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The Adinkra Cloth

A story by

Mary C. Aldridge

“The Adinkra Cloth” was first published in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine.

“The Adinkra Cloth,” copyright 1989 Mary C. Aldridge

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Mary C. Aldridge

Our mother was dying; grief ate her heart like a witch. On the night of her death, she called me to her side. “Oliasso, oldest of my sons, you have twelve years now, but you are not strong enough to fight your father’s brother, and I am too weak to call my own brother to help you. When I am dead, you children will be defenseless. So do what I tell you: take my body into the bush, dig a pit, and wrap me in the adinkra cloth from my marriage chest. Lay a fire in the pit and leave me there for two days. The cloth will not burn; when you open it, you will find my ashes. Then take clay from the riverbed; rub my ashes into the clay, make a bowl and color it red. Wrap it in the adinkra cloth and lay it on my death-fire. In one day, the bowl will be cooked. Roll up the cloth, and when you are hungry, bring it out and say, ‘Our Mother, we are hungry.’ Then you will see what happens. Also, keep the adinkra cloth. Keep–” She stopped speaking and closed her eyes. Grief was done with her.

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