Tag Archive | Yoke

Echiche ehi Serbian ǹkịtị

Ezigbo ihe ijuanya na-eme n’ụwa a, obodo anyị bu , dịka ọtụtụ ndị na-ekwu, juputara na ihe ịtụnanya ruo n’ókè nke na ihe ịtụnanya abụghịzị ihe ịtụnanya. Enwere ndị nọ ebe a nọ n’ọkwa dị elu nke na-echeghị ma ọlị, yana dị ka ụgwọ, ma ọ bụ ikekwe n’ihi ihe ndị ọzọ, ehi nkịtị nke nkịtị, nke dị iche na nke ndị Serbia ndị ọzọ, malitere iche echiche. Chineke maara ihe merenụ nke mere anụmanụ a dị aghụghọ ji anwa ịnwa ụdị mbọ a, ọkachasị ebe ọ bụ na egosila na ọrụ ọjọọ a na Serbia nwere ike wetara gị mkparị. Ka anyị kwuozie na ekwensu a dara ogbenye, amaghi ya niile, amaghịdị na mbọ a abaghị uru n’ala nna ya, yabụ na anyị agaghị eji obi ike obodo ọ bụla were ya. Mana ọ ka bụ ihe omimi ihe mere ehi kwesịrị iche echiche ebe ọ bụ na ọ bụghị onye ntuli aka, ma ọ bụ onye ńdu, ma ọ bụ onye ọka ikpe, a họpụtabeghịkwa ya onye osote na ọgbakọ obodo ọ bụla, ma ọ bụ ọbụlagodi (ọ bụrụ na ọ ruru afọ ụfọdụ) onye nnochite. Ọ bụrụkwa na mkpụrụ obi dara ogbenye nwere nrọ nke ịbụ onye onye ozi steeti na obodo ọ bụla, ọ kwesịrị ịma na, n’ụzọ megidere nke ahụ, ọ kwesịrị ịdị na-eme otu esi eche echiche dị ka o kwere mee, dị ka ezigbo ndị ozi ahụ na mba ụfọdụ nwere obi ụtọ, n’agbanyeghị na anyị obodo enwechaghịkwa ihu ọma na nke a. N’ikpeazụ, gịnị kpatara anyị ga-eji nwee nchegbu maka ihe kpatara oke ehi na Serbia ji mee mbọ ndị mmadụ gbahapụrụ? Ọzọkwa, ọ nwere ike mee na ọ malitere iche echiche naanị n’ihi ebumpụta ụwa nke ya.

Yabụ, kedu ụdị oke ehi ọ bụ? Ehi nkịtị nke nwere, dịka ihe ọmụmụ ụmụ anụmanụ na-akụziri anyị, isi, ahụ na aka na ụkwụ, dị ka ehi ndị ọzọ niile; ọ na-adọkpụ ụgbọ ịnyịnya, na-ata ahịhịa, na-ata nnu, na-enwu enwu. Aha ya bụ Sivonja, ehi isi awọ.

Lee ka o si malite iche echiche. Otu ụbọchị nna ya ukwu jikọtara ya na enyi ya, Galonja, kwakọba ngwongwo ezuru ezu n’ụgbọ ala wee buga ha n’obodo ka ha ree.

