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Part 2: On perspicaciousness (good judgment, perceptiveness), reasonableness, sagacity, savoir-faire, wisdom, and worldly wisdom


Ní ìlú tí a ò ti fẹ́ ẹyẹlé, adìẹ yóò ṣọ̀wọ́n níbẹ̀.
In a town that does not welcome pigeons, chickens will be very scarce there.
(Onerous things will not be countenanced where easy obligations are not.) [83]
See the following variant.

Ní ìlú tí a ò ti fẹ́ ẹyẹlé, tí a ò fẹ́ adìẹ, irú ẹyẹ wo ní yóò jí wọn lójù orun?
In a town that does not tolerate pigeons and does not tolerate chickens, what sort of bird will awaken them from sleep?
(A person who will not be pleased by anything will simply have to do without everything.)

Ní inú Ifá ni Fá-túmọ̀-ọ́ wà.
It is within Ifá that one finds Fátúmọ̀.
(Every problem bears the seeds to its own solution.) [84]

“Níbo ló gbé wà?” nìyájú ẹkùn.
“Where is it?” is a great insult to the leopard.
(One should be smart enough to hide one's ignorance about things one should know.) [85]

Nígbàtí ọwọ́ ò tí ì gbọ́n lojú ńṣepin.
It is when the hands have not learned wisdom that the eyes ooze matter.
(A wise person will know how to manage and conceal his shortcomings.)

Nítorí adití lòjò fi ńṣú; nítorí afọ́jú ló ṣe ńkù.
It is for the benefit of deaf people that rain clouds gather; it is for the benefit of the blind that thunder rumbles.
(The wise person should be able to read portents and take precautions.)

Nítorí èèyàn la ṣe ńní ọwọ́ ọ̀tún; òsì là bá lò.
It is on account of people that one has a right hand; one could do with only a left hand otherwise.
(One must learn the grace that is appropriate for decent company.) [86]

Nítorí-i ká lè ríbi gbé e la ṣe ńṣe ọyàn sódó.
It is so that one would have a means of lifting it that one carves breasts [handles] on the mortar.
(One should anticipate problems and prepare solutions for them.)


83. The logic is that chickens are far easier to care for than pigeons.  [Back to text]


84. Fátúmọ̀ is a proper name that means “Ifá “the Oracle” interprets.”  [Back to text]


85. The leopard is so self-important that it will take offence if anybody should ask where it was, or which it was, among other animals.  [Back to text]


86. People eat with the right hand and therefore use the left hand for dirty jobs. The left hand has consequently come to be associated with filthiness, disrespect, and so forth. One would not, for example, offer something with the left hand to a person one respects.  [Back to text]