“Nana, look! The river-god has caused the water to be still”, Mensa boasted, beaming with smiles.
“I’m sure your libation did the trick”, the queenmother complimented.
Ohemeng kept quiet and listened as their voices floated to him in a lazy breeze.
He squirmed a little as Nana Akyaa asked, “Why did the river-god allow the bridge to collapse?”
Mensa coughed out a lump in his throat and began, “Nana, the river-god has not taken kindly to the bridge since it was constructed. Lorries and cars disturb her children when they sunbathe in the road. She has kept quiet because of the big sacrifices the chief made to her……..”
He paused before continuing, “………..but now she’s fed up”.
“Why?” Nana Akyaa asked, looking very anxious.
“Because of the sins of the people”, Mensa answered without hesitation.
“How come?” Nana Akyaa persisted.
Mensa began slowly, “People indulge in all the prohibitions imposed by the river-god. They bring bundles of firewood to town, they carry pineapples with the tops attached to them, and more seriously, albinos, people with hunchbacks, and even women in their menstrual period bathe in the river…………………..”
“Oh I see……………….” Nana Akyaa conceded.
“The river-god hate all these”, Mensa continued, “The destruction of the bridge is her way of getting back to us”.
Ohemeng had now almost come to the end of his tether. He felt he had to set the records straight. He looked at Mensa but the latter seemed to be too busy with the rowing. He turned to the queenmother. He knew he had in her a willing listener.
“Nana”, Ohemeng began, “It beats my imagination to see people worshipping this river”.
Nana Akyaa quickly replied, “Teacher, don’t say that. The river-god has been our help from time immemorial”
“It’s an ordinary collection of water. There’s nothing mysterious about it”.
“Teacher, don’t blaspheme”, she warned in her familiar friendly voice.
This time the magic in her voice was gone and her warning had no effect on Ohemeng who was determined to challenge the ‘powers that be’.
“All your gods have no power. They are lifeless and useless”, he asserted.
Ohemeng’s tirade had now attracted Mensa’s attention.