Ihe fọrọ nke nta ka ọ bụrụ ozugbo ọ batara n’obodo ahụ, ọ rere Sịkoja na enyi ya, na-ejikọghị ya, kegide agbụ nke jikọtara ha na yoke, tụba n’ihu ya mkpo ahịhịa, wee jiri ọńụ banye n’otu obere ụlọ mmanya iji were ume ihe ọnụnụ ole na ole. Enwere mmemme na-aga n’ihu n’obodo ahụ, yabụ na enwere ndị nwoke, ụmụ nwanyị na ụmụaka si n’akụkụ niile na-agafe. Galonja, ma ọ bụghị nke ehi ndị ọzọ mara dị ka onye ogbi, eleghị ihe ọ bụla anya, kama nke ahụ, ọ dabere na nri ehihie ya nke ukwuu, rie afọ, rie ntakịrị ihe na-atọ ụtọ, wee dinara ala, na-ehi ụra nke ọma. Ndị ahụ niile na-agafe agafe anaghị echegbu ya. Ọ na-ehi ụra ma na-enwu n’udo (ọ bụ ihe nwute na ọ bụghị mmadụ, yana amụma ndị a niile maka ọrụ dị elu). Mana Sivonja enweghị ike ịta otu ntakịrị. Anya nrọ ya na ihu mwute dị n’ihu ya gosiri na nlele mbụ na nke a bụ onye na-eche echiche, na mkpụrụ obi na-atọ ụtọ. Ndị mmadụ, ndị Serbia, na-agafe ya, na-enwe nganga maka ịdị ebube ha gara aga, aha ha, mba ha, na nganga a na-egosi n’omume ha siri ike. Sivonja hụrụ ihe ndị a niile, na mkpụrụ obi ya nọ na mberede na-eru uju na ihe mgbu n’ihi oke ikpe na-ezighị ezi, ọ nweghịkwa ike kama ịdaba na mmetụta dị ike, na mberede na ike; ọ na-ebe ákwá dị mwute, na-egbu mgbu, anya mmiri na-agbapụta n’anya ya. Na oke mgbu ya, Sivonja malitere iche:

– Kedu ihe nna m ukwu na ndị obodo ya, ndị Serbia, ji anya isi? Gịnị mere ha ji bulie isi ha elu wee lee ndị m anya mpako na nlelị anya? Ha na-anya isi n’ala nna ha, na-anya isi na akara aka ebere nyere ha ohere ịmụ ha ebe a na Serbia.

Nne m mụrụ m ebe a na Serbia, Serbia abụghịkwa ala m kamakwa nke nna m, na ndị nna nna m nwere, dị ka nke ha, ha niile, na-abịa n’ala ndị a site n’ala nna ochie Slavic. Ma ọ nweghị onye n’ime anyị bụ oke ehi nke nwere nganga na ya, naanị ihe anyị nwere bụ nganga na anyị nwere ike ịdọrọ ibu dị arọ n’elu; ruo taa, oke ehi agwabeghị ehi Jaman: “Gịnị ka ị chọrọ n’aka m, abụ m ehi Serbia, ala nna m bụ obodo mpako Serbia, a mụrụ nwa nna nna m niile ebe a, na ebe a, n’ala a, bụ ili nna nna m hà.” Chukwu ekwela, anyị emeghị nganga na nke a, ọ gbabeghị anyị n’uche, na ha na-anya isi na nke ahụ. Ndi mmadu di egwu!

N’ịbụ ndị echiche ndị a na-eche, oke ehi ahụ furu isi ya n’ụzọ dị mwute, mgbịrịgba n’olu na-ada ụda na mgbu na-ada. Galonja mepere anya ya, lelee enyi ya anya, wee maa jijiji:

– N’ebe ahụ ị ga-eji ihe nzuzu nke gị gaa ọzọ! Rie, onye nzuzu, maa abụba, lee ọgịrịga gị niile na-apụ apụ; ọ bụrụ na ọ dị mma iche, ndị mmadụ agaraghị enye anyị ehi. Ọ nweghị ụzọ anyị ga-esi nwee ihe ndabara ọma!

Sivonja nwere ọmịiko lee enyi ibe ya anya, wepụ isi ya n’ebe ọ nọ, wee mikpuru n’ime uche ya.

