Words cannot explain Tanwa’s feelings. Several appeals were made by herself and by others on her behalf, first with the chief and secondly with the Ifa priest. None of the appeals seemed to blink an eye of her worst enemies at that moment. She took the last option which was to give up hope. She started mourning for her children even though they were not dead yet.
The Chief had given her instructions on how to go about her assignment. She was meant to give her firstborn a portion of a certain concoction given to her. That is all you have to do. Give him that and next Wednesday by midnight your son would find his way to this meeting point by himself. You must be careful, if he doesn’t appear here, he’d bleed to death exactly at this hour. No other mouth must taste this portion. If you don’t abide by the rules, the consequences shall be unbearable.
Tanwa went home sad as usual. She thought to herself: which consequences can possibly be greater than losing my husband and my two sons in this horrible village? Then a thought flashed into her mind and made her ponder for long. Soon after, she cooked up a good plan and decided she’d execute it. This plan, little did she know would change the situation in Akuje for ever.
Tanwa decided to throw a birthday party for her second son. His birthday was two days away. She convinced herself how important the party was since her son would not live to see another year. That was her way to convince all the elders in the community who knew about her impending tragedy to allow their children to be present. The king’s children, Ifa priest’s only son, all the witches’ children and a few other top officials of the village like Balogun and Otun. The tears in her eyes when she was delivering the invitation speech were very compelling. The witches were more sympathetic because they knew she was about to lose both children of hers. Even the Chief couldn’t make her usual face towards her subjects. She promised Tanwa of the presence of three of her children and even gave her some foodstuffs to support the party.
The plan was easy to execute for Tanwa, she simply poured the portion inside the water used to make Amala for the children. Some games and stories in addition to the food made the party a memorable one. At evening time, the children were already tired and left one after the other. Tanwa was satisfied with the party and at night she started anticipating how the dreaded day of the week, Wednesday would turn out.
On Wednesday night when the witches gathered and men and women snored aloud on their beds, one by one the children that attended the party rose up from their beds. They got into their shoes and headed for the village square. From every corner of the village children walked towards the meeting point.
The Chief who was happily expecting only Kola, Tanwa’s firstborn started counting: three, four, seven, twenty, twenty-five children at the witches’ meeting. She broke down to tears knowing what Tanwa had done. She couldn’t help crying because she knew that all the children had to die and there was no remedy. She fell to the floor, poured on herself sand and mud and all the debris found on the ground. Even in her wildest wickedness she could not live with the thought of the death of twenty-five children in one night.