Category Archives: Myths and Legends

Myths and legends from different cultures around the world. But primarily from Africa

THE MAJOR DECEPTION part 1

In Yoruba folklore, the tortoise was a mischief-maker, always up to something.

As such, more often than not, he was on the run from someone or something.
At times it was even an entire group of someones!

Sometimes, however, he served as the source of solutions, often giving cunning but useful advice to enable friends get out of tricky situations.

This is a story that tells of Ijapa in his second capacity as problem-solver. In this tale, Ijapa helps an ailing King avoid death. Of course, he achieves this through great mischief. Enjoy.

Once upon a time, when the earth was young, animals walked on two feet and spoke like men, and there were two kingdoms. The animal kingdom and the human kingdom. In the human kingdom, which happened to be a short distance from the animal kingdom, the king, Kabiyesi, fell terribly ill.

All the medicine men were called, and sacrifices upon sacrifices were made, but all to no avail.

With each day that passed, the king grew progressively weaker.

As the days became weeks the flesh fell off his frame, until a once robust, barrel-chested man became a sack of bones and loose flesh. It was a terrible thing.

The people were seriously worried as Kabiyesi was a just and kind king to his subjects, and the chief priest, acknowledging that this was far beyond his powers, gathered a few strong men in the community and set off to find the world’s greatest herbalist- Ifagbemi.

After kissing their wives and children goodbye, they got provisions and set out, determined to get the King a cure or perish in the effort.
They crossed seven rivers, climbed seven mountains and endured a multitude of hardships before they found Ifagbemi and they pleaded with him to return with them to save their king. After listening to their tale, he agreed and followed them back to their kingdom.

When they got home, the King was unconscious and at the brink of death. Quickly, the herbalist administered a herbal concoction and Kabiyesi was revived. Then Ifagbemi locked himself in a room for seven days, with intense divination to find out the source of the King’s ill health, and the cure, if any.
During this seven days, Kabiyesi’s condition did not deteriorate, but also, it did not improve.

On the morning of the eighth day, Ifagbemi the herbalist came out of the room and proclaimed that the cure for Kabiyesi’s condition was to be found in the heart of an elephant.

Instantly a royal edict went out, decreeing that all hunters were to be on the lookout for elephants, to kill them and harvest their hearts.

Any hunter able to do this, was to receive a large monetary reward, and also marry any one of the princesses born to the royal family.

There was a particular hunter with the name Ogunyemi who set his mind on getting the reward. He went into the bush and after days and days of searching, was unable to find any elephant to kill. Dejected, he sat on a stone to think and worry, and it was in this state that his friend Ijapa met him.

Ijapa who despite his numerous failings, could nonetheless prove a wonderful friend picked up on Ogunyemi’s dark mood. He asked his friend to reveal his problem, but he was rebuffed. Not to be turned away, he asked again and again until the hunter opened up and revealed that he was searching for the heart of an elephant. But despite his efforts, he had not come across even an elephant’s shadow, not to talk of killing it and obtaining it’s heart.

Ijapa told him to cheer up, that he would procure an elephant’s heart for him. With that assurance, Ogunyemi soon cheered up and soon was roasting corn for himself and his friend Ijapa to eat.

After much merriment, it was time to for Ijapa to return to his home in the animal kingdom.
Ijapa before leaving, told Ogunyemi to sharpen his machete, dig a big hole at the market square the next evening, cover it with mats and wait there for the elephant’s heart.
The hunter agreed to do this.

Ijapa then went home. Upon getting back to the animal kingdom, he went straight to the home of Erin, the elephant.

When he got there he prostrated himself with his face to the floor and greeted the elephant saying
“Kabiyesi, live forever.”
The elephant, surprised, asked the tortoise what he meant.

The crafty tortoise then asked if he knew of the humans and their current search for an elephant.
Erin responded in the affirmative, but admitted that he did not know why they wanted him, and that he wanted nothing to do with the humans and their fire-sticks.

