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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"The Palm Tree Bandit" by Nnedi Okorafor

First appeared in Strange Horizons

In many of Okorafor's stories is the importance of the oral nature or at least of storytelling.  This is not just a story existing by itself, but a communication between loved ones, passed down through the generations.  Here especially the story is passed from woman to girl, about the nature of females fighting for their freedoms.

Women weren't allowed to climb palm trees in this Nigerian village, so Yaya, the great grandmother of the listener, does so under the dark of night to carve the symbol of the female, the moon, into the trunk.  This throws the village into chaos.  Next, she drains the tree for wine.

After a while, Yaya doesn't have to climb the tree anymore.  The jug of wine mysteriously appears by her bed.  The legend has taken on a literal life of its own.

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