The Little Girl With A Big Dream



Reila was a little girl from Mambu village, the first child and only daughter among other four siblings. She was eleven (11) years old when their mother died out of frustration from their tyrant father.

Their father was a tyrant and a bully, he was known for bullying people in the village because he was quite wealthy; but he did not just know where to stop as he brings his bully even to his own wife and children, so his family hated but feared him.

Reila took the place of her mother and began to look after her younger ones; they looked up to her for everything. She earned a living from making their local clothing, a skill she acquired from her late mother when she was alive. When she was 19years old, Reila decided not to end up like her mother; she knew she had to leave the house but there was no man of her taste coming to ask her hand in marriage. Her father would want to sell her to one of his rich friends but on the wedding day, she'll grow so strong and chase everyone out including her father. This occurrence continued for four marriages until men stopped coming for her hand in marriage. She always enjoyed the show because she never wanted to marry any of those four men her father arranged for her.

After the last marriage issue, Reila decided that it was time to leave. She planned her running away all alone and reviled it not even to her smallest  7yr old sibling.

The d-day came that she was about to leave, her father noticed her attitude became strange and decided to put an eye on her. Some minutes later one of her father's tyrant friends came visiting, he did not stay for long, while leaving Reila's father decided to accompany him out.

When he left, Relia felt that was the best time to leave the house. She asked the spirit of her late mum to guide her little siblings that nothing happens to them till she return and also prays that her journey becomes successful.

Reila now steps out with a bag made with rapped clothes containing some change of raiment, foodstuffs  and little money. She had not gone so far when her father sighted her with her bag of wrapped clothe coming towards him. "Reila" he shouted "Where to" where the only words he muttered. She immediately took a reverse with the speed of lightening and her father ran after her.

On reaching home she immediately banged the little gate behind her and on trying to bolt it, her father shouted to her two immediate younger brothers playing outside "stop her, catch her"! They pushed the gate before them and the eldest one which is Reila's immediate younger one managed to push the gate open, came into the compound with Reila and helped her bolt the gate behind them.

"Why are you helping me?" Reila asked him. "I have noticed your character have been strange since today and decide to watch you closely. I saw you when you were talking to mama's grave then I knew you were planning to leave, I distracted Kaliu as we were playing when you left just now, I never knew father did not go far I would have told you this is not the best time to go. You have been a mother to us since mama died and you can not put your life on hold for us, you have rejected four suitors because of us and I know that whoever you are going to right now surely makes you find happiness, you deserve to be happy Reila and you have my support"

Reila broke down in tears, holding her brother's shoulders with her both hands, "I rejected those suitors because I know that marring them means suffering continues, I want my marriage to be a liberation to us not a recycling of suffering. I am running away but not to any man, my spirit tells me that I have no future here, I want to go to a far land where I can be successful, then I will come and take the four of you". "But why didn't you tell us you were leaving?" Ibro her immediate younger asked! "I never wanted my plans to get leaked". " It's OK, now you have to get going" Ibro said. "But how, papa is out there shouting on both of us to open the gate for him, how will I cross him?" Reila questioned! "There are so many ways to kill a rat" said Ibro.

He took her to the back yard where he arranged some stones for her to climb and jump over the fence. "No this is risky" Reila said; "what if I hurt myself?" "Well, at least you are not going to die, but if papa catches you after attempting to run away I don't think he will believe you are not running to a man and you might die" Ibro replied. "What about you, what happens to you for helping me, won't he kill you? I won't be able to bear it, I'd rather we die together" Relia said! "I'll be fine. Didn't you ask the spirit of the dead to guide us?" Ibro replied: "now quick, hurry, or your mission might fail. I can hear people hitting the gate, it looks as if they want to break it" he added. Then Reila bade him farewell and jumped over, but did not hurt even a nail on her toes like she anticipated. Perhaps the spirit of her late mother is helping her, or could it be just luck in her side?

Just like Ibro rightly predicted, their father went and called two hafty young men to pull down the gate, and although Relia had gone, Ibro did not open the gate to prevent them from spoiling it. He wanted to give Reila time to go far. "Before they will break the gate Reila would have gone a good distance" he said to himself.

