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Claude Lambert

The Barefoot Sergeant

A story about Colonial Africa – 2000 words

Smashwords Edition

Copyright © 2011 Claude Lambert

All Rights Reserved

ISBN: 978-0-9836791-3-4

This file is licensed for private individual entertainment only. The book contained herein constitutes a copyrighted work and may not be reproduced, stored in or introduced into an information retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means (electrical, mechanical, photographic, audio recording, or otherwise) for any reason (excepting the uses permitted to the licensee by copyright law under terms of fair use) without the specific written permission of the author.

The Barefoot Sergeant

by Claude Lambert

for Dr Omoigui

The hero of my story was born in Benin City; in a country we now call Nigeria. It is way south, much more south than Miami, almost at the Equator and way, way across the Atlantic Ocean, in Africa. When he was born, the family elders held a meeting and discussed how he should be named, according to what was on their mind. Part of the family wanted him to be named "It has not rained this season" and another part wanted his name to be "Evil runs amongst men," because there was war and there was little crop, and everybody felt terrible. But his mother thought that these names were awful, and wanted something nicer. In the end, they decided to call him Edo, and that is what he was, a member of the Edo group, talking the Edo language and living in Edo country.

In Benin City though, one waits for the baby shower to announce the name of a child. Then, the mother teases her friends by inventing all kinds of ridiculous names for the child:

"We are going to call him Palm Tree in the Sky"

"This is not a good name", her friends would say, "Who ever heard of somebody called Palm Tree?"

"Well then, we are going to call him Eye of the Moon"

"O frankly, what is it with you: it is not a name for a little boy"

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