My name is Ewapipe (meaning complete beauty) but there was nothing complete or beautiful about
me as I sat in the village square of Ilogbo, drenched in my own blood from sores all over my body and watched Olu being led away to the evil forest, I could not stop wondering “Am I worth this much trouble?” As if Bosun, was reading my mind, he intercepted the guards who were taking him away “Olu, there is a thin line between love and madness and you are flirting with that line. How can you possibly choose to go to the evil forest for this worthless maiden, She is not even a virgin as dictated by the laws of Ilogbo, she is not worth this trouble…Olu, please come back it is your turn to sit on the throne of your fathers” but Olu turned a deaf ear to the pleas of his childhood
friend. Princess Sijuade, Olu’s sister rushed out of the palace, kicking and screaming, “Egbon mi… please you can’t leave me because of this thief. She committed the crime and she should pay the price. You know as well as I do that nobody returns alive from the evil forest. The tramp is nothing but trouble.” “She is not a
tramp” the Aremo ( meaning crown prince) intercepted rather angrily. “You don’t understand my love for her. I cannot endure the thought of her suffering. I will see you when I return” He told them both as he walked towards the dreaded evil forest. But when will you return?” his sister asked. “I don’t know but I am definitely coming back.” he replied. The princess shook her head in pity for her brother and looked at me with disdain and
disgust…I remember how the Aremo walked me home the previous night, professing his love for me as he
had been doing for three years now even before my parents died. As we stopped at my hut, he said “Ewa, I just want you to be reminded of my love for you.I am still waiting for your answer tomy proposal and if there is anything you need, you can ask for it. Anything at all” but I always suspected his “so-called ” love for me. I could not
just understand why he loved me so much in spite of the fact that it was public knowledge thatI was not a virgin but I was not about to be fooled again. He is just like the rest of them; he wants to take advantage of me like other men did. So, I chose not to rely on men like I did in the past and in a bid to feed my hungry siblings, Seun and Bola, I went to steal a negbour’s chicken so we could eat something that day but unfortunately I was caught. The grimly sad look and the agony that registered on his face as the people of Ilogbo dragged me to the palace for judgement with the stolen chicken dangling from my neck told me that he has been true all along. He really loved
me but how did I not notice his sincerity? I asked myself. The villagers reported me to Olu and awaited his
judgment and according to the law, it was a three years banishment into the evil forest. My heart broke as I heard his judgment “The offender will serve a three years sentence in the evil forest” his baritone voice bellowed as the villagers watched on as “their” thief was being sentenced. I was perturbed as I wondered that my siblings would
become destitute as no one will want to be associated with the sibling of a thief. Then all of a sudden, the Aremo commanded the guards to let me go and spreading his arms like a mother hen welcoming her chicks home, he said to the guards, “I am your prisoner”. There was chaos and disquiet in the palace as even the guards were taken aback. The people chanted together “No! No! No!!!” It was only fifteen days to his coronation as the King Of Ilogbo but the Aremo kept his calm and after the people kept quiet. He calmly but resolutely said “I have taken my decision”. He then commanded the guards to take him to the evil forest and proceeded to strip himself of the royal robe and the scepter that made him the crown prince. Removing the chicken dandling from my neck, I ran towards him in tears “Aremo, you do not have to do this. I am the offender and I should get punished not you” but He just held my face in his hands and with determination inscribed on his face, beads of perspiration on his forehead and tears cascading down his face like a water fall in its full strength he said “Ewa, this is not also easy for me. I wish it would not happen but I cannot reign without you as my bride.I love you; it’s just three years.Please wait for my return.” Without even waiting to hear an answer, he turned his back on Ilogbo, on the throne and on all that was familiar and headed for the forest…

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