Category Archives: Fables and Folktales

(Short story) The Priest, The Goat And The Confession

Goats have become very common in our national discourse. I have heard so much about them that I see them in all my latest dreams. In one of these dreams, I saw that our national flag had been altered; the only change being the black star replaced with a black goat.

Now, due to all the talks about goats, my affinity for my pet goat, Freedom and Justice, grew stronger. I treated Freedom and Justice as a pet because it was a gift from a judge friend of mine who insisted that I named the animal so to highlight how he upheld the motto of our country.

Ever since I received Freedom and Justice in January, I have resisted several coercions from Father Marcus to slaughter it for food. I gave in to his suggestion at Easter but decided against it minutes before a knife was driven through its neck because I realized that killing a goat to commemorate the death of a lamb – i.e. Jesus Christ – was too sharp a contrast.

After one tiring day of listening to the sins of men, I checked on my pet. I noticed how lean it had become since its near-death in April. I was filled with empathy for the animal that I rushed to my room and fetched a crumb of communion bread and a bottle of wine. I administered the Eucharist to Freedom and Justice with the hope that by it, the goat will fatten up. Little did I know that that was its last supper.

Later that night, I was awoken by loud bleats of Freedom and Justice. By the time I came out of the room, two guys were making away with my pet goat. I ran after them, screaming, “touch not my anointed and do my servant no harm”. The thieves would, however, have none of what I was saying and vanished into the darkness.

The next morning, I was sad. Father Marcus worsened my mood with constant trolling. I had barely sat in the booth when the first penitent whispered, “Father, can God ever forgive me for what I’ve done? Father, please beg God to listen to me. Please beg God to take away any curse He has placed on me. I am truly sorry”.

I was torn between consoling him with the Lord’s mercy and finding out what exactly he had done. I went for both.

“The Lord’s mercy abounds, even to the chief of sinners. Tell me, of what sin you do you seek forgiveness from the Lord? I said to him.

After a deep sigh, he started, “Father, yesterday, my friend and I stole a goat from an old pastor”.

My heart skipped a beat when I heard goat but I held myself from doing anything silly. “Continue”, I urged him.

“We sold the goat at the market this morning for a commanding fee…”

“How much?” I demanded.

“150 cedis”, he answered. “On our way to a chop bar, as we discussed ways to enjoy our money, a preacher on the bus shared a message entitled touch not my anointed and do no harm to my servant”.

I chuckled when I remembered that those were the exact words I screamed as I chased my goat thieves.

“Father, the preacher said that many and irrevocable were the curses one brings on himself when he touches the anointed of the Lord”, the man continued.

“I began to tremble in fear, owing to what we had done. My friend, however, tried to reason it out that it was the goat we touched and not the man so nothing will happen to us.

Ignoring calls from the preacher to confess our sins, repent and give our lives to Christ, we proceeded to the chop bar. A few minutes into our meal, Father, Koo, my friend, started complaining that a bone had choked him. We tried several remedies to help him but the situation worsened. A few people gathered around us and suggested other things we could do to save Koo but none of them helped”.

The man paused and sniffed three times. “Go on, my son. Tell me everything”, I asked, eager to hear everything.

“Now, fearing that he’ll die, Koo confessed our sins. Immediately, the people who were sympathizing with me turned against me. Some knocked me, others insulted and cursed me, a few others too took some shots of me with their phones.

In all these, I was too concerned about Koo to respond in any way to the cruel treatment I was being dealt. A part of me felt I deserved it so I accepted it as my punishment. At least it was better than choking on a bone. It was when I heard one man reporting me to the police over the phone that I realized how much trouble I was in.

I ran here immediately. Father, I want God to take the curse away. I would not touch his anointed anymore – whether it’s a goat or a man”. His voice was shrill.

Though I knew it was wrong for me to laugh at penitents, I could not help this one. I laughed hard and told him he had run to the pastor whose goat he had stolen.