Not too long, the men were able to bring down the gate and Reila's father entered the house, holding and shaking Ibro like the leaves of a tree is being shaken by the angry wind he asked "where is Reila, where is that useless daughter of mine, where is that stupid girl given to me by the banished gods of this land? "I don't know" was Ibro's reply not long before he received a magnificent slap from his father.

He then ran into the house in search of Reila but could not find her, he then went to the back of the compound in search of her and saw stones arranged then he knew that Ibro has helped her escape. He returned to Ibro with his eyes almost falling out from the socket with furry and rage! "You helped her escape!" He said to Ibro and then pounced on him and gave him the beating of his life!

By then, Relia had gone far far away past three villages after theirs. She did not stop running until she got to Alauje about four villages after theirs. She stopped like someone asked her to stop. She heard a sweet sound coming from a direction and decided to go towards it, it was a church!

Alauje has embraced Christianity and civilization, even the chief and his household are members of the church. People of Alauje and Mambu spoke the same language but Mambu rejected Christianity and killed the missionaries sent there to preach to them. Since then, Alauje Christians have been scared to go there to preach, rather they stayed in their village and kept praying for an opening to witness in Mambu.

When Reila got into the church, she sat down and listened to everything that was done, she felt at home and was comfortable in the midst of those Christians even though her dressing looked different from theirs. She came out when there was a call for those who wants to give there lives to Christ, she did not even know who Christ is but she just felt it was a requirement to become part of those people and she would want to become part of them.

After the church meeting Reila did not have anywhere to go and the wife of the chief who stayed back to sweep the church noticed the girl who came out for alter call was still in the church and she asked her if she stayed back to pray, she also asked if she knew how to pray. Reila told her that she did not have anywhere to go, she also told her how she had ran away from her wicked father in Mambu land in search of a better life. The chief's wife then had compassion on her and took her home.

Reila was presented before the chief and she recited the story of her life to the chief. It was at this point that the story of salvation was properly explained to her and she got to know who Jesus was. She then embraced Christianity with all of her heart and began to live with the chief of Alauje.

The Christians of Alauje saw Reila's coming as an opening to witness to Mambu. Reila became a very passionate christian and hardworking young girl barely two months of her stay at Alauje; she put her clothe making skill into work and learned how to sow the kind of clothes the people of Alauje wore. Barely six months of her stay at Alauje she was able to save a fortune from her clothe making skill and felt the time was coming for her to go home and get her brothers from the hands of her wicked father, not knowing that the first son of the chief of Alauje had already picked interest in her.

Meanwhile, back at home her immediate younger brother Ibro had fitted very well into her place. He would do all manner of menial jobs so his siblings will feed. He will also never forget speaking to his mother's grave everyday. Asking her spirit to guide Reila wherever she was and protect them till she comes back.

One day, his last sibling Judi who was now barely eight years old fell terribly sick and he did all his best to see that he became fine again. As usual, that was not their father's business as his joy was to go about drinking/womanising with his likes and snatching people's lands and properties from them. Mambu was a lawless land, even their chief was a like of Reila's father. In their land, the strongest, most forceful and most troublesome always wins!

Ibro had done all he knew to help his youngest brother including begging the spirit of their late mum to heal him but it looked as if even her spirit was dead. If the spirit of their mother is now dead, what will their fate be, Ibro thought to himself as he watched his youngest brother dying right before his eyes.

He then fell asleep beside his sick brother and had a dream. In his dream, he saw Reila who gave him the herbs he will cook and give to his sick brother so he'll recover. When he woke up, he wondered why Reila came to his dream, he wondered if Reila was dead and her spirit is now the one guiding them. "No wonder, that is why I've been telling mama's spirit to guide us and it looks as if her spirit is dead too. Maybe Reila is dead and her spirit is stronger than mama's spirit. From now henceforth I will always speak to Reila's spirit" he said to himself. He then quickly got up, went to the bush to get the herbs Reila gave him in the dream. He administered it to his brother just as Reila had instructed him and from that moment, the sick boy began to get well again.

