Once Tortoise and his family fell on hard times and had nothing to eat, but they noticed that their neighbour, Mr. Fly, seemed to be very prosperous and feasted every night.
Tortoise was curious to know how he obtained so much money, and after watching him for some days he discovered that Mr. Fly flew away every morning early with a large empty sack on his back, and returned in the evening with the sack full, and after that his wife would prepare a feast.
One morning Tortoise hid in the sack and waited to see what would happen. Soon Mr. Fly came out of his house, lifted up the sack, and flew away.
He descended at last in the market-place of a large town, where drummers were beating the tones of the dance, and maidens were dancing before a crowd of people.
Mr. Fly laid his sack on the ground, and Tortoise saw him standing beside one of the drummers. When the people threw money, Mr. Fly picked the coins up and hid them in his sack, and by evening he had collected a great quantity. Then he took up the sack again and flew home. Tortoise quickly got out and took most of the money with him, so that poor Mr. Fly was surprised to find the sack almost empty.
This happened several times, until one day as he put money in the sack Mr. Fly caught sight of Tortoise hiding inside it. He was very angry at the trick, and going to the drummer asked him if he had missed any money.
said the drummer. For some days I have been losing coins.
Look inside this sack, replied Mr. Fly, and you will see the thief sitting among the money he has stolen.
The drummer peeped inside the sack and saw Tortoise.
How shall the thief be punished? he cried angrily.
Just tie up the sack, said Mr. Fly, and then beat upon it as if it were a drum.
So the drummer tied up the sack and beat upon it until Tortoise was black and blue, and this is why his back is covered with bruises.
Then Mr. Fly picked up the sack, and flew high up in the air and dropped it. By chance the sack fell down just outside Tortoises house, and neighbours came to tell Nyanribo, his wife, that someone had left a present outside the door. But when she opened the sack in the presence of a crowd of people, she found only Tortoise inside, more dead than alive. Then Mr. Fly made a song and narrated the whole story, and the drummers also played it, and Tortoise and Nyanribo were so ashamed that they left the place and went to live in another country.
It is said that Ogun isolated from the world spent his time
clubbing and hacking his way in the jungles searching for food, but
with his aggressive manner would only scare the prey away. So he
pined starving and frustrated in the forest with only his ability
of his forge with which he could make knives and tools. Oshosi on
the other hand with his mysterious efficacy to hypnotize his would
be victim, would prize numerous catches. But without the tools with
which he could butcher them he also remained alone and starving with
numerous unopened carcasses that were of no value to him rotting. One day
Eleggua came about, hungry and curious and having seen Ogun not far
off in a similar predicament he said;
“Why don’t you and Ogun live together? Certainly you would be
formidable room mates. For you can catch to your hearts desire and
Ogun can open the prey”.
Eleggua then went to Ogun and proposed; “Why don’t you and Oshossi
move together and work with each other instead of quarreling or
being so exacting in your differences? Certainly if you live with
each other while one can hunt the other can make use of that which
Then Oshosi and Ogun said; “But we cannot guarantee that we will
always find what we are looking for. If we then both become hungry
then in our frustration of the best of friends we will become the
worst of enemies.”
To which Eleggua answered; “Not so, for if you share with me your
catch, for I only need very little as you see, I will show you
where to make the paths, where to find the grounds where at, you
will be successful in getting good catch and that way we three can
not only be friends but an indefatigable threesome that none can
And it is said that from that day forward Ogun and Oshossi share
the same cauldron and Eleggua…well, he comes and goes as he
pleases, so long as he is taken care for he will always at least
let the hunters know where to go for their success.”
Agogo ishere agbara
Elese kan sare ju ese meji lo”
`God of herbs
Dance bell of power
One-legged man running faster than men on two legs.’
There once was a poor man who was very kind to animals and birds. However little he had, he always spared a few grains of corn, or a few beans, for his parrot, and he was in the habit of spreading on the ground every morning some titbits for the industrious ants, hoping that they would be satisfied with the corn and leave his few possessions untouched.
And for this the ants were grateful.
In the same village there lived a miser who had by crafty and dishonest means collected a large store of gold, which he kept securely tied up in the corner of a small hut. He sat outside this hut all day and all night, so that nobody could steal his treasure.
When he saw any bird, he threw a stone at it, and he crushed any ant which he found walking on the ground, for he detested every living creature and loved nothing but his gold.
As might be expected, the ants had no love for this miser, and when he had killed a great many of their number, they began to think how they might punish him for his cruelty.
What a pity it is, said the King of the ants, that our friend is a poor man, while our enemy is so rich!
This gave the ants an idea. They decided to transfer the misers treasure to the poor manâs house. To do this they dug a great tunnel under the ground. One end of the tunnel was in the poor manâs house, and the other end was in the hut of the miser.
On the night that the tunnel was completed, a great swarm of ants began carrying the misers treasure into the poor mans house, and when morning came and the poor man saw the gold lying in heaps on the floor, he was overjoyed, thinking that the gods had sent him a reward for his years of humble toil.
He put all the gold in a corner of his hut and covered it up with native cloths.
Meanwhile the miser had discovered that his treasure was greatly decreased. He was alarmed and could not think how the gold could have disappeared, for he had kept watch all the time outside the hut.
The next night the ants again carried a great portion of the misers gold down the tunnel, and again the poor man rejoiced and the miser was furious to discover his loss.
On the third night the ants laboured long and succeeded in removing all the rest of the treasure.
The gods have indeed sent me much gold! cried the poor man, as he put away his treasure.
But the miser called together his neighbours and related that in three consecutive nights his hard-won treasure had vanished away. He declared that nobody had entered the hut but himself, and therefore the gold must have been removed by witchcraft.
However, when the hut was searched, a hole was found in the ground, and they saw that this hole was the opening of a tunnel. It seemed clear that the treasure had been carried down the tunnel, and everyone began hunting for the other end of the tunnel. At last it was discovered in the poor manâs hut! Under the native cloths in the corner they found the missing treasure.
The poor man protested in vain that he could not possibly have crept down such a small tunnel, and he declared that he had no notion how the gold had got into his but. But the rest said that be must have some charm by which he made himself very small and crept down the tunnel at night into the misers hut.
For this offence they shut him up in a hut and tightly closed the entrance. On the next day he was to be burnt alive.
When the ants saw what had come of their plan to help him, they were sorely perplexed and wondered how they could save their poor friend from such a painful death
There seemed nothing for them to do but to eat up the whole of the hut where the prisoner was confined. This they accomplished after some hours, and the poor man was astonished to find himself standing in an open space. He ran away into the forest and never came back.
In the morning the people saw that the ants had been at work, for a few stumps of the hut remained. They said: The gods have taken the punishment out of our hands! The ants have devoured both the hut and the prisoner!
And only the ants knew that this was not true.