Part 1: On humility, self-control, self-knowledge, self-respect, and self-restraint
Ká ríni lóde ò dàbí-i ká báni délé.
To see a person in the streets is not the same as going home with the person.
(To really know a person one must see the person where he/she lives.)
Ká ríni sọ̀rọ̀ fúnni ò dàbí-i ká sọ̀rọ̀ fúnni ká gbà.
Having people to advise one is nothing like knowing how to take advice.
(Nobody can help anyone who will not help himself or herself.)
Ká wí fún ẹni ká gbọ́; ká sọ̀rọ̀ fúnni ká gbà; kà bèrè ọnà lọ́wọ́ èrò tó kù lẹ́hìn kàyè baà lè yẹni.
If one is spoken to one should listen; if one is advised one should heed the advice; one should seek direction from straggling wayfarers in order than one's life might be pleasant.
(It is wise to heed advice, and it is wise to seek direction from those who have greater experience than one does.)
Compare the preceding and the following entries.
Ká wí fúnni ká gbọ́; ká sọ̀rọ̀ fúnni ká gbà; à-wí-ìgbọ́, à-gbọ́-ìgbà ní ńfi igbá àdánù bu omi mu.
If one is spoken to one should listen; if one is advised one should accept the advice; refusal to listen to speech and refusal to accept advice leads to using the calabash of deprivation as a drinking cup.
(Refusal to heed advise leads to deprivation.)
Compare the following two entries.
Ká wí ká gbà ló yẹ ọmọ èèyàn.
To heed advice is what best becomes a human being.
(One should heed advice.)
Compare the preceding two entries.
Ká wí ogún, ká wí ọgbọ̀n, “Ng ò fẹ́, ng ò gbà” laṣiwèré fi ńpẹ̀kun ọ̀ràn.
Whether one speaks twenty times or speaks thirty times, “I do not like it, and I will not accept it” is how the imbecile ends the discussion.
(The incorrigible person will never listen to reason.)
Kàkà ká dọ̀bálẹ̀ fún Gàm̀bàrí, ká rọ́jú ká kú.
Rather than prostrate oneself in homage or obeisance to a Hausa person, one should rather die.
(An expression of Yoruba superciliousness towards the Hausa.)
Kàkà kí àgbò ké, àgbò a kú.
Rather than cry out, the ram will die.
(A grown man must know how to hide his pain.)
Kàkà kí bàbá ran ọmọ ní àdá bọ oko, oníkálukú a gbé tiẹ̀.
Rather than the father carrying the son's cutlass home from the farm, each will carry his own.
(People may withhold their respect from one, but one should not abet their insolence.)
Compare Kàkà kí kìnìún ṣe akápò ẹkùn . . .
Kàkà kí iga akàn ó padà sẹhìn, a kán.
Rather than bend backwards, the crab's claws will break.
(Death is to be preferred to retreat.)
Kàkà kí kìnìún ṣe akápò ẹkùn, ọlọ́dẹ a mú ọdẹ ẹ̀ ṣe.
Rather than the lion serving as carrier for the leopard, each will hunt separately.
(One would rather leave a company that remain in it and be subordinate to those one considers inferior.)
Compare Kàkà kí bàbá ran ọmọ ní àdá bọ oko . . .
Kékeré lọ̀pọ̀lọ́ fi ga ju ilẹ̀ lọ.
The toad is only slightly taller than the earth.
(Said of people who behave as though they are superior to others while they have little reason to believe so.)
Kí ẹrú mọ ara ẹ̀ lẹ́rú; kí ìwọ̀fà mọ ara ẹ̀ níwọ̀fà; kí ọmọlúwàbí mọ ara ẹ̀ lẹ́rú Ọlọ́run ọba.
Let the slave know him/herself as a slave; let the pawn know him/herself as a pawn; let the well born person know him/herself as the child of God.
(Everybody should know himself/herself and his/her station in the scheme of things.)
Kì í dọwọ́-ọ baba kó ló di ọwọ́ ọmọ.
Responsibility does not devolve on the father only for him to say it is his son's duty.
(An elder must do his/her duty and not shove it on the youth.)
Kí ni àǹfàníi kẹ̀tẹ̀kẹ̀tẹ̀ lára kẹ́tẹ́kẹ́tẹ́ à-gùn-fẹsẹ̀-wọ́lẹ̀?
What is the point of bragging on account of an ass which when one rides on it one's feet drag on the ground?
(It is pointless to make too much of a virtually worthless thing.)
