I stood in the darkness facing the river.
A mysterious river in Ekiti state in Nigeria.
Located in Erinjiyan-Ekiti in Ekiti West LGA.
I gazed at the dark waters and wondered what mystery lay beneath the waters.
I suddenly remembered what I read about the river.
The Ayonigba River contains sacred cat fish that is not consumable and very prohibited.
“Be very careful, don’t touch any of the fishes here, don’t dare to even fish them if you don’t want trouble” The travel guide exclaimed.
“Why?” I enquired.
In low tones, he told me a story, a gripping tale.
Once upon a time, the river was once a woman, a strange woman who walked the village alone.
One day she fell down and turned into the river.
The colony of fishes in the river are her children.
It is a taboo to kill the fishes in the river.
If one kills and eats the fishes, one will remain in poverty forever.
If one manages to capture and kill the fish, the fishes will remain uncooked no matter how long one cooks it and the pressure cooker used.
If cut or cooked, the fish will spring back to life, join the pieces together and swim away as soon it is taken to the water.
I stared at the river in awe and wondered if this tale was indeed true.
A fish jumped out of the water and returned to it with a splash.
I saw it swimming just below the surface of the water.
The temptation to seize it gripped me and I began looking for a stick to hit it.
“Stop! Don’t move!” The guide ordered me and continued, “Avoid the temptation of the Erin Ayonigba Sacred Fish River”.
“Let’s get out of here!” I exclaimed.
We walked away from the source of the water, heading back to car.
But the myth of the River kept tugging at my mind.
I couldn’t sleep a wink that night as the river appeared to me in a dream.
The woman stood in front of tree in the forest and smiled at me.
With her fingers, she beckoned on me to join her.
I ran towards her to meet her.
But every time I got very close to her, she would disappear and reappear at another location.
The dream dragged on for long, she was close by and yet elusive.
When I opened my eyes, the rays of the sun were streaking into the room.
It was a brand new day.