Part 3: On cageyness, caution, moderation, patience, and prudence
A bu omi lámù a rí eégún; kí ni ẹni tó lọ sódò lọ pọnmi yó rìí?
We scoop water from the water pot and see a masquerader; what will the person who goes to draw water at the river find?
(If a person exposed to minimal risk cries disaster, what would the person exposed to much greater risk do?)
A fún ọ níṣu lỌ́yọ̀ọ́ ò ńdúpẹ́; o rígi sè é ná?
You are given yams at Ọyọ and you rejoice; have you secured wood to cook them?
(Never assume that a propitious beginning assures a successful conclusion.)
A ki ẹsẹ̀ kan bọ odò omi fà á; bí a bá wá ti mejèèjì bọ́ ọ́ ńkọ́?
One dips one leg into the stream and the water tugs at it; what if one had dipped both legs into it?
(Repercussions should not be disproportionate to the act.)
A kì í bá ẹlẹ́nu jìjà òru.
One does not fight at night with a braggart.
(Never get into a competition with a braggart unless a witness is present.)
A kì í bú ọba onígẹ̀gẹ̀ lójú àwọn èèyàn-án ẹ̀.
One does not insult a king with a goitre in the presence of his people.
(Never expose yourself to repercussions with careless speech or indiscreet behavior.)
A kì í du orí olórí kí àwòdì gbé tẹni lọ.
One does not fight to save another person's head only to have a kite carry one's own away.
(One should not save other's at the cost of one's own safety.)
A kì í fi ìkánjú lá ọbẹ̀ gbígbóná.
One does not eat scalding stew in a hurry.
(Patience is best in delicate or difficult matters.)
A kì í gbélé gba ọfá láìlọ ogun.
One does not sit at home, not go to war, and yet be shot with an arrow.
(One should be safe in one's own home.)
A kì í kánjú tu olú-ọrán; igba ẹ̀ ò tó-ó sebẹ̀.
One does not gather olú-ọrán mushrooms in haste; two hundred of them are not enough to make a stew.
(Certain tasks demand patience if they are to come out right.)
A kì í rídìí òkun; a kì í rídìí ọsà; ọmọ-oní-gele-gele kì í jẹ́ kí wọ́n rídìí òun.
One never sees the bottom of the ocean; no one ever sees the bottom of the lagoon; a well-bred woman will never expose her buttocks to anyone.
(People should not expose their innermost secrets to all and sundry.)
A kì í rójú ẹni purọ́ mọ́ni.
One does not look into the eyes of a person and still tell a lie against that person.
(It is always easier to do evil to people when they are absent.)
A kì í sọ̀rọ̀ orí bíbẹ́ lójú ọmọdé; lọ́rùnlọ́rùn ni yó máa wo olúwa-a ẹ̀.
One does not speak of a beheading in the presence of a child; otherwise his gaze will be fixated on the neck of the person concerned.
(Never discuss a secret in the hearing of a person whose behavior will give the secret away.)
À ńgba òròmọ adìẹ lọ́wọ́ ikú, ó ní wọn ò jẹ́ kí òun jẹ̀ láàtàn.
One struggles to save the chick from certain death, and it complains that one is preventing it from foraging at the dump.
(Chicks foraging at the dump are easy prey for kites.)
A níṣẹ́ iṣẹ́ ẹ, o ní ò ńlọ sóko; bó o bá lọ sóko ò ḿbọ̀ wá bá a nílé.
You are told that a job is your responsibility and you say you are on your way to the farm; you may be on your way to the farm, but the job will be there on your return.
(One may devise stratagems to defer carrying out one's duties, but they are unlikely to make others carry them out.)
À ńṣa kẹ́kẹ́, aájò ẹwà ni; à ḿbàbàjà, aájò ẹwà ni.
Marking one's face with kẹ́kẹ́ is a quest for beauty; marking one's face with àbàjà is a quest for beauty.
(The pains one takes to adorn oneself are for a good end.)
A sìnkú tán, alugba ò lọ; ó fẹ́ ṣúpó ni?
The funeral is over, but the calabash beater does not take his leave; does he want to inherit a wife?
(This proverb has the same import as, A kúnlẹ̀, a pàgbò . . . )
Abẹ ní ḿbẹ orí; oníṣẹ́ àtẹ́lẹsẹ̀ ní ḿbẹ ọ̀nà; bèbè ìdí ní ḿbẹ kíjìpá; bí a dáwọ́-ọ bíbẹni, a tán nínú ẹni.
