Pa Odika’s house is a bee-hive of activity as children resort to his old house to hear one or two of his stories; told with the gusto of an experienced warrior, after all, he fought in the second world war. He still relish his war veteran medal, which he hung conspicuously in his sitting room, ” That was when men were men, and women were won by those who deserve them, “he would say . This night he is prepared to tell the story of Amadiogor, the mother of angels. Amadiogor’s great grand parents had migrated from Owo, an ancient town in the old western region of Nigeria to their present location Ohaba in Delta State; due to family squabble and, of course mysterious loss of children. Her parents were having problem with child bearing, forcing her dad’s mother to take her son and wife back to her ancestral home in Omaha. Along the line Amadiogor was born. She became an orphan at very tender age. With no one to take care, she was forced into an early marriage. Fate struck after giving birth to the only child as the young promising husband was never found dead or alive to this very day . With no place to go and no one to take care of her and her daughter, as her husband had no relative to carry the burden according to the custom, she was married to Opelu after the custom and tradition had been satisfied. Opelu though handsome, charming and energetic was a poor young man, due to her dad inability to raise a farm, he was crippled, during an inter-communal war . Not quite long, fortune smiled on him as he joined the thriving building industry as a bricklayer. As he looked at himself, his new found status, he considered it, awful to be married to Amadiogor, who had given birth to five sons and two daughters. He felt he needed a beautiful and exposed woman, who would accompany him to his numerous engagements. Opelu a stark illiterate could now read and write, courtesy of the evening class, being organized by the missionary teachers. He succeeded in marrying Ebele, a common whore, who had returned from Enugu before the outbreak of the Biafra- Nigerian civil war. She had spoilt the local boys by exposing them to various styles in love making and they were ready to experiment with local girls leading to unwanted pregnancies; a taboo those days. Opelu was warned to leave Ebele alone all to no avail. Amadiogor was not a troublesome woman, so she left the matter like that . “Stranger than fiction,” Pa Odika bellowed. “Children,” he shouted, “mind your business, as they say, but shine your eyes. Life e no get duplicate. All that glisters is not gold, beware! ” He blew his nose and continued. Concerned folks were visiting with Amadiogor and consoling her ; telling her not to worry, as she had given her husband five male children, that what Ebele was coming to do was her own cup of tea. As expected, Opelu abandoned Amadiogor and her children and faced Ebele who came with her younger sister and her daughter from a previous marriage that ended in a disaster as Udoka her husband died in jail, having been imprisoned for attempted murder as he could not cope up with Ebele ‘s over bearing influence as a minor misunderstanding in the home made him to try to kill his first wife. That was how Ebele ran to Enugu to save her face. Ebele was finding it difficult to conceive, probably, due to the pills she had taken. Hell was let loose as she began to accuse Amadiogor of bewitching her and stopping her from having children for Opelu. She later gave birth to two girls. The pride of the African society is male children. Ebele desperate to have one whom she thought would oust Amadiogor’s children, conceived a wicked plan of visiting a powerful native doctor . She would hiss and cough any time Amadiogor passed her way . “Man pass man,” “Many legs no motion, “”Who give monkey banana,” “A tree can make a forest,” “Not in my presence will a cripple ride a horse,” are some of the things she said to trouble the quiet woman . Most times she would challenge Amadiogor to a fight, just to threaten, intimate, and abuse her and her children . As the native doctor was going about the business, he gave what he thought was an impossible option, thinking that Opelu that accompanied her would back out . He was taken aback, when he agreed to exchange the lives of the five handsome chaps, sons of Amadiogor, that were doing relatively well in their various stations of life for the supposedly unborn male child of Ebele . The native doctor started humming a tune in his native tongue, “Come see me see trouble.” He asked Opelu to shine his eyes. He replied, that he was with his senses, that a tree can make a forest ! The native doctor did his job and they left. Not too long, Chika, the first son, who was a manager in an electric company died mysteriously in his sleep. He had gone to bed hale and hearty. During the mourning period, Amadiogor elder ‘s sister mistook the petrol Opelu bought in the day time and kept in the bathroom for kerosene and set the room on fire where two of Amadiogor’s elder sisters, her daughter from her previous marriage and her child, and three of her children who came from their respective boarding schools were sleeping. It was agonizing to say the least, as eight persons were admitted in the intensive care unit of the Baptist hospital for various degrees of burns. As it turned out, Amadiogor and Chidoka’s cases were serious as they stayed longer in the hospital. Chidoka, a very brilliant and promising chap missed a term and had to suffer the psychological trauma for a long time . As the fire incident died down, for it was talked about in the area for a long time, death started to draw circle round Obichi, the second son . He fell down from the top of a palm tree where he had gone to cut the palm fruits. It was a lucky escape. As he was working in his cassava farm one late evening, a hunter mistook him for grass cutter and fired. what an escape!.He fell from the top of a building where he had gone to change a bad zinc and survived. He fell from his bike twice and survived. They were happening frequently, yet no one bothered to take time and found out why. It was like, to your tents O Israel. He