Part 4: On perseverance, industry, resilience, self-confidence, self-reliance, resourcefulness, daring, fortitude, and invulnerability
Ọba tó fi iyùn bọlẹ̀, ọba tó wú u, àwọn méjèèjì la ó máa sọ orúkọ-ọ wọn.
The king who buries coral beads, the king who digs them up, both of then will have their names remembered by posterity.
(Whoever performs an unprecedented feat, whatever it might be, will be remembered by posterity.)
The following entry is a variant.
Ọba tó sọ ẹgàn di erùfù; ọba tó sọ erùfù dẹgàn, àwọn méjèèjì la ó máa sọ orúkọ-ọ wọn.
The king who turned a forest into a sandy plain, the king who turned a sandy plain into a forest, both of their names will be remembered by posterity.
(Whoever performs a great feat will be remembered by posterity.)
See the previous entry.
Ọbẹ̀ tó dùn, owó ló pa á.
A delicious stew was procured with money.
(Nothing good happens without money.)
Ọbẹ̀-ẹ́ tutù tán, a dawọ́ bù ú lá.
The stew having cooled, one hollows one's palm to eat it.
(When the back of a difficult task has been broken, people are eager to tackle it.)
Ọ̀dájú ló bí owó; ìtìjú ló bí gbèsè.
It is brazenness that gives birth to wealth; it is excessive reticence that gives birth to poverty.
(Nothing succeeds without some audaciousness.)
Ọdọọdún làgbẹ̀ ńníyì.
It is every year that the farmer receives praise.
(Statement or prayer that a person will receive perennial praise, just as the annual harvest brings praise to the farmer.)
Ọdúnnìí ọdẹ́ pa erin; ẹ̀ẹ̀míràn ọdẹ́ pa ẹfọ̀n; ọdún mẹ́fà ọdẹ́ pa òló; ọlá ńrewájú, tàbí ọlá ńrẹ̀hìn?
This year the hunter kills an elephant; the next year the hunter kills a buffalo; two years hence the hunter kills a grass mouse; is his glory increasing or decreasing?
(One should always strive for greater accomplishments, not lesser.)
Compare Ọláńrewájú là ńgbọ́ . . .
Ọ̀gẹ̀dẹ̀ dúdú ò ṣéé bùṣán; ọmọ burúkú ò ṣéé lù pa.
An unripe plantain is not something to eat; a useless child is not something to beat to death.
(Certain problems one simply has to live with.)
Ọgbọ́n òyìnbó ti ojú òkun là wá; aṣọ kí ni o borí akẹsẹ?
The white man's wisdom shines even across the seas; what cloth, though, is better than akẹsẹ cloth?
(Despite the appeal of foreign goods, local wares are preferable.)
Ọjà tí a fowó rà, owó la fi ńpa.
One makes money from goods one purchased with money.
(One should not make gifts of commodities one purchased for trade.)
Ọ̀-jẹ-wọ̀mù-wọ̀mù-kú-wọ̀mù-wọ̀mù lorúkọ tí àpà ńjẹ́.
One-who-eats-recklessly-and-dies-recklessly is the name one calls a wasteful person.
(Wasteful people will never learn the value of things.)
Ọjọ́ a bá kọ́ ọ̀lẹ là ńkọ́ inú rírọ́.
The day one learns laziness is the day one should learn how to endure a painfully empty stomach.
(The lazy person should not expect to be fed by others.)
Ọjọ́ a bá rí ìbí nìbí ńwọlẹ̀.
The day one sees the after-birth is the day it enters the earth.
(Once one perceives a threat one can deal decisively with it.)
Ọjọ́ eré lọ̀ràn ńdun ọ̀lẹ.
It is on the day of relaxation that the lazy person experiences regret.
(People who did not save for a rainy day will regret when those who did save enjoy the benefits of their foresight.)
Ọjọ́ tí a dóko là ńjìjà ilẹ̀.
The day one gets to the farm is the day one fights over boundaries.
(Do not procrastinate.)
Ọjọ́ tí a ńkọ́ṣẹ́ là ńkọ́ ìyára.
