Foreword: This piece is a popular tale told in our typical way. It’s an attempt—and yes, a trespass; a venture driven (perhaps) by the scribbler’s fascination with a character in the story, and certain occurrences. Versatile bloggers who sparkle in this fiefdom go by the names Sifa Gowon (check My Bible Story series on http://www.mymindsnaps.com) and Ogundare Tope. The latter blogs at (http://www.zaphnathpaaneah05.wordpress.com). Enjoy the read.
He writhed for several seconds on his majestic bed as series of moving pictures flashed before him behind his shut eyes. Sweat beads gathered on his face, a few trickling down his temples, finding their way down to wet the soft fabric of his bed. He broke loose and jerked up, letting out a draught of air accompanied by a mild grunt through his throat. Befuddled, clueless and exhausted as he was, he motioned to a window in his furnished chamber, exposing his face to the naked caress of the breeze and taking in a lungful. He sighed at the peak of his preoccupation.
It’s a strange and scary dream. He thought. Another depiction in all similitude with the first he had seen moments earlier. Two scenarios in a dream in a night, having one thing in common: seven. Coincidence was a word he would have loved to welcome but he knew that would be the grandest self-served baloney and he wouldn’t bother making a fool of himself. Not when his dream might have a great import on him and his people. He wouldn’t allow negligence get the better of him. He is the king, the sovereign king of the land in all its riches and glory.
Stuck in the mire of his troubled spirit, he couldn’t sleep. The dream made no sense to him as he pondered. He dropped the idea of self-decryption and resolved to consult the great men of the land: the grey-haired men of wisdom so large it could span swathes of grassland; and the men of tricks and magic, so adept in their trade that they can levitate and animate a sculpture with a hum of their gibberish. He hoped he could speed up the break of dawn. Naturally but seemingly sluggishly, morning came.
Confident that the assembly before him would be the key to unlock the mystery of the sevens, he sat on the throne starring at the blank on the faces of the men. They looked like they had scorpions in their robes; like a bullock witnessing the whetting of the knife that would soon be its undoing. He was disappointed. Amidst their consultations and futile discussions, he went from lurid through different shades of livid until he arrived at the darkest hue.
“You useless lots! You mean to tell me that my dream is too twisted for you melon-heads to decipher? Perhaps you’ve been deceiving me all these while.” He bellowed, his voice spanning the entire length of the palace hall. Silence followed. He was indeed the sovereign.
Ruffled in the wake of the unfolding events, the cup bearer lost his grip and the clanging sound of a golden goblet hitting hard floor reverberated, breaking the silence with the attendant shrill sound. His heart left his chest in bated breath and lodged in his throat, but his worst fear failed to materialise; the king neither flinched nor looked in his direction.
Bowing before the king in fidgets not well concealed, the men remained fixed on the spot, expecting the words à la guillotine to drop on their soon-to-be rolling wise and magical heads. They were right. The words did drop, albeit a few notches down on their scale of worst nightmares, mild enough to let them munch a few grapes for yet another day.
“I will have the interpretations before noon tomorrow. Yes! From you!” He pointed at the wise men and moved his finger to their fellow in distress. In a flash he leaned away from his seat and pointed at the cup bearer, “and you too. All of you!” Pointing at everyone in fury, not minding the shuddering cup bearer and the tension building up around. The dreaded followed.
“Else you’ll all feel the wrath of your king!”
And hell broke loose.
Fear displayed its wares in various shapes and quantity enough to go round even in two turns. His wrath was well known, and it is better known than felt. As vividly as the men could imagine the fate that awaited them, so also could the cup bearer remember the agony of one season in prison and the image of the decapitated remains of his counterpart hung on a tree; a fate that could have as well befallen him. He swallowed hard at the thought.
Murmurs fizzled and all eyes turned to him as he mumbled incoherently before gaining composure. “I think I realise my mistake.” It was the cup bearer. The effect of his statement reiterated by the rapt attention and silence. He rushed through the rest like he had a wild boar on his trail.
“Great king, many seasons ago we wronged you and we were imprisoned, the master baker and I.” He paused to catch his breath. He narrated how they had both dreamt in one night and how a certain young man, servant of the chief guard as he gathered, had interpreted their dreams. “I was freed and restored, but baker was— ” he stuttered, then swallowed, “he was executed, just as the dream man had said.”
The hall went slightly in a buzz for a moment. A flicker of hope illuminated the king’s countenance. “And where is this man you so speak of?” He inquired.
Guilt swept over him. He had failed the dream man. He didn’t return the favour he promised him; he had pledged upon his release to speak on behalf of the dream man to the king.
“You delayed because you needed your head on the block to help your memory?” The bearer cringed at the king’s words. No! Not again! He thought to himself. The king wasn’t expecting his reply anyway.
“Bring him to me at once!” The king commanded.
His bidden was immediately executed. The prisoner’s overgrown hairs were neatly shaved and his tattered cloths replaced. Though the hardship of prison had taken its toll on him, he was nonetheless a man of fair countenance. The king gave him a once-over, then narrated all that had happened till that moment, facing the men and telling him of how useless they had been in his ordeal. He subtly stopped the king from praising him based on what the cup bearer had said, but intoned that The One who blessed him with the gift be acknowledged instead.
The hall murmured in disbelief as the king narrated his dream; a dream with details that defy logic. In his first he had witnessed seven fat cows grazing on a grassland eaten by seven other inferior and srawny cows who after doing the impossible still remained lean. The second part was not short of ridiculous as well. He had seen seven fresh and healthy ears in a stalk and another stalk bearing seven dry and dying ears. With the wind as an accomplice, the bad ears sprang after the healthy ears and destroyed them.
“And I told these fools all these, but they stood mute looking like— ” he skipped a moment to find the word, ” —looking like a fool that they are.” It was the king lambasting the wise men. Again.
The dream man interpreted immediately, much to the dismay of many. The source of his gift must be really powerful, they reasoned. He knew it was a warning from the Great One and he explained without ambiguity. The seven robust cows and healthy ears he translated as seven years of plenty harvest in the kingdom, while the lean cows and withered ears were translated as seven years of intense famine after the good times. He displayed even greater wisdom by proffering solution to remedy the disaster.
He had advised that a wise and diligent man be appointed to ensure that twenty per cent of all foods in all the land within the seven years of plenty harvest be stored against the seven years of famine that would follow. The simplicity and efficiency of his suggestion appealed to the king, but he was also aware that corrupt officers in the system would foil the plan.
“Who else would be more appropriate for the job if not the wise one whom the Great One had shown meanings to the deepest of dreams?” He thought. Convinced and certain of his decision, he told the dream man all and pronounced him officer in charge of the task and his house, and second-in-command in the kingdom; an ascension greater than what anyone could ever imagine. In a moment he exited bondage and servitude and became the highest ruler of the land, save the king himself.
Who would’ve thought that a man sold into slavery could become a ruler in a strange land? Who would’ve believed that a great nation would solely depend on a foreigner in his thirties? He attempted the logical way—the way of men through familiarity and connections—to gain his freedom through the cup bearer, but the Great One gave him more than his freedom through a confusing dream.
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