“Jesus!” He screamed. “Father, please forgive me. I won’t steal again. I will return the rest of the money, recite the Hail Mary ten times in a day and fast for a month”.

This is the first time a penitent suggested his own penance. I took the rest of the sales money from him and sent him off.

He was a happier man than he came.

***

This story is among a collection of a series I wrote with Kossi on our Facebook page, The FB Magazine. Click on the page to read more of the series entitled The Priest.

There is love in SHARING

The History of Creation By Olumide Oduntan

Many years ago, the earth and the mouse had an argument about who was the oldest between the two of them.  The mouse said that when he was created, the whole earth was filled with water and that nothing else was in the world.

According to the mouse, when his mother died, he could not find a place to bury her because there was no land in which to dig a grave as there was nothing else apart from water.

The mouse agued that since he did not find a place to bury his mother, he decided to carry her on his head. He concluded that after a while, his mother’s decomposed body began to affect him negatively. This, according to him, is the reason why he is different from other rat species and smells terribly today.

On its part, the earth told the mouse that he was the first to come to the world thereby making him the oldest creation. He insisted that before the creator created anything else, he first created the earth. He argued that all other things were only created after the earth had been created, thereby maintaining its seniority.

Also read:A CREED FOR THOSE WHO HAVE SUFFERED

 

In order to settle the argument between them, the mouse and the earth took the matter to 


Orunmila (the father of secrets).

On getting to Orunmila, he told them that the earth is the oldest. He said that it was after the earth was created that every other thing began to come to be. He added that at the end of time, it is the land that will consume everything.

There is love in SHARING

HOW “AAYE” AND “AIGBORAN” BECAME ENEMIES BY TOLU AKINWALE

Long time ago, there was a man called “Aigboran”. He got married to a very beautiful woman whom he cherished and worshipped like a god. Everybody in the village of “Ojutaye” knew that Aigboran’swife was the most beautiful woman in the village. Instead of the man to be happy about his luck, he was very much disturbed about the beauty of his wife that he started monitoring her around the village. “Aaye”, the beautiful wife was a trader who sells ewa(beans) like other women in that village.

 A lot of the village men always made jest of her. One day, one of the closest friends to Aigboran was playingaayo olopon among other groups of men as Aaye was passing with her calabash of beans, he called “Aaye, Eewa re nda mi loran..ma ta ewa fun mi, eewa re ni mo f era,se wa taa fun mi?(Aaye, your beauty is mesmerizing me, don’t sell beans for me, its your beauty I want to buy, will you sell it to me?

Other men in the group joined in the jest and refused to pay Aaye, everyone insisted that such beauty was not meant for one man but the woman just carried her calabash and left in tears. The rumour of what transpired between the men and his wife got to Aigboran. Then he decided to be more watchful. He consulted an herbalist and asked him to put“magun” (thunderbolt) on his wife. The herbalist advised him against such wicked acts, but he refused. Aigboran went ahead to Orunmila.

 Orunmilasaid he could never assistAigboran in such bad acts,Orunmila however consulted Ifa and ensured Aigboran that his wife was not having any extra-marital affair. 

Also read:SPOKEN WORDS CAN’T BE RETRIEVED

Aigborandid not believe Orunmila; he wanted to be very sure nobody in the village was sleeping with his wife. All the warnings ofOrunmila fell on the deaf ears of Aigboran. He went to Esu,who gave him a solution to his problem. Esu taught Aigboranhow to remove his eyes and pasted it on the calabash ofAaye whenever she was going to sell beans. That was how Aigboran made sure his eyes went with his wife whenever she was not in the house. When she returns, he would remove his eyes from the calabash and put it in his eye balls again. That meant that Aigboranwould be blind until his wife return from her trading.

One fateful day, Aaye sold her beans together with the calabash to a man who wanted to do a ritual. She was glad to sell because the man gave her a huge sum of money. She got home and started counting her money when her husband asked from inside the room.

“Aaye mi, Ni bo ni Igba ewa re wa? Mo n wa oju mi o?

