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astonishing insider info ... guess what this pectoral is all about. If you do not
know--check back on Sundays when I post the full version--and see if your guesses were correct.
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THE KING'S PECTORAL
Lives there a mother out there, I wonder, who would yearn for anything more than to have her image carved in ivory and then subsequently worn as a pectoral upon the breast of her child. Is your son a doctor or a lawyer? No. He's a king. And he wears a carved image of myself upon his chest. Let the fanfare ring and the drums beat the rhythmic thrummings of self-aggrandized glory.
Let us start with a simple question. How does it happen that a first son is the second son and a second son is the first son? The answer is truly quite simple. Shall I explain? The kingdom of Benin, (today it's Nigeria) sometime toward the end of the 15th century, was plunged into a state of turmoil. King Ozolua left two sons to dispute his succession. One was called Esigie and one was called Arhuaran. Ozolua also left a wife. Her name was Queen Idia . . . aka Queen Mother.
Idia was a warrior. She was beautiful. She was strong-willed. She was skilled in the arts of the occult. She was the most powerful figure in the universe. She had been medicinally seasoned for her future destiny as wife of a king. Don't ask me what this means or even how they knew. Sprinkle with rosemary and thyme and thee wilt be queen? It was she who would be responsible for the first born child to be the ruler of the kingdom. So honored was she that an ivory mask was created in her image. For those of you who will soon see said mask . . . I want to inform you that the two vertical lines of inlaid iron in the mask refer to medicine-filled incisions that were the source of Idia's metaphysical powers.
As it happened . . . Arhuaran and Esigie were born on the same day and in that order some hours apart. However . . . Arhuaran did not immediately cry at birth and so Esigie--as fate would have it--cried first. And therefore it was he whose birth was first reported to the king. It appears that in those days he who crieth first becometh king and he who crieth second--even though first born--doth not becometh king. Customs were a tad strange in them thar days. Also . . . rumor has it that Idia sort of favored Esigie and therefore usurped the laws of primogeniture in order to bring her favorite to power. For those of you who might think that the term "cry baby" has negative connotations . . . I urge you to look back to the birth moments of these two brothers to realize that it was the first cry baby that got the throne . . . and not the first born.
Perhaps this favoritism on Idia's part stems from a hint of maternal protectionism, as Arhuaran was clearly the sturdier and stronger of the two . . . a trait quite probably visible at birth and certainly evidenced in later years.
The tales of magic and mysticism abound in the Idia lore . . . but I hesitate to offer up too much lest it stifles the very "raison d'etre" of this ezine . . . which is to offer up to you--my most precious readers whose intellects clearly soar above the infinite exspanses of the universe--magnificent and at times rare glimpses into a world of jewelry most would not see or know of while traveling through the churning waters of the work-world trying to eke out massive wealth in order to one day retire in leisure and sit back on a sandy sunny beach and read back issues of Tidbits. I know I know. This is a mouthful. But is there a soul out there that could think of greater pleasures? I tend to doubt it.
One last little bit before you see the ivory pectoral. I can't resist. Was it luck that ensured which child would be determined the true king? Or was it Idia's magic that prevailed and allowed Necromancy to win--as it is often wont to do-- guaranteeing Esigie's win. Arhuaran--in dispair--drowned himself at the Udo lake after his defeat. Before doing the deed . . . he hung his Ivie necklace on a tree branch which Esigie found and placed it upon his neck and promptly went mad. Again Idia saved the day and hired a mystic to cure the king's madness . . . which he did. And then--it would be nice to say--they all lived happily ever after. Alas . . . t'warn't so. But that's a tale for another time.
Quick question before I go. Very important to me. Idia . . . is she beautiful or is she dog dead ugly? Please let me know. Not all beholders view attractiveness in the same light you know.
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