In 1916, there lived a humble hunter during the time of the colonies. He lived in a small house or hut with his wife and only son. He named his son after him, Ikem – meaning my strength. The humble hunter has a brother who is serving the colonial masters as a servant. They regard him as buoyant as of then, and as one who is close to their masters, he is full of himself, very boastful to the tune of ridiculing others. He manage to build a house, four bedroom down, four bedroom up, with a balcony up, and a stairway by the side of the wall to negotiate upwards the house. His name is Mr Okoro, but he prefered to be called by the name he borrowed from his masters “Mr maclad”. He loves the colonial masters ways and adopt their kind of dressing, all in white. White shoe, white socks, white short, white shirt and a white hart to cap it all, each time he is on this attire he stands in front of his balcony upstairs to boast of what he has achieved from his masters and how he is the most favoured one amongst all his kindred. He never wanted anyone to address him by his native name Mr Okoro, anyone who dares got threatened with a gunpowder he obtained from his masters.
The chiefs in the land summoned him to know the meaning of Mr Maclad. He came and stood before the chiefs speaking but this time strange tongue which warrant one of the elder to caution him of his language they could not understand rather it sounds “ashubiri shubiri” to them as they exclaim. Now they ask him please tell us the meaning of Mr Maclad, in reply he said, in the land of the masters (that is the english man) when it began to rain, there is a heavy thunder strike which is different from the one in our land, more stronger and it strikes without mercy, this thunder is where the name Mr Maclad came from, at the hearing of this they became more afraid, seeing that they are trembling gave him an opportunity to create avenue for material extortion from his people. No one walks pass him without a greeting and it must be in white man’s language and many of his people don’t know the greetings in white man’s language, for this reason he will threaten you and fine you with accumulated items such as; one she goat, 12 tubers of yam, a basket of cocoyam, one male cock, one kola nut that has seven parts, a basket of groundnut, one jar of palmwine, you must provide this in seven days and bring it at the foot of his doorstep, failure to provide this he will command the thunder from white man’s land which is stronger from the thunder in theirs to uproot you out of the land, with this he threatens his people.
Ikem his brother, the humble hunter never liked his manners and he Mr okoro called by the name Mr Maclad never liked his brother too, he prefer to purchase porcupine and antelope from other hunters than his brothers bush meats, each time he does that he will start from the village square to create a scene to be noticed that he eats better in the land; and intimidate others. One day he sounded the village drum for people to gather just to tell them to hail his name, and when they do his response is “who is like me”, he will repeat it thrice in case no one hears him.
His nephew was only 12 and he was observing all the things his uncle was doing, in his presence his uncle Mr Maclad will stand out in the open of his balcony to render abuse on his father telling him i live in upstairs, a stone throw my hand will touch the sky, and you humble hunter the pauper is living in a chicken house, and he will laugh to ridicule him hahahahahaha, as his nephew was listening he felt touched by those words and said i will grow up to revenge this. When his friends heard it they wonder how he is going to achieve it, because he did not know the white man’s language and no school impact, and his father has no many farm lands to cultivate crops, hunting is the only means of economy for their making a living.
Every evening he will sit at the village square on his white man’s white shoe, white socks, white short, white shirt, white hart, mocking farmers coming from farm work saying; you wretched melon pickers, from 6am to 6pm under the scorching heat you are labouring for porcupines that am eating for my evening relaxation, hahahahahahaha, and no one will respond for fear of thunder from white man’s land. This has been aching his nephew, as life treats them unfairly. The continues bragging of his uncle kept on until he advance to youthful age, now 20 years.
One day Ikem son of the humble hunter said to himself, i have grown man enough to take my revenge. At this he start to plan how his revenge will be, he looked at his uncle’s house, turns around to his father’s hut, he looked up the sky and said how am i going to achieve this? then he strike his hand on the air and whistle away with a cutlass to the bush, approaching the village square were the elders gathered they tried to know what he was up to but end up with nothing, not even a word from Ikem the humble hunter’s son. At sunset approaching all eyes on Ikem coming back with loads of bamboo tree, everyone is asking what is he doing with alot of bamboo tree?
The next day his building plan commence, he first of all measure the height of his uncle’s house so as not to exceed the height, then he cut the bamboo tree one after the other and file them line by line against each other into the holes on the ground to achieve a room, after that he start with the roofing to level up the same as his uncles. He looked at his work and see it fine in his eyes, he smile and said (Ebe onye oso ruru onye ije ga eru ya) meaning where a runner reach a pedestrian can. Now seeing that he is doing fine , he went ahead to to construct a stairway like that of his uncle, he measures it accordingly not to have lapsis, constructing the steps against the wall of the bamboo with shaped bamboo trees. He looked at his work again and felt good that he has achieve one room down and a step by the side of the room to climb up, he wasn’t tired to rest he forged ahead to finish on time, he climb up through the steps he made as he got up to the roof he felt so good, he said to himself i have arrived.
He continued until he finish. One room down, one room up and a step to climb up by the side of the room with no balcony. The door and window of his house are face to face to that of his uncle’s house, as happy as he is he said it is finish. When that braggart sees my house his mouth will shut up after all he is living in a story building and i am living in a story building, there is no difference. To make his revenge more sweet he gathered some white chalk melt it to liquid, then he took his shoe, a short sleeve shirt, a short pant, and a hart deep them all into the white chalk leave out to dry under the sun, after he purchase two jars of palm wine and porcupine meats for his kindreds to merry in his house. He prepared them and invite his kins men in his house but did not invite his uncle.
As they were eating he took a lap of porcupine meat a calabash cup of palm wine, wearing his white chalk shoe, white chalk short sleeve shirt, white chalk short pant, white chalk hart, climbing up stairs room, he opened the door and window call out his kindreds to all stand and listen, is time for his revenge. Everyone was watching, he called out in an angry loud voice in the real name of his uncle in a disrespecting way: Okoro, Okoro, Okoro his uncle replied, who is eating that shit? He waited until he comes out, as soon as he comes look a struck of unbelievable on his face, wiping his face twice to see proper if his eyes is deceiving him with his mouth open in surprise he called out his nephew Ikem is that you? Ikem responded; That insult you abused my father with since 1916, i came to return “MAY THUNDER FROM WHITE MAN’S LAND STRIKE YOU WITH PORCUPINE EXCRETION” You are living in a tower and i am living in tower there is no difference.
On hearing this words from his nephew he went inside uttering no words in return, and from that day onwards he kept to himself bordering no one of material gain and intimidation with lies of thunder coming from white man’s land. The villagers now disclose that the threat of thunder was nothing but all lies. Ikem now live quietly in his fathers compound in peace.