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Opinions of Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

How Trustful can a Wife, a Friend or a Step-Son/Daughter be?

Crack on and you will be Shocked –Part I

A work colleague who happens to belong in the same Agona clan as the writer narrated
three tantalizing true stories told him by his uncle, to the writer. They were meant
to shape and guide him through all the undulating facets of marriage life,
friendships etc. They are not fictions but true stories. I am going to share two of
them with you. You will be cautious in how you relate to friends, wife, etc., and
also be mindful of the enemies who may cleverly seek to manipulate situations in an
attempt to put asunder to your happy relationships after reading these stories.

There were two close friends who could be said to be more of brothers than friends.
They were of the same age group. They went to school together and were almost always
together. None was found alone without the other being around or within the
vicinity. This is how close these two best friends were. They often went to a local
area in their village, sat under a shady tree to drink palm wine in their spare
time. There was no secret between these two pals. Each of them was always ready to
die for the other. Each was ready to defend the other to the hilt.

On one evening a man who had come from a village not far off was astonished to see
how these guys liked each other. He was amazed that although friends as they were,
they were honest to each other. When he enquired from people and realised that they
were simply friends but not brothers, he assured those standing by that he could put
asunder to their friendship. Those around laughed him to scorn. They said it was an
impossible feat for him to achieve concluding from how close their friendship was.
The man assured them, "tomorrow by this time, they will no longer be friends any

On the next day, the man went to where the palm wine was sold and found those two
friends. He begged to have a word with one of them. He took him a few metres away,
about six to ten metres. Looking in the direction of the other friend sitting, who
had also turned to look at them, their eyes catching, he pretended as though
whispering words into the ears of the one he had called. Truly, he said nothing but
one could see his mouth opening and closing as if he was murmuring. The friend got
angry and left as he felt the man was wasting his time without actually saying
anything. When he regained his seat, his friend questioned to know what the man had
told him. He answered, he had said nothing. His friend insisted, surely he had told
you something so please don't hide it from me as there is nothing like secrets
between us. Tell me what he told you. As the other kept saying he had said nothing
which was actually true, his other friend bemoaned saying,
"But I could see his lips moving up and down, whispering something into your ears".
The more he tried to convince his friend that nothing was said, the angrier the
other friend became. They parted friendship from that moment onwards. They both
didn't understand why the other was behaving the way they did. How close and sincere
was their friendship then? If their friendship was that deep or rock-solid as
outsiders believed, why could they not take one another by their word? That evil man
truly achieved his target to prove how hollow or shallow the guys' friendship was.
It was simply like beauty which is only a skin deep but not like ugliness that cuts
deep across the bones.

A couple once lived in a village. In this village anything found on the ground
abandoned or mistakenly forgotten behind by their actual owner was obligatorily
taken to the chief of the village. The understanding was anything that does not
actually belong to you by your own sweat and toil does automatically belong to the
chief. It could be the wealth of the soil (mineral resources), or any gift of God
that miraculously comes your way by way of being chanced upon - "asaase deE" Failure
to report such gifts to the chief is punishable by confiscation and murder if

This couple and their children were poor cocoa farmers. The couple had been
struggling to make ends meet. They were so poor that they could hardly send their
children to school to give them any formal education. This had been their normal way
of life for years on end.

One day when the couple went to their farm which they did almost six days a week if
they were well, they struck their luck. A huge tree in the farm hard uprooted in the
night by the probable force of the wind. When they reached the farm, the devastation
caused to his cocoa trees by the fallen tree was overwhelming. They wept. The man
decided to assess the damage, starting from the base of the tree. Guess what. He
found a big but shattered earthen pot in the hole created at the base of the
uprooted tree. He drew closer to examine the pot as he wondered what that could be.
Lo and behold, there were all sorts of gold jewellery and actual gold ingots
scattered about. What an oxymoronic situation they found themselves in. Were they to
continue weeping or to start laughing?

The man hurriedly gathered all the God-send wealth. He agreed with the wife that the
whole lot will be kept by them without ever disclosing their find to anyone. Their
mutual understanding was, if the money was taken to the chief, he would keep it all
and they would continue to wallow in their poverty. Would it not be right for them
to educate their children as others do? Should they continue to be poor onto death?
Here was the case that the chief through his implemented policy in this regard had
become immensely rich. He had given the best of education to his children, married
several beautiful women and threw big sumptuous parties.

