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Part 3: On cageyness, caution, moderation, patience, and prudence


Gb sk ni Gb sk; ohun t a b s swj l b.
Put this above (ashore) equals Put this in the boat; it is what one throws ahead that one finds in one's path.
(One reaps the rewards of the good one sows.)

Gbj-gbj gb k.
No snake dancer dances with a cobra.
(There are some perils even the bravest of people should not court.)
Compare Gbrangbran . . . below.

Gbran-gbran gb kn.
No animal pilferer ever pilfers a leopard.
(There are some risks even the most brazen risk taker would be wise to avoid.)
Compare Gbjgbj . . . above.

Gbgbr l e n igi.
The path along which a log will be rolled must be made wide enough.
(One should make provisions adequate for the task ahead.)

Gbogbo aj n j im: y t b j ti mnu lary p n dgblugi.
All dogs eat excrement, but only those that smear their mouths with it are described as rabid.
(No one is without blemish, but one must keep one's flaws within reasonable bounds.)
Compare Gbogbo obnrin . . . below.

Gbogbo j nj; bo gbmi lul m m lj lk lk.
Every way of fighting is a legitimate way of fighting. If you are strong enough to throw me, I will fight back by looking at you with absolute disdain.
(One must know one's limitations, especially when up against insurmountable odds.)

Gbogbo obnrin l gb, y t b e ti lej lary p lw.
All women are unfaithful; only those who know no moderation are put down as whores.
(Nobody is without blemish; the important thing is to keep one's from getting out of hand.)
Compare Gbogbo aj n j im . . . above.

Gblhn kan Agn t awo- e.
Just one utterance by the masquerader Agn is sufficient to effect a great deal of wonders.
(The truly competent person need not strain overmuch to accomplish much.) [45]

Gblhn kan-n ba r j; gblhn kan-n tn r e.
One solitary statement muddies an entire affair; one solitary statement clears all the confusion.
(A single sentence can cause irreparable damage; a single sentence can also repair the greatest relational damage.)

Gblhn kan la bi elpo; elpo e rnrn.
One asks only one question of the palm-oil seller, but she rambles endlessly on.
(A person plagued by a bad conscience makes endless excuses when asked simple questions.)


45. Agn is one of the more formidable Yoruba masqueraders; he was traditionally employed to execute witches.  [Back to text]