(Aaye dear, where is your calabash of beans, am searching for my eyes?”

Aaye gladly and innocently informed the husband that she had sold the calabash

 together with her beans for large sum. Aigboran screamed on top of his voice and started weeping profusely. He narrated to his wife how he used to remove his eyes to monitor Aaye whenever she was going out to sell.

Aaye, out of fear that his husband had become blind since she could not locate the man who bought the calabash, ran away from her husband till date.

A good Samaritan helped Aigboran to Orunmila’s house but Orunmila  told Aigboran in simple terms: Ti aba ri Aaye, O leri oju re o”. Airi oju re, lowo Aaye lowa” (if we cannot find Aaye, you can never get your eyes, You cant get your eyes, because its in the power of Aaye). That was how Esu laalu caused Airoju Airaye in people’s life till date. Of course, Aigboran remained blind till death because Aaye could not be found in the village or anywhere around.

This generated the popular sayings of  the Yoruba Kingdom on  “Airoju Airaye” whenever there is trouble or chaos till today.

Key Words and its Yoruba meanings

*Aaye: A Yoruba word for Alive or space.

*Aigboran: Disobedience

*Ojutaye : The name of the village. Ojutaye means an open space that can be viewed by everybody around.

*Ayo Olopon: An indoor game in the Yoruba culture.

*Magun (thunderbolt):  The Yoruba traditional uses this thing on a woman to detect if the woman is promiscuous. If such woman had been laid with thunderbolt, the man having sexual affair with the woman will die immediately after the sexual act.

There is love in SHARING

SPOKEN WORDS CAN’T BE RETRIEVED

A farmer insulted his neighbor. Realizing his mistake, he went to the preacher to ask for forgiveness. The preacher told him to take a bag of feathers and drop them in the center of town. The farmer did as he was told. 

Then the preacher asked him to go and collect the feathers and put them back in the bag. The farmer tried but couldn’t as the feathers had all blown away. When he returned with the empty bag, the preacher said, “The same thing is true about your words. 

Also read:Practice humility 
You dropped them rather easily but you cannot retrieve them, so be very careful in choosing your words.”

There is love in SHARING

Credibility 

We all know the story of the shepherd boy who cried wolf. The boy decided to have some fun at the expense of the villagers. He shouted, “Help, help, the wolf is here.” The villagers heard him and came to his rescue.

 But when they got there, they saw no wolf and the boy laughed at them. They went away. The next day, the boy played the same trick and the same thing happened. Then one day, while the boy was taking care of his sheep he actually saw a wolf and shouted for help. 

The people in the village heard him but this time nobody came to his rescue. They thought it was another trick and didn’t trust him anymore. He lost his sheep to the wolf.

The moral of the story is

When people tell lies, they lose credibility. Once they have lost credibility, even when they tell the truth, no one believes them.

Make yourself an honest man and then you may be sure there is one rascal less in the world. –Thomas Carlyle

There is love in SHARING

Practice Humility

Many years ago, a rider came across some soldiers who were trying to move a heavy log without success. The corporal was standing by as the men struggled. The rider asked the corporal why he wasn’t helping. The corporal replied, “I am the corporal; i give orders.” The rider dismounted, went up and stood by the soldiers and as they were lifting the log, he helped them. With his help, the log got moved. 

The rider quietly mounted his horse and went to the corporal and said, “The next time your men need help, send for the Commander-in-Chief.” After he left, the corporal and his men found out that the rider was George Washington.

Recommended article:Why are Goals Important? – Must read

The message is pretty clear. Success and humility go hand in hand. When others blow your horn, the sound goes further. Just think about it? Simplicity and humility are two hallmarks of greatness. Humility does not mean self-demeaning behavior.

* In The Book of Virtues, edited by William J. Bennett,Simon & SchusterNew York, 1993, p. 204.