The razor begs the scalp; the wayfarer's soles beg the path; waist beads beg the home-woven cloth; when the begging is done, one lets matters drop.
(It is a person that is close to one that placates one; after such placation, one allows oneself to be appeased.)
Abẹ́rẹ́ bọ́ sómi táló; Ọ̀dọ̀fín ní òun-ún gbọ́ “jàbú!”
The needle makes an almost inaudible sound when it drops into the water; Ọdọfin said he heard a loud splash.
(Excessive exaggeration amounts to lying.)
Abiyamọ, kàgbo wàrà; ọjọ́ ńlọ.
Nursing mother, make the herbal decoction in good time; the day is waning.
(Attend to duties in time.)
Àbùlẹ̀ ní ḿmú aṣọ tọ́; ẹni tí kò tọ́jú àbùlẹ̀ yó ṣe ara-a ẹ̀ lófò aṣọ.
Patching extends the life of clothes; whoever does not save materials for patching deprives himself or herself of clothing.
(Everything has its use; conserve your resources.)
Àdàbà ńpògèdè, ó rò pé ẹyẹlé ò gbọ́; ẹyẹlé gbọ́, títiiri ló tiiri.
The dove recites incantations, thinking that the pigeon cannot hear; the pigeon hears; it is only pretending to sleep.
(Never mistake a person's easygoing demeanor for cowardice or folly.)
Adìẹ́ ńjẹkà, ó ḿmumi, ó ńgbé òkúta pẹ́-pẹ̀-pẹ́ mì, ó ní òun ò léhín; ìdérègbè tó léhín ńgbé irin mì bí?
The chicken eats corn, drinks water, even swallows small pebbles, and yet complains that it lacks teeth; does the goat that has teeth swallow steel?
(One should be content with one's lot.)
Àdó gba ara ẹ̀ tẹ́lẹ̀, ká tó fi oògùn sí?
Could the small gourd save itself, before we put charms into it?
(Do not seek protection from a helpless person.)
Àdóìṣí loògùn ọrọ̀.
Choosing-a-base-and-maintaining-it is the medicine for wealth.
(One should not be a rolling stone.)
Afẹ́fẹ́ tó wọlé tó kó aṣọ iyàrá, ìkìlọ̀ ni fún ẹni tó wọ tiẹ̀ sọrùn.
The wind that enters into the house and carries off the clothes in the bedroom is a warning to those who wear theirs around their necks.
(When disaster befalls the most formidable people, those less formidable should take warning.)
Àfojúdi ìlẹ̀kẹ̀ ní ńjẹ́ “Ẹrú-kò-ní.”
It is an impertinent bead that is named “The-slave-does-not-own-its like.”
(One must be mindful of how one's actions might affect others.)
Àgékù ejò, tí ńṣoro bí agbọ́n.
Partially severed snake, that stings like a wasp.
(A wounded adversary is a vicious one.)
Àgúnbàjẹ́ ni tolódó.
Pounding-until-it-is-ruined is the habit of the owner of the mortar.
(One should exercise restraint in using what has in abundance.)
Àgùntàn bọ̀lọ̀jọ̀ ò gbàgbé eléèrí bọ̀rọ̀.
The big, fat sheep does not soon forget the provider of corn bran.
(One remembers one's benefactor.)
Àgùntàn ńwò sùn-ùn; ọgbọ́n inú pé egbèje.
The sheep stares blankly, but its cunning stratagems number a thousand four hundred.
(Looks are deceptive.)
Àgùntàn ò jí ní kùtùkùyù ṣe ẹnu bọbọ.
A sheep does not wake in the morning and droop its mouth.
(One should not dawdle in the morning.)
Àgbà òṣìkà ńgbin ìyà sílẹ̀ de ọmọ-ọ rẹ̀.
A wicked elder sows suffering for his children.
(One's character often affects the fortunes of one's children.)
Compare, Àgbà tó gbin èbù ìkà . . .
Àgbẹ̀ ò dáṣọ lóṣù, àfọdún.
A farmer does not make new clothes monthly, only annually.
(The reward for one's labor is often a long time coming.)
Àgbẹ̀ tó bá pẹ́ nílé ò níí kọ oko ọ̀sán.
A farmer who tarries in the house will not object to hoeing the farm in the afternoon.
(He who dallies makes his tasks that much more difficult.)
À-gbẹ́rù-àì-wẹ̀hìn lọ̀pálábá fi gbàgbé ìyá ẹ̀ sílẹ̀.
