I was alive when it all happened. It was many years ago, when the Preacher was still alive. They hadn’t murdered him yet. Those rascals! They killed him for no good cause.

As I was saying, on that fateful day, I was just passing and heading towards Mama Abdiel’s house when I saw those people with long beards taking a woman to the market square. They tied her hands and pushed her. She fell many times, but they didn’t even care. Such shameful people! But what do I know? If I say a thing, they’d call me an outcast, infidel, gentile, a man of the lost race. Such treatment could only be meted on a woman accused of unchastity.

I heard them say she was in bed with Reb Cade, the tall palm-wine taper from Galilee. With all men, I wonder why it had to be with that unintelligent debauchee. They made her stand in the middle while they all surrounded her like little children sitting around the fire in the kitchen during harmattan, to accuse her in front of the Preacher. He performed supernatural phenomenons. I had seen him raise the only son of a widow on the road as well.

“We caught her in bed with a man,” shouted a man I couldn’t sight, probably because he was down-to-earth.

“And it is our law that we should stone such a woman,” said another, also from behind.

It was an irate crowd. The man nonchalantly ignored them, bent and was writing indecipherable things on the sand, while the crowd settled.

“You are not concerned about what she did, or what we are saying?” an angry man in front queried.

“You’re the teacher. Tell us what to do,” said Reb Eadric, Simon’s father, a stern man, known for his greed.

But the man calmly responded: “The one here without sin should throw the first stone!” and he continued writing on the ground. Now, it became clearer. The first man wanted stoning her, when he read what was written.

“Gael, heretofore, I saw you in bed with the wife of your bosom friend Icarius.”

That was how he dropped the stone and left. The second man, not knowing what happened came forward with his stone, only to see his name,

“Abarron, a thief at night, a saint by day.”

And from one, then the next, the proud Semites left, shamefully.

TARKAA, Moses Kator

Writer and Student of Law, Benue State University.

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