“It’s too dark! It’s too dark!” a cricket chirped.
“The night is too cold,” chirped another, “…and dark. We need electric power to warm our bodies.”
They chirped their grumblings into the night. However, that didn’t budge the darkness. Rather, it stood erect and firm like a fortified monolith.
“What shall we do?” They pondered.
“We need to pray,” a cricket chirped.
They turned to the speaker. The cricket that had chirped had a humble demeanor. His aplomb mirrored that of the angels. The general public often said he was clean and had never killed any other insect. They called him and his cohorts the Crickets of God.
“Papa!” a cricket greeted him. “We didn’t realize you were around.”
The other crickets made way for the Cricket of God to have a decent place to sit in charge of them. He and his cohorts were given one-tenth of everything the other crickets had. Their place was made comfortable from the toiling of the other crickets.
“We need to pray,” chirped the Cricket of God. “What is happening in our land is not such a difficult task. In the beginning, it was equally so. Darkness covered everywhere…it covered the face of the deep until God stepped in. God created light…and the darkness understood it not!”
The congregation of crickets nodded to his chirpings.
“As such,” the cricket of God continued, “only GOD can give us light and salvation from this darkness.”
Once he was done with his chaperoning chirpings, the crickets in the congregation clapped and cheered. They brought him water to drink. They stripped themselves of the only warm clothings they had and gave it to him and his cohorts.
“You’re a cricket of God,” the chirped as they gave their all, “you need not see any form of suffering.”
The Cricket of God thanked them with angelic smiles. He made them understand that what they did was only for God, not any other cricket. “For I am like you,” he ended.
They nodded in unison. It was a silent form of agreement. Suddenly, they heard the stubborn cricket chirp from behind. Everyone turned to him.
“If you are just like us,” the stubborn cricket chirped, “then why should we give you the best spoils of our hardwork?”
“Shut up!” the elderly crickets chirped at the stubborn cricket. “How dare you speak to a Cricket of God like that?”
“I’m just saying,” the stubborn cricket chirped. “We keep saying we are giving to God, but God does not need these blankets to fight off the cold…God does not need that cold water he is drinking…”
“Shut up! You atheist!”
The stubborn cricket kept quiet. He had so much more to say, but in this green field, where the whiteness of the moonlight was the only means of seeing, no one spoke against a crowd – especially not a crowd perceived to have elders.
Will it not be better if we give those gifts to the actual needy that litter our streets? The stubborn Cricket thought. Won’t it be wise to share it amongst ourselves? To help ourselves grow? To love each other? How can giving it to one man and his cohorts mean doing it for God?
However, he kept quiet and looked up.
“We have to pray,” another Cricket of God chirped in a shout. “We need to pray!”
“But in other fields across the seas,” the stubborn Cricket screamed out a comment, “it is crickets that think and work hard to eradicate their challenges. Why can’t we do the same? Those in the fields across the seas think out a means for electricity…they think out a means for improvement of the intellect of the younger ones through education…they think out how everyone can contribute to their society through organized labour…they –”
“Will you just shut up!” An elderly cricket hit him. “If God does not give you the ability to think, it will never work! These devils that rule this plane won’t let such things happen easily.”
Clutching to his hurt cheek, the stubborn cricket grumbled out a chirp: “Point exactly! God has already given us the ability, so why should we bother him with this? Why don’t we use our brains and stop worshiping one of us and wasting every day in gatherings like this? Is the devil not one of us? Why can’t we unify in good deeds and make his power irrelevant?”
He paused and took a deep breath, before continuing: “Why do we keep acting like the very devils who rule us – refusing to use our brains and yet blaming everything on God or the absence of God?”
“You shall rot in hell,” one of his mates chirped at him in anger. “Your punishment shall be very grim. Listen, no sin committed against the Holy Cricket Spirit of God goes without forgiveness! Note that!”
But these sins perpetuated under the guise of worship of God and our intense stupidity will be forgiven? He wondered.
It was then, he recalled the African proverb that says: “Madness is spiritual but stupidity depends on you!”
He shook his tiny cricket head. Almost at that instant, tearing out like thunder from the congregation, all the crickets began to pray. They called on God all through the night and repeated his promises. They claimed they were his children because they sang in the choir and paid their tithes. Yet, the darkness in the field remained. Their prayers only seemed to contribute to the rowdiness of the night, the wretchedness of their state.
The stubborn cricket didn’t bother to pray. He nursed his wounds from the assault, looking around at their green field, which the moonlight divided with its stream of white light. The field seemed all green…and white…and green!
All of a sudden, he spotted something strange as the prayer was underway. He strained to see, but the darkness blindfolded him. He forced his eyes through it and then, spotted the Cricket of God and his cohorts creeping out of the gathering. Where are they going? He thought, creeping out as well.
It was difficult to make his way out of the crowd of the masses of crickets and still keep the Crickets of God in sight. He jostled his way through, though subtly, in order not to draw any attention to himself. Once he made it out, he groveled through the dark, cold earth of the night. After a few hours and several miles of creeping, he halted because his mark had stopped way ahead of him.
“Greetings Papa,” the Cricket of God was greeted.
What is he doing with the devil? The stubborn Cricket wondered.
The Cricket of God and his cohorts sat with the devil and his aides at a round table. They all drank wine and ate succulent beef. The stubborn cricket felt his throat elongate for food.
“What are the Crickets of God doing with the devils that are oppressing us?” the stubborn Cricket mused. “Why don’t the Crickets of God speak up against the devil and his aides rather than dine with them?”
“Are they still praying?” the devil asked the head of the Crickets of God.
“Oh yes,” the head Cricket of God bellowed. “I left them there.”
“Good,” nodded the devil. “Please eat some more.”
The head Cricket of God and his fellow clergy crickets dined and wined. It was at that moment that the stubborn cricket realized he could see their faces perfectly. How come? He wondered, looking around.
Then, he noticed, this part of the field had electricity and the bulbs were blaring out brightness. The devil and the Crickets of God sat on chairs and ate on tables unlike he – the stubborn cricket and the masses of cricket – who spent their lives groveling on the ground. He realized the clothes worn by this group were adorned with fine ornaments, their bellies protruded with complacency and their rounded cheeks hung on their faces like over-ripe fruits from a tree.
“Keep them blinded,” the devil advised the Crickets of God. “Keep them confused. Keep them bickering over nonsense. Keep them divided over religious matters.”
“Of course Your Excellency,” chorused the Crickets of God. “That is all part of the plan.”
“Great,” the devil nodded. “You sure shall get your rewards.”
At the end of his speech, the devil ordered the younger devils to drag ‘ghana-must-go’ bags to the Crickets of God; who carried the heavy load of goodies and returned to their hideouts.
“Oh my God!” the stubborn cricket mused. “If only the others can open their eyes while they pray.”
It was then he realized that indeed, the English were wrong. Wisdom, unlike what they profess, does not necessarily come with age!