Ælfgifu and the Charm of Sango

El – fgifu:- (El – ghi – foo)

“… Latini\nized form of Ælfgifu, an Old English name derived from ælf “elf” + giefu “gift”, or/and Æðelgifu, from æðel “noble” + giefu “gift”. This was the name of the first wife of the English king Æðelræd (Ethelred) II… ”

#Nameberry.com

“… The Ikogosi Warm Springs is a tourist attraction located at Ikogosi, a town in Ekiti State, southwestern Nigeria.[1] Flowing abreast the warm spring is another cold spring which meets the warm spring at a confluence, each maintaining its thermal properties.[2] These attributes make the spring a tourist attraction in Nigeria.[3] Research suggested that the warm spring has a temperature of about 70oC at the source and 37oC at the confluence.[4]The Ikogosi Warm Springs is a tourist attraction located at Ikogosi, a town in Ekiti State, southwestern Nigeria.[1] Flowing abreast the warm spring is another cold spring which meets the warm spring at a confluence, each maintaining its thermal properties.[2] These attributes make the spring a tourist attraction in Nigeria.[3] Research suggested that the warm spring has a temperature of about 70oC at the source and 37oC at the confluence.[4… “

Wikipedia.

We had no business going all the way to Osun state!

Well, there was that waterfall and the village on top of the hill, but that is a conundrum for another day. That state is where Becky is from… So yeah… I wanted to go see her roots.

I mean where she is from you evil-minded ogre! Nothing else. You are spoiled rotten. We will not last long as friends…

So we ended up in Ekiti State of Nigeria. We were headed to the exotic Ikogosi warm springs. We had a few other stops at waterfalls and shrines.

I have grown accustomed to paranormal issues in my life. I will be just fine.

And so you can imagine how underwhelmed I was when we arrived at the springs and checked in. There was nothing spectacular for me!

We were about seventeen on the team, three Germans, an Indian, an elf (yes you read that right), a bunch of amazing Nigerians and a lesbian. (uhmmm… I’m being mean I know. But she should have said, “yes” to me. I do not like rejection).

Consequently, I speak for myself. But one or two of my fellow #Backpackers agreed with me.

We hit the pool at about nine pm. The pool had just been drained and so we were reduced to splashing in about a foot of lukewarm water…

Tufiakwa!

(expletive, meaning ‘God forbid’). Don’t quote me though, that is what Muchee told me. She should know I think. After all she is an Ibo girl. Not sure which of the Ibo – speaking states she is from. I should dig into her core values.

I mean where she is from you evil-minded ogre! Nothing else. You are spoiled rotten. We will not last as friends…

A ‘tour guide’ had given us what was supposed to be her version of the origin of the Ikogosi warm springs. By the time she was done, I was bashing my head into random Iroko trees just to stay awake.

Darling Jesus, Maranatha!?

By the time our late dinner swung by, I was successfully plucking out my eyelashes. One strand at a time.

It was drizzling outside. It was pitch black too. It was about eleven pm when my team finally fell asleep.

I crept out of my shared room armed with my trusty machete, walking boots, night vision goggles and a small cup (yes you read that right).

I was home free (well not quite) when a voice stopped me dead in my tracks.

“Hey Sexy…”

It was El-fgifu. Suffice it to say that she is many things to different people. As of tonight, to me, she was misplaced.

I squinted at her beautiful features trying to read her mind.

“Hey baby” I finally replied. “Whatchu doing up?”

“Where are you sneaking off to Sexy?” I hear that she works with her voice in a radio station. I can only imagine the sanctions from the national broadcasting corporation. That woman’s voice is an aphrodisiac!

“If I tell you, I would have to marry you… Or kill you…” I quoted to her.

“Who are you in this body?! Loose him and let him go!!” She recited back at me.

‘If you know, you know.

We both burst out laughing.

We knew.

As I turned away, I heard her voice call out. I turned to see her standing and lifting a locket from around her neck with two hands. She held it up hands slightly apart. The shape of the leather strap to the locket was a perfect triangle.

She said that she wanted to lend me her locket but that I was too tall. She asked me to please take a knee. I am a tall fella, she is all of five feet flat. Her request made a modicum of sense.

She did not allow me touch her or the locket throughout the time . I am not stupid, I knew that that locket was actually a charm she carried around for protection and good luck. And so I gratefully complied. I used to be a prolific womanizer, I have learned to acknowledge a lover’s intuition. As long as she truly loves you.

I walked past the heated waters of the pool and got to the meeting point of the hot and cold streams of water that never mixed. It was pitch black and raining and so I was sure that I was largely unseen by human eyes.

In precise movements, I filled the small cup with equal amounts of the cold and hot waters and quaffed it in one swallow. I knelt in the waters and braced myself… Meditating…

A minute later I rose out of the shallow streams and started up the gangway that held a caution. “DO NOT GO BEYOND THIS POINT”. I broke into a measured jog and vaulted over the wall onto the rocky and uneven forest floor at the other side.

I pulled out my machete and hurried upwards towards the real source of the heated waters of Ikogosi. Sure enough, I saw what I wanted to see. I spent about a minute on my knees doing what I had to do. Maybe one day I will be able to tell you about these things that I saw and did. But right now, I cannot.

I was back over the wall as quickly as I could manage. I was covered in smelly sweat by this time. I had adrenaline coursing through my veins. I was giddy and felt a surge of invincibility.

I got to the pool and decided to take a swim. After all, the warm springs were said to have healing powers.

There were two ladies already enjoying the pool. From a distance, it looked like Becky and Amaka, fellow Backpackers. I dove nude into the pool and began swimming laps. I swam vigorously for about fifteen minutes and then I had to take a break.

I heard Becky call my name and so I waded through the pool to meet them where they were seated under the torrent of steaming water that was filling up the swimming pool.

Though my instincts already knew that they were neither Becky nor Amaka, my legs pulled me toward them on their own volition.

“What did you do?” The first woman asked me. Mild. Gentle. A flirt.

“Do you know what you have done?” The second older (and angrier) woman snapped at me.

I had no idea what to say. Primarily because they were both speaking to me in Yoruba language which I have never spoken, read or understood.

Secondarily because I realized in those seconds that I now somehow understood the said language.

Tertiarily (shut up editor!) because I was now fully aware of who these women were.

My silence seemed to infuriate the second woman because she stood up suddenly and made to touch me.

A small bolt of lightning or was it a livid cackle of static electricity scattered the air in a thunderous boom. They both flinched, screaming in terror.

I placated Oduduwa’s grandchilds’ wives as best as I could. I commended them for working together for the first time in centuries to fight a trespassing sage such as myself. I requested that they go about their fancies and allow me do the same.

By the time I got back to the guest chalets, it was as quiet as a graveyard in the dead of winter.

But El-fgifu was still sitting out drinking out of a cup. An alcoholic beverage I wager.

Why am I not sure about the contents of her cup? After all we were very close as individuals. After all we genuinely knew, liked and respected each other…

You see as I made to remove her locket from around my neck, I noticed that it was no longer on me.

No it did not fall off, it was inexplicably back around El-fgifu’s neck. The charm itself nestled comfortably between her deep cleavage.

It was all too much for me to handle in one night.

I walked past her thoroughly flabbergasted and weary to my bone marrow.

“Goodnight Sexy!” She called after me.

“Good morning Baby… It is two am. See you in a bit” I replied as I walked.

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