THE COCK WHO CAUSED A FIGHT BETWEEN TWO TOWNS

EKPO and Etim were
half-brothers, that is to say they had the same mother, but different fathers.
Their mother first of all had married a chief of Duke Town, when Ekpo was born;
but after a time she got tired of him and went to Old Town, where she married
Ejuqua and gave birth to Etim.
Both of the boys grew up
and became very rich. Ekpo had a cock, of which he was very fond, and every day
when Ekpo sat down to meals the cock used to fly on to the table and feed also.
Ama Ukwa, a native of Old Town, who was rather poor, was jealous of the two
brothers, and made up his mind if possible to bring about a quarrel between
them, although he pretended to be friends with both.
One day Ekpo, the elder
brother, gave a big dinner, to which Etim and many other people were invited.
Ama Ukwa was also present. A very good dinner was laid for the guests, and
plenty of palm wine was provided. When they had commenced to feed, the pet cock
flew on to the table and began to feed off Etim’s plate. Etim then told one of
his servants to seize the cock and tie him up in the house until after the
feast. So the servant carried the cock to Etim’s house and tied him up for
safety.
After much eating and
drinking, Etim returned home late at night with his friend Ama Ukwa, and just
before they went to bed, Ama Ukwa saw Ekpo’s cock tied up. So early in the
morning he went to Ekpo’s house, who received him gladly.
About eight o’clock,
when it was time for Ekpo to have his early morning meal, he noticed that his
pet cock was missing. When he remarked upon its absence, Ama Ukwa told him that
his brother had seized the cock the previous evening during the dinner, and was
going to kill it, just to see what Ekpo would do. When Ekpo heard this, he was
very vexed, and sent Ama Ukwa back to his brother to ask him to return the cock
immediately. Instead of delivering the message as he had been instructed, Ama
Ukwa told Etim that his elder brother was so angry with him for taking away his
friend, the cock, that he would fight him, and had sent Ama Ukwa on purpose to
declare war between the two towns.
Etim then told Ama Ukwa
to return to Ekpo, and say he would be prepared for anything his brother could
do. Ama Ukwa then advised Ekpo to call all his people in from their farms, as
Etim would attack him, and on his return he advised Etim to do the same. He
then arranged a day for the fight to take place between -the two brothers and
their people. Etim then marched his men to the other side of the creek, and
waited for his brother; so Ama Ukwa went to Ekpo and told him that Etim had got
all his people together and was waiting to fight. Ekpo then led his men against
his brother, and there was a big battle, many men being killed on both sides.
The fighting went on all day, until at last, towards evening, the other chiefs
of Calabar met and determined to stop it; so they called the Egbo men together
and sent them out with their drums, and eventually the fight stopped.
Three days later a big
palaver was held, when each of the brothers was told to state his case. When
they had done so, it was found that Ama Ukwa had caused the quarrel, and the
chiefs ordered that he should be killed. His father, who was a rich man,
offered to give the Egbos five thousand rods, five cows, and seven slaves to
redeem his son, but they decided to refuse his offer.
The next day, after
being severely flogged, he was left for twenty-four hours tied up to a tree,
and the following day his head was cut off.
Ekpo was then ordered to
kill his pet cock, so that it should not cause any further trouble between
himself and his brother, and a law was passed that for the future no one should
keep a pet cock or any other tame animal.

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