Ijapa laughed and told him that they were searching for a king, as the old one had died, and the Kingmakers had declared that the next king was to come from the animal kingdom.

Claiming to have been there when the old king passed away, Ijapa then spun a beautiful tale of how he had suggested an elephant and successfully convinced them to appoint him as the kingmaker supreme. As such it fell to him to produce the king. And having gotten that task, he had come to invite Erin to his coronation ceremony so he could be crowned as king.
The vain elephant was pleased to hear this, and agreed to follow the tortoise to the land of humans to be crowned, the following afternoon.

The next day, the tortoise came to fetch the elephant and with drumming and singing and lots of fanfare, they set of for the human kingdom.

Soon they arrived at their destination, and Ijapa led the unwary elephant to the hole covered with mats. With a sign, he gestured for the elephant to take his seat.

The elephant who at this time was exhausted from so much dancing, walked up to the mats and flung himself down to take his seat. With a whoosh, the mats fell from under him, and Ogunyemi quickly came out from his hiding place to kill the elephant and get his heart.

He then took this to the palace where the remedy was made for Kabiyesi.
Soon enough, Kabiyesi recovered fully and gave Ogunyemi his reward…

IJAPA AND OBO- THE BIG SETUP

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"Akara is a special bean cake delicacy of the Yoruba people of Nigeria, west Africa."

A long, long while ago, while the world was young and animals spoke and walked like men do, Ijapa the tortoise was a wily trickster and always got himself and his friends into one form of trouble or the other.
This is the story of Ijapa and his friend, the monkey.

It all started when Ijapa got fed up with his friend Obo, the monkey. Whenever they got together to eat, as they were fond of doing every opportunity they had, Ijapa would always pray but the monkey never said “Amin”. Ijapa found this offensive but try as he might, he could not get Obo to say amin. After all, Obo reasoned, your prayer is quite enough for the both of us.

Ijapa would often warn him not to take prayers with such levity, that perhaps one day nemesis would catch up with him. Obo would sniffle and giggle and climb trees yelling about how he was too smart and fast to be in any sort of trouble, unlike the slow tortoise. In those days, the monkey spent quite a lot of time roaming on the ground and only took to the trees when there was any sign of danger.
Ijapa, never one to take such insults lightly, resolved in his heart to teach the silly monkey a lesson.

One day, Ijapa decided he had had enough of this routine, and so he went off to the market, and after roaming about a bit, was able to buy a large amount of akara to take home.

Akara is a special bean cake delicacy of the Yoruba people of Nigeria, west Africa.

Next he went into the forest, into the home of the honey bees, and with a push here and a pull there, he was also able to secure himself a few large honeycombs dripping with delicious honey.

With these two items, he went home, stored some of the akara in a basket, and soaked them in the honey for a bit. Then he took a few balls of honeyed akara and went to a road where he knew he was sure to find the last essential ingredient for his diabolical plan- Kiniun the lion.

In those days Kiniun was a rather hot-headed fellow, easily misled and more blessed with brawn than with brains.
Ijapa went whistling and nibbling on honeyed akara and it wasn’t too long when he came across Kiniun.

Kiniun had been lying in wait for some unlucky animal to pounce on and so when he saw Ijapa, he crouched and sprung. Quick as a flash, Ijapa retreated into his shell, and try as he might, Kiniun was unable to get at him.
When he had calmed down enough, he heard the sound of continued munching come out of Ijapa’s shell. With his stomach rumbling, Kiniun asked him what he was feasting on.
Instead of answering, Ijapa pushed out a single ball. Kiniun snapped it up and swallowed, smacking his lips enthusiastically.
“Delicious! He declared. Where did you get this?” Ijapa pushed out another ball.
Kiniun snapped it up again.
Ijapa replied. “If I tell you, you’d kill me.”
“No I won’t,” replied Kiniun “just tell me where to get some.”
“I got it from my friend Obo.”
“The monkey? I must get some at once!”
“Wait a minute! He doesn’t give it willingly. You have to grab him by the neck and shake him really hard, yelling at the top of your voice for him to excrete sweet droppings.”
More munching and swallowing sounds.
“He might disobey you the first or second time, but if you keep at it, he’ll eventually give you a lot of it. Just be careful so you don’t kill him or we won’t get anything tomorrow. And whatever happens, never tell him I sent you, or I won’t tell you how to get the sweet drink that goes perfectly with this.”

