A laughing heart


Sent to me by Obi, a friend and Companion of the Silent Eye:

Let me Sue, tell you a traditional story on happiness from my people the Igbo of South east Nigeria as an example of how happiness can make one unable to do anything effectively.

A young man after the traditional marriage formalities took home his wife, with happiness, just as the young wife was happy too. The next morning as he was leaving for his farm for work, he left the young wife in the house and then brought out food for her to cook, so he could come home to a meal for the first time now in his own house and not his father’s.

When he returned, he heard a distant voice singing a traditional happiness tune, and he was thrilled by and happy at the melodious voice of his wife. She, meanwhile, was transported by emotions of joy and, singing away in total bliss, did not even notice the entry of her young husband as he came. However, the food for their first meal together was still raw and uncooked. Confused, disappointed, even angry, he called on the wife for an explanation, asking what was wrong and why he could not have his meal.

The young wife found herself in a state of total confusion and panic, with no viable explanation. It was a very serious crime, even as a first offender and you could also guess, dear friend, the magnitude of such a faux pas in a traditional setting of old folklore.

In a state of absolute terror, she went down on her knees, clutching the husband’s knees and pleading with eyes full of tears and in surrender. She could barely mutter the words that seemed to come out in solemn soft jerks as if they were not intended to form a sentence,

“My most beloved husband, brave descendant of a proud lineage, father of my children even if yet unborn, brave man who spares the erring woman, let me endure your wrath, for be reminded that the uncompassionate brave man, will end up living alone in his house stead.” She stopped for breath, then continued, her voice still trembling. “Laughter in my mouth would not allow me blow the fire into a flame so as to cook the food. My day since you left has been nothing else but joy and happiness.”

You sure can imagine dear friend, how impossible it is to blow a fire into a flame, if you are laughing, even so from happiness.

The young man, after some seconds, raised his wife to her feet, looked into her tear-soaked eyes which were even made pale by fear, and after a few seconds, a smile slowly came over his face.

He laughed out loud, sighed and then said, calling her by the most lovely names, “Truth I must confess, woman of my heart, Obi Diya, ,I was able to do practically nothing in the farm today due to shared happiness too.”

They both burst out laughing, then went to the cooking place and together prepared a lovely meal, which legend still talks of till today— but known only to  a few due to the contact with the West . They had the meal and, from then ever did things together in the house or in the farm.

I think you can also imagine my friend, how impossible it is for a happy laughing heart and mouth to blow a fire into a flame.”

11 thoughts on “A laughing heart

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