The Adversary

Now as Ibonia was stoking the blazing fire,
     thunder rose up and enveloped that baby.
A waterspout came to drown him,
     the rocks reverberated,
          the earth rose and sank. (62)
All the waters of Middle River began to dry up.
All things in the house of Stone Man began to crumble.
Stone Man was three times thrown into the air
                    before regaining his balance. (63)
     The elements brought forth rainstorms.

Then said Big-Eared Prince [father of Stone Man]:
     "This is my royal oration.
     This is what I have to say to you, people of Middle River.
Planters, do your planting,
     set out all your growing things,
          your plants growing in water,
          your crops in the earth.
     It is the new season."
                              "Ah," said Stone Man.
"Father seems to have knowledge but does not know,
     he seems to have memory but does not remember.
     The ‘line for two' is not made by my foot,
          The ‘line for four' is not made by my hand.
     If you suppose me one who knows, I know,
          if you suppose me one who remembers, I remember.
This is not the growing season,
     for what will happen next year I see this year,
     and what will happen tomorrow I see today. (64)
This, then, is the royal oration I give you,
                    people of Middle River.
This now is no quickening thunder,
     this is no time to plant.
          This is deadly time," said Stone Man.
"So those who have animals fattened should kill them,
     those who have thin animals should trade them.
That man is bathing in the power of his charms,
     that baby is bathing in hot coals.
No sacrificing of cattle, no sacrificing of chickens.
     He bathes not in water others have used,
               but in hot coals from the west.
     And the dogs Arched Back and Long Paw --
          with them he whips the bulls
               and cuts the throats of chickens," said Stone Man.
He knew about the baby at Long-Standing, though he did not see the baby
born (for Ibonia was born at Long-Standing).

"And Stone Man's nose is swollen with anger.
     This Betsiboka River is so high
          it can never be crossed without a pirogue.
Two pigs run here and there on the ground,
     the oxen are heavy like iron,
     the cows have shining coats,
     the calves are filling out,
     the bulls are huge,
     the leaves are thick,
     herb stalks are intertwining,
     grass is drying up.
But I am a broad-shouldered prince,
                         and my charms too are potent.
Someone wishes the death of this kingdom,
     yet it is Big-Eared-Prince who will destroy this land.
Those who breathe the same air I do
     will not be the death of this kingdom," said Stone Man.
"When I was about to act, I was stopped by Father.
     I can detect the far-off,
          I can detect the nearby.
Water creatures are frightened by Stone Man;
     for them is no warming in the sun
          and the top of the village is no place for plundering,
                         for fear of Stone Man." (65)

                         Now Great Echo said,
"Ibonia, how are you faring?
     This is the Prince-who-Torments. (66)
          He points at the sky and the earth flames up.
     He points at the far, but not the near.
          He points for me.
     Whatever he claims, he gets;
          when something is claimed from him, it is not taken.
     Only he can make the earth drunk.
Those who see him in the skies he adds to his servants,
     those who malign him everywhere, them he adds too.
‘They think they will stop me,
     but with one blow I will sweep them away,'
                         for he is a hard man on the earth,"
                         said Great Echo.

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