Quite thankful, the lion left Ijapa and with further advice, proceeded to seek the monkey out. Sneaking behind him as per Ijapa’s instructions, he was able to snatch the monkey by the neck. Squeezing so tight the monkey was sure he would die, Kiniun yelled
“EXCRETE SWEET DROPPINGS!”
Scared as he was, it wasn’t a problem for the monkey to do this. Kiniun out a finger in, tasted it and found it not to his liking. Well he had been warned that Obo would prove stubborn, so he shook him again.
“EXCRETE SWEET DROPPINGS!”
This went on for a while till Obo was close to death and had nothing to excrete anymore. Concluding that the monkey had probably run out of sweet droppings, Kiniun let him go, content to try again another time.

Later on, Ijapa came by and met his friend thoroughly harassed and hiding in the branches of a tree.
“What happened?” He asked  and Obo explained to him the day’s events. Ijapa then berated him, blaming it on his refusal to say “Amin” to prayers.
“You see? Nemesis has caught up with you.” Shocked, Obo started yelling Amin, and till today, it remains one of the common sounds uttered by monkeys in the rainforests of Africa.

THE GOLDEN BIRD (AN AFRICAN ADAPTATION)

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Mustapha was a wealthy Emir residing in the then Sokoto Caliphate, ruling over the Hausa people in what is known today as the nation-state Nigeria.

Mustapha was a strong king who aided his allies and was a terror to his enemies. Yet he was kind and would often spare an old enemy who surrendered and bent the knee, restoring him to his position with the only difference being that he was a vassal to the Emir. Not just the leader, but his men, wife, children and all they had would be spared. Such consideration for the preciousness of human life made him a lot of friends and loyal followers. One particular king, an archenemy was besieged and almost slaughtered. Seeing that they were ready to go to the grave with him and not wishing it so, he fell to his knees before the victorious Emir and pleaded for the life of his men. Their only crime was loyalty to their king. The Emir set his sword aside then and raised the pleading King to his feet. Not only did he spare the king’s fighting men, he spared the king too and offered him a position as an officer in his vast army in addition to keeping his kingdom as King. The King accepted with joy and presented the Emir with a strange and marvellous gift. A guava tree that bore golden fruit.

Soon the tree grew stout and strong and began to annually produce it’s golden and precious fruit. Then a decade later, something strange began to happen.
Every year, Mustapha’s guava tree was robbed of one golden guava during the night.
Perplexed, he set his sons to watch over the tree. The first son Adamu, though he tried his very best, fell asleep in the wee hours of the night, and that year another golden guava went missing.

The next year, Abdul, the second son, a ferocious warrior took his bow and twelve arrows to lie awake for the thief. But he also fell asleep. And another guava went missing. The youngest son, Ahmed, with his father’s permission finally got a chance to watch for the thief. He set the slaves to watch the tree throughout the day while he slept. In the evening, he released them and stayed hidden in the shadow of the tree.

Chewing on the bitter bark of a dongoyaro tree, it was easy for him to stay awake. His diligence was rewarded as he saw, at midnight, what his brothers had failed to see. The thief was a golden bird. He tried to shoot it, but only knocked a few feathers off.
The feathers were so valuable that the Emir decided he must have the bird. He sent his three sons, one after another, to capture the priceless golden bird.

