This is something that amuses or that which has the quality of making somebody laugh. There are several humorous instances in the “The River and The Source.” Humour makes the story more interesting and also eases tension in very serious and tragic situations.

Akoko’s beauty is described in a humorous manner. The writer comments, as for her legs, Were must have carved them out personally rather than one of his apprentices (pg 28). It is interesting to note that Were did not delegate to create Akoko’s legs.

Akoko’s conflict with Otieno Kembo is humorous especially where he calls her she-wolf. Akoko hisses at him and he retreats. It is humorous to see a man who had dared Akoko backing off in fear.

When Akoko and her two grandsons go to Kisumu to lodge a complaint to the white chief (The D.O), the word D.O, sounded like “diyo” which to them meant to squeeze. They wondered whether he might squeeze their brains.

The people of Sakwa are amused by the god of the white man who has a son and died to save them. It is exciting that the ignoramus interprets this as sheer madness. It is also interesting that one can sleep on both ears. “I keep my ears open, my friend; I am not like you who sleeps on both your ears. I keep one open and sleep on the other one!” (pg 59)

Awiti’s beauty is humorously described, “Her nose sat on her face as if the creator had really thought hard before placing it carefully in place.” (pg 135) It is laughable that Awiti receives notes in college using the most unorthodox means, “a love note would come flying into the room wrapped around a stone.” (pg 136)

The responses that Nyabera gets from Pilipo who seems to have some knowledge in the Christian religion introduced by the white man are humorous. She had expected to get some information about this religion so that she could pursue it. “………They said something about God being three but only one but didn’t understand that very well.” “… were laws which said do not kill…….and to take on one wife. The laws were too hard for me so I came home. (pg 102). This humour eases the tension that is created by Nyabera’s situation. She has lost hope and is interested in the Christian religion which might give her hope. This humour also points to the dilemma faces by the new converts who still wished to cling to aspects so their traditional culture and could not cope with stringent requirements of the new religion.

When Wandia enquires about the well-being of her relations Kamau and Timothy, Ester tells her; “Timothy is still waiting for the beautiful ones to be born. Meanwhile he chases whatever else is available.” (pg 262)

Before Elizabeth’s death, she recalls her life as a child and when many suitors were pursuing her. The description of the suitors is humorous: “A love letter comes flying in through the open window; it was from a fellow student whose name was Cosmas somebody or other and like so many others it declared willingness to climb mountains, fold rivers and swim oceans in order to reach her and win her love. The guy must have drowned by now, thought Elizabeth her lips twitching. (pg 306)

NEXT: Irony

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