lived and married and his children are doing well in their various endeavors. The battle shifted to Chidoka, the third male child, as death visited him one way or the other. One day, he fell down from the top of a pear tree without a scratch on his body. He crash landed on the express way in his new bike and came out with minor cut and bruises. One day as he was playing a village match, he fell down badly, hitting his chest on the ground . What he thought was a minor pain gulped four solid years out of his life. No medical doctor was able to diagnose what later developed in his body. It was when doctors started chasing him out of their hospitals, that, it dawned on him that he was in soup. Chidoka had no option left than to seek the face of God. He committed his life to God and joined a living church. This raised a lot of dust in the predominately pagan community. Opelu did everything in his power to stop him from going to church. He made so many incantations publicly, cursing and fuming. He fought the church thinking they would ask Chidoka to stop coming. Folks thought, it was ordinary persecution, little did they know that something was boiling under the carpet. Apart from the covenant with the native doctor, he had used Chidoka spiritually to acquire evil powers. He knew that going to church would disturb the arrangement. It would mean the termination of his own life , if he couldn’t stop Chidoka from church. He had nailed the coffin of the young man in the evil world and it would be difficult to free himself . After all said and done, Chidoka, who had no job and was recuperating, in fact, he received healing in the church, travelled down to Lagos to begin life anew. It was puzzling any time, folks would arrive the village from Lagos, that he would ask whether Chidoka was still active in church. The problem weighed Chidoka down that he could no longer further his education . He wrote the best result in his school, during their final year examinations and had thought of going to the university and becoming somewhat a scholar. Now it was the turn of Odili the fourth son . He cheated death so many times. One night, as he was sleeping, he shouted and fell from the bed. He was carried to several places before he recovered. The bus he was riding in one evening fell into a ditch, with many sustaining serious injuries: broken arms and legs. He had just a cut on his left leg. One time, electric shock suspended him close to thirty minutes. When the light was put off, people thought he was dead, but he survived. At the work place, another time, he missed death by a whisker. Barely a minute, he left the scene, the sandblasting machine, he was operating exploded, and cut off the heads of two of his hired workers. Today, he is married and his children are doing well .The fifth son, Ifeka could not contain his own, as he died mysteriously in his sleep. ” Stranger than fiction, listen children,” Pa Odika Sighed . “Life is not what you see on the road. Life is more than what the eyes can see. Shine your eyes children . Tread softly. Beware of treading where angels fear to tread. Never eat with the devil at all, not with short or long spoon. To cut long story short, Ebele gave birth to her only son for Opelu. Something spiritually was taken from Chidoka to equip the new born baby which they christened Ahama . It is actually called destiny transfer. The implication is that as the new born baby is growing the other would be pining! By following the right path despite the obstacles strewed along his way, Chidoka’s life was spared. As Chidoka did not die, the dad had to pay the price. He had stroke and died three years later. Ahama had no bearing in life. He could not amount to anything. He is roaming the village, after sojourning in Lagos, a loafer, pauper, rift raft, a drug peddler, and addict; NFA, No Future Ambition! Ebele had been mentioned as a witch in various places and people are now learning to avoid her. Chidoka as a matter of fact, had opportunity to travel overseas, and had continued his studies. He seemed to have covered the lost ground ! He is doing wonderfully ,in his base in U.S . As a remarkable scientist and researcher, he had sought to unravel the mysteries behind the AIDS/ HIV pandemic and had stunned the world by singlehandedly producing the cure for AIDS/ HIV. He has won the Nobel Award in the Sciences and listed as one of the Commonwealth eminent persons. He is a force to reckon with in global affairs as his opinions on issues of great international concern is respected! Lest I forget, Chidoka is happily married to Florence Adams, a beautiful white lady and they are blessed with children. Pa Odika sighed, cleared his throat and blew his nose. ” Children,” he said, “shine your eyes. There is more to what you see on the road. The bird dancing on the roadside is responding to the drum being beaten by someone in the forest . There is the light. There is the darkness. Light and darkness do not meet. There is an arbiter, our soul conscience, that sees what we are doing. Shine your eyes. Choose your ways wisely. Listen to men as they tell their stories . Pick the good and discard the evil. Virtue is its own reward. One good turn deserves another. The generations of evil are cursed on earth while the good are blessed! Do not fear war, but do not fight the ones that would consume you and your family. Sing your songs and share your bread and you shall find joy and happiness in the midst of a dark world . Despise not what belong to you . There is a reason for all that happens on earth . Children read your books, for reading makes a nation great. Listen to your teachers and do your homework. Honor your fathers and mothers and bow for the elders! Do justice to the society. Seek her good. Work hard and persevere! There is always a pay day. As for Amadiogor, she lived to a full old age and saw her great grand children . She visited God’s own country and was given an honor befitting a king. It was the angel newspaper in U.S that coined the words: Amadiogor, The Mother Of Angels. Children shine your eyes. Go now and obey the call of nature. Tomorrow is another day!