The sons each met a talking fox, who gave them advice for their quest: to choose a rough road that led through the forest but would take them quickly to their destination instead of the smooth paved road that led through a bright village of merry makers. The first two sons Adamu and Abdul ignore the advice and, one after the other, soon become distracted by the merriment in the village and forget all about their quest, kingdom and father waiting at home.

The third son Ahmed obeyed the fox, and decided to take the rough road. before long, he arrived at a big palace and met the fox sitting outside, waiting for him. The fox advised him to take the bird in its wooden cage from the castle in which it lived, instead of putting it into the golden cage next to it. But when he snuck into the palace and saw the beautiful golden cage with its exquisite construction he disobeyed, thinking that it was the proper and fitting home for the majestic bird.

The golden bird resisted at that, and made a lot of noise which roused the palace warriors, who wasted no time in capturing him. Because they had heard of his father’s kindness to his enemies, the King and Queen of the palace spared him. However, he was sent after a golden horse in a neighbouring kingdom as a condition for sparing his life. The fox again met him at the entrance to the kingdom and advised him to use a leather saddle rather than a golden one, but he failed at this again. He was then sent after a very beautiful princess kept under lock and key in a golden palace.. The fox advised him not to let her say farewell to her parents, but he gave in to her constant pleas and let her say goodbye. The princess’s father captured him and ordered him to remove a hill that had blocked his view of the sunset and sunrise as the price of his life, before nightfall that day.

The prince distraught went begging and pleading to the talking fox, and before nightfall, the fox removed the hill.
Shocked and yet pleased at the strength and courage of the young prince, the king let him go with his daughter. He meets the fox at the border of the kingdom and as they set out, the talking fox with a mixture of pranks and smooth talking, was able to secure the princess, the golden horse and the golden bird for Ahmed, the young prince.
As a price for its assistance, it asked the prince to shoot it and cut off its head and feet. The prince tearfully refused, as he couldn’t take the life of such a wonderful creature. The fox then left him saying…

Beware Ahmed, and listen to me,
For what I have said thus far is true,
Avoid the purchase of gallowsflesh,
And make not your seat at the edge of wells.”

On his return, he met his brothers at a crossroad, where they had been caught and sentenced to death by hanging, for while he struggled and hustled and made his quest, they had been carousing and living sinfully, and had quickly run through their provisions for the journey like wildfire, and to sustain their easy and decadent lifestyle, had turned to brigandry.

Not wanting them dead, Ahmed pleads with the people and was eventually able to purchase their freedom.They found out what he had done and grew green with envy, planning to somehow get rid of him and keep what he had brought for themselves. They got their chance when Ahmed sat on a well’s edge from exhaustion after a day’s hard riding. Quick as a flash, the wicked brothers pushed him in. They took the golden bird, golden horse and the princess and bring them to their father, where they are received with much fanfare. The Emir, pleased with their achievements and tales of struggle decided to coronate one of the brothers at a set date.
However it was all in vain as the bird, the horse, and the princess all grieved for the prince. The bird refused to fly, the horse refused to run and the princess who had come to love Ahmed most of all, wept day and night for her dead prince, refusing to say a single word. The fox, moved by such sorrow returned to the well where he recruited the golden mermaid and together they rescued the prince. Quickly, as the coronation day arrived, the fox aided him to sneak into his father’s palace dressed in a beggar’s clothes.

Before the Emir chooses his successor, the bird, the horse, and the princess all recognized Ahmed as the man who won them, and became cheerful again. The princess and the fox then told the story of the betrayal and the Emir, furious, ordered that his sons Adamu and Abdul were to be stripped of their titles as heirs and sold into slavery. Ahmed then married the princess and was coronated as Emir.

After a long while, with much pestering from the fox, Ahmed gave in and cut off the fox’s head and feet at the creature’s request. The fox’s dead body began to burn and from the ashes, a man stepped out. The man was revealed to be the brother of the princess, finally set free from an ancient and powerful sorcery. At the death of Mustapha and upon Ahmed’s ascension to the throne,  he became the new Emir’s most trusted adviser.

