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OGUN and the name “EWUARE”

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Last update 27-08-2018

Oba Ewuare

There is a story about this titular name, “EWUARE” which Ogun chose to be known by as the crowned head of the kingdom.

Benin kings are not known by their pre-coronation names, the name they bore from childhood until the day of their coronation the day before the crowning at the Usama palace, each king would announce to the whole world, in a ceremony in USEE village, on the outskirts of the city, the name by which the new ruler would be known.

This story in the life of Prince Ogun took place during the period of his wandering, almost vagabond days. He was passing by a farm one day when he heard the farmer call out to his little son who was helping him with the farm-work. “Ewuare!”, hollered the farmer, asking the boy to bring him some ikan, the bundle of split canes which were the ropes strung on sticks as

a guide and support for the tendrils of the growing yam crop.Ogun liked both the sound, and the meaning of the name. The name was a prayer. The name suggested to the suffering prince that his present unsavoury circumstance would change for the better, that a closure to his sulfuring would come to pass, that what was now hot would cool down some-day.

Ogun sauntered into the farm and engaged the farmer in conversation. He told the farmer that he. Ogun, liked the name of the farmer’s little boy. He would like to buy the name from the farmer, so that it would be his own to use exclusively. The farmer would then have to decide on another name to call his son.

The farmer was bemused by the track of the conversation, but to humour the stranger, he assented to the arrangement He mentioned a little amount of money for the name, and Ogun gave it to him. They parted.
Many days later Ogun happened again to be passing by the farm. The farmer was as usual at work in his farm, in the company of his little boy. The farmer hollered the boy’s name:
“Ewuare”, and sent him on an errand to the farm-hut.

Ogun felt cheated, and robbed, That name “Ewuare was now his property. It had been sold to him and he had paid for it in full. The farmer was continuing to make use of the name as if he had not already sold it to a buyer.

There was only one remedy to the situation, dictated by the strict, unforgiving morality of those times: kill the boy, and deprive the father of the further need to use the name.

Ogun lay in wait in the bushes at the fringes of the farm. When the boy Ewuare strayed near to where Ogun was hiding, on errands for his father, Ogun pounced on him, smothered his cries of alarm, strangled him, and covered up his body with some dry leaves.

When the farmer ultimately discovered the body of his son, he knew at once that it was the stranger who had talked him into selling the boy’s name to him who had carried out the act. The stranger must have heard him still employing the name in summoning his son.

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