BY: Dan Phale*
A crisis which rocked the Solomons’ family in the recent past is probably the worst. Now and again there was noise of squabbles in the compound. And more often than not such conflicts resulted in fierce fighting among children. Family members thus became a regular subject of gossip and fun across the community… Let’s find out more.
About five decades ago, Solomon got married to a lady of his youth in his own community. After a year or so, they were blessed with a child; it was a girl child. The two were averagely happy. However, as per their culture, a man ought to have a son so that after his death he would be the custodian and in charge of all his legacy. Without a son, matrilineal people would grab the deceased property from the bereaved household.
“My wife,” Solomon said to Brenda one morning as they were in their field, busy taking good care of their crop plants. “I know that you know what our traditional custom stipulates about a need for a couple to have a son family.”
“Yes, my dear husband, I’m very much aware of this traditional requirement,” Brenda commented, somehow puzzled, and she continued, “This topic surprises me. Else, you must be up to something, Solomon, I suppose…”
But Solomon interrupted her, saying, “It is not that I’m up to something strange here. It’s about you and me, and our entire household. It’s about the future of our family… You know our first born child is a girl, and we are supposed to have a boy who shall be responsible for the custodianship and management of the deceased property when I am died and buried.”
“Don’t worry my husband. Just like I’ve told you countless times, I’ll give you a male child. In fact, I have a good news for you, which I was intending to tell you at the right time tonight in our bedroom as a beloved husband and a wife. But for the very reason that you have initiated the topic here, I should disclose it right here and now. The good news I’m talking about is that I’m carrying the second child, and I’ve been reliably told by the prophet that it’s a boy.”
Having heard this from his wife, Solomon was all smiles. He then jumped up and down with great pleasure… In fact, he became hysterical to the extent that he was too quick to suggest that his son would be called Solomon Junior… And when the gestation period was over Solomon’s wife went to the maternal clinic. Such was a very crucial moment because she gave birth to a baby girl. The fact that the so-called prophecy was proved to be a false prophecy irked him much more; it was like an insult which worsened the relationship in his house. Instead of praising and thanking God for giving them a baby, his mouth vented curses against the heavens. Furthermore, he challenged his wife that he would rather marry the second or third wife until a time when he would have a son.
Fulfilling his words, he took the second wife and brought him to the compound. Finally a baby boy was born, lifting high Solomon’s spirits. But the worst events were yet to unfold, following his son’s birth. It happened that soon after a son was born, the polygamist ordered his first wife to vacate the house they had been living together and to relocate to the other house which was not in a very habitable condition. In his wisdom, he did this for the purpose of letting his second wife and the son to come into house.
The second wife gave birth to the second child; this time being a girl who is the last born child. Solomon had a negative attitude towards his first wife and, of course, his first two daughters. Most of the times he spent his free time with his son; as such he got the lion’s share of his fatherly care and love as the most favourite of all children.
It happened one day that there was a fight among the children as a result of a conflict which bordered on the issue of who was to sweep around the compound. Their mothers attempted to stop the fight but failed. When he came out of the house, Solomon was highly concerned, and he collapsed… He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. In fact he died of hypertension.
The sudden death of Solomon Senior was followed by a series of horrible times in the compound as the first child struggled against Solomon Junior over control and management of the family property. In fact Junior could not allow anybody to push him from his traditionally conferred position in the entire polygamous family, whereas the first child – also being the one born from the first marriage – didn’t want to be treated as a trespasser in the compound.
relationship continued in the family until such a time when the ghost of the late Solomon Senior appeared to the disagreeing children in a dream each one night. The ghost that looked highly troubled confessed that it was his own fault when he was still alive to instill hostile feelings in their minds against each other by according them unequal fatherly care and love. The remorseful ghost also advised them to reconcile and enhance harmony, love and peace among themselves. Upon waking up Solomon Junior and his elder sister reconciled. Since then, all the family members are united and staying peacefully.