Picking-up-one's-load-without-checking-one's-rear caused the piece of broken bottle to forget its mother on the ground.
(The broken bottle suffered its fate, perhaps, because it was not careful about what it “carried.” The hasty traveller leaves his goods behind.)
Agbójúlógún fi ara-a rẹ̀ fóṣì ta.
He-who-places-his-hopes-on-inheritance delivers himself to destitution.
(One should secure one's own living.)
Àgbọ́ká etí ọlọ́ràn á di.
The ear that will insist on hearing everything will go deaf.
(There is some benefit to ignoring certain things.)
Àgbọ́kànlé ò pani lébi.
A thing in which one reposes one's trust does not make one hunger.
(One's reserve guarantees one's supplies.)
Àìfẹ̀sọ̀ké ìbòsí ni kò ṣéé gbè.
It is an alarm that is raised without moderation that finds no helpers.
(If the person who raises an alarm puts people off by his or her methods, they will not come to his or her aid.)
Àìgbọ́ràn, baba àfojúdi.
Disobedience, father of disregard.
(To disobey people is to show a lack of regard for them.)
Àìlèfọhùn ní ńṣáájú orí burúkú.
Inability to speak out precedes misfortunes.
(A person who will not speak out on his or her own behalf suffers the consequences.)
Àìrọ́rọ̀sọ ìyàwó tó wí pé èkúté-ilé yó jẹ idẹ; bẹ́ẹ̀ni Mọ́jidẹ nìyálé-e rẹ̀ ńjẹ́.
The junior wife could find nothing to say, and said that the mice in the house will eat brass; the senior wife if the household happens to be named Mọjidẹ(Ọmọ-ọ́-jẹ-idẹ) (meaning “Child eats brass.”)
(Veiled insults directed at an adversary are as potent as any other sort of provocation.)
Àìsàn là ńwò, a kì í wo ikú.
One treats an illness; one does not treat death.
(If one neglects an illness until death intervenes, the treatment comes too late.)
Àìtètèmólè, olèé mólóko.
Because of the delay in apprehending the thief, the thief apprehends the owner of the farm.
(One must be alert in dealing with slippery people; otherwise they turn the tables on one.)
Ajá ilé ò mọdẹẹ́ ṣe.
A domesticated dog does not know how to hunt.
(Pampering kills initiative.)
Ajá kì í dán-nu “Kò séwu” lókò ẹkùn.
A dog does not boast “No danger” in a leopard's bush.
(Never sneer at obvious danger.)
Ajá tí yó sọnù kì í gbọ́ fèrè ọdẹ.
A dog destined to be lost does not hear the hunter's whistle.
(No matter what help one may render, one cannot save an ill-fated person.)
Ajá tó rí mọ́tò tó dúró fi ara-a ẹ̀ bọ Ògún.
A dog that sees a motor vehicle and stands in its was makes itself a sacrifice to Ogun.
(A person who needlessly endangers him/herself deserves his/her fate.)
Àjànàkú tí a gbẹ́ ọ̀fìn sílẹ̀ dè, erin-ín mojú; erin ò bá ibẹ̀ lọ.
One digs a pit in the path of the elephant, but the elephant can read signs; the elephant does not go that way.
(The alert person will thwart an enemy's machinations.)
Àjẹ́ ńké, òkùnrùn ò paradà; ó lówó ẹbọ nílé.
A witch proclaims her presence and an invalid does not make away; he must have money for sacrifices at home.
(One needs not fear a scourge for which one has the remedy.)
Ajẹnifẹ́ni, èkúté ilé.
One-that-bites-and-blows-on-the-wound, the house-mouse.
(One should be wary of adversaries who pose as friends.)
Aaka ò gbé ọ̀dàn; igbó ní ńgbé.
The hedgehog does not live in the grassland, only in the forest.
(Certain things are proper; certain things are not.)
Àkàlàmàgbò-ó ṣoore ó yọ gẹ̀gẹ̀ lọ́rùn.
The ground hornbill did a favor and developed a goitre.
(One's good deeds sometimes come back to haunt one.)
Compare: Oore tígún ṣe tó fi pá lórí . . .
Akánjú jayé, ọ̀run wọn ò pẹ́.
People who live impatiently: their going to heaven is not far off.
(Reckless living leads to early death.)
Àáké tí ńgégi-í kọsẹ̀, gbẹ́nàgbẹ́nà-á bu ètù sórí.
The axe that cuts wood stumbles, and the carver anoints his head with medicinal powder.
