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Part 1: On humility, self-control, self-knowledge, self-respect, and self-restraint


“Ng óò gba owó-ò mi lára ṣòkòtò yìí”; ìdí làgbàlagbà ńṣí sílẹ̀.
“I will get my money's worth out of these trousers”; the grown man only winds up exposing his bare buttocks to the world.
(One should not insist on squeezing every last once of use out of a perishable article.)

N:láńlá lọmọ abuké ńdá: ó ní “Ìyá, ìyá, òun ó pọ̀n.”
The humpback's child has presented a formidable dilemma: he cries, “Mother, mother, carry me on your back!”
(A dependent who demands of one what one cannot provide is intent on showing one up.)

Níbo lo forúkọ sí tí ò ńjẹ́ Làm̀bòròkí?
Where did you discard all other names and picked for yourself the name Làm̀bòròkí?
(Where did you leave good manners and picked up unbecoming and unacceptable behavior?) [70]

Nígbàtí à ńto ọkà a ò to ti ẹmọ́ si.
When we were stacking the corn we did not stack some for the brown rat.
(People should keep their hands off other people's property unless they have been asked to help themselves.)

Nígbàtí o mọ̀-ọ́ gùn, ẹṣin ẹ-ẹ́ ṣe ṣẹ́ orókún?
Since you claim to be a seasoned rider, how come your horse has gone lame?
(An expert does not produce flawed goods.)

Nígbàwo làpò ẹkùn-ún di ìkálá fọ́mọdé?
Since when did a tiger-hide sac become a thing a child uses to harvest okro?
(People should not presume to lay claim to things or functions that are far beyond their station.)


70. This proverb is used to chastise people and to order them to snap out of their bad habits.  [Back to text]