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Arrow of God

Arrow of God

by Chinua Achebe

Arrow of God Chapter 13 Summary

  • As soon as the messenger leaves, Ezeulu sends an urgent message for a meeting at sunset. Elders and men of title heard the beating of the Ikolo and they got ready to go, wondering if it was war but figuring it was more likely a grievance that the deity wanted them to take care of immediately.
  • The meeting went late into the night.
  • Ezeulu and Akuebue arrived first. Then Ezeulu got up and told the men the reason why he had called the meeting. As he greeted the men, he heard somebody talking – it was Nwaka. So Ezeulu calls him out and Nwaka stops talking. Ezeulu tells them the story of the Court Messenger's visit.
  • Nobody gets up to talk for a long time. Instead, they talk among themselves. Finally, Nwaka gets up. He thanks Ezeulu for calling them together, mentioning that he must respect them very much. But he doesn't understand why Ezeulu is struggling with the request from the white man to visit him. Since Ezeulu was the one who became friends with the white man to begin with, he has only himself to blame.
  • Others spoke, and most of them agreed with Nwaka, though they were more diplomatic.
  • Ezeulu finally says that he wanted to see how they would respond to his words, and now he sees. They all know that Ezeulu is not the kind of man to be afraid of the white man. He already knew what he planned to do before he called them together, but he knew that if he did not ask their opinion, they would question why he didn't ask.
  • Ezeulu's half-brother, Okeke Onenyi, a medicine-man, offered to go with him to Okperi. But Ezeulu refused, just like he refused to let Akuebue to go with him.
  • When Ezeulu refused, Okeke Onenyi got up to go despite the rain.
  • Ezeulu watched him go. They were not enemies, but they were not friends like brothers often are. Ezeulu doesn't think much of medicine men. They used to be great, but these days they were frauds.
  • Ezeulu's father was a great medicine-man. His most famous gift was the ability to make himself invisible. Though Okeke Onyeni learned many things from his father, he never learned how to disappear.
  • Okeke Onyeni had indicated that Ezeulu didn't like him because he didn't like the fact that their father's powers had been split between them. Ezeulu wanted all the powers, both the medicinal powers and the powers of being the priest of Ulu.
  • People who didn't like Ezeulu agreed with him. But people like Akuebue said that Okeke Onyeni did something to Ezeulu, something that a brother shouldn't do. One rumor was that Okeke Onyeni had made his first wife barren after her third child. And Ezeulu's defenders were silenced when they pointed out that Edogo was Okeke Onyeni's best friend.
  • Captain Winterbottom had been feeling sick for a few days. He took it in stride, a fact that impressed Clarke, who suggested he go see a doctor.
  • Winterbottom refused and said all he needed was a trip to get away from this place. He planned to go to Enugu to finish up the necessary business for the warrant chief in Umuaro. He mentions that he has sent a messenger to Umuaro to bring Ezeulu there so they can discuss the matter.
  • Winterbottom is angry when the messenger returns and says that Ezeulu refused to come. He signs an arrest warrant and dispatches two police officers to arrest Ezeulu. He informs Clarke that when they bring Ezeulu back, he should lock him up in the guardroom. Winterbottom won't see him until he returns. By then, Ezeulu should have learned his lesson.
  • That very day, however, Winterbottom gets even more ill and grows delirious. He kept telling his steward to heat water in a water bottle and put it on his cold feet. By the time Clarke discovers how sick Winterbottom is and sends him to the hospital, his feet are burned.
  • Dr. Mary Savage, the nurse in charge of the hospital, starts sobbing when they bring him in and acts more like a woman in love than a doctor. Everybody notices and rumors of their relationship to spread. They started referring to Winterbottom as her husband.
  • Winterbottom is sick for three days and Dr. Savage remains by his bed the entire time. She doesn't even do operations, postponing them all until Friday.
  • Winterbottom's steward, John Nwodika, is told to accompany the policeman. But he doesn't want to go, especially when he knows they plan to arrest Ezeulu. So he makes alternative plans and when the policemen arrive, they discover that he is ill. He tells them anybody in Umuaro can tell them where Ezeulu's house is.
  • The two men arrived in Umuaro just in time for breakfast. But the people they ask pretend that they don't know any Ezeulu, or they ask, "Which Ezeulu?" They slapped one man they asked and threatened to arrest him; so he showed them where Ezeulu lived.
  • The policeman marched inside, where they scared an old woman who refused to answer their questions. A little boy leads them to Ezeulu's compound instead. The old woman tattles on the boy to his mother and, soon after, hears him crying.
  • The policemen arrive at Ezeulu's hut. They ask Edogo which one is Ezeulu and Edogo asks, "Which Ezeulu?"
  • The corporal speaks to the other policeman, who brings handcuffs out of his pocket. So Akuebue comes forward and pleads not to be angry with Edogo. He lets them know that Ezeulu and his son had set out for Okperi early that morning. The policemen realize that they had met a man and his son because they were the first people they had met going the opposite direction. The corporal asks if they can describe him. Akuebue says his skin is white like the sun and he is tall, and his son is the same.
  • The two policeman wonder if they're lying and decides to frighten them, if only to get some kola from them (a bribe). He says that he will take one of them with them –handcuffed – to Okperi. He will be set free if Ezeulu is indeed there.
  • Akuebue says that if they go back and find that Ezeulu isn't there, they can arrest all of them. The corporal agrees, but says they can't go and leave with nothing. So Matefi cooks some food for them and they eat and drink palm wine. Akuebue gives them some small "kola"-two live roosters. The corporal thanks him and reminds him that if he is lying, they will return to exact revenge.
  • John Nwodika points out that it is more than a coincidence that Winterbottom fell ill on the same day that he sent men to arrest Ezeulu. The servants all begin to speculate that Ezeulu may have used "juju" magic on Winterbottom.
  • When Clarke comes back from the hospital, he tells Nwodika that Winterbottom is quite ill, confirming the rules that Ezeulu's magic is strong.
  • Clarke goes back to the hospital that evening. The Court Messenger lets Clarke know that Ezeulu has arrived. He sounds frightened, as if he had announced that smallpox had arrived.
  • Clark orders him to lock Ezeulu up in the guardroom until the morning.
  • The messenger has people sweep the guardroom and put a mat there so it might look like a guestroom. Then he informs Ezeulu and Obika that the white man is sick and can't see them but the other one will see them in the morning. He shows them to the guardroom.
  • Nwodika and his wife bring them food. He eats some of it in front of them to show that it isn't poisoned. He urges them to eat, though Ezeulu refuses.
  • The messenger returns with a lamp.
  • The Corporal, Matthew Nweke (referred to as "Couple" by the servants who can't pronounce his name), returns to find his wife sobbing and a group gathered in their room. He soon learns that Winterbottom is ill. Nwodika comes in and tells them that the illness he had was a warning from Ezeulu. Ezeulu knew about Winterbottom's illness before anyone told him about it.
  • At first, Nweke isn't worried because he has strong spiritual protection from a medicine man in his village. But as he hears more, he begins to get worried. He and the other policemen decide to go see a medicine man immediately.
  • The medicine man tells them they were right to come. Though Ezeulu's medicine is strong, his is stronger. Then he instructs them to take the two chickens and the money they were given as "kola" and leave them on the highway. Then he gave them medicines to drink and put in their bath water.

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