…doing the right thing!
A story from Africa vide V Narayanan
At the time of the great King Obatala:
Three people came to him dragging a young man with them and said to him:
‘O King!! This man has murdered our father.’
Obatala: ‘Why did you kill their father?’
Young man: ‘I’m a goatherd. My goat ate from their father’s farm, and he threw a stone at my goat and it died; so I also took the stone and threw it at their father and he also died.’
Obatala: ‘Because of this, I pass judgment, on charge of murder, by sentencing you to death.’
The Young man said: ‘Oh King, I ask for 3 days before you execute the judgment. My late father left me some wealth and I have a sister to take care of. If you kill me now, the wealth and my sister will have no guardian.’
Obatala: ‘Who will stand for your bail?’
The Young man looking into the crowd, pointed at Lamurudu.
Obatala asked: ‘Do you agree to stand for him, Lamurudu?’
Lamurudu answered, ‘Beeni (yes).’
Obatala enquired further: ‘You agree to stand for someone you don’t know, and if he doesn’t return you’ll receive his penalty.’
Lamurudu answered: ‘I accept.’
The Young man left; but after two days and into the third day, there was still no sign of the Young man.
Everyone was afraid and sorry for Lamurudu who had accepted to receive the penalty of death if the man failed to return.
Just before it was time for meting out the punishment to the poor Lamurudu, the goat herdsman appeared looking very exhausted and he stood before King Obatala.
The Young man spoke up: ‘I have handed the wealth and the welfare of my sister to my uncle and I am back to receive the penalty. You may execute the penalty now.’
In great shock and surprise, Obatala said: ‘And why did you return after having a chance to escape the death penalty?’
Young man: ‘It would then appear humanity has lost integrity and the ability to fulfill promises kept.’
Obatala turned and looked at Lamurudu and asked him: ‘And why did you stand for him?’
Lamurudu responded: ‘It would then appear humanity has lost the will to do good to others.’
These words and events moved the complainant brothers who had wanted justice for their father’s death very deeply and they decided to forgive the young goat herdsman.
A furious Obatala asked: ‘Why?!!’
They said: ‘It would then appear as though forgiveness has lost place in the heart of humanity.’