Arrow of God
Competition Quotes Page 3
How we cite our quotes:
Now Mr. Goodcountry saw in the present crisis over the New Yam Feast an opportunity for fruitful intervention. He had planned his church's harvest service for the second Sunday in November the proceeds from which would go into the fund for building a place of worship more worthy of God and of Umuaro. His plan was quite simple. The New Yam Festival was the attempt of the misguided heathen to show gratitude to God, the giver of all good things. This was God's hour to save them from their error which was now threatening to ruin them. They must be told that if they made their thank-offering to God they could harvest their crops without fear of Ulu…
So the news spread that anyone who did not want to wait and see all his harvest ruined could take his offering to the god of the Christians who claimed to have power of protection from the anger of Ulu. Such a story at other times might have been treated with laughter. But there was no more laughter left in the people. (18.120; 127)
The catechist at the Methodist church mission recognizes an opportunity for the church in the competition between Ezeulu and Umuaro. He decides to enter the fray. Though up until now the people of Umuaro have been suspicious of the church's presence – few people have seen the church as a viable alternative to their own religion – they face famine, and are more persuadable to other influences. The famine and death make them desperate enough now to see Christianity as a possible solution to the problem.
[Akuebue] was the only man among Ezeulu's friends and kinsmen who still came now and again to see him. But when he came he sat in silence or spoke about unimportant things. Today, however, he could not but touch on a new development in the crisis which troubled him. Perhaps Akuebue was the only man in Umuaro who knew that Ezeulu was not deliberately punishing the six villages. He knew that the Chief Priest was helpless; that a thing greater than nte had been caught in nte's trap. So whenever he came to visit Ezeulu he kept clear of the things nearest to their thoughts because they were past talking. But today he could not keep silence over the present move of the Christians to reap the harvest of Umuaro.
"It troubles me," he said, "because it looks like the saying of our ancestors that when brothers fight to death a stranger inherits their father's estate." (19.17)
Akuebue tries gently to point out that although Ezeulu might think his fight against his own people is just, it is the white man who will win in the end.
Some people expected Ezidemili to be jubilant. Such people did not know him. He was not that kind of man and besides he knew too well the danger of such exultation. All he was heard to say quietly was: This should teach him how far he could dare next time." (19.82)
Ezeulu's insistence that his god is stronger has proven false. Ezidemili may have beaten Ezeulu this time, but Ezidemili knows that Ezeulu's pride is what made him fall.