LARA – THE god OF HEKO (Part Two) By Olu Majek

LARA – THE god OF HEKO (Part Two)

Bad news traveled fast. The news quickly spread around the village: Lara had been taken by the god of Heko. She was possibly killed and swallowed by the snake or taken into their cave where she would live the rest of her life – with the gods. Some said the gods came for her because she looked like them. Fear enveloped the entire village. The farthest anyone could go was the entrance of the forest where they screamed periodically: Laaaaraaaa! Laaaaraaaa oooo!! No one dared venture into the evil forest where the gods just took a human to themselves.

Lara’s foster mother was now rolling on the muddy ground next to the forest, fists clenched to shrubs, she offered to die in her stead. Then suddenly, the old woman passed out!

Dear readers, it was important this woman fainted, else public opinion won’t favour her. It was either she was a witch, or she used the girl who was not directly her biological daughter for ritual and merely hiding behind the gods. Among those coming to mourn and commiserate with her are those who are only there to ascertain the genuineness of her mourning. So this woman here had a firm resolve not to endure such public scorn. She would rather die!

The woman who had fainted needed a special care to regain her consciousness. She got just that. Cold water poured on her head, several hands beating and tapping her to consciousness. A search team of about 40 or 50 people stood at the entrance of the forest, armed with cutlasses or clubs, anything that could smash the crowned head of a snake to bits. But still, no one ventured into the forest. Uncle Lot, arguably the strongest youth in the village, had suggested that ten young men be prepared to go into the forest and conduct a search, nine young men together with himself. As the women were retiring to fate amidst ululations, and the ten men were being prepared for the search, a creature emerged from the forest, a distance away. She had a bucket of water on her head; her short black hands holding it in place. She was not smiling. Her stern eyes were those of the gods. Those eyes, having fire in them, darted from person to person.

Lara is back!! The sympathisers and the search team being prepared, seeing what was happening, scampered! Every man to his home. Only the brave stopped from a secured distance to watch Lara skidded home in her brisk steps. From the coven of the gods, back alive to the land of the living, the god herself is back in our midst.

Seeing Lara return home, the women who were consoling her mother simply congratulated her and disappeared. No one stands the presence of a god. The mother stood to talk to her daughter. ‘Lara, do you want to kill yourself?’, she queried as she wiped her last tears. Lara spoke dismissively about the snake-god. ‘What? He was only scarring them, and if the kids had stayed, they all would have fetched their water’.

The villagers responded by modifying Lara’s name. She became: Lara – the god of Heko (Lara ebora Heko).

From that day on, Lara became the little girl who commanded bravery. Those who were scared of River Heko suddenly felt secure having to go to the stream with Lara. She became a Leader in her own right. She was the god of Heko.

{**** An aside: I would have loved to talk about when Lara left the village and when she returned, but would that meet the essence of this story line? Let’s see if we can do that in two short paragraphs. ****}

Lara left the village few years after this incidence in search of greener pastures. She would return sometimes in mid 1990s, about a decade later. Her chest now played host to two blooming breasts, small but firm and erect. Her backside was significantly fleshy, roundy and robust. All in black meats. Boys my age could do some little things with that. We were now in our puberty.

When Lara visited us in the 90s, she cleaned herself up, wore a good dress and adorned her face with white powder and some makeups 💄. A white powder on a skin as black as Lara’s was exactly like the costumes of the gods in our local movies. But Lara carried some beauties. The extra flesh on her chest and back was not lost on us. When women in the village saw her, they screamed in bewilderment: ‘Lara, you have become a woman!’.

In all, Lara was not a man after all. She was a woman. She was brave. She was Lara – the god of Heko.


*Olu Majek* writes from Abuja.

Note: This is not fiction. This is a true life story which I experienced at childhood. All stories here are verifiable facts.

Although idolatry is not common place anymore due to civilization and the spread of Christianity, the sites mentioned in this story remain to date. This may be of some interests to Tourists and Researchers.

Olle-Bunu (where I was born) is a growing town in Kabba/Bunu Local Government Area of Kogi State, Nigeria.

Good luck 🤞.

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