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


M t lw onle, m t lw lej; lw ara ni la ti t.
Save face with members of your household and save face with complete strangers, such a person loses face with himself/herself.
(A person too careful about his/her reputation will end up losing regard for himself/herself. Some situations call for doing away with decorum.)

Ml l lr nwj in.
A cow may not boast in the presence of a horse.
(One should acknowledge and defer to those better able than oneself.)

Mnmn sun iu.
Lightning is no good for roasting yams.
(Many instances of boasting lack the substance to back them.)

b w ly m ti so in; gntn-an r nye nly.
Were I at y I would own a horse by now: he should have numerous sheep to his name in this town.
(What a person accomplished in his/her present circumstances is a good indication of what the person has the potential to do in more favorable circumstances.)

Ml ljgb t kan j Ay-gbogbo?
How large a community is Ejigbo that one of its settlements is named Ayegbogbo The whole world?
(One should be modest in one's claims.)

Mo dgb mo dg, ar md tn lj mi.
I have become old and wise, but childish play has not ceased to appeal to me.
(There is something of the youth that lingers even in age.)
Compare the following proverb.

Mo dgb tn w w m.
Having grown old I miss youthfulness.
(One does not appreciate one's youth until one has lost it.)
Compare the preceding entry.

Mo dra, mo dra, dra n pkun .
I am beautiful, I am beautiful! has ugliness as its conclusion.
(Whoever is infatuated with his or her attractiveness will end up being despised by all.)

Mo gbn tn, mo mrn tn k j k agbn lr b oyin.
I am all-wise, I am all-knowing kept the wasp from having as much venom as the bee.
(Whoever will not listen to instruction will learn nothing.) [68]
Compare Mo m- gn . . .
and also Mo m- gn, . . .
Mo m- tn, . . .
and Mo mbr . . .

Mo m- gn lin d.
I am an expert horseman is usually the one thrown by a horse.
(Assuming that one knows it all it causes one grief.)
Compare Mo gbn tn, . . .
Mo m- tan,. . .
Mo mbr . . .
and the following entry.

Mo m- gn, mo m- t niyn ewr- fi lm.
I know how to pound and I know how to marsh is what causes pounded yam made with wateryam to be lumpy.
(Knowing it all can be disastrous.)
Compare the preceding entry,
also Mo gbn tan, . . .
Mo m- tn, . . .
and Mo mbr . . .

Mo m- tn lOr- fi gb knrin.
I know it all is the reason for Or's carrying a man away.
(Knowing it all leads to disaster.) [69]
Compare Mo gbn tn, . . .
and Mo mbr...

Mo mbr mo mfn ti k j k wko k pr nf.
I am versed in "br and versed in fn, the boast that discourages wko from teaching pr If verses.
(Disdain for advise or instruction leaves a person in ignorance.)
Compare Mo gbn tan, . . .
Mo m- gn, . . .
and Mo m- tn, . . .

Mo mwn ara- mi k rk b.
I am jealous of my dignity does not hurl insults at others.
(A person who wishes to maintain his dignity must not by his/her actions invite insults.)

Mo y j mo y, mo k j mo k; jun , gb knjw ni.
I am full means I am full; I decline means I decline; eating with abandon, that is the father of all greediness.
(One should not accept every invitation to the table.)


68. The idea is that the bee listened attentively to instructions on how to pack venom in its sting, but the wasp thought it knew it all.  [Back to text]


69. Or is a secret divinity connected with the secret supreme political and juridical council known as gbni or gbo. His public outings are announced by the bull-roarer, at the sound of which women must go into hiding. A man who is not a member of the cult also runs the risk of being killed if he intrudes into its rites even accidentally.  [Back to text]