There is love in SHARING

BEWARE OF HALF-TRUTHS OR MISREPRESENTATION OF TRUTHS

There was a sailor who worked on the same boat for three years. One night he got drunk. This was the first time it ever happened. The captain recorded it in the log, “The sailor was drunk tonight.” The sailor read it, and he knew this comment would affect his career, so he went to the captain, apologized and asked the captain to add that it only happened once in three years which was the complete truth. The captain refused and said, “What I have written in the log is the truth.” The next day it was the sailor’s turn to fill in the log. He wrote, “The captain was sober tonight.” The captain read the comment and asked the sailor to change or add to it explaining the complete truth because this implied that the captain was drunk every other night. The sailor told the captain that what he had written in the log was the truth.

Both statements were true but they conveyed misleading messages;

There is love in SHARING

THE MIDAS TOUCH

We all know the story of the greedy king named Midas. He had a lot of gold and the more he had the more he wanted. He stored all the gold in his vaults and used to spend time every day counting it.

One day while he was counting a stranger came from nowhere and said he would grant him a wish. The king was delighted and said, “I would like everything I touch to turn to gold.” The stranger asked the king, Are you sure?” The king replied, “Yes.” So the stranger said, “Starting tomorrow morning with the sun rays you will get the golden touch.” The king thought he must be dreaming, this couldn’t be true.

 But the next day when he woke up, he touched the bed, his clothes, and everything turned to gold. He looked out of the window and saw his daughter playing in the garden. He decided to give her a surprise and thought she would be happy. 

But before he went to the garden he decided to read a book. The moment he touched it, it turned into gold and he couldn’t read it. Then he sat to have breakfast and the moment he touched the fruit and the glass of water, they turned to gold. He was getting hungry and he said to himself, “I can’t eat and drink gold.” Just about that time his daughter came running and he hugged her and she turned into a gold statue. There were no more smiles left.

The king bowed his head and started crying. The stranger who gave the wish came again and asked the king if he was happy with his golden touch. The king said he was the most miserable man. The stranger asked, “What would you rather have, your food and loving daughter or lumps of gold and her golden statue?” The king cried and asked for forgiveness. He said, “I will give up all my gold. Please give me my daughter back because without her I have lost everything wo rth having.” The stranger said to the king, “You have become wiser than before” and he reversed the spell. He got his daughter back in his arms and the king learned a lesson that he never forget for the rest of his life.

What is the moral of the story? 

1. Distorted values lead to tragedy.

2. Sometimes getting what you want may be a bigger tragedy than not getting what you want.

3. Unlike the game of soccer where players can be substituted, the game of life allows no substitutions or replays. We may not get a second chance to reverse our tragedies, as the king did.

There is love in SHARING

MEANINGLESS GOALS

A farmer had a dog who used to sit by the roadside waiting for vehicles to come around. As soon as one came he would run down the road, barking and trying to overtake it.

 One day a neighbor asked the farmer “Do you think your dog is ever going to catch a car?” The farmer replied, “That is not what bothers me. 

What bothers me is what he would do if he ever caught one.” Many people in life behave like that dog who is pursuing meaningless goals.


Life is hard by the yard, 
but by the inch, 
it’s a cinch. 

–Gean Gordon 

There is love in SHARING

Concerning the Fate of Essido and his Evil Companions

CHIEF OBORRI lived at a town called Adiagor, which is on the right bank of the Calabar River. He was a wealthy chief, and belonged to the Egbo Society. He had many large canoes, and plenty of slaves to paddle them. These canoes he used to fill up with new yams-each canoe being under one head slave and containing eight paddles; the canoes were capable of holding three puncheons of palm-oil, and cost eight hundred rods each. When they were full, about ten of them used to start off together and paddle to Rio del Rey. They went through creeks all the way, which run through mangrove swamps, with palm-oil trees here and there. Sometimes in the tornado season it was very dangerous crossing the creeks, as the canoes were so heavily laden, having only a few inches above the water, that quite a small wave would fill the canoe and cause it to sink to the bottom. Although most of the boys could swim, it often happened that some of them were lost, as there are many large alligators in these waters. After four days’ hard paddling they would arrive at Rio del Rey where they had very little difficulty in exchanging their new yams for bags of dried shrimps and sticks with smoked fish on them.[1]