Initially the wife was scared that they were going against the chief's standing
policy. But the husband who was smarter told her, what is good for the goose is also
good for the gander. He hid the wealth in the bushes. They had a place in the farm
under a tree where they rest, cook, and prepare their farm produce for the day
whenever they were ready to go home. This is what is called "Ahyehye ye". The man
asked the wife to stay by the newly found wealth whilst he went home to spy if all
was well for them to sneak it home. Actually, he had a second agenda he would like
to keep secret from the wife.

He hurried to the village, purchased some canned salmon (Geisha). He rushed back to
the farm, climbed up the tree under which they rest as aforementioned, attached the
items randomly to the branches as though they were its fruits. He climbed down. He
went into the bush where the wife was keeping watch over the wealth. He made her
understand they could only take it home under the cover of darkness. He asked the
wife to cook them some food. While the food was on fire, he looked up the tree and
said, "Akosua, God really loves us. He is merciful and wonderful. Look up the tree!
She looked and exclaimed, "God is great, a tree bearing Geisha?"

The man climbed up the tree, collected all the Geisha and opened up two tins when
the food was ready. They enjoyed the meal as never happened in their lives before.
They carried the God-send wealth, the rest of the Geisha with a quantity of the farm
produce home. God has made their day, they said.

They hid the wealth until after six months. The man travelled to the city to sell
them for liquid cash. He started putting up houses, purchased vehicles to run public
transport and lived a life reflecting his new status of a rich man. Tongues started
wagging, questions asked about how this poor family has all of a sudden become
immensely rich. The whole villagers were curious to know the source of the family's
sudden wealth. As is usual in Ghana, many were opining that the man had acquired
what in the Ghanaian parlance is "Sikaduro" - acquiring wealth through dubious
spiritual (juju) means.

The chief of the village, an "Odikuro" to be precise, charged his elders to conduct
secret investigations into unearthing the source of the family's wealth. They
secretly arranged with a woman to lie to the man's wife saying her husband was
having an affair with the aim to divorce her. The woman acting on the spur of the
moment, without exercising patience, picked up a fight with the husband. She started
shouting; threatening to reveal the secret of their wealth should it ever be found
out that he was truly indulged in sexual activities with another woman as conveyed
to her attention. The man who had not known any woman apart from her wife was
furious at her momental madness. He screamed at her, saying; continue manifesting
your madness in public for all to see. "I am ashamed to have you, a mad person for
wife. What could you do if I was having an affair?" he said. This was the last straw
that broke the camel's back.

The woman rushed to the chief's palace to tell him it was not through any hard farm
work of theirs that they have become rich but by finding abundant hidden jewelleries
on their farm. The chief summoned his elders, broke the bad news to them, and
arranged to get the man arraigned before him. The next morning the man was called to
the palace and charged with stealing what belongs to the chief. The source of his
wealth was revealed to him according as narrated by the wife. It was an offence to
have kept it without taking it to the chief in line with standing law in the
village. This offence carries the death penalty if found guilty. The man challenged
the chief and his elders as liars scheming to rob him of his wealth. In the end the
chief said it was the man's own wife who had told them about it.

The wife was sent for. The man told them his wife might have told them that nonsense
whilst suffering from one of her usual mad seizures. The woman being the principal
witness narrated how they found the jewelleries and decided to keep it to themselves
with the aim of breaking their poverty cycle. She was challenged by the husband for
lying and accused of suffering from her usual but intermittent moments of madness.
The woman insisted she was telling the absolute truth. On crossing examination, the
woman asked the husband, "Have you forgotten when on that day the tree we cook under
was bearing so many tins of Geisha whereupon you climbed it, plucked all of them and
we even ate two tins and took the rest home?" Upon mentioning and insisting that the
tree bore tins of Geisha, the panel dismissed her as being truly mad as repeatedly
claimed by the husband. They annoyingly asked her, "Where on earth have you seen or
heard of a tree bearing tins of Geisha
since your parents gave birth to you?" They chased her out of the palace, pleaded
with the husband to pardon them for falsely accusing him of stealing by way of
keeping found wealth as his. The man accepted their apology and left.

The man continued to live happily with his wife and children thereafter without
anyone bothering to disturb them. The woman became more submissive to the husband
ever since. She never gave room to rumours any longer. People wondered why the man
did not divorce her for the ordeal she made him go through. "She has toiled with me
through thick and thin. She needs to enjoy the fruits of her sweat despite
committing a monumental blunder that could have cost me my life". "To err is human",
the man said.

To those women or wives who out of sheer jealousy, absurd rivalry, momental madness
or mere stupidity allow themselves to be manipulated, I say, you don't value what
you've got until you've lost it.

Rockson Adofo

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