Part 3: On cageyness, caution, moderation, patience, and prudence
O bá ẹfọ̀n lábàtà o yọ̀bẹ sí i; o mọ ibi ẹfọ̀n-ọ́n ti wa?
You come upon the carcass of a buffalo in the marshes and you pull out your butchering knife; do you know where the bushcow came from?
(People should not lay claim to things whose procurement they know nothing about.)
Ó dé ọwọ́ aláròóbọ̀ ó di níná.
When goods get into the hands of the retailer they become objects to haggle about.
(A store minder is a difficult person to obtain a good bargain from.)
Ó dé orí akáhín àkàràá deegun.
In the mouth of a toothless person bean fritters become like bones.
(To the shiftless person the easiest task is onerous indeed.)
O kò rí àkàṣù ò ńpata sẹ́fọ̀ọ́.
You have not found corn loaf and yet you are readying the vegetable stew.
(Said of a person too eagerly anticipating a favor that might not materialize.)
O lọ sÍjẹ̀bú ẹ̀ẹ̀kan, o ru igbá àṣẹ bọ̀ wálé.
You made only one trip to Ìjebu and you returned with a calabash of charms.
(Said of a person on whom the impact of an experience is out of all proportion.)
Ò ḿbá obínrin ẹ jà ò ńkanrí mọ́nú; o máa nà á lóògùn ni?
You quarrel with your wife and you put on a baleful look; do you propose to use evil charm on her?
(One should moderate one's response to annoyances.)
“Ó ḿbọ̀, ó ḿbọ̀!” ẹ̀wọ̀n là ńso sílẹ̀ dè é.
“Watch out, watch out, for here it comes!” For such a thing one would best prepare a snare.
(If the thought of something fills one with apprehension one should plot to defeat it.)
Ó ní ibi tí tanpẹ́pẹ́ ńgbèjà ẹyìn mọ.
There is a limit to the protection black stinging ants can offer palmfruits.
(There is a limit to the help one can expect from others.)
Ó ní ohun tí àgbà-á jẹ tẹ́lẹ̀ ikùn kó tó sọ pé èyí yó òun.
There was something the elder ate to line his stomach before he said what “little” is before him will suffice to sate his hunger.
(The prudent person prepares himself or herself for all eventualities.)
Compare the following.
Ó ní ohun tí àgbà-á jẹ tẹ́lẹ̀ ikùn kó tó sọ pé ìyà-á yó òun.
There was something the elder ate to line his stomach before he said his/her suffering is enough food for him/her.
(Even when one is prostrated by grief, one does not ignore one's need to survive.)
Compare the preceding entry.
Ó ní ohun tí ìbòsí ràn nínú ìjà.
Raising an alarm or calling for help goes only so far to aid someone in a fight.
(No matter what help a person in trouble receives he/she will still be in for some grief.)
Ó pẹ́ títí aboyún, oṣù mẹ́sàn-án.
The longest respite for the pregnant woman is nine months.
(Sooner rather than later, the day will arrive when one must fulfil one's obligation or pay one's debt.)
O rí àgbébọ̀ adìẹ lọ́jà ò ńta geere sí i; ìba ṣe rere olúwa rẹ̀ ò jẹ́ tà á.
You see an adult chicken at the market and you eagerly go for it; if it was of any value would the owner sell it?
(People should think carefully before they assume obligations.)
O só pa mí mo pọ́nnu lá, o bojúwẹ̀hìn mo dọ̀bálẹ̀, o tiwọ́ bọ̀gbẹ́; o fẹ́ dè mí ni?
You foul the air in my face and I lick my lips, you glance back and I prostrate myself before you, and yet you stretch your hand into the bush; would you tie me up?
(Said by a long-suffering person who has quietly taken a great deal of abuse, when the abuser persists in his/her illtreatment.)
O ṣíwó nílé o kò san, o dóko o ńṣí ìkòkò ọ̀gẹ̀dẹ̀ wò, o bímọ o sọ ọ́ ní Adéṣínà; bí ṣíṣí ò bá sìn lẹ́hìn rẹ, o kì í sìn lẹ́hìn-in ṣíṣí?
You borrow money at home and you refuse to repay it, you arrive on the farm and open the pot containing plantains for inspection, and when you have a baby you name it Adéṣínà; if ṣí-ṣí does not leave you alone, why don't you leave it alone?
(Obsession with anything is bad.)
O wà lọ́rùn ọ̀pẹ ò ḿbá Ọlọ́run ṣèlérí.
