Friday, December 21, 2007

The Witches Tree...

So we have just set up our Christmas tree at home with all the trimmings. For the first time in years I felt that we should get a real tree - no, not real in the sense of pine cones and all that - but real in terms of a good size, lights and all.

At the risk of being classified as a 'bad mom' most of my previous Christmas trees have always been half-hearted attempts trying to appease Ashes' need for a tree and my want for as little stress as possible. Never did the 'twain did meet. This year I actually outdid myself : tree in place, and yes it is taller than one foot (the height of previous trees), well decorated with little Christmas figures, lights and the works. Hmmm, impressive indeed.

Anyway, working on the tree reminded me of an article that I read early last month on the witches tree. There was the headline in the Daily Guide to the effect that "
100 m* witch tree falls after sacrifice". Quite a bit of money in any currency and from anyway you take it (* approximately USD 10,000).

For sometime now this infamous tree had been making the rounds in the various media. Apparently the Ghana Highway Authority, in the process of making a dual carriage way, had to have the tree removed to continue the project. However this posed some problems for the villages which 'owned' the tree and to remove it would in fact call for serious negotiations with the local chiefs who in turn would have to negotiate with the spirits that inhabited the tree.

Numerous attempts have been made to have the tree felled - these included attempts by a Nigerian witch hunter. The Onyina tree was said to harbour three marine spirits - one male and the other two female - and no man born of a woman could fell it. Question to self : could a woman do so?

According to the report the following items - in addition to the cash - were demanded:

- three cows
- three sheep
- six fowls
- 12 tubers of yam
- a gallon of palm oil
- six tins of maize
- a carton of schnapps
- two drums of akpeteshie (i.e. locally brewed gin)
- afaso drums

Though unconfirmed, the total amount paid was in the region of ¢70 million cedis (or just about the equivalent of USD 7,000) and this was after 'intensive negotiations'. Not sure what happened to the other requests.

Will definitely look at trees in a different light after this. Think I could 'acution' my Christmas tree? I wonder?

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