By Jessica-Ken:


“Pụọ n’ụzọ. Nwanyi Ide na abịa. Nwanyi Ide na abịa e!”
The children said this whenever they saw the priestess coming.
Her name was Ide. A woman in her thirties. She could communicate with snakes and understand their nature. The young priestess learnt of her abilities when she was a child. She was only ten. Then a snake had appeared in their drum—it was strange because such has never happened before.
The compound was clean, and the grasses all cleared. Her parents wondered how the snake had gotten into their drum.
“This is strange—”
“Strange indeed…”
Ide whose name was Adaugo at that time, had picked up the snake and carried it in her arms.
“Adaugo!” it was her mother’s voice.
“Adaugo, keep that snake!” her father found no better thing to say.
The snake was hissing as Adaugo was staring at it, as it made wild curves and slithered out of her hand.
She had heard it clearly—“Thank you.” she had thought she was dreaming.

“Nna yi, this is not ordinary. How can one lift a snake without fearing?”
She had overheard her parents talking when they were over the ‘snake’ shock.
“Mm. I am afraid we must see Nwanyi Iga.” her father had said.
She replayed the incident in her head, seeing the snake once more. The way her father killed it made her shudder and jump with fear.
“It is time.” her father’s voice drowned her thoughts away.
She hadn’t noticed when they opened the door. Seeing her mother come out alongside, she knew she was going to Nwanyi Iga’s.

“You must leave her here. She is a daughter of the gods—” the high priestess said to their hearing.
“Ewo! I am finished!” Obidiya fell on the mat, while her husband held onto her.
“But isn’t there something we can do?” Azuka, Adaugo’s father sought.
“You cannot disobey the gods!”
Adaugo’s parents left, their child left in the care of the priestess.
Adaugo grew up to be powerful, daring, and with special powers.
Aside he fact she could talk to snakes, she could also heal and do miraculous works.
“My daughter—” Nwanyi Iga called one day.
“Mm, mama,” Adaugo replied.
“You can see that I am not getting younger. Someone would need to step in when I am gone…”
“Ah-ah, mama. You know how I will just bring your back if something like that happens.” she laughed.
Nwanyi Iga was not smiling.
Adaugo knew she had crossed the line. “Eh, mama,” she made to divert her mind. “Why have the gods chosen me among all the maidens? Am I really that special?” she thought for a while before she continued. “Why do I have the power to talk to snakes? Clearly, that has never been recorded before.”
Nwany Iga drew the mortar beside and got to pounding the medicine she had kept inside. “There are some things you need not question the gods, Ide.”
Adaugo was stunned, remembering where she had heard the name:
“Ide! Ide!”
It was in a dream. In it, she was battling an enormous snake, which had wanted to bit her for reasons she didn’t know.
A woman had appeared from nowhere. Her face was not clear—and hidden away in the light. Adaugo had wanted to know who she was, but was back in her room, with her face beaded with sweat.
“That name—”
“Your food is in the kitchen, Ide,” Nwanyi Iga focused on the pounding.
Adaugo smiled, realizing it was the woman had saved her.
She took up the name and let it dwell with her. Though she knew not what it meant, she thought it powerful and made it known, that the people began calling her ‘MOTHER OF SNAKES’.


A student of the popular Nnamdi Azikiwe university. A Human Anatomy stud—and a passionate writer, with the hope of one day making the world a better place.
~Authoress Ciara

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