You are perched at the lofty neck of the palm-tree and you are bandying words with God.
(Said of a person who taunts more powerful adversaries even when he/she is in a vulnerable position.)
Obìnrin bẹẹrẹ òṣì bẹẹrẹ.
Innumerable wives, innumerable problems.
(Whoever adds wives to wives adds problems to problems.)
Obìnrin tó gégi nígbó Orò, ó gé àgémọ.
A woman who cuts wood in the grove of Orò has cut her last.
(Whoever tempts a fate that is known to strike unfailingly has tempted his/her last.)
Òbò-ó ní ìtìjú ló mú òun sápamọ́ sábẹ́ inú, ṣùgbọ́n bí okó bá dé, òun á sínà fún un.
(The vagina says its is coyness that caused it to hide below the belly, but if a penis shows up, it will open the way for it.)
Modesty does not indicate a lack of ability or willingness to act decisively.
Odídẹrẹ ní wọn ò lè tí ojú òun yan òun mọ́ ẹbọ; bí wọ́n bá ńdÍfá, òun a sá wọlé.
The parrot says no one will prescribe it as a sacrifice in its presence; when it sees people consulting the oracle, it will go hide in its closet.
(The smart person should always distance himself from disaster.)
Odídẹrẹ́ ńwolé hóró-hóró bí ẹnipé yó kòó sílé; àgbìgbò nọ̀wọ̀ràn ńwohò igi bí ẹnipé kò tibẹ̀ jáde.
The parrot eyes the cramped house as though it would enter; the big-headed bird ágbìgbò eyes the hole in the tree as though it did not emerged from there.
(Some people fail to appreciate their assets, while others envy them what they have.)
Òfèèrèfé ò ṣé-é fẹ̀hín tì.
A chasm is nothing to lean on.
(One can should not trust in emptiness.)
Ogun àgbọ́tẹ́lẹ̀ kì í pa arọ.
A long foreseen war does not kill a cripple.
(One must take advantage of foreknowledge to protect oneself.)
Ohun à ńjẹ là ńtà; bí epo òyìnbó kọ́.
What one eats is what one sells; but not like Kerosene.
(One must be selective about which of one's just deserts one will accept).
Ohun gbogbo, ìwọn ló dùn mọ.
All things are good or pleasing only to a point.
(One should observe moderation in all things.)
Ohun gbogbo kì í pẹ́ jọ olóhun lójú.
It is never long before a thing becomes invaluable to the owner.
(A person always attaches excessive value to his or her possessions.(Trust a person to exaggerate the value of his or her possessions, especially when they are damaged or coveted by others.)
Ohun gbogbo kì í tó olè.
Nothing ever satisfies a thief.
(Greed and covetousness are the marks of a thief.)
Ohun gbogbo là ńdiyelé; ṣùgbọ́n kò sẹ́ni tó moye ara-a ẹ̀; ẹ̀jẹ̀ ò fojú rere jáde.
Everything has its price, but no one knows his/her own worth; bloodshed never has a good cause.
(People should not devalue their own lives by exposing themselves to unnecessary danger.)
Ohun tí a bá máa jẹ a kì í fi runmú.
One does not sniff at what one will eventually eat anyway.
(One should nor sneer at a thing that one will eventually embrace.)
Ohun tí à bá ṣe pẹ̀sẹ̀, ká má fi ṣe ìkánjú; bó pẹ́ títí ohun gbogbo a tó ọwọ́ ẹni.
That which one should do slowly and carefully one should not do in a hurry; sooner or later everything comes within one's reach.
(One should not shirk one's present responsibilities in the pursuit of a distant goal.)
Ohun tí a bá tẹjúmọ́ kì í jóná.
Whatever one trains one's eyes upon will not get charred.
(Matters to which one devotes one's undivided attention will not go awry.)
Ohun tí a fi ẹ̀sọ̀ mú kì í bàjẹ́; ohun tí a fagbára mú ní ńnini lára.
Whatever one handles gently will not be ruined; it is what one attempts with force that causes one grief.
(A gentle approach will accomplish much, while a forceful approach is likely to complicate matters.)
Ohun tí a fún ẹlẹ́mọ̀ṣọ́ ní ńṣọ́.
It is that which one gives to a caretaker to look after that he looks after.
(One would best focus on only that task that was assigned to one.)
Ohun tí a ò pé yó dẹrù ní ńdiṣẹ́.
It is always something one does not expect to become a load that eventually becomes a huge task.
(Matters that one considers of little significance have a way of becoming insoluble problems.)
