaali, whose parents had died, and as usual Ssedyabanne was the suspected murderer. Nakidaali lived with her grandmother, who stayed behind to look after her, since everyone was running away from their home.

Nakidaali’s parents had gone to cultivate their field, when two huge snakes bit them to death. They were buried on the same day. No one was willing to stay behind and keep Nakidaali company, since the circumstances under which her parents had died were quite scary. It was said Ssedyabanne wanted to take that particular farmland but the owners had held on to it, as they had nowhere else to go.

Every morning, as we walked to school, Nakidaali would tell us, “He did it again.”

“Who did what?” we would curiously ask in unison.

“Every night, Ssedyabanne poops in our yard. He does it without fear, because he makes sure we know he has come,” Nakidaali would say, between sobs. “He shouts and rants, saying things like, if he killed the elephant, why is the goat still in his way?” she continued.

Our fear of Ssedyabanne intensified, and we felt like we lived just to die at the hands of a merciless wizard. On this particular Friday, Nakidaali told us that her grandmother had a plan which would save Kasaana from Ssedyabanne. We were very doubtful.

But this is what happened. Nakidaali’s grandmother waited for Ssedyabanne to come and poop, as he was expected to. She waited for him to leave. She waited even longer and saw him branching to his home. She gave herself more time to make sure he was asleep.

She cut a banana leaf, went to where the wizard had pooped, carefully picked the poop, with the aid of the banana leaf, and walked very slowly and carefully, occasionally stopping, peeping and tiptoeing, until she reached the wizard’s compound. She then crawled and crawled, reached the house and placed the poop in the doorway of the wizard’s house. After executing her plan, she slowly crawled out of the compound, and tiptoed back to her home.

The next morning, Ssedyabanne’s first wife woke up to prepare a meal for her husband and saw the poop. She called her husband, who came and looked scornfully at the heap, laughing sarcastically, and shouted, “Who is this ant? Who is this dog? Who is this fool?”

He went back into the house and came out with a heap of leaves, of different types. He brought out sticks of different shapes and colours. He sacrificed a cock and poured the blood over the paraphernalia he had assembled, then proceeded to pour that all over the poop and made a declaration: “By midday today, the one who pooped in my compound will be dead.” Nakidaali cried, thinking her grandmother was leaving her just like her parents did.

A deathly silence enveloped Kasaana village.

Wailing! Wailing! Wailing!

A drum sounded from one end of the village. Suddenly, another sound of the drum joined the first. In a few seconds, Kasaana village was drumming endlessly. In Ssedyabanne’s compound, women and children were wailing. A mixture of sadness and happiness!

Ssedyabanne had died!

It was his own poop on which he administered witchcraft.

Source : The Observer

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