The day one learns a trade is the day one learns to be quick at it.
(Whatever one does one should do thoroughly and expertly.)
Ọ̀kàràkàrà ńké, ẹnu ẹ̀ ḿbẹ́jẹ̀; ó ní bí ẹnu òún ya dé ìpàkọ́, òun ó sàáà máa wí tòun.
Ọ̀kàràkàrà is calling and blood drips from its beaks; it says even if its mouth tears to the occiput it will continue its calling.
(As long as one's serious problem persists one should not stop calling for help.)
Ọ̀lẹ́ bà á tì, ó kó sílé Ifá.
The lazy person fails at everything, whereupon he becomes an Ifá acolyte.
(The lazy person finds easy tasks to do.)
The following is a variant.
Ọ̀lẹ́ bà á tì, ó kó sílé-e kéú.
The lazy person fails at everything, whereupon he goes to a Quaranic school.
(The lazy person always seeks out the easiest employment.)
Compare the foregoing.
Ọ̀lẹ, baba àrùn.
Laziness, father of all diseases.
(Laziness is worse than any disease.)
Ọ̀lẹ èèyàn ò rí ayé wá.
A lazy person has found no world to come to.
(The lot of a lazy person in this world is misery.)
Ọ̀lẹ́ fẹ́ àrùn kù, ó bú pùrù sẹ́kún.
The lazy person cannot find a disease to contract, he bursts into tears.
(A lazy person will rather catch a disease than submit to work.)
Ọ̀lẹ́ fi ọ̀ràn gbogbo ṣe “hòo.”
The lazy person replies “yes” to all propositions.
(You will get no argument from a lazy person.)
Ọ̀lẹ́ jogún ìbànújẹ́, ó ní òún jogún ìran òun.
The lazy person inherits unhappiness, he says he has inherited the fate of his lineage.
(The lazy person has himself to blame, not his destiny.)
Ọ̀lẹ́ jogún ìbáwí.
The lazy person inherits recriminations.
(The lazy person is an tempting scapegoat.)
Ọ̀lẹ́ kákò, ó di òjòjò.
The lazy person curls up, and his condition becomes a serious ailment.
(The simplest tasks become impossible undertakings for the lazy person.)
Ọ̀lẹ́ kún àárẹ̀ lọ́wọ́.
Laziness lends weariness a hand.
(Laziness is often a contributor to weariness.)
Ọ̀lẹ́ mọ èèwọ̀ ìjà: ó ní bàbá òún ní kóun má jà lọ́nà oko.
The coward knows the preventive for fighting: he says his father has ordered him not to fight on the way to the farm.
(The coward will use every excuse to get out of a fight.)
Ọ̀lẹ́ ní ọjọ́ tí ikú bá pa òun, inú òhun á dùn. Ikú ní òun ó jẹ̀ẹ́ kí ojú ẹ̀ rí màbo.
The lazy person says on the day he dies, he will be happy. Death says he will visit him (the lazy person) with suffering that is out of this world.
(There is no way for the lazy person to avoid suffering.)
The following entry is a variant.
Ọ̀lẹ́ ní ọjọ́ tí òún bá kú òun ó yọ̀; ohun tí ojú ọ̀lẹ́ máa rí kó tó kú ńkọ́?
The coward says he will rejoice on the day he dies; but what about the woes he will experience before he dies?
(Death may offer the coward a respite, but he will suffer before death comes.)
Compare the preceding entry.
Ọ̀lẹ ò yẹẹ́ ní lọ́mọ.
A lazy person is not something one wants as a child.
(Who wants a lazy child?)
Ọ̀lẹ́ wáṣẹ́ rírọ̀ ṣe.
The lazy person seeks out an easy task to do.
(Trust the lazy person to find the easiest tasks.)
Ọlọgbọ́n kì í kú sóko ọ̀lẹ; bí ọlọgbọ́n bá kú sóko ọ̀lẹ, ọ̀ràn náà-á nídìí.
The wise will not die on a farm for the lazy; if a wise person dies on a farm for the lazy, there must be some explanation.
