It was a festive season, so many people were gathered in the market square to see the great masquerade display. It was the first time I was seeing a masquerade in my entire lifetime, I was five or there about and next to me sat my dad, he is a big fan of the masquerades.
The masquerade presentation was quite confusing to me, some people were allowed to come close to the masquerade, while others would run away when they see the masquerade coming. Some unfortunate ones were flogged mercilessly when they crossed path with the masquerade.
Whip! Whip!! Whip!!!
Went the Sound of the cane as it landed on the back of an unfortunate ice cream vendor.
"Aw! Ouch!! It hurts! Mercy!!"
The Fat ice cream man screamed in pain as he ran for his dear life, leaving his goods behind. As he ran, every part of his body vibrated in a very funny way, this sent the crowd in an uproar of laughter. Every one found this funny, except me who felt pity for the poor ice cream man.
"Dad why do they flog him so?"
"Oh the Ice cream man? He is a fat fool. He got carried away selling ice cream and forgot to run when the masquerades came his way."
"Why does one have to run from the masquerades?"
"Because they are our superior, They are gods and not every body is worthy of coming close to them."
"But Dad, some of my friends in school say that it is human beings that wear these masquerade costumes."
"That is ridiculous, now look at that, how is that possibly a human being? Nobody is that tall."
Dad said pointing at a very tall masquerade. It Actually made sense to me, because some of the masquerades had strange shapes that couldn't possibly be humans. This was how I came to believe that masquerades were actually gods. I never knew that my Dad Wanted Me to believe this so that I will always be scared of masquerades, because I was pretty much scared of them. Whenever I was being a pain in the ass like every other kid my age, dad would always say.
"Keep messing around and I'll call the masquerades to come give you a beating."
Whenever he says that, an image of am ugly looking masquerade comes to my head and instantly be on my best behave. That trick works all the time, perhaps dad felt that if I ever discovered that masquerades were merely humans, his little trick would stop working.
I had this believe through out my Childhood, until I noticed that each time the masquerades visit our house, they always go to the back of the house before they leave. One day I asked my father what they always go there to do, my father who of course always had an answer for everything replied;
"They go to the back of the house to replenish their power, and they can't do that where every body can see them."
This got me pretty curious, I wanted to know how these masquerade gods replenished their power. One day when they visited our house, after displaying, they went to the back of the house as usual. I sneaked up on them, peeping from a back door inside the house. Lo and behold, I saw the so called masquerade gods with their costume laying by the side as they swallowed fat balls of Akpu (cassava) with soup.
"What!! It's either gods also eat human foods or my father have been deceiving me all along."