Okeny and his Valiant Dog

Ododo na moni yo!
There lived a warrior called Okeny. Not only was he famed for his strength, but he was a great hunter too. He had a faithful dog called Akera who was the fastest dog ever known. One morning Okeny went out to hunt and left Akera at home. When he reached the hunting grounds, he found a fierce animal that chased him all over the place, but because of his foresight, he climbed up a tree and sat on a high branch. There was nothing that he could do, so he was trapped up a tree with a beastly animal waiting down below.

After he’d waited for hours, he started blowing a tune with his folded hands.
Tii ginya
Tii ginya ginya.
Tii ginya
Tii ginya ginya.

He waited for help to arrive. But no one came. So he sharpened his tune and called it much louder;

Tii ginya
Tii ginya ginya.
Tii ginya
Tii ginya ginya.

Akera heard his master’s tune and run as fast as he could. Unfortunately the ogre had already seen the dog and lay in wait for it. When the dog saw the ogre, it turned on its heels and started running in the opposite direction. The ogre chased after the dog, meanwhile Okeny climbed down and got hold of his spear that had fallen down. Okeny stood erect and started chanting:

I’m the master of the hunt.
Nothing can defeat me,
I’ll stab the life out of any of beast.

While Akera run, the ogre was fast gaining on him. Eventually the ogre pinned Akera between his sharp claws.

In those parts where only dogs lived, there was a revered bitch called Dwari. So Akera sang to her for help;

Dwari my master come to my rescue
Dwari my master come to my rescue
The wilderness kills
Hasten to my rescue
The wilderness kills
Hasten to my rescue.

Dwari heard his cry and rushed out to the wilderness. But she was pregnant and couldn’t move very fast. She stood between the ogre and a tree and as the ogre lunged to grab at her, she stepped away and the ogre hit himself against a tree and knocked himself out.

Okeny climbed down from the tree and leapt up into the air. He picked up his spear and thrust it into the ogre till it lay still and lifeless. But before he could celebrate his victory, the children of the ogre emerged from the bushes and closed in on Akera. They began to tear up Akera limb by limb. As Okeny fought to rescue him, a long hard fight began between the beasts and the lone man. Okeny succeeded in killing all the little ogres and immediately set off for his homestead.

When Okeny reached his homestead, he announced to the people, “I’ve returned but the ogre has taken the lives of the dogs. Please come and help me.” He then sang out his pain;

Jing wee eh jing
Jing aah ah ai jing
Jing wee eh jing
Jing aah ah ai jing
Okeny that I trusted in the past, oh Okeny
He caused the dogs to be entrapped.

When more people heard him, they abandoned all their chores and tasks and offered to help him. The party of sympathisers gathered around Okeny. He led them to the wilderness on a mission to bring back the remains of the brave dogs.
When the party reached the spot, they found an army of ogres waiting to revenge. None of them had ever seen so many ogres before. A battle began and the humans fought the ogres until the ogres were defeated. The remains of the two valiant dogs were brought back to the village and buried in a solemn ceremony.

Retold by Aldo Oryem. Translated from the Acholi by Deyu African

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