JOROMI (A YORUBA FOLKTALE)

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A long, long time ago, when the world was young, there lived a boy named Joromi and his sister, Efun.
They were special children. Joromi was a mighty wrestler whose back had never touched the ground. He was famous for this and went from city to city, travelling the world to challenge people to wrestling matches. His prowess was such that he went around the whole world and wrestled with all kinds of men, big and small, fat and thin, and Joromi remained unbeaten.

Efun meanwhile, was a witch. A good one. She excelled at making herbal concoctions to cure everything from the common cold to a broken heart. Apart from her excellent gift of healing, Efun was also a shapeshifter, with the ability to morph into any kind of animal she wanted to. She often used these skills to protect her brother in his travels and wrestling matches.

One day, Joromi took a tally and found out that he had wrestled and defeated every mortal worth battling on earth. He had even successfully wrestled great animals to the ground and won. What else was left, but to take his wrestling to the spirit realm? After all, he couldn’t be the greatest wrestler to ever exist if there remained someone better than him.

With this mindset, Joromi packed his things and prepared for a journey to the spirit realm. Efun, his sister tried all she could to dissuade him from this fool’s errand. The spirit realm housed many terrible things, ancient gods and spirits both malevolent and benevolent.
Going there to challenge what existed to a wrestling match was a sure way to ensure a quick death for oneself.

But Joromi had made up his mind, and would not be dissuaded. Finally, with a heavy heart, Efun gave him directions to a palm tree in the dark forest, whose trunk was connected to the spirit realm. It would serve as a bridge to take him to and fro. As Joromi left the house whistling, Efun decided to follow him, to at least see what would befall her brother. So she morphed into a housefly and sat on his belongings, and together they left, but Joromi was unaware of his sister’s presence.

Joromi made it to the tree sometime after dark and climbed up the palm tree, quick as any monkey even as Efun sat on his luggage and observed, plotting what spells would come in handy to ensure her brother’s victory.

When he got to the spirit realm, Joromi was quite tired so he put his load down, made a pillow of it and slept. Efun watched over him, still in the form of a housefly.
The next morning, when he woke up, he was surrounded by strange creatures. There was a man with one leg, from his middle. There was a chicken, as big as a house, with tusks staring at him. These were but two of the many creatures that had gathered to see this strange sight. A mortal man in the land of the spirits!

Joromi wasted no time in declaring his intention. The spirits conferred among themselves and returned. The one-legged man-creature was their spokesperson. He told Joromi to take his rest and eat. They would bring forth the best wrestlers of the spirit realm. If he was able to defeat them, all well and good. But if he was not, he would die and be eaten. Fearless Joromi agreed with these terms and prepared himself for the greatest wrestling match of his entire life.

Shortly, seven creatures appeared. The first was in the form of a man. He was the weakest of the seven. The next was also in the form of a man, but he had two heads, four arms and four legs.
The third had three heads, with six arms and six legs, and on and on they went till the last and greatest of them all, who had seven heads, with fourteen arms and fourteen legs.

A circle was prepared for them, a very rough patch of land with shards and broken bottles everywhere.

Joromi faced his first opponent and quickly threw him to the floor. The judge checked him, declared him dead and drew him out of the ring. And he faced his next opponent.

Joromi wrestled all day and all night for three days, defeating and killing all his opponents before he was faced with his last and final challenger, the seven headed man-creature.
Quickly, they met in combat. The battle was long and intense, and the combatants fought non-stop for another three days until finally, Joromi’s prodigious strength failed him and he was lifted high into the air.
GBAM! He was slammed to the earth and finally, Joromi died.