Ohun tí a rí la fi ḿbọ párá ẹni; bí igi tíná ḿbẹ lẹ́nu-u ẹ̀ kọ́.
It is whatever one can find that one uses to fill gaps in one's roof; that does not apply to a faggot spewing flames.
(Every seemingly sensible generalization has exceptions.)
Ohun tí ajá rí tó fi ńgbó ò tó èyí tí àgùntàn-án fi ńṣèran wò.
That which a dog sees and barks at is nothing compared to what the sheep contemplates in silence.
(Some people make mountains out of other people's mole-hills.)
Ohun tó bá wu olókùnrùn ní ńpa á.
Whatever the invalid craves is what spells his/her death.
(Whatever one is addicted to is liable to prove one's undoing.)
Ohun tó bá wu ọmọ-ọ́ jẹ kì í run ọmọ nínú.
Whatever a child crave will not give him/her stomach ache.
(One is always willing to endure sacrifices in order to have whatever one craves.)
Òjijì là ńrọ́mọ lọ́wọ́ alákẹdun.
It is all of a sudden that one sees a baby in the arms of the colobus monkey.
(One need not announce ahead of time what feat one will perform.)
Òjò kan kì í báni lábà ká jìjàdù ọ̀rọ̀-ọ́ sọ; bí ẹgbọ́n bá sọ tán, àbúrò á sọ.
When people are trapped in a hut by a downpour there is no sense in fighting to get a word in the discussion; after the older person has spoken, the younger person will speak.
(When there is a surfeit of a commodity, there is no sense in scrambling to get some of it.)
Òjò ńrọ̀, orò ńké; atọ́kùn àlùgbè tí ò láṣọ méjì a ṣe ògèdèm̀gbé sùn.
The rain is falling, the call of the secret cult is sounding loudly outside; the threading pin that lacks a change of clothing will sleep naked.
(If one has not made provisions for rainy days, when they come one must suffer the attendant hardship.)
Ojú abẹ ò ṣé-é pọ́nlá.
The edge of a razor is not a thing to lick.
(Never engage in dangerous behavior.)
Ojú àwòdì kọ́ ladìẹ ńre àpáta.
It is not in the watchful presence of a kite that a chicken strolls to a rock.
(One does not engage in culpable activity in the presence of those charged with upholding discipline.)
Compare Ojú iná kọ́...
Ojú ìmàle ò kúrò lọ́tí, ó bímọ ẹ̀ ó sọ ọ́ ní Ìmórù-máhá-wá.
The muslim cannot take his mind off liquor, he has a child and named him Ìmórù máhá wá.
(One's addiction will always manifest itself, however much one might hide it.)
The following is a variant.
Ojú ìmàle ò kúrò lọ́tí, ó bímọ ẹ̀ ó sọ ọ́ ní Lèmámù.
The muslim cannot take his mind off liquor, he has a child and named him Lèmámù.
Ojú kan làdá ńní.
A machete can have only one edge.
(One should be true to one calling or relationship, and not philander.)
Ojú kan náà lèwe ńbágbà.
It is at the same place that the youth will come up on the elder.
(Sooner or later the youth becomes an elder; patience is all.)
Ojú là ńgbó re ọ̀nà Ìbàdàn: ó fi ogún ọ̀kẹ́ gbàdí.
“It takes a great deal of fortitude to set out for Ibadan”; he ties his money around his waist.
(One should take the necessary precautions when one embarks on a dangerous venture.)
Ojú ní ńkán ọkọlóbìnrin; àlè méjì á jà dandan.
The husband of the wife is only being unduly hasty; in time two concubines will inevitably quarrel.
(One should not be overly anxious for results that are inevitable anyway.)
“Ojú ò fẹ́rakù” tó ta ajá-a ẹ̀ lókòó; ó ní bó bá jẹ́ bẹ́ẹ̀ ni wọ́n ńtà á wọn a máa tún araa wọn rí.
“We might see each other again” who sold his dog for twenty cowries; he said if that is how things are sold, they might well see each other again.
(If someone sells you an item at a ridiculously low price, you might expect to see the person again soon.)
Ojú ológbò lèkúté ò gbọdọ̀ yan.
It is in the presence of the cat that the mouse must not saunter.
(One may cannot afford to be careless in the presence of powerful enemies.)
Ojú tí kì í wo iná, tí kì í wo òòrùn; ojú tí ḿbáni dalẹ́ kọ́.