(The evil doer's conscience will not let him/her rest.)
Àkèekèé ò ṣé-é dì níbò.
A scorpion is not a thing to close one's palms on.
(Some matters call for extreme caution.)
Àkèekèé rìn tapótapó.
The scorpion travels accompanied by venom.
(The stalwart is never unprepared to answer a call.)
Àkèekèé ta Kindo lẹpọ̀n, ará ilée Labata ńrojú; kí ló kàn án níbẹ̀?
A scorpion stung Kindo in the testicle, and a person from Labata's household frowns in dismay; what business is it of his?
(One should not take on matters that are not one's business.)
Akóbáni lèkúté-ilé; ejò kì í jàgbàdo.
The mouse is a bringer of disaster to the innocent; snakes do not eat corn.
(Bad company brings bad fortune.)
Àkọ̀ tó bá bá ọ̀bẹ dìtẹ̀ á gbọgbẹ́ láti inú.
A sheath that engages in a dispute with a knife will suffer an internal wound.
(Never court the anger of a person in a position to inflict injury on you.)
Àlá tí ajá bá lá, inú ajá ní ńgbé.
Whatever dream the dog dreams remains inside the dog.
(Keep your own counsel.)
Alágbàró ò yege; aláṣọ á gbà á bó dọ̀la.
She who borrows a wrapper-skirt to wear is not home free; the owner of the cloth will take it back come tomorrow.
(There is nothing like having one's own.)
Aláǹgbá tó fojú di erè, ikùn ejò ni yó bàá ara-a ẹ̀.
A lizard that views a python with disregard will find itself in the belly of the snake.
(Whoever disdains obvious danger will suffer dire consequences.)
Alápàáǹdẹ̀dẹ̀ ńjayé lébé-lébé.
The sparrow enjoys life carefully.
(The best way to live is carefully.)
Alára ò lè wí pé kò dun òun, ká ní ó kú àìsùn, ó kú àìwo.
The owner of the body does not say that he is in no pain, while we insist on commiserating with him for his sleeplessness and his restlessness.
(One does not commiserate with a person who does not admit his/her misfortune).
Alárìnjó tí yó jòó, kó ti ìwòyí mú ẹsẹ̀ kó le kó kó kó.
The person who will engage in itinerant dancing should look to his legs in good time.
(Before embarking on a trade, one should hone one's tools.)
Aláàárù kì í sọ pé kí ajé ṣe òun pa; ẹlẹ́rù ńkọ́?
The hired carrier does not ask to die from his efforts; what would the owner of the merchandise ask?
(One should not assume other people's responsibilities and risks.)
Aláwàdà ló lè ṣọkọ òṣónú; ẹni tí kò lẹ́nu mímú tete ò lè ṣọkọ alápẹpẹ.
Only a good-humored person can make a good husband for an ill-humored woman; a person whose mouth is not sharp cannot make a good husband for a hyperactive woman.
(Incompatible natures cannot make a good marriage.)
Àlejò tó wọ̀ nílé-e Pọ́ngilá, Pọ́ngilá ní, “Ìwọ ta ni?” Àlejò-ó ní òun Bugijẹ; Pọ́ngilá ni, “Tòò, lọ́ dájú igi-i tìrẹ lọ́tọ̀.”
The visitor “who” arrived at the home of Pọngila (Lickwood), Pọngila asked him, “Who are you?” The visitor replied, “I am Bugijẹ” (Bitewood). Pọngila said, “Well, you had better go find yourself some wood elsewhere.
(Do not encourage people to take advantage of you or abuse your generosity.)
Àlọ ti alábaun; àbọ̀ ti àna-a rẹ̀.
To Tortoise belongs the outward trip; to his father-in-law belongs the return.
(The person in the right in a dispute, if he/she is too vindictive, quickly becomes the one in the wrong.)
Àlùkẹrẹsẹ ò mọ̀ pé olóko-ó ládàá.
The weed did not know that the farmer had a machete.
(The evil doer does not consider the response of the person wronged.)
Àmọ̀jù là ḿmọ ẹkùn-un Sàárẹ́.
Saare always goes too far in his description of a leopard.
(An immoderate display of knowledge soon backfires.)
Àpáàdì ló tó ko iná lójú.
Only a potsherd has what it takes to confront live coal.
(Only a person capable of confronting a situation should take it on.)
Apatapara-á pa ara-a rẹ̀ lájùbà; ẹni tí yó ko là ńwòye.
