A Brilliant Idea - February Flash Fiction Fridays Story 1

Happy Valentine’s Day! 🙂

A Brilliant Idea is a tale of two villages: the Village of Ayanfe and Baiyewu.  It is also the first story in our February Flash Fiction Fridays series.


A Brilliant Idea: A Tale of Two Villages
Ayanfe and Baiyewu

From the top of Erin Hill, if you crane your neck just a little, you can see them: the scattered ruins of Baiyewu.

Looking at it now, you may not know that this place of ashes was once a village, bustling with life.  Yes, Baiyewu was a thriving community of farmers.

Until something happened …

But a long, long time ago, before that something happened, there was a road.  An old, dusty road.  It connected two villages: Ayanfe on the East, and to the West, Baiyewu.

Like their neighbors in the West, the people of Ayanfe were originally farmers and fishermen.  On the surface, they looked the same: men went to the farm, women stayed at home to take care of the children, and when the children were old enough, they joined to help with the work on the farm.  It was not ideal, but it worked.

However, the people of Ayanfe were quite different from the inhabitants of Baiyewu.  The people of Ayanfe were adventurous, people who were curious about the world and the way it worked.  They travelled far and wide and brought their knowledge back to Ayanfe.

Some of them rose to become leaders, intellectual giants, men and women of learning, enriching Ayanfe with what they had learned.

Over time, Ayanfe became a hub of trade and commerce, a mecca of innovation and talent, and the whole world heard about it.  By now, Ayanfe was no longer a village.  It had now evolved into a city.

The Oba of Ayanfe had a deep appreciation for education and learning.  So, many schools were planted, and they grew.

Meanwhile, along the same dusty road, Baiyewu remained the same.

Men went to the farm, women stayed at home and took care of the children.  Life seemed to move at a very slow, unhurried pace.

A boy called Adisa was born in Baiyewu to a hardworking farmer and his wife.  He was their only son, and as he grew, his parents realized that their son was special.  He was a thinker, a child who was hungry for knowledge and desirous of change.  He read books and with the knowledge gained, introduced new farming practices to his parents.  The results were explosive: they enjoyed a triple harvest.  But the people of Baiyewu chucked these results to diabolical supernatural manipulation, and they refused to change.  Instead, they plotted to get rid of Adisa, a mere child.

Realizing the danger their son was in, Adisa’s parents moved fast.  They knew their son’s gifts and talents would be wasted in Baiyewu.  So, they sent him to Ayanfe to further his education.  They hoped that over time, the people of Baiyewu would embrace change.  When that happened, they expected Adisa to return to Baiyewu to use his knowledge, skills and talents improve his village.

His parents supported him, and visited him when they could.  Eventually, Adisa rose to become first, a teacher, and finally, the Headmaster of a local primary school.  He became a respected authority and a voice advocating for children’s education.

News reached Adisa’s parents of their son’s accomplishments.  They were very proud of him.  But no matter how many letters they wrote to him, he never came home to visit.  It seemed Adisa had acquired a permanent taste for Ayanfe living and Baiyewu was firmly in his past.

But Adisa had not forgotten Baiyewu.  It was his hometown, always present in his thoughts.  He secretly nursed the hope that one day, Baiyewu would rise to be greater than Ayanfe.  However, Adisa understood that while hope was a reasonable starting point, hope by itself was not enough.

Action was necessary.

But what could he do? Adisa wondered often.  One day, the answer came to him in the form of an idea.  He knew it was a good idea, and he carried it inside him, watering it daily with positive thoughts.  What he didn’t know was how to actualize this idea.

Adisa got his opportunity during an important royal visit.  The Oba of Baiyewu came to visit the Oba of Ayanfe.  Among those selected to host and meet the visiting Oba, were the heads of schools.  Adisa was one of them.

In a rare opportunity where he had the Obas of both Ayanfe and Baiyewu in the same room, Adisa shared his idea:

Why not let the children of Baiyewu travel to Ayanfe and acquire quality education, and return to help improve the village?