(The resourceful person will always find a way out of a predicament.)
Ọlọ́mú dá ọmú ìyá ẹ̀ gbé.
Each child must lift its mother's breast by itself.
(Every person to his/her own resources.)
Ọlọ́run yó pèsè; kì í ṣe bí èsè oríta.
The Lord will give alms, but not the type one comes upon at crossroads.
(One wishes for good gifts from God, not just any sort of leavings.)
Ọmọ tí yó jẹ̀ẹ́ àṣàmú, kékeré ní ńtií nṣẹnu ṣámú-ṣámú.
A person that will become exemplary will begin showing precociousness from childhood.
(Childhood shows the adult.)
Ọmọ tó káwọ́ sókè ló fẹ́ ká gbé òun.
It is the child that lifts up its arms that induces people to lift it.
(If you want people to come to your aid, first lift a finger on your own behalf.)
Compare Ọmọ tó ṣípá fúnni là ńgbé jó.
Ọmọ tó ṣípá fúnni là ńgbé jó.
It is the child that lifts its arms to one that one picks up to dance with.
(One makes friends with people who offer friendship.)
Compare Ọmọ tó káwọ́ sókè ló fẹ́ ká gbé òun.
Ọmọdé ò mọ ibi tí à ńpọn òun rè.
A child does not know where the person who carries it on her back is headed with it.
(People who depend on others do not know what they have in mind for them.)
Ọ̀mu ní ńgbe ọ̀mu mì.
It is drunkenness that swallows (or drowns) a champion drinker.
(Only an intrepid contestant can match another intrepid contestant.)
Ọ̀nà kì í dí mọ́ aládàá.
The path does not close on a man carrying a machete.
(No problem is insoluble for a resourceful person.)
Ọ̀ràn búburú kì í bá ikún nílé.
An evil event never finds the squirrel at home.
(A statement that one will never be around when disaster occurs.)
Ọ̀ràn fini dùgbẹ̀-dùgbẹ̀ yinni nù; ọ̀ràn fini dùgbẹ̀-dùgbẹ̀ bí ẹnipé kò ní í tán; ọ̀ràn ḿbọ̀ wá tán; ojú á tẹlẹ́gàn, a sì ti ẹni tí ńyọnusọ.
A problem shakes one up vigorously and lets one go; a problem shakes one up vigorously as though it would never end; the trouble will end, deflating the ill-wishers and also those who will not mind their own business.
(However terrible one's problems, they will cease and leave one in better shape than one's enemies would like.)
Ọrùn kì í wọ òṣùká; ẹlẹ́rù lọrùn ńwọ̀.
The pad placed on the head to soften the friction of the load on the head does not suffer from the weight; the person carrying the load is the one whose neck suffers under the weight.
(Commiserators and people lending a hand do not suffer the troubled person's pain; the troubled person is the one who bears it all.
Ọwọ́ atẹ́gùn ò ká gẹdú.
The wind is no match for timber.
(Even powerful forces do come up against objects they cannot move.)
Ọwọ́ ẹni la fi ńtú ìwà ara ẹni ṣe.
One's own hands are what one uses to mend one's fortune.
(Each person's fortune is in his/her own hands.)
Ọwọ́ ẹni ni yó yòóni.
One hands are what feed one to satiation.
(One's hands are one's best resources.)
Ọwọ́ ní ńtún ara ṣe.
The hands are the agents for grooming the body.
(One's well-being is in one's hands.)
Ọwọ́ tó dilẹ̀ là ńfi lérán.
It is on an idle hand that one rests one's chin.
(It is when one has nothing to do that one's engages in mischief.)
Ọyẹ́ ni yó kìlọ̀ fún onítòbí.
It is the harmattan that will teach the person who has only a loin cloth a lesson.
(People who do not provide for the rainy day will pay when the rain does come.)
65. Akẹsẹ is local yellow cotton cloth.
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66. The chief task of the Ifá pupil is to memorise the huge texts associated with it.
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67. Pupils in Koranic schools recite the koran all day, a supposedly easy task.
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