– Ha na-anya isi na ebube ha gara aga. Ha nwere ubi Kosovo, agha Kosovo. Nnukwu ihe, ndị nna nna m ebuteghị ụgbọ ala nri na ngwa agha ọbụna n’oge ahụ? Ọ bụrụ na ọ bụghị maka anyị, ndị mmadụ gaara eme ya n’onwe ha. Mgbe ahụ enwere ọgba aghara megide ndị Turkey. Nnukwu mgbalị dị mma, mana onye nọ ebe ahụ n’oge ahụ? Ọ bụ ntụpọ ndị a nwere imi dị elu, na-ama jijiji n’ihu m dị ka a ga-asị na ọ bụ uru ha, onye kpalitere ọgba aghara ahụ? Lee, were nna m ukwu dịka ọmụmaatụ. Ya onwe ya kwa dị mpako ma na-etu ọnụ maka ọgba aghara ahụ, ọkachasị na nna nna ya nwụrụ na agha ntọhapụ dịka ezigbo dike. Na nke a ọ bụ uru nna m ukwu? Nna nna nna ya nwere ikike ịdị mpako, mana ọ bụghị ya; nna nna ya nwụrụ ka nna m ukwu, nwa ya, nwere ike nwere onwe ya. O nwerela onwe ya, kedu ka o si eme nnwere onwe ya? Ọ na-ezuru nkata ndị ọzọ, na-anọdụ na ụgbọ ala, m ga-adọta ya na nkata mgbe ọ na-arahụ ụra. Ugbu a, o rewo nkata ya, ọ na -ańu mmanya, na emeghị ihe ọ bụla ma na-anya isi na ndụ ebube ya gara aga. Olekwa ndị nna nna m ole ka egburu na mbuso agha ahụ iji nye ndị na-alụ ọgụ nri?

Ọ bụ na ndị nna nna m n’oge ahụ ewepụtaghị ngwa agha, egbe ala, nri, mgbọ? Ma anyị anaghị anya isi maka ihe ọma ha n’ihi na anyị agbanwebeghị; anyị ka na-arụ ọrụ anyị taa, dịka nna nna anyị hà mere, jiri ndidi na akọ na uche.

Ha nwere nganga nhụjuanya nke ndị nna nna ha na narị afọ ise nke ịgba ohu. Ndị ikwu m atawo ahụhụ n’oge ndụ anyị niile, ma taa anyị ka na-ata ahụhụ ma bụrụ ohu, mana anyị anaghị eti mkpu banyere ya n’olu dara ụda.

Ha na-ekwu na ndị Turkey tara ahụhụ, gbuo ma kpọgbuo ha; ọ dị mma, ma ndị Serbia ma ndị Turkey gburu ma ndị nna nna m, ma tedara n’ọkụ, ma tinye ụdị mmekpa ahụ niile.

Ha na-anya isi n’okpukpe ha, ma ha ekwetaghị ihe ọ bụla. Kedu ihe kpatara m na ndị m na anyị enweghị ike ịnabata n’etiti Ndị Kraịst? Okpukpe ha na-agwa ha “ezula ohi” na ebe ahụ ka nna m ukwu na-ezu ohi ma na-ańụ mmanyamaka ego o nwetara maka izu ohi. Okpukpe ha na-agwa ha ka ha hụ ndị agbata obi ha n’anya, n’agbanyeghị nke ahụ, ha na-eme ibe ha ihe ọjọọ. Maka ha, ụmụ nwoke kacha mma, ihe atụ nke omume ọma, bụ onye na-anaghị eme ihe ọjọọ, na n’ezie, ọ nweghị onye na-eche na ọ na-arịọ onye ọ bụla ka o mee ihe ọma, ewezuga ime ihe ọjọọ. Nke ahụ bụ etu ha siri dị ala na ihe atụ nke omume ọma ha karịrị ihe ọ bụla na-abaghị uru nke na-adịghị emerụ ahụ.

Ehi ahu kuru ume nke ukwuu, ume welikwara ájá dị n’ụzọ.

– Yabụ – ehi ahụ gara n’ihu n’echiche ọjọọ ya – na nke a, ọ bụ na mụ na ndị ikwu m adịghị mma na ihe niile karịa nke ọ bụla n’ime ha? Enwetụbeghị m onye ọnye mgburu, ọ dịbeghị mgbe m katọrọ onye ọ bụla, ezughịbeghi ihe ọ bụla, achụpụghị onye aka ya dị ọcha na ọrụ ọha, emepụtaghị mpepu ego n’ụlọ akụ steeti, ekwuputaghị mfu adịgboroja, Ọ dịtụbeghị mgbe m tụrụ ụdọ ma ọ bụ nwụchie ndị aka ha dị ọcha, emebeghị m nkwutọ ndị enyi m, emebeghị m ihe megidere ụkpụrụ ehi m, emeghị m akaebe ụgha, abụghị m onye ozi steeti ma ọ nweghị mgbe m merụrụ obodo ahụ, ọ bụghị naanị na emeghị m ihe ọjọọ ọ bụla, ọbụna m na-emere ndị na-emegbu m ihe ọma. Nne m mụrụ m, ozugbo ahụ, ndị ajọ mmadụ nwedịrị ike nara m mmiri ara nne m. Ọ dịkarịa ala, Chineke kere anyị ahịhịa maka ehi, ọ bụghị maka mmadụ, mana ha na-anapụkwa anyị ya. Agbanyeghị, ewezuga iti ihe a niile, anyị na-adọkpụ ụgbọ ala ụmụ nwoke, na-akọ ubi ha ma na-enye ha nri. Ma na onweghị onye na-anabata uru anyị na-eme maka ala nna…

