Lilian’s petition: Lilian has been married for twelve years, but her womb has never been fertile. She has been ridiculed and laughed at by fellow women. Lilian is the first wife to Mr. Hezron, who has four wives. Other wives have children, which has always made Lilian weak, sad, sick, and less important. Her husband has also stopped visiting her hut, and she has always yearned for his warmth.
Her cry is enough, she feels empty and unwanted. Today she decided to visit the Mugumo tree to appease God about her situation.
Also Read: Caught Cheating with his wife’s friend
The Mugumo tree is at the top of mount Vuria where God inhabits when descending from the heavens to commune with Taita people.
The tree acts as a sanctuary where spiritual rituals are conducted, where people bring gifts and food, where people can go to pray and invite God, the owner, and source of life, to bless their families and communities with peace, abundant food, fertile women, healthy children, and cattle.
It is a wonderful morning, everyone in the village is going about their daily activities. Lilian is preparing herself to go up the mountain to undertake a ritual for fertility.
She has to fix this challenge before she is divorced. When a woman in this village is divorced, for whatever reason they are considered a curse and dirty. They are never allowed to mingle with the society, sometimes they are even chased out of the community. Lilian’s case is heading in that direction and she is ready to do anything to stop that from happening.
She prepares herself well, she dresses on a short skirt and covers her breast with a cheetah’s skin. Inside her basket, a kilo of fresh wheat, a liter of fresh milk, a bottle of pure honey, fresh yams, fresh cassava, fresh vegetables, empty pot, a sharp knife, and an alive black male goat with no blemish.
She goes out secretly through the back of the other three wives huts. With the intention of no one seeing her, she proceeds up the thick Vuria mountain, full of many tall trees, huge stones, birds, and snakes. All this is not scaring her from the ultimate goal, she has to achieve this through thick and thin.
The forest up the mountain is thick, she pulls the goat as she makes a way for them to pass. The poor goat does not know where he is being taken. Today would be his last day on earth, his life, his death, his blood would wash away Lilian’s barrenness.
They arrive at the Mugumo tree, a huge tree that would need twelve men to stand around and make a circle around it while stretching their hands. The place was creepy, human borns of people who are given as sacrifice every generation, borns of other animals, sheep, camel, donkey, goats, and even cows. The wind was blowing the leaves and made some whistling sounds that made Lilian afraid.
Only elders and barren women could come around the Mugumo tree. Elders came for rituals of circumcision, fertility, to ask for blessings and rain, and for the changing of a traditional government from one ruling generation to the next on behalf of their community.
If a branch fell off, it would be left alone to be eaten by ants or barren women could come and pick the branches as firewood, nobody else was allowed. Lilian saw this opportunity and decided to use it today, she hopes that God will answer her prayers. She could not withstand prejudice anymore from the cowives who have made her husband stop visiting her hut. She is extremely hot and demands her man’s touch to calm her down.
She ties the goat on some filthy shrubs, and rushes to the altar beside the tree, and begins to empty her basket. She puts some firewood on the altar and makes fire ready for the sacrifice. The stem of the Mugumo tree is very huge, you may think, it is a cliff, you can not see the other side. Lilian turns around to get the goat but it is not there. The shrub she had tied it, is uprooted, it must have pulled harder, out of fear. The goat seems to be unwilling to go ahead with the sacrifice.
“Oh no! Where has it gone? ”
She runs following the trace left by the rope and shrub.
“You should not let me down please, today things have to be different.”
Lilian heads deep inside the forest in search of her goat, she finally sees it at a distance. It looks at her with a sorry glance.
“Not today my dear, I need to enjoy these greener leaves on this mountain.”
The goat runs away again and can not be seen. Lilian has to find it very fast and this time she has to be smart and quick.
She goes deeper into the forest, the goat is enjoying chewing fresh grass and leaves. As she bends through the thorns and thick bushes her top falls down leaving her breast dangling tenderly.
“Hope no animal sees this.”
Lilian picks the skin up and covers her breasts again. She tiptoes and gets hold of the rope and pulls it back. The forest is thick with weird animals and insects but Lilian has no option of getting scared, she has to do this for her own good.
The fire is ready, the evergreen Mugumo tree is still before her, it is grown up to 100 meters tall and conserves soil moisture and increases soil fertility.
She pulls the goat and lays it on the altar, ties the four legs together tightly.
“I will make it quick, I have to do this and I promise to take care of any other goat, they won’t be thirsty or lack grass.”
She holds the goat’s mouth tightly and slides the sharp knife deep in its throat. The blood pours into the pot, she pushes the goat on top of fire as a burnt offering.
