Continuing where we left off, with our young hero Mwindo escaping death at the hands of his father and finding his way to aunt Iyangura...
Mwindo reached his aunt’s house through the tunnel that Katee, the hedgehog had made for him. When Iyangura saw him, she embraced him warmly and said, “Come, my child. Let’s dance!”
“But aunt Iyangura, I’m so hungry and tired. Some food first!” Mwindo was famished after all his adventures. “But Kasiyembe insists that you dance first,’’ whispered his aunt. At once Mwindo understood that it was a trap. Kasiyembe, his aunt’s guardsman, was one tough customer.
Mwindo had friends everywhere. Master Spider, who had heard Kasiyembe’s plans to make pits and traps, had carefully built web-like bridges over them so that the boy could dance everywhere and not fall into the traps.
At this point, Nkuba, the lightning, sent seven bolts to strike the boy down but none of them could touch him. Mwindo glared at Kasiyembe in anger and that was enough to burn all of the guard’s hair! When his men fetched water in jars to put out the fire, the jars magically become empty.
Mwindo got angry, very angry. He evaporated all the water in that unfathomable pool where Iyangura’s serpent husband Mukiti dwelt, killing him too in the process. Seeing both her husband Mukiti and the guard Kasiyembe dead, Iyangura was distraught. “What have you done in your anger, my child? You have come here to ask for help and your anger gets the better of you. Calm your mind, Mwindo, and revive them.” Moved greatly by his aunt’s pleas, Mwindo waved his conga, his magic flywhisk and revived Kasiyembe. Water returned to the jars and to the pool, the abode of Mukiti, who was alive again.
“Farewell, aunt Iyangura! I must return to Tubondo and fight my father like a man.” Since he could hold his own against such tough adversaries, Mwindo was sure that he could defeat his father too.
“Don’t go alone, my child! We’ll come with you. You must seek help from your uncles too,’’ advised Iyangura. Mwindo’s uncles, brothers of his mother, were blacksmiths. They made him an armour that would allow no weapon to pierce his body. The uncles too joined his group and together they marched to the village of Tubondo to challenge chief Shemwindo, Mwindo’s father. “You wait, Mwindo, we’ll go fight the men first. You can join us once we get past them and to your father,” said his uncles. They entered Tubondo and a great battle ensued between them and the men in the village. Sadly for Mwindo, victory was not on his side and all his uncles got killed.
When he entered the village, the men were astonished to see a mere boy coming in waving just a conga. They threw their spears and arrows at him but nothing could pierce him. “Who could this boy be?” they wondered for they did not know this was the son of their chief. Seeing all his uncles dead, an angry Mwindo asked Nkuba, the lightning, for help.
Nkuba by now was impressed with the boy’s powers and immediately sent down seven of his thunder bolts which struck down all the villagers and turned them to dust. Mwindo now knew he had to find his father.
Just then, Kahungu, the hawk, who saw everything from above, flew down to him. “Mwindo, your father has escaped. He has gone down to hide in the Underworld, the land of Muisa. I even know the path he took, down the root of a kikoka fern.”
“No, no, my little one!” cried Iyangura, “Nobody who goes to Muisa’s realm can ever return. Look what you’ve done here... So many people have died. This has to stop!”
Mwindo looked at his aunt and his heart melted. His anger cooled. He took his flywhisk and shook it over the dead men’s heads. One by one, his dead uncles and the villagers found themselves waking from a deep slumber. “Do not worry, dear aunt Iyangura. I will go the Underworld and find my father. Remain here and hold my birth rope. If any danger befalls me, I’ll pull at the rope and you will know,” instructed the boy.
You may recall how Mwindo was born with a bag slung across his shoulder that contained a magic rope. This was that rope.
Iyangura knew the boy’s mind was made up and bade him farewell. Mwindo followed Kahungu, the hawk to the base of the kikoka fern from where Shemwindo had disappeared . Mwindo pulled at the roots and found a hole and made his way down.
The land of Muisa, the Underworld, was a cold and desolate place. There was no sun or moon and everything around looked grey and colourless. At the entrance stood Kahindo, Muisa’s daughter, who guarded the gates. She was repulsive to look at — her entire body was covered in sores and scabs.
“You’re Mwindo, the wonder boy! But nobody who enters my father’s realm returns alive! And you, you have ego issues too,” said Kahindo, who seemed to know everything. Mwindo felt great pity for the girl who looked so hideous with all those festering wounds. He waved his flywhisk and she was made whole again!
Kahindo was surprised and happy that the boy had goodness in him. She decided to help him in return. “Go if you must. But let me give you some guidance. When you go to meet him, refuse everything that he offers you.”
Thanking Kahindo, Mwindo set off to meet Muisa, the lord of the Underworld, cheerfully waving his conga.
To be continued…