Eyes that cannot stand lamplight, and that cannot stand sunlight, are not eyes that will last one until the twilight of one's life.
(From early indications, one can tell what friendships or possessions will prove lasting.)
Compare Ojú tí yóò báni kalẹ́ . . .
Ojú tí yóò bani kalẹ̀ kì í tàárọ̀ ṣepin.
The eyes that will last one until night time will not start oozing matter at the dawn.
(Relationships that will last will not start becoming onerous right at the start.)
Compare Ojú tí kì í wo iná . . .
Ojúkòkòrò baba ọ̀kánjúà.
Covetousness “is” the father of envy.
(The envious and the covetous are similar.)
Ojúlé ló bá wá; ẹ̀bùrú ló gbà lọ́; ó dÍfá fún àlejò tí ńfẹ obìnrin onílé.
He entered through the front door, but it was through a hidden shortcut that he snuck away; it consulted the Ifa oracle for the visitor who has an affair with his host's wife.
(Whoever abuses his hospitality will depart with disgrace.)
Oókan ni wọ́n ńta ẹṣin lọ́run; ẹni tí yó lọ ò wọ́n; ṣùgbọ́n ẹni tí yó bọ̀ ló kù.
Horses sell for only one cowrie in heaven; there is no shortage of people who will go there, but who ever returns from there?
(Setting out on dangerous ventures is the easiest thing in the world, but their repercussions prove to be unspeakable.)
Oókan-án sọni dahuń eéjì-í sọni dàpà.
One cowrie makes a miser of one; two cowries make a spendthrift of one.
(When one has little one seems a miser; when one has plenty one becomes careless with money.)
Òkèlè gbò-ǹ-gbò-ó fẹ ọmọ lójú toto.
A huge morsel forces the child's eyes wide open.
(A person who bites off more than he can chew will suffer in the process of trying.)
Òkèlè kan ní ńpa àgbà.
Only one morsel kills an elder.
(The smallest thing, if not accorded the proper attention, can be the death of even the most powerful person.)
Òkété tó bọ́ ìrù-ú mọ̀ pé ìpéjú ọjà ọrún òun ló sún.
The giant bush rat that has its tail stripped by a trap knows that it is its visit to the fifth-day market that was postponed.
(One should take a near-disaster as a warning.)
Òketè baba ogun; bí a ṣígun, olúkúlùkù n í ńdi òketè-e ẹ̀ lọ́wọ́.
Large bundle, father of all wars; when preparing for war, each person prepares his bundle to take along.
(For all tasks, adequate preparations are mandatory.)
Òkìpa ajá la fi ḿbọ Ògún.
It is a mature and sizeable dog that one sacrifices to Ògún.
(One should use for the occasion material that is proper for the occasion.)
Òkò àbínújù kì í pẹyẹ.
A stone thrown in anger does not kill a bird.
(Whatever one does in anger is liable to go awry.)
Oko ni gbégbé ńgbé.
The farm is where gbégbé belongs.
(Everything in its proper place.)
Òkò tí ẹyẹ́ bá rí kì í pẹyẹ.
A missile that a bird sees will not kill the bird.
(If one sees danger approaching, one will take precautions.)
Òkóbó ò lè fi alátọ̀sí ṣẹ̀sín.
The eunuch cannot make fun of the person with gonorrhea.
(A person with a blemish of his/her own should not make fun of other people's blemishes.)
Òkù àjànàkú là ńyọ ogbó sí; ta ní jẹ́ yọ agada séerin?
It is a dead elephant one approaches with a cutlass; who would dare draw a machete to attack an elephant “that is alive”?
(One dares taunt a powerful adversary when he has been neutralized.)
This is a variant of Ẹ̀hìn àjànàkú là ńyọ ogbó . . .
Okùn àgbò kì í gbèé dorí ìwo.
It is never long before a ram's tethering rope slips to its horns.
(Seemingly minor difficulties soon become unmanageable problems.)
Olè kì í gbé gbẹ̀du.
No thief steals a gbẹ̀du drum.
(One should not attempt a risky business one has no hope of pulling off.)
Compare Olè tó jí kàkàkí . . .
Olóògbé ò jẹ́wọ́; atannijẹ bí orun.
The dozing person does not confess; nothing deceives like sleep.
(One can always feign sleep to avoid engaging in discussions.)
Olójútì logun ńpa.
It is those who worry about their image who die in war.
(Discretion and a thick skin are sometimes much better than valor.)
Olóòlà kì í kọ àfín.
The facial scarifier does not scarify an albino's face.
