CHAPTER ONE: A woman in her prime by Asare Konadu
Adwao Pokuwaa is to make a sacrifice to the great god Tano on behalf of her childlessness. She had made four before but without any result. This time though, the request is from Tano himself who has made it known through the oracle during the last Fofie— festive Friday. It happens once in every six weeks. Her sacrifice is to consist of a thoroughly black hen and eggs. The black hen has been difficult for her to get in her village, Brenhoma. She has to get it from the next village, Nsutem for two hundred cowries which is deemed expensive.
Early in the morning, on Friday, the day she is to present to Tano,—after her purification— she discovers her black hen is missing from where it has been tied. Pokuwaa has many ideas on how it got missing, but a cock has actually lured it away.
She is thrown into a state of flummox, and before long, she starts searching for it. Luckily for her, she finds a group of children who tell her they’ve seen a black hen earlier.
A particular boy she describes as a fetish has been stoning it. The children lead her into the bush where they’ve seen her hen go thereafter. Pokuwaa realizes a black snake has swallowed it thigh deep. She rescues it and heads to the house of Tano, along with Kwadwo Fordwuo.
CHAPTER TWO: A woman in her prime by Asare Konadu
Kwadwo, Pokuwaa’s husband is with her to make the consultations. He admits that had Pokuwaa’s hen not been missing, she’d have been waiting for him. That morning, he has just come back from his journey from Ninting for his grandfather’s funeral.
The priest gives Pokuwaa instructions for the purification rites. It must be done just as the dawn breaks. Kwadwo, who has another wife volunteers to stay with her for the whole week, to the bitterness of his other wife. Normally, he alternates every three days between the wives. Pokuwaa expresses her loneliness to him during the days he is unavailable, wishing she has a child to keep her company.
The next day, which is the first day of Pokuwaa’s purification rites, Kwadwo wakes up first, when the day has already broken, signifying that Pokuwaa has missed it.