It is a rule, no one should eat meat meant for sacrifice, or anything edible offered to God. She also puts what she brought around the altar, a kilo of fresh wheat, a liter of fresh milk, a bottle of pure honey, fresh yams, fresh cassava, and fresh vegetables. No villager has ever known where these things go, but they believe they are taken by God’s spirits.
Lilian pulls out her skirt and uncovers her breasts and kneels before the Mugumo tree. This is a bit odd but maybe she does not want to take any chances. She kneels before God naked as she was brought on this earth. She thinks maybe the clothing may possess some blemish that would lead to her prayer being rejected. She is kneeling on stones which are struggling hard to cut through because of her weight, but she is focusing on her prayer.
“God I come to you the same way I came to this world. Accept my sacrifice, I bring all this unto you, give me a fresh womb please!”
Tears roll down her cheeks, down to her breast, and sinks into the ground. She is deep in her prayer and means every word coming out of her mouth.
“I have gone through much prejudice, contempt, seclusion, and even verbal harassment. It has been twelve years since I was married, I can’t hold this state anymore. Take away my barrenness, oh God, unlock my womb. Let me be a fertile woman for once, give me honor or strike me out. If I can’t be a mother to my own babies then strike me now, out of this planet.”
The sky is forming heavy clouds as Lilian continues with her prayer. She is thirty-two years old and wants to be called a mother, a good and perfect wife. The clouds break out and it starts to rain. The Mugumo tree starts trembling, her prayers must be powerful.
The leaves from the Mugumo tree started falling which was a sign of blessings from God. Everything starts trembling, the ground, shrubs, the bushes, stones, and grass.
“Take me out if you are not going to put seeds in my womb. I am the first wife to Hezron and I can’t give him a single child. My co-wives are blessed with seeds and are proud women in the village. Why me? Why should I go through this horrible experience? What did I do wrong? My husband never visits my hut again, I have been cold for two years. Oh God, hear my pain, and grant my womb with seeds.”
The rain washes Lilian’s body clean. Suddenly, lightning and thunder strikes and throws her some meters away. The sacrifice is consumed by the thunder and the altar remains clean. The Mugumo tree falls down with a mighty thunder and echo is heard down the valleys of the village.
According to elders, when a Mugumo tree falls, it symbolizes something important, either positive or negative. In this case, it was difficult to say. Lilian’s presence here for offering sacrifice was somehow illegal because only the elders could conduct such rituals. Before even elders come here they will always abstain from sex for twelve days as they prepare for a ceremony to cleanse the tree which is considered to be very sacred by the community.
The Mugumo tree has fallen, what will the people use for medicine, fruit, rain catchment, boundary markers, sanctuaries, fodder for cattle especially during a drought? This thought is driving Lilian crazy and has forgotten she is naked. She has to move out of this place quickly before the villagers arrive to see what happened. She gets her skirt on and covers her breast with the skin, takes her baskets, knife, pot, and runs away down the mountain.
At the village, she enters her hut and changes to warm clothing. She jumps into her bed made of ropes and starts sobbing uncontrollably. Inside her mind, she thinks that her move has backfired, and now she is a cursed woman. She is panicking, shaking all over, and sweating yet it was cold. A sacred tree had fallen because she provoked God. God is never provoked, how dare you provoke someone who provides you with life, the owner of the universe.
Lilian’s hut started shaking vehemently, it is dark inside and turns bright seamlessly.
“Oh God please forgive me, I promise to leave this village and never come back. Do not take my life.”
A dark shadow appears from the brightness.
“Woman, do not be scared, God has answered your prayer, your womb is fresh now. Prepare yourself, apply your body with oil and fragrance, tonight invite Hezron your husband inside your hut and let him make you warm. You will be the mother of a great generation. Be blessed.”
The shadow spoke and disappeared abruptly just as it appeared.
“Thank God, thank you, thank you.”
Lilian is left saying these words as she sits on her bed.
It’s in the evening, she prepares yams with fish and soup for Hezron. She takes the food to his hut and there she beseeches him to visit her hut.
“I have been cold for a long time my husband, can you make me warm tonight?”
She is smelling good, well oiled and dressed, Hezron cannot resist this charm.
“I will come, my beautiful wife.”
At night Lilian enjoys the steamy night with Hezron inside her hut until morning. Others were jealous, they thought she would be divorced.
Nine months after she gave birth to triplets, her petition was accepted.
Her honor has come back, she is the darling to every villager. She is seen as a very fertile woman and every man wishes to breed with her.
All give respect to Lilian the fertile woman.