(There are some tasks that are beyond the scope of experts.)
Olórìṣà-á gbé ààjà sókè, wọ́n ní ire ni; bí ire ni, bí ibi ni, wọn ò mọ̀.
The cult priest raises his divining wand and the worshippers proclaim the omen is good; whether it is good or bad they do not know.
(It is foolhardy to presume to know what is in other people's minds.)
Omi là ńkọ́-ọ́ tẹ̀ ká tó tẹ iyanrìn.
Water is the first thing one's foot encounters before it encounters the sand.
(One should attend to the most urgent matters first.)
Òní, adìẹẹ̀ mí ṣìwọ̀; ọ̀la, adìẹẹ̀ mí ṣìwọ̀; ọjọ́ kan la óò fẹ́ àìwọlé adìẹ kù.
Today, my chicken has gone to roost in the wrong place; tomorrow, my chicken has gone to roost in the wrong place; some day soon the errant chicken will disappear permanently.
(Little errors, if not checked, will result in a major blunder.)
See the following two entries.
Òní, baba-á dákú; ọ̀la, baba-á dákú; ọjọ́ kan ni ikú yóò dá baba.
Today, the patriarch collapsed; tomorrow, the patriarch collapsed; one day death will throw the patriarch.
(Frequent close calls with death will eventually lead to real death.)
Compare the foregoing and the following.
Òní, ẹṣin-ín dá baba; ọ̀la, ẹṣin-ín dá baba; bí baba ò bá yé ẹṣin-ín gùn, ọjọ́ kan lẹṣin óò dá baba pa.
Today, the horse threw the patriach; tomorrow, the horse threw the patriarch; if the patriarch does not stop riding the horse, one day the horse will throw him to his death.
(One should take warning from little disasters.)
See the foregoing two enties.
Onígbàjámọ̀ ńfárí fún ọ, ò ńfọwọ́ kàn án wò; èwo ló máa kù fún ọ níbẹ̀.
The hair scrapper is scraping your head and you are feeling your scalp with your hand; what do you expect will be left for you there?
(Once the end is clear, one should stop being anxious about developments.)
Onílé ńrelé wọ́n ní oǹdè ńsá; oǹdè ò sá, ilé ẹ̀ ló lọ.
The home owner heads for home and they say the guard is on the run; the guard is not on the run, he is merely heading home.
(A strategic retreat to regroup is not the same as giving up the fight.)
Ònímónìí, ẹtu-ú jìnfìń ọ̀lamọ́la, ẹtu-ú jìnfìn; ẹran miìíràn ò sí nígbó ni?
Today, the antelope falls into a ditch; tomorrow, the antelope falls into the ditch; is there no other animal in the forest?
(If the same person gets into trouble every time, the person need to look to himself/herself.)
See, Òní ẹtú jìnfìn . . .
Onínúfùfù ní ńwá oúnjẹ fún onínúwẹ́rẹ́wẹ́rẹ́.
Always it is the hot-tempered person that finds food for the even-tempered person.
(The even-tempered person will always have the advantage of the hot-tempered person.
Onísùúrù ní ńṣe ọkọ ọmọ Aláhúsá.
Only the patient person will win the daughter of the Hausa man.
(Patience overcomes all obstacles.)
Oníṣu ní ḿmọ ibi iṣú gbé ta sí.
The owner of the yams is the one who knows where the mature yams are.
(One should not presume to know more about an affair that the person most intimately involved.)
Ooré di ẹrẹ̀ lAwẹ́; àwọn igúnnugún ṣoore wọ́n pá lórí.
A favor has turned to mud in Awẹ́ towń the vulture did a favor and went bald.
(One should be careful about doing favors, lest they come back to haunt one.)
Compare Oore tí igúnnugún ṣe . . .
Oore ọ̀fẹ́ gùn jùwàásù.
The benediction is longer than the sermon.
(Said of people who are long winded.)
Oore tí Agbe-é ṣe lỌ́fà, ó dagbe.
The favor Agbe did in Ọ̀fà town reduced him to begging.
(One should learn from Agbe's example and be prudent in doing favors.)
Oore tí igúnnugún ṣe tó fi pá lórí, tí àkàlá ṣe tó fi yọ gẹ̀gẹ̀, a kì í ṣe irú ẹ̀.
The sort of favor the vulture did and went bald, the sort of favor the ground hornbill did and developed a goitre, one does not do it.
(One should not do favors that will result in one's ruin.)
Compare Ooré di ẹrẹ̀ lAwẹ́ . . .
