Life Is Sweet At Kumansenu - Four Levels | The Flax-Golden Tales

Abioseh Nicol, Sierra Leone (1924 – 1994)

Life Is Sweet At Kumansenu - Four Levels | The Flax-Golden Tales

Life Is Sweet At Kumansenu

Literal Comprehension: This story is set in a small African village, Kumansenu. In a small mud house, a widow Bola used to live with her seven years granddaughter Asi. Her son Megi was in government job as a clerk. Bola gave birth to six children but all of them died. Musa, a village magician suggested bola to break a bone of dead child in the grave so an upcoming born child wouldn’t mock her. There was a belief that the dead child’s spirit creeps from the grave and scares the mother sitting in her womb. When Bola was preparing food Asi was skipping outside. Suddenly Bola saw her son inside the house and became so much excited. She wanted to give the party in the happiness of son’s arrival. But Meji made a promise to Bola not to tell about his arrival to anyone. His neck was tied with a red handkerchief and Meji had a hoarse voice. He said he was tired much so wanted to take rest. He slept the whole day to next Saturday morning. Bola doubted in Meji’s condition still he pretended to satisfy her. When Bola went to market Meji took his daughter for a long walk up to hill secretly. Asi asked many questions to father he cunningly answered them. At Bola’s request, all of them went to Meji’s father grave and offered water and wine as culturally did. After the offer to the graveyard, they came back home secretly. Meji didn’t eat any food rather threw outside. Bola asked Meji about the bad smell of a dead body in the room that Meji convinced her telling that it might be a dead rat. At night there was heavy rain. In the locked door, Bola saw Meji out but not wet in the rain. Thanking his mother Bola a lot for giving birth and support, Meji departed telling “Life is sweet.” Mr. Addai told Bola brought Lord gave birth him and he took back. Meji’s wife brought news that Meji was killed on Friday noon and buried on Saturday at sundown. Bola couldn’t believe her eyes. As Meji taught Asi how to open gold locket. Asi could unlock it. They all became surprised about his arrival there. Magician, Musa said Bola that she should have broken his bones 30 years ago so that he wouldn’t have come and scared her. Despite him, Bola felt very happy getting the chance of giving birth to such son and gave him a chance to born again.

Interpretation: This story “Life is sweet at Kumansenu” might be trying to give the power of love in African culture. In that culture, there was a belief that the dead child would creep to come back to the mother’s womb to trouble the parents. As Meji died at the age of 30 and his spirit visited her. The spirit had come to thank for giving birth and a chance to live a short and sweet life. It might be trying to give the superstitious cultural tradition of an African country. Bola loved her child so much that eventually, she didn’t feel sad rather a pride of giving birth to Meji like son.

Critical Thinking: Form the cultural and spiritual aspects the story is heart melting. It figures out about the life-affirming character of African people. Beside cultural exercise, there are many more disagreeable points. How can a person present as a spirit after death? Can’t we identify the person who is already dead? Do present world people have such faith about the spirit? If Meji’s spirit was present how could he visit and take the child up to hill? The spiritual aspect given in the story is unacceptable in this scientific age.

Assimilation: I have a lot from the people about their contact with ghosts, spirit, etc. We have read such supernatural concept in many texts. This story reminded me of my villagers who believe that after death spirit, comes to the house and scares the people much like Nepali superstitious people the people of Africa believe on spirit, rebirth and such thing. The story “Life is Sweet at Kumansenu” can be interpreted about the power of love and the gratitude of children toward their parents. Explain. The story “Life is Sweet at Kumansenu” shows the power of love and love of children to their parents. Mother Bola loved her son, Meji very much who was ready to give a party on Meji’s arrival to the village. For the love and care of an old mother, Meji had also left his seven years lovely daughter, Asi with Bola. He had sacrificed his love for Asi and hope to give children love to Bola. There is a strong bond of love from son to mother and vice-versa. Meji, as a spirit had come not to scare Bola as their culture interpretation. He had come to thank her for giving short still sweet life for him. He was presented there not physically rather spiritually. if spiritual love is there, even the spirit can love and care of the loved one. Form another angle we can easily say that this story has captured the gratitude of children to their parents. When Bola and Meji met they showed a strong spiritual bond of love between them. Even though Bola lost her single son still she was proud of her such ideal son. After the married life and having seven years daughter Meji hadn’t left any percent to love and respect for his ideal mother. He didn’t like to trouble his mother saying he was dead rather thanked a lot for giving birth to his noble life. Thus, in conclusion, we can say that this African-Culture base story is really about the power of love and the gratitude of children to their parents.

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