– Ma ọ bụ were ibu ọnụ dị ka ihe atụ; ọ dị mma, nye ndị mmadụ, okpukperechi n-agwa ka a na-ebu ọnụ n’ụbọchị oriri niile, mana ha achọghịdị ịnagide obere ibu ọnụ a, ebe mụ na ndị m na-ebu ọnụ na ndụ anyị niile, kemgbe anyị bufere ara na ara nne anyị.

Anụ ehi gbadara isi ya dị ka a ga-asị na ọ na-echegbu onwe ya, wee bulie ya ọzọ, were iwe, o yikwara ka ihe dị mkpa na-abịaghachikwute ya, na-emekpa ya ahụ; na mberede, ọ tiri mkpu ọnụ:

– Eh, ama m ugbu a, ọ ga-abụrịrị – ọ gara n’ihu na-eche, – nke ahụ bụ ihe ọ bụ; ha na-anya isi maka nnwere onwe na ikike obodo. Ọ dị m mkpa itinye uche m na ya nke ọma.

Ọ nọ na-eche, na-eche, mana enweghị ike ịpụta ya.

– Kedu ikike ndị a ha nwere? Ọ bụrụ na ndị uwe ojii nyere ha iwu ịme ntuli aka, ha na-eme ntuli aka, na dịka nke a, anyị nwere ike ime ngwa ngwa: “Ekw-e-e-m!” Ma ọ bụrụ na enyeghị ha iwu, ha agaghị anwa ịtụ aka, ma ọ bụ tinye aka na ndọrọ ndọrọ ọchịchị, dị ka anyị. A na-akụkwa ha ihe n’ụlọ mkpọrọ, ọ bụrụgodị na aka ha dị ọcha. Ma ọ dịkarịa ala, anyị na-afụ ma na-efegharị ọdụ anyị, na ha enweghịdị obere obi ike obodo.

Na n’oge ahụ, nna ya ukwu si n’ụlọ oriri na ọnụnụ pụta. Ịnụbiga mmanya ókè, ịma jijiji, anya gbachapụrụ agbachapụ, na-atụgharị ụfọdụ okwu ndị a na-enweghị ike ịghọta, ọ na-aga n’ụzọ ụgbọ ịnyịnya.

– Naanị lelee, kedu ka mkpụrụ a dị mpako si eji nnwere onwe nke ejiri ọbara ndị nna nna ya merie? Ọ dị mma, nna m ukwu bụ onye a nụrụma na onye ohi, mana kedu ka ndị ọzọ si eji nnwere onwe a? Naanị ịla n’iyi wee were mpako n’oge gara aga na uru ndị nna nna ha nwere, nke ha nwere oke onyinye dị ka m. Anyị bụ ehi, anyị nọgidere bụrụ ndị ọrụ na-arụsi ọrụ ike na ndị bara uru dị ka ndị nna nna anyị mere. Anyị bụ ehi, mana anyị ka nwere ike na-anya isi maka ọrụ ike na uru anyị bara taa.

Ehi na-amakụ nke ukwuu ma na-akwado olu ya maka agbu.

 

 

Na Belgrade, 1902.
Maka oru ngo “Radoje Domanović” onye nsụgharịrị bu Azodo Doyenne Ifeyinwa, 2021.