Chief Oborri had two sons, named Eyo I. and Essido. Their mother having died when they were babies, the children were brought up by their father. As they grew up, they developed entirely different characters. The eldest was very hard-working and led a solitary life; but the younger son was fond of gaiety and was very lazy, in fact, he spent most of his time in the neighbouring towns playing and dancing. When the two boys arrived at the respective ages of eighteen and twenty their father died, and they were left to look after themselves. According to native custom, the elder son, Eyo I., was entitled to the whole of his father’s estate; but being very fond of his younger brother, he gave him a large number of rods and some land with a house. Immediately Essido became possessed of the money he became wilder than ever, gave big feasts to his companions, and always had his house full of women, upon whom he spent large sums. Although the amount his brother had given him on his father’s death was very large, in the course of a few years

[1. A stick of fish consisted of two sticks with a big fish in the middle of each and small fish at each end, there being eight fish on each stick, making sixteen in all. These sticks were then tied together, and smoked over wood fires until they were quite dried. One stick of fish would sell at Calabar in the dry season time for from 3s. 6d. to 5s. a stick, and a stick would be got for five large yams which cost Chief Oborri only 1s., so a large profit was made on each canoe load-the canoes carrying about a thousand yams each. A bag of shrimps would be bartered for twenty-five large yams, and the shrimps would be sold for 15s., being a profit of 10s. on each bag. At the present time, however, the same sized bag of shrimps, in the wet season, would sell at Calabar for £3, 10s., and in the dry season for between; £1, 10s. and £2.]

Essido had spent it all. He then sold his house and effects, and spent the proceeds on feasting.

While he had been living this gay and unprofitable life, Eyo I. had been working harder than ever at his father’s old trade, and had made many trips to Rio del Rey himself. Almost every week he had canoes laden with yams going down river and returning after about twelve days with shrimps and fish, which Eyo I. himself disposed of in the neighbouring markets, and he very rapidly became a rich man. At intervals he remonstrated with Essido on his extravagance, but his warnings had no effect; if anything, his brother became worse. At last the time arrived when all his money was spent, so Essido went to his brother and asked him to lend him two thousand rods, but Eyo refused, and told Essido that he would not help him in any way to continue his present life of debauchery, but that if he liked to work on the farm and trade, he would give him a fair share of the profits. This Essido indignantly refused, and went back to the town and consulted some of the very few friends he had left as to what was the best thing to do.

The men he spoke to were thoroughly bad men, and had been living upon Essido for a long time. They suggested to him that he should go round the town and borrow money from the people he had entertained, and then they would run away to Akpabryos town, which was about four days’ march from Calabar. This Essido did, and managed to borrow a lot of money, although many people re fused to lend him anything. Then at night he set off with his evil companions, who carried his money, as they had not been able to borrow any themselves, being so well known. When they arrived at Akpabryos town they found many beautiful women and graceful dancers. They then started the same life again, until after a few weeks most of the money had gone. They then met and consulted together how to get more money, and advised Essido to return to his rich brother, pretending that he was going to work and give up his old life; he should then get poison from a man they knew of, and place it in his brother’s food, so that he would die, and then Essido would become possessed of all his brother’s wealth, and they would be able to live in the same way as they had formerly. Essido, who had sunk very low, agreed to this plan, and they left Akpabryos town the next morning. After marching for two days, they arrived at a small hut in the bush where a man who was an expert poisoner lived, called Okponesip. He was the head Ju Ju man of the country, and when they had bribed him with eight hundred rods he swore them to secrecy, and gave Essido a small parcel containing a deadly poison which he said would kill his brother in three months. All he had to do was to place the poison in his brother’s food.

When Essido returned to his brother’s house he pretended to be very sorry for his former mode of living, and said that for the future he was going to work. Eyo I. was very glad when he heard this, and at once asked his brother in, and gave him new clothes and plenty to eat.

