To declare my blog opened , here is one of the stories I read last night . My alo is about a woman whose little girl made palm-oil.

One day when she had made palm-oil she took it to the market to sell.

She stayed in the market selling her palm-oil until it was quite dark. And when it was dark, a goblin [1.] came to her to buy palm-oil, and paid her with some cowries.

When the little girl counted the cowries she found that there was one short, and she asked the goblin for the cowry that was wanting.

The goblin said that he had no more cowries, and the little girl began crying, “My mother will beat me if I go home with a cowry short.”

The goblin walked away, and the little girl walked after him.

“Go away,” said the goblin; turn back, for no one can enter the country where I live.”

“No,” said the little girl; “wherever you go I will follow, until you pay me my cowry.”

So the little girl followed, followed a long, long way, till they came to the country where the people stand on their heads in their mortars and pound yams with their heads.

[1. Iwin, goblin, spirit, ghost.]

Then they went on again a long way, and they came to a river of filth. And the goblin sang:–

“Oh! young palm-oil seller,
You must now turn back.”

And the girl sang:

“Save I get my cowry,
I’ll not leave your track.”

Then the goblin sang again:–

“Oh! young palm-oil seller,
Soon will lead this track,
To the bloody river,
Then you must turn back.”

And she:–

“I will not turn back.”

And he:–

“See yon gloomy forest?”

And she:–

“I will not turn back.”

And he:–

“See yon craggy mountain?”

And she:–

“I will not turn back.
Save I get my cowry
I’ll not leave your track.”

Then they walked on again, a long, long way; and at last they arrived at the land of dead people.

The goblin gave the little girl some palm-nuts, with which to make palm-oil, and said to her: “Eat the palm-oil and give me the ha-ha.[1]

[1. Ha-ha, the stringy remains of the pulp of the nut after the oil has been expressed.]

But when the palm-oil was made the little girl gave it to the goblin, and eat the ha-ha herself, and the goblin said, “Very well.”

By-and-by the goblin gave a banana to the little girl, and said: “Eat this banana, and give me the skin.” But the little girl peeled the banana and gave it to the goblin, and eat the skin herself.

Then the goblin said to the little girl: “Go and pick three ados.[1] Do not pick the ados which cry ‘Pick me, pick me, pick me,’ but pick those which say nothing, and then return to your home. When you are half-way back break one ado, break another when you are at the house-door, and the third when you are inside the house.” And the little girl said, “Very well.”

She picked the ados as she was told, and returned home.

When she was half-way she broke one ado, and behold, many slaves and horses appeared, and followed her.

When she was at the house-door, the little girl broke the second ado, and behold, many creatures appeared, sheep, and goats, and fowls, more than two hundred, and followed her.

Then, when she had entered the house, the little girl broke the last ado, and at once the house was filled to overflowing with cowries, which poured out of the doors and windows.

The mother of the little girl took twenty countrycloths, twenty strings of valuable beads, twenty sheep and goats, and twenty fowls, and went to make a present to the head wife.

[1. The ado is a very small calabash, commonly used for keeping medicinal powders in.]


ps/ The story doesn’t end there, it takes a turn away from happy ever after when the head wife’s child attempts the same journey. Head wives in yoruba stories are like wicked step mothers of European fairy tales. I enjoyed this along with the many other stories and  yoruba proverbs  AB Ellis documented in his book ” The Yoruba Speaking Peoples of The Slave Coast of West Africa”  from his time among the Yorubas .” Yoruba Legends” by M.I. Ogunmefun is another   one for folktales. If I could illustrate animations, I would make a TV series of epic Lord of The Ring proportions by merging all the stories into one.Maybe that’s a project for another day. 

For this blog I will attempt to look through as much written material about The Yoruba people and provide my comments. There will be links to books, news stories, other websites and blogs and definitely  some eCommerce .




Similar Articles

2 thoughts on “Day one , Ojo ibi, blog birthday

Say what you feel

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.