Apatapara kills himself in the wilderness; who will carry him is now the question.
(One should not to outstrip one's help.)
Àpò tí a kò fi ọwọ́ ẹni dá ṣòro-ó kiwọ́ bọ̀.
A pocket one did not make with one's own hand is a difficult one to dip one's hand into.
(One should keep one's hands to one's own pockets.)
Ará Ìbàdàn kì í ságun; à ó rìn sẹ́hìn ni wọ́n ńwí.
Ibadan people do not run from war; what they say is, “We will fall back a little.”
(There are ways of avoiding battle without seeming to do so.)
À-rí-ì-gbọdọ̀-wí, à-rí-ì-gbọdọ̀-fọ̀ ni ikú awo.
Something-seen-but-unmentionable, something-seen-but-unspeakable is the death of a guardian of the mysteries.
(The eyes sometimes see things that are too sacred for the mouth to mention.)
Àrísá iná, àkòtagìrì ejò; àgbà tó réjò tí kò sá, ara ikú ló ńyá a.
Fire, something-one-sees-and-flees, snake, something one sees and jumps; an elder who sees a snake and does not flee flirts with death.
(Fire and snakes are not things to take lightly; and elder should not be embarrasses to flee from danger.)
Àròkàn ní ḿmú à-sun-ùn-dá wá; ẹlẹ́kún sunkún ẹ̀ ó lọ.
Going-from-one-sadthought-to-another results in endless weeping; the person weeping does his weeping and departs.
(If one keeps thinking sad thoughts one will ever remain miserable; if one must be sad, one must observe some limits.)
Arọ ò nasẹ̀ kan dí ọ̀nà.
A cripple does not block the road with his legs.
(A person with a handicap should not challenge those who are not handicapped.)
Arọ tí kò lẹ́sẹ̀ nílẹ̀-ẹ́ lọ́gbọ́n nínú.
A cripple who has no legs to stand on has wisdom inside him.
(Whatever handicaps one might have, one will have some asset.)
Arọ́basá ò ṣojo.
He-who-flees-on-seeing-the-king is no coward.
(One's safest course is to steer clear of those in authority.)
Compare A kì í bọ́ba pàlà kọ́kọ́ ọba má ṣàáni lẹ́sẹ̀.
Arúgbó ṣoge rí; àkísà-á lògbà rí.
The old person was once a dandy; the rag was once in fashion.
(Those who are favored should remember that times and circumstances do change.)
Àrùn là ńwó a kì í wokú.
One treats a disease; one does not treat death.
(We should attend to problems before they become unmanageable.
Asárétete ní ńkọjá ilé; arìngbẹ̀rẹ̀ ni yóò rí oyè jẹ.
The fast runner will run past his home; the leisurely stroller is the one who will win the title.
(A fast start does not guarantee success.)
Compare: Arìngbẹ̀rẹ̀ ni yó mùú oyè délé . . .
Àṣá ḿbá ẹyẹlé ṣeré, ẹyẹlé ńyọ̀; ẹyẹlé ńfikú ṣeré.
The kite plays with the pigeon and the pigeon rejoices; the pigeon is courting death.
(An enemy who pretends friendship is so much more dangerous.)
Àṣàyá kì í jẹ́ kí ọmọ ọ̀yà ó gbọ́n.
Roughhousing keeps the young of the cane rat from learning wisdom.
(A person who takes life as a jest does not learn to be wary.)
Àṣesílẹ̀ làbọ̀wábá; ẹni tó da omi síwájú á tẹlẹ̀ tútù.
What one puts aside is what one returns to find; whoever dumps water ahead of him/her will step on wet earth.
(One reaps what one sows.)
This is a variant of the previous entry.
Àṣẹ̀ṣẹ̀wọ́n ológbò ní ńjìyà; bó bá pẹ́ títí a tó eku-ú pa.
Only the newly weaned cat suffers; eventually it will learn to kill mice.
(A child may be helpless today, but not in the future.)
Aṣòroówọ̀ bí ẹ̀wù àṣejù.
Difficult-to-wear like the garment of immoderation.
(Wearing the cloak of immoderation exposes one to difficulties.)
Ata-á kéré; ìjá jù ú.
Pepper is small; its fight is much bigger.
(One should not judge people by their size.)
Atàkò fọ́ ẹyin àparò; ohun ojú ńwá lojú ńrí.
Person-who-stones-and-breaks-partridge's-eggs; the eyes find what the eyes seek.
(The culprit is asking for trouble, and he will not be disappointed.)