The seven headed man-creature then left the circle, plucked some leaves and squeezed them dripping the juice on the lips of his fellow wrestlers. They came back to life. Then he issued instructions and they went about preparing ingredients for a feast, to be had that evening, with Joromi as the main course. As soon as the spirits were distracted with their chores, Efun who had remained a housefly all this while and seen all that had happened, flew over to the discarded leaves. There she took on human form and gathering the leaves, hurried to where her brother’s corpse lay unmoving.
She squeezed and squeezed and managed to get only a few drops on Joromi’s lips. But they were enough.
Joromi sneezed and woke up, and Efun, grabbing her brother’s hand, made good their escape. They almost made it when a sharp eyed spirit being saw them and raised the alarm. Instantly, every spirit ran after them to catch them. Now they could have two for the feast!

Joromi and Efun ran as hard as they could and got out of the land of the spirits to the top of the palm tree. They were hurrying down when a spirit lashed his whip as a last resort to capture the fleeing mortals, as the spirits could not at that time, travel the distance between both worlds. The whip cut straight across Joromi’s back but failed to find a purchase and brother and sister slipped away successfully.

However, since then, man always has a line down his back.

ANANSI’S DEAD GRANDMOTHER

Anansi is a trickster spider god renowed in parts of Africa, and many stories are told about him. This is one about how Anasi swindled the shopkeeper and tiger with his dead grandmother. Surprised? Lol. Don’t be.

You see, one day Anansi’s grandmother died. She died a soft sweet death. She died a long way from home, so Anansi goes across the island with his handcart, and he gets his grandmother’s body, and puts it on the handcart, and he wheels it home. He’s going to bury her by the banyan tree out the back of his hut, you see. Now, he’s passing through the town, after pushing his grandmother’s corpse in the cart all morning, and he thinks I need some whisky. So he goes into the shop, for there is a shop in that village, a store that sells everything, where the shopkeeper is a very nasty-tempered man.

Anansi, he goes in and he drinks some whisky. He drinks a little more whisky, and he thinks to himself… “I shall play a trick on this fellow.” so he says to the shopkeeper, ” Go take some whisky to my grandmother, sleeping in the cart outside. You may have to wake her, for she’s a sound sleeper.”

The shopkeeper goes out to the cart with a bottle, and he says to the old lady in the cart, “Hey, here’s your whisky,” but the old lady does not say anything.
And the shopkeeper, he’s just getting angrier and angrier, for he was such a nasty-tempered man, saying get up, old woman, get up and drink your whisky, but the old woman says nothing. Then she does something that the dead sometimes do in the heat of the day: she flatulates loudly.

Well, the shopkeeper, he’s so angry with this old woman for flatulating at him that he hits her, and then he hits her again, and now he hits her one more time and she tumbles down from the handcart onto the ground. Anansi, he runs out and he starts crying and wailing and shouting and saying “My grandmother, she’s a dead woman, look what you did! Murderer! Evildoer!”

Now the shopkeeper, he says to Anansi, “Don’t you tell anyone I done this.” and he gives Anansi five whole bottles of whisky, and a bag of gold, and a sack of plantains and pineapples and mangos, to make him hush his shouting and to go away.

So Anansi, he wheels his handcart home, and he buries his grandmother underneath the banyan tree. Now the next day, Tiger is passing by Anansi’s house, and he smells cooking smells. So he invites himself over, and there’s Anansi having a feast, and Anansi, having no other option, asks Tiger to sit and eat with him.

Tiger says, “Brother Anansi, where did you get all that fine food from? And where did you get these bottles of whisky from, and that big bag filled with gold pieces? If you lie to me, I’ll tear out your throat.” So Anansi says, “I cannot lie to you, Brother Tiger. I got them all for taking my dead grandmother to the village on a handcart. And the storekeeper gave me all these good things for bringing him my dead grandmother.”

Now, Tiger, he didn’t have a living grandmother, but his wife had a mother, so he goes home and he calls his wife’s mother out to see him, saying, grandmother, you come out now, for you and I must have a talk. And she comes out and peers around, and says “What is it?”
And Tiger kills her, even though his wife loves her, and he places her body on a handcart. Then he wheels his handcart to the village, with his dead mother-in-law on it. “Who wants a dead body?” he calls. “Who wants a dead grandmother?”