Kí ni apárí ńwá ní ìsọ̀ onígbàjámọ̀?
What does a bald man want in the stall of the barber?
(One should stay out of places where one has no business.)
Compare Kí ni ìbá mú igún . . .
Kí ni Dáàró ní kó tó sọ pé olè-é kó òun?
What did Dáàró own before he claimed he was robbed?
(Said of a person who could no nothing in the best of circumstances but blames his/her lack of success on certain eventualities.)
This is a variant of A ò mọ ohun tí Dáròó . . .
Kí ni eléwé-e-gbégbé ńtà tí ó ńsọ pé ọjà ò tà?
What is it that the seller of gbégbé leaves has to sell that she complains that the market is slow?
(Said of people who have fundamental problems but complain only of the symptoms.)
This is a variant of A ò mọ ohun tí eléwé-e-gbégbé . . .
Kí ni ìbá mú igún dé ọ̀dọ̀-ọ onídìrí?
What would take the vulture to the stall of the hair dresser?
(One should stay away from places where one has no business.)
Compare Kí ni apárí ńwá . . .
Kí ni ó yá àpọ́n lórí tó fiṣu síná tó ńsúfèé pé “bí a ti ńṣe ni inú ḿbí wọn”?
What has the bachelor to feel superior about, such that while he is roasting yams he is whistling the song, “What one does fills them with jealousy”?
(Said of people who are arrogant even though they have no basis for pride.)
Kí ni onígbá ńṣe tí aláwo ò lè ṣe?
What is the calabash owner doing that the china plate owner cannot do?
(Whatever one can accomplish, those better placed or better endowed than one can accomplish also.)
Kí ni orí ńṣe tí èjìká ò lè ṣe? Èjìká ru ẹrù ó gba ọ̀ọ́dúnrún; orí ta tiẹ̀ ní ogúnlúgba.
What can the head do that the shoulder cannot do? The shoulder carried a load and earned three hundred cowries; the head sold its own for two hundred and twenty cowries.
(If a person has more power and standing than one, one should not be foolish enough to think the person cannot accomplish what one has accomplished.)
Kí ni wọ́n ti ńṣe Àmọ́dù nÍlọrin? Ewúrẹ́ ńjẹ́ bẹ́ẹ̀.
What use do the people of Ilorin have for Ahmadu? Even goats are so named.
(Said to express the overabundance of some commodity being discussed.)
Kíjìpá laṣọ ọ̀lẹ; òfì laṣọ àgbà; àgbà tí ò ní tòfì a rọ́jú ra kíjìpá.
Durable hand-woven cloth is the material for shiftless people; loom-woven cloth is the material for the elders; whichever elder cannot afford loom-woven cloth should strive for durable hand-woven cloth.
(If one cannot have the perfect thing, one should strive to have at least something.)
Kò rà, kò lówó lọ́wọ́, ó ńwú tutu níwájú onítumpulu.
He does not buy, he has no money, yet he sits sulkily before the seller of bean fritters.
(Said of people reluctant to accept the fact that they cannot have what they wish.)
Kò sí ẹni tó dùn mọ́ àfi orí ẹni.
There is no one pleased “by one's success” except one's head.
(Few people genuinely wish that one should succeed.)
Kò sí mi lájọ àjọ ò kún: ara ẹ̀ ló tàn jẹ.
Without-me-in-an-assembly-the-assembly-is-not-complete deceives only himself/herself.
(Whoever thinks he or she is indispensable is self-deceived.)
Kò sí ohun tí Ṣàngó lè ṣe kó jà lẹ́ẹ̀rùn.
There is nothing Ṣango can do to enable itself to rage in a drought.
(One cannot transcend one's nature.)
Kò-sí-nílé kì í jagun ẹnu tì.
He-was-not-at-home never fails to prove his valor with his mouth.
(Said of a person who vows that had he been around when something happened he would have performed wonders.)
Kó-tán-kó-tán lajá ńlá omi.
Swiftly-consumed-swiftly-consumed is the way a dog laps up water.
(Said of people who attack good things with excessive greed.)
60. The proper thing is for the son to carry the cutlass for the father.
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61. Gbégbé leaves are of little use to anyone. They are reputed to have magical powers, though.
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62. At the time Nigeria became independent in 1960 one of the most powerful politicians was Ahmadu Bello. The people of Ìlọrin did not care much for him, apparently, and one person there named his goat after him.
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63. Being the god of thunder, Ṣàngó can rage only during the rainy season.
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