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Ebele and the Invisible Hand


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(Igbo/Nigeria)

In ancient times, Ebele, a hunter, was the progenitor to whom all Igbo owed their origin. Where he himself came from is not known. He first lived at a town called Ohanko. There were two towns, Intsina and Eberu, to the south, that were at war with Ohanko, constantly attacking with long spears and poisoned arrows.

Many deaths had resulted when Ebele appeared. Armed with a flintlock, he was present one day when the enemy made one of its periodical attacks on the friends with whom he was staying. Going to their assistance with his weapon, he shot several of the enemy. The others, who had never heard of a gun, seeing their comrades fall as if struck by an invisible hand, came and shook the bodies; finding them lifeless, they fled in terror and never again ventured to attack Ohanko. Ebele, hailed by the people as their savior, settled down among them, and became a man of great influence and substance. Many years passed in peace and quiet. Then a dispute arose between the two leading factions of the town. Because they were unable to settle the matter amicably among themselves, they called him in as mediator. Ebele quickly realized that matters were too far gone for settlement; to avoid an open rupture, he decided to separate the contending factions. It was arranged that one of them would remain at Ohanko and the other would move to Obaku, some three or four miles away. The division, having been agreed to by both parties, was effected without further disagreement or disturbance, and as soon as it was completed Ebele himself took possession of what is now called Ohumbele.

Subjects: Religion.


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