Best of Wadadli Pen: The Curse of the Kumina

by Shakeema Edwards

Artwork: Second place winner, art challenge, Wadadli Pen 2011.
Fiction: Second place winner, 13 to 17 category and second place winner (tie) overall, Wadadli Pen 2011.

The Curse of Kumina by Hudle Jennings
It wasn’t so long ago that I was condemning Eve with the rest of my Sunday school class: she was a sinner, she had wilfully defied God and she deserved to be punished. However, it wasn’t so long ago either that I had tasted my first real bite of temptation.

In many ways it was all my granny’s fault, she was the instigator; she knew the type of child I was, curious to a fault, yet she let it slip one afternoon on our way from the market that I was never to enter Mother Kumina’s yard.

“And why not?” I asked with hands on hips, eyes rolling back, and defiance etched into my face.

“If you want the curse of the Kumina child go right ahead,” Granny replied.

“Curse! Please, I don’t believe in no curse! It’s mango season and you’re telling me I can’t pick mango because of a curse?”

“Girl, nobody say you can’t pick mango. You can pick mango from every tree in the village but not from Mother Kumina tree.”

Why did she have to say that? Once I heard Granny’s words I realized that I had tasted the sweet, the sour, the bitter, and the rotten fruit of every mango tree in the area except that of Mother Kumina’s tree. Instantly, my curiosity stood up and began an incessant screaming. She would not be satisfied; all food lost its flavour, all mangoes were sour, and every drop of water evaporated on my tongue. My curiosity and I would not rest without a taste of that forbidden fruit.

Thus, four hours after my granny’s warning I climbed over Mother Kumina’s fence and slithered up her mango tree like a fugitive lizard. As I was sitting on a thick branch wondering which plump treasure to seize first I suddenly heard the disconcerting sound of grass being trampled. I looked towards the source of the sound and my sight was accosted by three large pit-bulls coming my way.

There was no time to think. Hastily, I grabbed a single mango and jumped out of the tree; skinning my right knee as I hit the ground. Without looking back I made a run for the fence and slithered over it with even more speed than I had the first time.

I was basking in my triumph for all of two seconds when the first pit-bull burst through a hole in the fence.

 “Oh Father!” I yelled as they chased me down Pineapple Avenue, up Orange Lane, and across Cocoplum Drive. They were relentless and they chased me all the way to Old Maggie’s pasture. Both of my Bata slippers burst during the chase; cassie pierced me in my unshod feet, I splashed myself with dirty water as I ran through pothole after pothole trying to escape, still the dogs ran on, and all the while I clutched my conquest firmly in my left hand.

After circling the village almost two times I was able to lose my pursuers and ran home as quickly as I could.

“Curse, schmursh!” I cackled as I looked at the orange-red mango in my hand. With a cursory wipe on my tank top, I skinned it with my teeth and took a great bite out of the fruit. It was the sweetest mango that ever was; even though it griped my belly for an entire week and every mango I have had since has tasted like ash, I’ll never regret taking that mango from Mother Kumina’s tree.


Shakeema Edwards is eighteen ears old and from Antigua. She won the Women of Antigua V-Day essay contest and the Best of Books/Joanne C. Hillhouse Next Chapter contest. She also distinguished herself in the Antigua and Barbuda Independence Literary Arts Competition, earning a spot at a weekend writers retreat specifically for young writers. In the 2010 edition of the Wadadli Pen Youth Prize, Shakeema was the first place winner in the 13 to 17 age category. Shakeema is a former Antigua Girls High School student and currently attends Antigua State College.

Hudle Jennings is an aspiring graphic artist from Antigua.

Copyright of the winning Wadadli Youth Pen Prize stories and/or art work featured on this site belongs to the creators of the individual works. Anansesem's editors played no part in the Wadadli Pen judging process. Anansesem's editors have not edited or adjusted the stories or artwork in any way.

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Anansesem is an online magazine of Caribbean children's and young adult literature by adults and children. We strive to bring you the best in news, reviews and creative content from the world of Caribbean children's publishing.
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