The moon rose in the cloudless heavens as a strange assembly gathered by a dimly light campfire. Instantaneously, a voice began to speak, “ We are compelled to display our power to those Portuguese so they will view us as a mighty nation or else we shall be conquered.” The moon silently and mysteriously slipped behind the clouds as Wotof arose from the secret gathering. Swiftly the company set off by canoe, but the boat caught in a snag of twisted roots, which caused Wotof to become extremely angry since, with the swift passage of time, the enemy would soon be upon them! An unexpected crash resounded in the eerie silence as the Silla people came into the clearing. Terrified, the Ashanti travelers leapt from their craft as Wotof shoved the canoe away to where an alligator was sleeping in the muck. Immediately, the creature lashed his tail down on the canoe, upsetting it and splitting it in the middle with a terrifying crack. Apparently the noise had been heard by all those within range, for somewhere in the distance a faint shriek was emitted. Without further delay, Wotof and his men floated to an underground cave and waited. Since this slight movement had caught the alligator’s attention, he had lashed his powerful tail in all directions, which caused Tekror, the Silla chief to cry, “ The gods must be displeased with our actions! Let us make peace with our enemies and thus together overthrow the white man.” Cowering beneath the shadows like turtles, the men waited as they witnessed the entire spectacle and now, trusting that all was safe, they slowly swam to the nearby bank, on the opposite gulf, carefully concentrating on each movement.
Several months later, the agreement was to take place, where Tekror was to present his sister, Quinna as wife to Wotof, as a lasting covenant between the Silla and the Ashanti. The young bride-to-be had spent the morning adorning herself, and now was ready in body, if not in soul, to meet her adversary. Presently, the wedding party set off along the jungle path leading to the ceremony. Just as her retinue was coming into the clearing where they were to meet Wotof, something strange took place which changed Quinna forever. As she happened to glance upward to a rocky crevasse, she espied a benevolent, pallid face gazing at her, which caused her to give a sudden scream, because she had never encountered a white man before. The face disappeared. Quinna questioned if it had been a mirage and thus, for a moment, her countenance grew crestfallen. However, she knew she must conceal her thoughts until they could be successfully confirmed at a later hour. Hurriedly, the group deflected along the path arriving just twenty feet from the sea, where a multitude was swarming about, doing countless tasks. All fell silent as Quinna entered the clearing. Before long, the exertions of the multitude of drummers, slaves, and dancers were renewed. Wotof approached to espouse Quinna, who was willingly given away by her brother Tekror.
The vast array of men who resided in the land of darkest Africa were surprised to perceive a group approaching them, pointing to the royal stool that stood gleaming in all its richness. The betrothal events had sped by, ending with a great feast. And now, during the lively music and festivities, the unexpected guests had arrived. Silence reigned. Instantaneously, what seemed impossible happened; the two leaders, the great Oba and the strange white man, shook hands in a treaty which would enable the Portuguese to have a quantity of the gold in exchange for rum, the much-anticipated guns, and cloth. Quinna stood by as she watched all that took place, and silently fingered her corral beads with which she had been presented moments before. Comprehending the vast richness involved in this trade, she now became willing to serve as wife and Queen of the Ashanti tribe. Since this gala celebration, the rest of the season quickly flew past because the time was employed in trading some thirty thousand blacks with the Portuguese. For the first time, Quinna relaxed in the true lap of luxury. It was a way of life to her to trade slaves but she caught the gleam of joy as she understood with pride that from this hour on her people in Africa would be known world-wide for the richness of gold. Although things were peaceable for the time-being, it was not this that kept the territories united and the people strong. Rather, it was because of Quinna’s marriage to Wotof that the Ashanti and Sillas retained great wealth and power in the land of darkest Africa.
Stay tuned for tomorrows post: Places to have your wedding in St Louis and in an other state!