In the evening, when supper was being prepared, Essido went into the kitchen, pretending he wanted to get a light from the fire for his pipe. The cook being absent and no one about, he put the poison in the soup, and then returned to the living-room. He then asked for some tombo, which was brought, and when he had finished it, he said he did not want any supper, and went to sleep. His brother, Eyo I., had supper by himself and consumed all the soup. In a week’s time he began to feel very ill, and as the days passed he became worse, so he sent for his Ju Ju man.

When Essido saw him coming, he quietly left the house; but the Ju Ju man, by casting lots, very soon discovered that it was Essido who had given poison to his brother. When he told Eyo I. this, he would not believe it, and sent him away. However, when Essido returned, his elder brother told him what the Ju Ju man had said, but that he did not believe him for one moment, and had sent him away. Essido was much relieved when he heard this, but as he was anxious that no suspicion of the crime should be attached to him, he went to the Household Ju Ju,[1] and having first sworn that he had never administered poison to his brother, he drank out of the pot.

Three months after he had taken the poison

[1. Every compound has a small Ju Ju in the centre, which generally consists of a few curiously shaped stones and a small tree on which the ‘Nsiat bird frequently builds. There is sometimes a species of cactus at the foot, an earthenware pot is supported on sticks against the tree, and tied on with tie-tie, or native rope. In this pot there is always a very foul-smelling liquid, with frequently some rotten eggs floating in it. Small sacrifices are made to these Ju Ju’s of chickens, &c., and this Ju Ju is frequently appealed to. The liquid is sometimes taken as a specific against sickness or poison. In the dry season the author has often observed large spiders with their webs all over these Ju Ju’s, but they are never touched. There is also frequently a roughly carved image of wood, and sometimes an old matchet and some broken earthenware on the ground, with a brass rod or manilla. It is generally a very dirty spot.]

Eyo I. died, much to the grief of every one who knew him, as he was much respected, not only on account of his great wealth, but because he was also an upright and honest man, who never did harm to any one.

Essido kept his brother’s funeral according to the usual custom, and there was much playing and dancing, which was kept up for a long time. Then Essido paid off his old creditors in order to make himself popular, and kept open house, entertaining most lavishly, and spending his money in many foolish ways. All the bad women about collected at his house, and his old evil companions went on as they had done before.

Things got so bad that none of the respectable people would have anything to do with him, and at last the chiefs of the country, seeing the way Essido was squandering his late brother’s estate, assembled together, and eventually came to the conclusion that he was a witch man, and had poisoned his brother in order to acquire his position. The chiefs, who were all friends of the late Eyo, and who were very sorry at the death, as they knew that if he had lived he would have become a great and powerful chief, made up their minds to give Essido the Ekpawor Ju Ju, which is a very strong medicine, and gets into men’s heads, so that when they have drunk it they are compelled to speak the truth, and if they have done wrong they die very shortly. Essido was then told to dress himself and attend the meeting at the palaver house, and when he arrived the chiefs charged him with having killed his brother by witchcraft. Essido denied having done so, but the chiefs told him that if he were innocent he must prove it by drinking the bowl of Ekpawor medicine which was placed before him. As he could not refuse to drink, he drank the bowl off in great fear and trembling, and very soon the Ju Ju having got hold of him, he confessed that he had poisoned his brother, but that his friends had advised him to do so. About two hours after drinking the Ekpawor, Essido died in great pain.

The friends were then brought to the meeting and tied up to posts, and questioned as to the part they had taken in the death of Eyo. As they were too frightened to answer, the chiefs told them that they knew from Essido that they had induced him to poison his brother. They were then taken to the place where Eyo was buried, the grave having been dug open, and their heads were cut off and fell into the grave, and their bodies were thrown in after them as a sacrifice for the wrong they had done. The grave was then filled up again.

Ever since that time, whenever any one is suspected of being a witch, he is tried by the Ekpawor Ju Ju.

African stories
There is love in SHARING