Ataare-é rẹ́ni tún ìdí-i rẹ̀ ṣe ó ńfi òbùró ṣẹ̀sín; òbùró ìbá rẹ́ni tún ìdí-i rẹ̀ ṣe a sunwọ̀n jú ataare lọ.
Alligator pepper has someone to tend it and it mocks the òbùró tree; had the òbùró tree someone to tend it it would look better than alligator pepper.
(A person enjoying a run of good fortune should not deride the less fortunate; if they had been similarly favored there is no telling what they might have accomplished.)
Atẹ̀hìnrọ́gbọ́n agétí ajá; a gé e létí tán ó fabẹ pamọ́.
A-creature-that-learns-wisdom-in-reverse-order, dog-with-severed-ears; after its ears have been severed it hides the razor.
(Prevention makes sense only before the disaster.)
Àtẹ́lẹwọ́ ẹni kì í tanni.
One's palm does not deceive one.
(One's trust is best placed in one's own resources.)
1e Atọrọohungbogbolọ́wọ́Ọlọ́run kì í kánjú.
The-seeker-of-all-things-from-God does not yield to impatience.
(The supplicant must be patient for an answer.)
Àwòfín ní ḿmú ọ̀rẹ́ bàjẹ́; fírí là ńwo ẹni tí ńwoni.
Persistent-staring ruins a friendship; one looks only glancingly at those looking at one.
(A battle of looks does not help a friendship.)
See: Àwòfín mú ọ̀rẹ́ bàjẹ́; . . . .
Àáyá kan-án bẹ̀ ọ́ wò; igba wọ́n ti rí ọ.
If a single Colubus monkey sees you, be sure that two hundred of them have seen you.
(A secret that one discloses to one person is as good as published for all.)
Ayáraròhìn, aya ọdẹ, ó ní ọkọ òun-ún pa èkínní, ó pa ẹ̀kẹfà.
The-impatient-reporter, wife of the hunter, she says that her husband killed the first and killed the sixth.
(The impatient reporter is liable to outstrip her report.)
Àyé gba ògùnmọ̀ ó ránṣẹ́ sí òdú; àyé gba Tápà ó kọ́lé ìgunnu.
The cultivated vegetable is contented, so it sends for its wild variety; the Nupe (Fulani) person is so comfortable that he builds a tall house.
(When one enjoys a life of ease, one is tempted to overreach.)
Ayé ò ṣéé fipá jẹ.
Life is nothing to enjoy heedlessly.
(Life demands caution.)
1. During the eégún season people who follow pathways (like those leading to rivers) are liable to run into masqueraders on the way from ìgbàlẹ̀, their secret groves.
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2. The rejoicing is premature, because the Ọ̀yọ́ supposedly tantalize strangers with deceptive generosity.)
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3. The expression rí ìdí, literally “see the bottom “of”,” also means “discover the guarded secrets “of”.”
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4. Kẹ́kẹ́ and àbàjà are both patterns of facial scarification.
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6. Ọ"dọ̀fin is a chieftaincy title. It serves here as a proper name.
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7. Àdó is a tiny gourd in which people keep charms, often serving as talismans.
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8. The insinuation being that whoever does not have its like is no better than a slave.
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9. In everyday syntax the statement would be: Àgbọ́ká letí ọlọ́ràn-án fi ńdi.
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10. The formulation, baba àfojúdi, means both “father of disregard,” and “father-type disregard,” in other words, an extra-ordinary degree of disregard.
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11. While the animal hurts one, it also soothes one, so as to be able to continue hurting one.
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12. Both the axe and the carpenter are offenders against wood; the carpenter takes the axe's stumbling as a bad omen.
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13. The proverb is based on a folktale in which Tortoise stole yams from the farm of its father-in-law. The latter caught Tortoise and tied it up by the path, where people going to their farms saw it and justified the father-in-law. When on their return in the evening they saw Tortoise still tied up, however, people began to scold the father-in-law for the excessive punishment, especially considering its relationship to Tortoise.
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14. The story behind the proverb is of a boy, Sàar;ẹ who ran home panting because he had seen a leopard in the forest. Grateful that the animal did not kill his son, the father killed a cock as a sacrifice. The boy went on to describe how huge the animal was, and the father, even more thankful, killed a he-goat for sacrifice. Then the son spoke of how the animal went from okro plant to okro plant to eat the fruits. The father knew, of course, that only antelopes ate okro, and he scolded the son for not killing the game and bringing it home.
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