At Alauje a feast was coming up. Everyone was preparing to attend, it was going to be a great one. The son of the chief and the future chief of Alauje was taking a bride. Reila was getting married to the future chief of Alauje. Who had thought Reila, a girl her father wanted to sell to one of his wealthy friends would one day become royalty. But she can't get married without the consent of her father. The chief of Alauje, his entire household and some delegates were going to go with Reila to her village. That will be where the first part of the feast will be held.

On a cool day, the chief of Mambu received a great enthorage into his domain with lots of gifts. The people of Alauje has come to marry Reila! Reila's father and all her brothers were sent for from the chief's palace, on reaching there, they were all astonished to see Reila. Ibro was shocked because he thought she has died. Her four younger ones ran to her, they hugged and wept on one another's shoulders, it was a great reunion. Reila could not be harmed anymore by her tyrant father. But Reila's father had a problem.

He remembered how she had chased away four suitors on their wedding day with the strength of the gods. He sought to speak with the chief of Alauje privately. He then told the chief how his daughter is possessed by an evil spirit from the banished gods and how he do not think the marriage can hold. The chief told him that he is a christian and do not believe in such stories but while they were still speaking, the mighty strength came upon Reila like before and she began to chase everyone away. The whole place was thrown in chaos and it disrupted the discussion of Reila's father and the chief of Alauje.

Since Reila's fiancĂ©e and his family are Christians, they did not panic, they began to pray and surprisingly, as it never happened before Reila began to speak with a deep baritone voice. "She is my wife, she belongs to me, her father married her to me and I have always protected him. I gave him wealth and powers I made the fear of him fall on everyone that hears his name, I am the banished gods of Mambu land". The chief of Alauje replied, "you have no right to force yourself on the girl. You said her father married her to you but without her consent. Is that not fraudulent?" "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth to leave this girl  alone and allow her have a quite and peaceful life" he added. Immidietly with a great noise, it looked as if something jumped out of Reila and she laid still on the ground as though she was dead. At this point there was great silence that even the movement of bush rat in the bush could be heard. Some thought she has died. Others did not know what to think but waiting to see what next will happen. The chief of Alauje then walked up to where she laid and rose her up. Then there was a great noise of jubilation in the land that people of neighboring villages wondered what made the fierce and wicked people of Mambu become this joyful.

The chief of Mambu and other men in Mambu land including Reila's father wondered what great power the chief of Alauje possessed and they wished to have some. After the marriage ceremony was conducted, on the morrow, the chief of Alauje sought to speak with the chief of Mambu and all of his great men. He began to speak:

"I know you all saw the show that took place yesterday and all wondered what power I had to challenge the famous wicked and powerful banished gods of Mambu land, well that is why I called you here to explain".

"I was in my land many years ago, in the days my father ruled as chief of Alauje when some men came into my village claiming they had good news to tell us. My father being a man that loved new things gave them audience and the show you saw yesterday was a result of the audience my father gave those men. Since then, Alauje land have not recovered and we don't hope to recover from that audience my father gave those strangers, and it is that same audience I seek that you will give me today".

Everyone listened to the chief with keen interest as he preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to them and they were all broken. It pained them that they had always killed missionaries who came to them with the gospel, they wept like little babies and everyone began to confess their wickedness. Reila's father confessed how he sold his only daughter to the evil and fierce banished gods just because of his love for money and fame, yet collected money from any of his friends who came to ask her hand in marriage knowing full well that she was not supposed to get married. He was so broken that he blamed his wickedness for the death of his wife and wished his children can ever forgive him.

All of them made a promise to return all the lands and properties they have forcefully collected from the weak ones and denounce the worship of all of their gods. They threw away all of their calved images and magic books. They took the message of salvation back to their families and everyone of them accepted Christianity. The joy, respect and love that existed in Alauje was transfered to Mambu and it's environs. It was then that Ibro realised that it was not the spirit of the dead that guided them but the Spirit of God.

Mambu land was set in order by the braveness of a little teenage girl who refused to remain small.

"The little girl with a big dream" is a concept of and was first published on gggist.com.ng. to use any part or every part of this story in anyway, please write to the editor in chief GG Gist Nigeria at greatgrace2020.gi@gmail.com

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