“That’s a brilliant idea,” said the Oba of Ayanfe enthusiastically.  But the Oba of Baiyewu was quiet.   He pondered the matter carefully. Adisa had forgotten that the people of Baiyewu were not adventurous and were resistant to change.  Had he made a mistake sharing his idea?

As Adisa considered the possibility that he had made a mistake, the Oba of Baiyewu finally spoke up.

“Good ideas can lead to disaster,” he said.

“Your Highness, this is true.  But, I guarantee–” Adisa began.

“Hold it there,” said the Oba of Baiyewu.  “Where human beings are concerned, there are no guarantees.  Only God Almighty can guarantee anything.”

“Yes, but what is life without risk?” the Oba of Ayanfe interjected.

“Certain risks are not worth taking,” said the Oba of Baiyewu.  “In this case, there are many risks.  For instance, we risk losing our children forever, to a culture that is foreign to ours.”

The Oba of Ayanfe laughed.  “You call Ayanfe foreign?  But we breathe the same air, and even speak the same language.”

“Baiyewu is not Ayanfe,” the Oba of Baiyewu insisted.  “But I will consider this, and let you know my decision.”

Months later, Adisa received the news: his idea had been accepted and would be implemented.  He was overjoyed.

Over the next few years, children of school age left Baiyewu and went to Ayanfe for school.  During the holidays, they returned to Baiyewu.  This continued for many years. The children completed their education and grew into accomplished young men and women.

But like Adisa, they never returned.  That was the beginning of the end.

Their parents who remained in Baiyewu advanced in age.  They did not have the strength and vigor of youth, and could not care for the land as needed.  The harvests dwindled year after year.  Farming was no longer as lucrative as it used to be.  Able-bodied men and women left Baiyewu in search of work.

They never returned.

In this vulnerable state, Baiyewu was invaded by marauding enemies.  They slaughtered the inhabitants and razed the village to the ground.

And then, they left.

Adisa’s parents were not spared.

After the invasion, Adisa finally decided to visit Baiyewu.  He travelled along the same road that he had taken out of Baiyewu when he was a boy.  But it was no longer old or dusty.  It was black and smooth, a brand new road, tarred with Ayanfe money.

Adisa stopped his car in front of the sign that read “Baiyewu.”  But he did not recognize his hometown.  Everything was covered in ashes.

Outside the place where his parents’ hut used to stand, he read the last line from the final letter he received from them:

Come and visit.

Now, he had come.  To what?

Baiyewu no longer existed.

The air was rife with rumors that the invaders were local Ayanfe men, pretending to have come from far away.  It was also rumored that the Oba of Ayanfe had plans to revive the village and turn it into a district of Ayanfe.

Whether these rumors were true or not, Adisa did not know.

After leaving the spot where his parents’ hut used to stand, Adisa did not take the road that led deeper into the heart of the village.  He had seen enough.

Instead, he hopped back into his car.  He knew he could never return home again because there was no home to return to.  The only place where he could visit Baiyewu as he remembered it, was in his memories.

But as he drove back to Ayanfe, to his beautiful wife, Morolake, and to the life he had built in Ayanfe, he remembered the words of the late Oba of Baiyewu:

“Good ideas can lead to disaster.”

Those words haunted Adisa.  He feared they would continue to haunt him for the rest of his life because he felt in a way that he was responsible for the fate that had befallen Baiyewu.  But he took comfort in Morolake’s words:

“Baiyewu may be gone, but there is still a remnant.  They live right here in Ayanfe.  They can rebuild Baiyewu.  What about the lives of men, women and children from Baiyewu who were saved by coming to Ayanfe?”

Adisa considered her words and took comfort in them.

He understood that though the words of the late Oba of Baiyewu were true, they were not completely true.  Good ideas could unintentionally lead to disasters.

But good ideas could also save lives.

# # #

If you haven’t already, you should check out previous flash fiction stories, including:

Elevator Ride

Without His Approval

For the Love of Plantain

See you next Friday.  🙂

*Ayanfe means Favored One

*Baiyewu means As life wants it

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