the disobedient daughter afiong and the skull
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The Disobedient Daughter – Afiong and the Skull

Effiong Edem was a native of Cobham Town. He had a very beautiful daughter who he named Afiong.

All the young men in the town and from outside wanted to marry her because of her beauty, but she refused all offers of marriage in spite of repeated pleas from her parents.

She insisted she would only marry the best-looking man in the country. And the person would have to be young, strong, and capable of loving her properly.

Most of the men her parents wanted her to marry, although they were rich, were old and ugly men. So the girl continued to disobey her parents. This attitude grieved her parents so much.

The Disobedient Daughter Who Married A Skull

Now, there was a skull who lived in the spirit land heard of the beauty of this Calabar virgin. And he thought he would like to possess her; so he went about amongst his friends and borrowed different parts of the body from them, all of the best.

From one he got a good head, another lent him a body. A third gave him strong arms, and a fourth lent him a fine pair of legs. He borrowed the finest parts and things he could find around.

And at last, he was complete and was a very perfect and fine young gentleman.

He then left the spirit land and went to Cobham market, where he heard gossips about Afiong’s beauty and admired her very much.

About this time also, Afiong heard that a very fine man had been seen in the market who was better-looking than any of the natives.

She hastened her steps to the market at once, and immediately she saw the Skull in his borrowed beauty, she fell in love with him and invited him to her house.

The skull was delighted and went home with her, and on his arrival was introduced by the girl to her parents. Then he immediately asked their consent to marry their daughter.

At first, they refused, as they did not wish her to marry a stranger. But at last, they agreed due to her endless plea.

Afiong and the skull lived for some days in her parents’ house, and then said he wished to take his wife back to his country, which was far off. To this, Afiong readily agreed, as he was such a fine man, but her parents persuaded her not to go.

However, being very headstrong, she made up her mind to go, and they started off together.

After Afiong and the Skull had been gone a few days the father consulted his VooDoo man, who by casting lots, discovered that his daughter’s husband belonged to the spirit land and that she would surely be killed.

The parents and the whole town mourned her as dead.

After walking for several days, Afiong and her husband the Skull crossed the border between the spirit land and the human country.

When they set foot in the spirit land, first of all, one man came to the Skull and demanded his legs

Then another came to get his head, and the next his body, and so on. And before evening the skull was left by itself in all its natural ugliness.

At this, the girl was very frightened and wanted to return home, but the skull would not allow this and ordered her to go with him.

When Afiong and the skull arrived at the skull’s house they found his mother, who was a very old woman quite incapable of doing any work but creep about.

Afiong tried her best to help her, cooked her food, and brought water and firewood for the old woman. The old creature was very grateful for the care and soon became quite fond of Afiong.

One day the old woman told Afiong that she was very sorry for her and pitied her. But all the people in the spirit land were cannibals and when they heard there was a human in their country, they prepared to come to the house, kill her, and then eat her.

The skull’s mother then hid Afiong to keep her safe. And because Afiong had looked after her so well, she promised she would send her back to her country as soon as possible. Provided that Afiong promised to obey her parents in the future.

This Afiong readily consented to do. Then the old woman sent for the spider, who was a very clever hairdresser and made him dress Afiong’s hair in the latest fashion. She also presented her with anklets, bangles, clothes,  and other things on account of her kindness. She then called the winds to come and convey Afiong to her home.

At first, a violent tornado came with thunder, lightning and rain. But the Skull’s mother sent them away as unsuitable. The next wind that came was a gentle breeze so she told the breeze to carry Afiong to her mother’s house.

And the old woman said good-bye to her.  And soon after taking her out of the spirit land the breeze deposited Afiong outside her home and left.

When Afiong’s parents saw their daughter they were very glad, as they had for some months given her up as lost. The father spread soft animals’ skins on the ground from where his daughter was standing all the way to the house.

Afiong then walked into the house.

And her father called a hurdle of the town to come to the house and celebrate. And all the young girls who belonged to Afiong’s company came and danced. The feasting and dancing went on for eight days and eight nights.

And when the rejoicing was over, the father reported what happened to the head chief of the town. The chief then passed a law that parents should never allow their daughters to marry strangers. Especially those who came from far countries.

Then the father told his daughter to marry a friend’s son. And she willingly consented, married, and lived with him for many years. They had many children and lived happily ever after.

Lessons from the story:

You can be beautiful, humble and obedient too.  Beauty is only skin deep. But character is from the soul out.

You don’t have to borrow to impress in the long. Avoid embarrassment.

Not everything that glitters is gold.


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