Allah is Not Obliged

Allah is Not Obliged by Ahmadou Kourouma Read Free Book Online

Book: Allah is Not Obliged by Ahmadou Kourouma Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ahmadou Kourouma
he said that when three owls fly up from the left in front of a traveller it’s a three-times terrible omen for the journey. He sat down and recited nine more big important suras from the Qur’an and nine big shaman prayers. Automatically, a guineafowl sang on our right and Yacouba stood up and smiled and said that the guineafowl singing meant that we were blessed by maman’s spirit. Maman’s spirit is too good and too powerful on account of all the crying and walking round on her arse she did here on earth. My mum’s spirit had cleared the path of the ill-omened cry of the third owl. And we kept on walking, foot to the road, not thinking too much because we were so happy and relieved.
    Morning started to rise and we kept on walking. Suddenly all the birds on earth, in the trees, in the sky, started singing because they were all so happy. That made the sun come out, and it jumped up right in front of us, up above the trees. We were happy too. We were looking at the top of the kapok tree of the next village far away when suddenly we saw an eagle fly up on our left. The eagle was really heavy because it had something in its claws. When it got as far as us, the eagle dropped whatever it was carrying on to the path. It was a dead hare. Tiécoura shouted lots of
bismillahs
and prayedfor a long time, a really long time, and said lots of suras and kaffir animist prayers. He was really, really worried and said that the dead hare in the middle of the path was a really bad, totally bad augury.
    When we arrived, we didn’t go to the truck station straight away because we got to the village wanting to give up and go back to Togobala on account of how there had been so many bad omens.
    But then we saw an old, worn-out grandmother leaning on a long stick and Yacouba gave her a cola nut and she was happy and said we should go and talk to some man who had just arrived in the village. This man was the most powerful marabout, medium and grigriman in the village and the whole district (a ‘medium’ is someone who is reputed to have the ability to communicate with spirits). We walked past three concessions and two huts and came slap bang on the marabout’s place. We waited in the vestibule, seeing as how there were other people ahead of us. When we walked into the hut, surprise! The marabout was Sekou himself, Yacouba’s friend from his initiation who came to see him in the Mercedes when he was in Yopougon hospital in Abidjan. Yacouba and Sekou hugged. Sekou had been forced to leave Yacouba and abandon his Mercedes and all his merchandise on account of some murky business to do with money multiplying (according to the
Petit Robert
, ‘murky business’ means ‘a deplorable or lamentable affair’). As soon as we sat down in the hut, Sekou, using prestidigitation, made a white chicken appear from his sleeve. Yacouba gasped in amazement.Me, I was terrified. Sekou advised us to do lots of sacrifices, really big sacrifices, so we sacrificed two sheep and two chickens in a graveyard, the chicken he pulled out of his sleeve and another one.
    The sacrifices were fitting. Allah and the spirits of the ancestors didn’t have to accept them; they accepted the sacrifices because they wanted to. We were relieved. Sekou also advised us not to leave until Friday. He said that, for travellers who had seen a dead hare in their path, Friday was the only day he would counsel (‘counsel’ means ‘strongly advise’). Because Friday is the holy day of the Muslims, of the dead, and even of grigrimen.
    We were optimistic and strong because Allah in his infinite goodness never leaves a mouth he has created without subsistence (‘subsistence’ means ‘food or means of survival’). This was in June 1993.
    Before I forget, I should say that when we were talking Yacouba persuaded Sekou to come to Liberia and Sierra Leone with us, because in those countries the people were dying like flies, and when people are dying like flies a marabout who can pull a

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