24 May 2009

The Nestbury Tree by Ayodele Morocco-Clarke

It all started to kick off when the Shepherd of the church located at the far side of the compound behind the house pronounced that the Nestbury tree in the yard was a haven for witches and had to come down. Now, this was a church my parents had built and the Nestbury tree was a tree my grandfather had planted as soon as he bought the property. He had brought the Nestbury sapling from Kingston, Jamaica when he migrated to Lagos...


This story has been selected for the StoryTime anthology African Roar, please go to the African Roar site for more info on the anthology.









The Nestbury Tree was written by Ayodele Morocco-Clarke

Copyright Ayodele Morocco-Clarke 2009.


Born in Lagos, Nigeria and descendant of kin from the West Indies, Sierra Leone and the Republic of Benin, Ayodele Morocco-Clarke is a Nigerian of mixed heritage currently living in the United Kingdom.

She is a multi-award winning Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria who is devoted to the written medium. She likes to describe herself as stubbornly unconventional.

Ayodele’s short stories have been published and are forthcoming in anthologies of short fiction and literary journals or magazines.

She is currently finishing work on a short story anthology of her own and has recently started work on a novel which she hopes to publish in the not too distant future.





13 comments:

Emmanuel Sigauke said...

I am proud to be part of StoryTime; I started reading your story, and already like how the simple idea of the tree can take us far in this story.... will be back!

Jonathan Masere said...

I really enjoyed this story even though I hope it is not true that some zany group of zealots were able to command the forces of nature to wreak havoc. It is tragic that Christianity has brought a state of insanity in Africa with people going as far as citing fictional stories like the Jericho fable as an excuse to persecute a widow to a premature death. Ayodele’s gripping story on Christian-driven insanity is an all-too-common an occurrence in Africa.

I hate it so much so that I have since been transformed into a fan of Okonkwo, the main character of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. It was Okonkwo who wanted to whip away Christians. I am almost compelled into forgiving Okonkwo for killing his adopted son Ikemefuna.

Of course I am not advocating the use of whips to drive away Christians. The pen is a better weapon. In a book of short stories, The Clan Oracle and Other Stories, to come out some time this year, I have a story, The Village Vagrant, in which the church is put in its place by a perpetually drunken WWII veteran. I may have to send it to Ivor just to show that at times the church can be defeated if the hypocrisy of its members is exposed.

Masimba Musodza said...

Was it the Christians that caused the storm and so brought down the tree? That is the $64000 question. Was Mum in fact a witch, is that why she died when here tree died? Another $64000 question, making a total of $128000 worth of information. Wasn't the ending I expected, which tops up graphic descriptions to make a great read.

Thamsanqa N. Ncube said...

I am in awe of the stories that we as Africans can tell; and to take the simple imagery of a tree, and build so much around it, for me is absolute genius; and indeed the question remains, was it the Weather Forecaster who was wrong, or did the chanting and praying cause the storm, which caused the tree to fall;

Beautiful story. Keep it up!

Ayodele Morocco-Clarke said...

Thanks a bunch guys, I am really chuffed that you enjoyed the story.

Osay Igberase said...

Really great story. Truly amazing how you built that story around that tree. Wonder how many we have driven to death in our society where culture has crept into the church and every setback we suffer is assumed to be caused by another person. Osayi

Maxine said...

Beautiful story-telling. Just wonderful.

Kola Tubosun said...

I've tried so much to read this story for a while now, but I didn't get past the first paragraph due only to my own impatience. But today I read it all, and I can say that it was splendid. Beautiful, even. I enjoyed it.
It is moving, and I like the fact that we are forced to ask ourselves whether the Shepherd was right or not after all.
Well done.

Charmaine said...

There is something so compelling about your writing... it makes the casual observer, me, believe 100% that it is all, indelibly...true. Not fiction. True.

Especially Silent Night, Bloody Night. I wanted to email you and ask if it happened to you. If not you, who?

Christ. Now I have to read everything you have ever written. I'm gonna be here all day.

I've never responded this way to any short story author. I think it is because of the pain. We identify with, and enjoy, what we understand.

Okay. I'll stop kissing your ass now.

Ayodele Morocco-Clarke said...

@ Charmaine,

Thanks for your wonderful comments. I enjoyed your Clarity of night story as well.

@ Osayi, Maxine and Kola,

Thanks a bunch for the positive feedback guys. :)

Kola Tubosun said...

I've tried so much to read this story for a while now, but I didn't get past the first paragraph due only to my own impatience. But today I read it all, and I can say that it was splendid. Beautiful, even. I enjoyed it.
It is moving, and I like the fact that we are forced to ask ourselves whether the Shepherd was right or not after all.
Well done.

Jonathan Masere said...

I really enjoyed this story even though I hope it is not true that some zany group of zealots were able to command the forces of nature to wreak havoc. It is tragic that Christianity has brought a state of insanity in Africa with people going as far as citing fictional stories like the Jericho fable as an excuse to persecute a widow to a premature death. Ayodele’s gripping story on Christian-driven insanity is an all-too-common an occurrence in Africa.

I hate it so much so that I have since been transformed into a fan of Okonkwo, the main character of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. It was Okonkwo who wanted to whip away Christians. I am almost compelled into forgiving Okonkwo for killing his adopted son Ikemefuna.

Of course I am not advocating the use of whips to drive away Christians. The pen is a better weapon. In a book of short stories, The Clan Oracle and Other Stories, to come out some time this year, I have a story, The Village Vagrant, in which the church is put in its place by a perpetually drunken WWII veteran. I may have to send it to Ivor just to show that at times the church can be defeated if the hypocrisy of its members is exposed.

Maxine said...

Beautiful story-telling. Just wonderful.

 
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