A Nigerian Ballad
A Traditional Ballad
A traditional ballad from the Ora Clan in Owan Division of Bendel State of Nigeria. Translated by Mr. Oje Odihirin, Department of English in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and published in Festac Anthology of Nigerian New Writing,
Edited by Cyprian Ekwensi, January 1977.
Ora people lend me your ears.
Ora people lend me your ears
Our elders said that their ears
Have caught a strange sound.
The rumours that small-pox has struck
In the neighbouring villages
Has been confirmed.
In order to prevent the monster
From spreading death into our village
That’s quiet and peaceful
Like a crab’s hole in the river.
Our elders have advised everybody
To report at the village square,
When the sun is going to sleep,
To receive a dose if our ancestral antidote
To bronze-shield our skins
Against the invisible arrows
Of the formidable warrior.
You’ve heard the tongue of the elders.
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