The Poor Widow’s Lantern. MS/2020/07

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Mustardstories presents the story of the poor widow’s lantern in the seeming war situation of today. Before the time of the Nigerian Biafran war there lived a  poor widow within the Biafran territory. She lived happily with her only son in a very little hut. Their material possessions were few, their inner joy great. Then this little family, like many others, was hit by the cruelty of the Nigerian Biafran war.

So it was that the widow who toiled for her daily bread before the war was made more vulnerable by  the war situation. Her material possessions could be counted in one’s fingers. Yet most of them were not valuable enough to be carried  when everybody had to vacate the village for safety. All through the war expeditions, the poor widow’s lantern made it to the various refugee camps.

Moreso,  it survived all the hazards of the war with its owner. The post war events eventually brought the widow to a better living condition with her only son. But she found it very hard to discard the old lantern. Instead she sang the splendour of the lantern thus:

Oh my great lantern, you accompanied me in those years of hunger and lonely sojourn. You reflected my experience so well that I could read my history in yours, my poverty in your nasty appearance. In the refugee camps, my hargard countenance smeared you with an age that is very far from your real age. You lighted my hut with measured oil just the same way I brought peace to my family with limited convenience.

You carry a bullet hole that each time reminds me of the wound inflicted on the Biafran people. I was forced to starve you of oil the same way many Biafran children were staved to malnutrition and death.

I can’t let you go without losing a crucial aspect of history, mine and others. But I prefer to lose you to the Pipers that dictated the war tune so that in you they may see the wounded, impoverished and wasted humanity. May my loss of this vestige of history to all lead to a new history where every group in it’s hut will actualize their potentials in freedom and happiness. Then we shall fell the joy of your glistering light with unmeasured oil



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