Reasoning of an ordinary Serbian ox

Good deal of wonders occur in this world, and our country is, as many say, overflowing with wonders to such an extent that wonders are no longer wonders. There are people here on very high positions who do not think at all, and as a compensation, or maybe for some other reasons, an ordinary peasant’s ox, which differs not one bit from other Serbian oxen, started thinking. God knows what happened that made this ingenious animal dare to take up such a brash endeavour, especially since it had been proven that in Serbia this unfortunate occupation could only bring you disservice. Let us then say that this poor devil, in all his naïveté, didn’t even know that this endeavour is not profitable in his homeland, so we won’t attribute him with any particular civic courage. But it still remains a mystery why an ox should think since he is not a voter, nor a councillor, nor a magistrate, nor has he been elected a deputy in any bovine assembly, or even (if he has reached a certain age) a senator. And had the poor soul ever dreamt of becoming a minister of state in any bovine country, he should have known that on the contrary, he ought to practice how to think as little as possible, like those excellent ministers in some happier countries, although our country is not so lucky in this respect either. In the end, why should we care about why an ox in Serbia has taken up an endeavour abandoned by the people? Also, it might have happened that he started thinking merely due to some natural instinct of his.

So, what kind of an ox is it? An ordinary ox which has, as zoology teaches us, a head, body, and limbs, like all the other oxen; he pulls a cart, grazes on grass, licks salt, ruminates and brays. His name is Sivonja, the grey ox.

Here is how he started thinking. One day his master yoked him and his buddy, Galonja, loaded some stolen pickets on the cart and took them to the town to sell. Almost immediately upon entering the town, he sold the pickets and then unyoked Sivonja and his comrade, hooked the chain that ties them to the yoke, threw a sheaf of thimbleweed in front of them, and merrily went into a small tavern to refresh with a few drinks. There was a festival ongoing in the town, so there were men, women, and children passing by from all sides. Galonja, otherwise known to other oxen as being somewhat dumb, did not look at anything, instead, he stuck into his lunch in all seriousness, ate a bellyful, brayed a bit out of pure enjoyment, and then lay down, sweetly dozing and ruminating. All those people passing by were no concern of his. He is just dozing and ruminating peacefully (it’s a pity he is not a human, with all these predispositions for a lofty career). But Sivonja could not take a single bite. His dreamy eyes and the sad expression on his face showed at first glance that this was a thinker, and a sweet, impressionable soul. People, Serbs, are passing him by, proud of their glorious past, their name, their nation, and this pride shows in their stern demeanour and pace. Sivonja observed all this, and his soul was all of a sudden consumed by sorrow and pain due to the tremendous injustice, and he couldn’t but succumb to such a strong, sudden and powerful emotion; he brayed sadly, painfully, tears rolling in his eyes. And in his immense pain, Sivonja started to think:

– What are my master and his compatriots, the Serbs, so proud of? Why do they hold their heads so high and look at my people with haughty pride and contempt? They are proud of their motherland, proud that merciful fate has granted them to be born here in Serbia. My mother gave birth to me here in Serbia as well, and Serbia is not only my native land but my father’s also, and my ancestors have, just like theirs, all together, come to these lands from the old Slavic homeland. And yet none of us oxen have felt proud of it, we only took pride in our ability to pull a heavier load uphill; to this day, never has an ox told a German ox: “What do you want with me, I am a Serbian ox, my homeland is the proud country of Serbia, all my ancestors had been calved here, and here, in this land, are the graves of my forefathers. ” God forbid, we never took pride in this, never has it come to our mind, and they are even proud of that. Strange folk!

Taken by these thoughts, the ox sadly shook his head, bell on his neck ringing and yoke crackling. Galonja opened his eyes, looked at his friend, and mooed:

– There you go again with that tomfoolery of yours! Eat, fool, grow some fat, look at your ribs all sticking out; if it were good to think, people would not have left it to us oxen. No way would we’ve been so fortunate!

Sivonja looked at his comrade with pity, turned his head away from him, and immersed back in his thoughts.

