Madman v rampaging bull
In which Anon recounts an unusual encounter between man and beast
There is the story of an unintended confrontation between a madman and a rampaging bull in one sleepy settlement on the outskirts of Lagos, an encounter one witness described as way out of this world.
Bovines charging humans are not quite novel. Except their minders, anybody seems to be fair game for irritable beasts. At the slightest provocation, an angry bull can toss humans in the air with their horns and leave them sprawled on the ground gasping for breath.
Even placid cows can become suddenly nasty when they suspect there is danger close by. An expert cow slaughterer had one painful experience sometime back. In that community, a boy, usually, would point a long blade of grass to the mouth of a tethered animal as a decoy while the slaughterer would sneak behind it to cut through its hindquarters with a machete so as to bring the animal down. Afterward, with horns held down, the slaughterer will put the knife to its throat.
But each time the man got close enough, the cow will shift its position, munching on the grass and also managing to dodge the fateful blow to the leg. Both man and beast continued in this manner until the cow got tired of the game.
Faster than anyone ever imagined, the beast raised its left back hoof and connected with the man’s mouth. Four brownish incisors fell out promptly from a bloodied dentition. Needless to say that was the man’s last adventure as a professional cow killer. Also, the gap in his upper and lower palate remains to this day.
There was the reported case of a man near Trade Fair Complex, Lagos, who stopped to relieve himself somewhere. While he was at it, an angry bull trotted up to him and gored the man with his horn. Thankfully, the man survived the attack.
Was the beast – bovines have bio-vision – provoked to attack because of the red shirt the man was said to be wearing at the time? Nobody has offered any satisfactory explanation. But some others point to a national sport in Spain (Bullfight) where participants wave red flags at bulls to spur them to action just in time for the matador to finish them off.
It was a different confrontation entirely between the madman and the rampaging beast, so the story was told. For one, the wacko wasn’t wearing any colour close to red that day. Neither had the bull been seen in the neighbourhood before.
Battleground was a bus stop where the man was the resident lunatic, a decrepit and roofless building with unwashed rags scattered here and there, complemented with the sole tenant’s degraded appearance.
There, the loony reigned supreme within a respectable radius of his domain, terror to mostly unaccompanied women, and students who delight in tormenting him.
One day, it was said, Dauda, so the madman was called, saw a pregnant woman coming down the road not far from the bus stop. Before anyone could spell his name, Dauda picked up a huge piece of stone and lobbed it at the woman’s ankle.
While passers-by went to the screaming woman’s aid, Dauda tried to escape the scene. Others charged and brought him down.
But what do you do to a madman? Take him to the police? Beat him to a pulp? Kill him?
They were still considering what to do with Dauda when someone counseled that Dauda be left alone.
“You never know that a madman has families until you kill him,” he admonished.
Left alone to the elements and uncared for all these years, Dauda’s family, he said, would most certainly show up in the event of his death. It was just not worth marking time for in jail because of a madman.
They left Dauda alone. To prevent any future surprise attack, however, the neighbours gave his residence a wide berth.
One Sunday morning, most residents in the area had prepared to go to church; some of them dressed to the nines; others piled into their squeaky-clean Toyotas and Benzes. The bus stop itself was abuzz with the normal street activities you find at such places in Lagos; hawkers and commercial motorcyclists and touts zinging up the noise level.
Dauda was in residence. Sympathetic neighbours used to drop by with the Sunday, Sunday rice. But ever since his unprovoked attack on the pregnant woman, the Sunday treat ceased abruptly. Now, on this Sunday, he looked the worse for it, mean of face and in spirit.
It was just the beginning of his ordeal. From nowhere, a short-horned bull appeared and made straight for Dauda’s seedy lodging. Hanging from its neck was a short lasso, apparently snapped from where it was tied. Slimy liquid dripped from its nostrils, trailed down and mixed with saliva from its mouth.
A metre or so from Dauda’s dwelling, the enraged animal stared straight at Dauda, reared its head up and down and sideways, assumed the classical bovine charge, right foreleg raking the ground, head down and nostrils flaring.
By this time, the haze of unreality seemed to lift momentarily from Dauda’s face as he hurriedly packed his belongings. He seemed not so mad after all, someone declared, if he could recognize and sense a threat from a cow.
The angry bull never allowed Dauda any such reflections as it charged forward, aiming to crush the lunatic to the wall with its horns. Dauda only managed to evade the attack, as he bolted from the building and ran as fast as his legs would carry him.
The bull gave chase, gathering strength and speed as it galloped along. Shouting and hollering, the spectators followed behind, children and adults, all of them in their Sunday best, suddenly diverted by this merry spectacle as if it was now more important than the church they had set out for initially.
How Dauda managed to escape the animal’s wrath is still the talk of the community till date. As for the beast, it gave up after a sufficient chase, turned around, tail a-swirl, scattering the spectators here and there.
It is also on record that Dauda has never been seen in his lodging ever since.