Oore-é pọ̀, a fìkà san án.
The favor was excessive; it was repaid with wickedness.
(Too great a favor provokes enmity.)
Òòrẹ̀ ní ńṣẹ́gi tí a ó fi wì í.
The porcupine itself will procure the wood with which it will be roasted.
(The incautious person will provide the instrument for his own undoing.)
Orí ejò ò ṣé-é họ imú.
The head of a snake is nothing to scratch one's nose with.
(Never expose yourself to unnecessary danger.)
Orin ní ńṣíwájú ọ̀tẹ̀.
Singing goes before plotting.
(People about to engage in a plot will first spar to sound one another out.)
Orin tí a kọ lánàá, tí a ò sùn, tí a ò wo, a kì í tún jí kọ ọ́ láàárọ̀.
The song that we sang yesterday, without sleep, without respite; we do not resume singing it in the morning.
(Yesterday's problems should be gone with yesterday.)
Òrìṣà kékeré ò ṣé-é há ní párá.
A small god is not a thing to hang from the rafters.
(Some things may seem insignificant but yet must not be taken lightly.)
Òròmọ-adìẹ ò màwòdì; ìyá ẹ̀ ló màṣá.
The young chick does not know the eagle; it is its mother that knows the kite.
(The young are neither as experienced not as careful as the old.)
Òṣé ní ńṣíwájú ẹkún; àbámọ̀ ní ńgbẹ̀hìn ọ̀ràn; gbogbo àgbà ìlú pé, wọn ò rí oògùn àbàmọ̀ ṣe.
Hissing goes before crying; had-one-but-known comes at the conclusion of an unfortunate matter; all the elders in the town assembled but they could find no antidote for had-we-but-known.
(One can only regret an error once it has been committed; there is no undoing it.)
Oúnjẹ tí a ó jẹ pẹ́, a kì í bu òkèlè-e ẹ̀ tóbi.
Food that one expects to last, one does not eat in huge handfuls.
(Wise husbandry is the medicine for lasting prosperity.)
Owó ò bá olè gbé.
Money does not live with a thief.
(A thief and money are incompatible neighbors; never trust a thief with money.)
Òwúyẹ́; a-ṣòro-ó-sọ bí ọ̀rọ̀.
A hush-hush matter; difficult to utter as speech.
(The matter under reference is so delicate it almost does not bear speech.)
Oyún inú: a kì í kà á kún ọmọ-ọ tilẹ̀.
One does not count a pregnancy as a child already delivered.
(One should not treat anything hoped for as though it was already in hand.)
64. The saying is obviously a reference to the reputation the Ìjẹ̀bú have as being versed in powerful charms.
[Back to text]
65. The proverb plays on the word ṣí, which can mean “borrow” or “open.” The name Adéṣínà means “The crown (or king) opens the way.”
[Back to text]
66. The proverb would make better sense if the two balancing phrases were reversed: what one sells is what one eats.
[Back to text]
67. Ìmórù is the Yoruba rendering of the Arabic name Oumar; the Yoruba version would be, written in full, Ì mú orù, meaning, “the taking up of a wine cup”; the máhá wá “mú ahá wá” attached at the end means “bring a wine cup.”
[Back to text]
68. Lèmámù is the Yoruba rendering of Imam; here the suggestion is that the name is Lè-máa-mu, which means “Maintain the ability to drink.”
[Back to text]
69. The road to Ìbàdàn is in this case taken to be full of peril from ambushers. The person involved must be brave indeed, for the amount of money he ties around his waist is considerable.
[Back to text]
70. The formulation is typical of several in which a leading statement describing a situation is followed by the statement, “Ó dÍfá fún” (He consulted the Ifa oracle for), and then followed by a description of the behavior that leads to the condition described at the opening.
[Back to text]
71. Gbégbé is a magical leaf used in making charms to translocate people instantly over great distances.
[Back to text]
72. The drum is too hefty, and, where would the thief play it anyway?
[Back to text]
73. Dákú means “collapse” or “faint,” but it can also be a contraction of dá ikú, meaning “throw death in a wrestling match.”
[Back to text]
74. Awẹ́ is a town near Ọ̀yọ́; the proverb obviously refers to an incident in which someone did a favor and reaped disaster. The reference to the vulture recalls the folktale in which the bird volunteered to carry a sacrifice to heaven to end a draught and got caught in the downpour resulting from his successful mission on its return.
[Back to text]
75. The porcupine's quills are here likened to kindling.
[Back to text]