But all the people jeered at him, and they laughed at him, and they mocked him, and when they saw that he was serious and he wasn’t going anywhere, they pelted him with rotten fruit until he ran away. It wasn’t the first time Tiger was made a fool of by Anansi, and it wouldn’t be the last time. Tiger’s wife never let him forget how he killed her mother.
Some days it’s would have been better for Tiger if he’s never been born.

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An illustration of Anansi the trickster spider god

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CHOICE (A Cherokee story)

Two cherokee hunters were in the forest one evening, hunting. And each of them was under a taboo. 
Sometimes, individual Cherokee took on temporary taboos, to cleanse their spirit, or because they knew, from communicating with the spirit world, that the taboo was important. Some taboos were general. Some were particular to a certain person. But one thing was certain, they were not to be broken.

One of the two hunters in the forest that evening wasn’t supposed to eat deer meat. The other hunter wasn’t supposed to eat squirrel meat. They had both been warned. So they were out hunting in the woods all day. The only things they caught were squirrels. At night they settled down in a little clearing, made a little cooking fire and made camp, and the guy who could eat squirrel meat started cooking it over the fire. The second hunter, who wasn’t supposed to eat squirrel meat, he was starving.  He was really hungry so he just sat there clutching his stomach while his friend ate.

Finally the first hunter started feeling guilty. “Please go ahead, there’s plenty of meat. You’re hungry, you don’t have to be. Have some meat.”

But the second hunter resisted. “It’s taboo for me. I’ll get in serious trouble. I’ll might turn into a snake.”

The first hunter laughed. “No you wouldn’t. Nothing will happen to you just because you ate it once, besides you can go back to avoiding squirrel meat tomorrow.”

The second hunter knew he shouldn’t, but he was hungry so he ate some of the meat eventually. Just enough to quell the hunger pangs. Now satisfied, he lay down and slept…
But then in the middle of the night, the second hunter woke up screaming in pain. The first hunter ran over to see what was wrong. He threw off his friend’s covers and saw that his friend’s legs had fused together in a leathery tail. As he watched in shock, snakeskin crept up his friend’s body. The poor hunter wept and apologized to the spirits and cried in fear, but there was nothing to be done. He had broken the taboo, and now he had to face the consequence. The first hunter stayed by his side and tried to comfort him until the unfortunate hunter fully transformed into a giant snake and slithered away. Leaving his friend bereft. He was never seen again.

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AT GRANDPA’S;- EARLY MEMORIES…

One of my earliest memories is the one of my meeting Grandpa. It goes like this…

I was very little. Probably four or five… Can’t remember which. Mummy had bathed me and dressed me and done all the things she normally did when we were about to go out. Then Daddy came and put me in the car and we zoomed off.

I remember sticking my face at the window and watching as trees and cars flew by. In my small child mind I started a game and counted the trees as they passed but I kept losing count. At fifty-something the car entered into a compound and parked.

Mummy opened her door and came to get me. She held my hand as Daddy switched off the engine. I meanwhile was busy looking at the compound, my eyes as wide as dinner plates. It was a quiet, quaint place and a man with gray hair was smiling and waving… At me? I checked if anyone was behind me, perhaps I was mistaken.

Nope. Mummy was back in the car struggling with something in the boot. Daddy was helping. Definitely me.

I waved back. He beckoned me over. I looked at my parents, and refused. Even at the distance I noticed he looked a bit like Daddy, if only Daddy were a lot more older.

3 minutes later, I got to meet my paternal grandfather. Genius, award-winner, unrepentant afro-centrist and extraordinary storyteller.

It was that same day he told me my first folktale, one of Ijapa. (the tortoise) and Yemoja (the queen of fishes)

That… My friends, is a story for another day.

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