Tale of a Little Child [Down By The Riverside]

The view was great especially during the evenings: the sunset was usually rosy and radiant, calming yet inviting. You could feel its friendliness as though calling upon you to come closer; it was just a sight to behold. This was where I grew up. Everything was peaceful; you could almost hear the crashing of waves and the rhythmic sound of the ocean. I had never been away from The Riverside, never seen the outside world. I felt bounded because the only thing I could see was the horizon from beyond. Most often, Traders and Sailors came around with shipments filled with Western clothing, foods, books and several other things which were foreign. They even had toys too :). I was poor, so I never really had anything given to me besides food and good clothes. It’s just exciting to see all of us children run down to shore whenever the men from the outside world came.

I loved to play with my friends. “Hide and Seek” was our favorite game. My favorite hideout was behind the bushes where no one ever checked but sometimes I would opt to hide behind the rocks when at the beach. I usually picked sea shells too. I had collected thousands of them in the hope that I would be able to exchange them for toys whenever the men came. I had two siblings we didn’t get to see much of each other but it was always fun when they were home.

One night while we were playing in the moonlight, a ship docked. We went to see if it was the usual men because I thought they were due to return the next week as usual. I immediately grabbed my basket filled with shells I had gathered and ran to the Port. My friends ordered for me to return that instant but I refused. I began seeing people being pushed into waiting ships. What was happening? I couldn’t tell. I tried to get closer as I hid behind the rocks on the shores. It was a full moon but the light didn’t seem enough, rather it was blurry. I didn’t move any closer as I saw my friends in the distance. They seemed to be shaking their heads; yeah they disapproved me being inquisitive.

As I walked towards a bunch of reproachful faces, I couldn’t stop looking back at the men being pushed into the ships. I sought an explanation and it came to me, “The New World”! On second thought, I wondered if the men were tired of staying here at the Riverside. I scowled for a moment, I hope not. My friends laughed at the idea of the men being taken to The New World, but seconds later they all rested their hands on their cheeks dreamily. I shook my head in disbelief and immediately assumed the same position as them. That was all we ever dreamed about; when we were older we made a pact to leave our poor remote Island. Soon we returned to playing our games and forgot all about what had happened.

Later that night, I eagerly told my mama about what had happened. She seemed stunned and broke down, that wasn’t the reaction I expected. She should have been happy they were taking the men to The New World. She walked towards the wall and looked at the picture of a man hanging from our mud hut in our poorly lit room. She was crying so I asked her what happened. She found it difficult to say anything, so I asked if my father was ever taken in one of the ships down at The Riverside. She nodded her head and wiped away her tears with the edge of her wrapper. I knew the answer already; I just wasn’t sure why I decided to ask. I couldn’t wait to tell my friends, I was sure Bola, Seyi, Deola, Dayo, Shola, Ife, Eze, Titi and Naomi would all be jealous by the time I told them my father had been to the New World before :). Mamma didn’t say a thing and I soon returned to playing moonlit games. Every day I would go down by The Riverside, hoping one day the men would take me away in their ship to their own world, just the thought of that made my face light up with a smile. I was going to the see the world beyond the one I grew in. I ran to shore, I could see the ship in the distance. They were soon out of sight. Until then, I intended to enjoy my childhood maybe they would take me away one day.

@ShyTalkative

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#MyThought –> How blissful it was to be a child, having not to worry and think about all these many things that dance all up in my head now. The innocence back then was without blemish and yes! We all were once as naive as the little girl in the story.  :p

Thank you for reading! 😀 Please make use of the “Thought box” below and tell us your own naive childhood tale. Yes! You have one! #GodisWatchingYou