– They take pride in their glorious past. They have their Field of Kosovo, Battle of Kosovo. Big deal, haven’t my ancestors pulled carts with food and armaments even back then? If it weren’t for us, people would’ve had to do it themselves. Then there is the uprising against the Turks. A grand, noble endeavour, but who was there at the time? Was it these high-nosed dimwits, strutting proudly before me as if it were their merit, who raised the uprising? Here, take my master as an example. He too is so proud and brags about the uprising, especially with the fact that his great-grandfather perished in the war of liberation as a true hero. And is this my master’s merit? His great-grandfather had the right to be proud, but not him; his great-grandfather died so that my master, his descendant, could be free. So he is free, and how does he use his freedom? He steals other people’s pickets, sits on the cart, and I have to pull both him and the pickets while he’s asleep at the reins. Now he has sold his pickets, he’s drinking liquor, doing nothing and being proud with his glorious past. And just how many of my ancestors had been slaughtered in the uprising to feed the fighters? And did not my ancestors at the time pull the armaments, cannons, food, ammunition? And yet we don’t take pride in their merits because we haven’t changed; we still do our duty today, just as our ancestors did, patiently and conscientiously.

They are proud of their ancestors’ suffering and of five hundred years of slavery. My kin has suffered throughout our existence, and today still we suffer and are enslaved, and yet we don’t scream about it at the top of our voices. They say that Turks had tortured, slaughtered and impaled them; well, my ancestors were slaughtered by both Serbs and Turks alike, and roasted, and put on all kinds of torture.

They are proud of their religion, and yet they believe in nothing. What is the fault of me and my folk that we cannot be accepted among Christians? Their religion tells them “thou shalt not steal” and there is my master stealing and drinking for the money he got for stealing. Their religion instructs them to love their neighbours, and yet they only do harm to one another. For them, the best of men, an example of virtue, is the one who doesn’t do any harm, and of course, nobody even considers asking anyone to do something good as well, aside from not doing harm. That’s just how low they’ve got that their examples of virtue amount to no more than any useless item that doesn’t do harm.

The ox sighed deeply, and his sigh raised the dust from the road.

– So – the ox continued with his sad thoughts – in this case, aren’t me and my kin better in all that than any of them? I have never murdered anyone, I have never defamed anyone, haven’t stolen anything, haven’t fired an innocent man from public service, haven’t made a deficit in the state treasury, haven’t declared a fake bankruptcy, I have never chained or arrested innocent people, I have never slandered my friends, I have never gone against my ox principles, I haven’t made false testimonies, I was never a minister of state and never did the country any harm, and not only did I not do any harm, I even do good to those who do me harm. My mother gave birth to me, and immediately, evil men even took my mother’s milk from me. God has at least created grass for us oxen, and not for men, and yet they deprive us of it as well. Still, besides all that beating, we pull men’s carts, plough their fields and feed them bread. And yet nobody admits our merits that we do for the motherland…

– Or take fasting as an example; well, to men, religion tells to fast on all feast days, and yet they are not even willing to endure this little fasting, while I and my folk are fasting all our lives, ever since we are first weaned from mother’s breast.

Ox lowered his head as if he were worried, then raised it again, snorted angrily, and it seemed that something important was coming back to him, tormenting him; all of a sudden, he mooed joyously:

– Oh, I know now, it has to be that – and he continued thinking, – that’s what it is; they are proud of their freedom and civil rights. I need to put my mind to it seriously.

And he was thinking, thinking, but couldn’t make it out.

– What are these rights of theirs? If the police order them to vote, they vote, and like that, we could just as easily moo out: “Foo-o-o-or!”And if they are not ordered to, they dare not vote, or even dabble in politics, just like us. They also suffer beatings in prison, even if completely innocent. At least we bray and wave our tails, and they don’t even have that little civic courage.

And at that moment, his master came out of the tavern. Drunken, staggering, eyes blurred, mumbling some incomprehensible words, he meanderingly walked towards the cart.

– Just behold, how is this proud descendant using the freedom that was won with the blood of his ancestors? Right, my master is a drunkard and a thief, but how do the others use this freedom? Just to idle away and take pride in the past and in the merit of their ancestors, in which they have as much contribution as I. And us oxen, we remained as hardworking and useful labourers just as our ancestors had been. We are oxen, but we can still be proud of our arduous work and merits today.

The ox sighed deeply and readied his neck for the yoke.

 

In Belgrade, 1902.
For the “Radoje Domanović” Project translated by Vladimir Živanović, proofread by Julia Bleck. In Belgrade, 19 August 2019.