Part 4: On perseverance, industry, resilience, self-confidence, self-reliance, resourcefulness, daring, fortitude, and invulnerability
Bí a bá ńpa èpo oṣè, ṣe ní ḿmáaá sanra sí i.
The more one peels the bark of the baobab, the fatter it becomes.
(The more a certain person is misused, the more successful he/she becomes.)
Bí a kò bá jìyà tó kún agbọ̀n; a ò lè jẹ oore tó kún ahá.
If one does not experience enough suffering to fill a basket, one cannot enjoy enough good to fill a cup.
(Suffering precedes pleasures.)
Bí a kò bá ṣe bí ẹlẹ́dẹ̀ lọ́nà Ìkòròdú, a ò lè ṣe bí Adégbọrọ̀ lọ́jà ọba.
If one does not act like a pig on the way to Ikòròdú one cannot act like Adégbọrọ̀at the king's market.
(Before one can live in luxury, one must soil one's hands with work.)
Bí ebí bá ńpa ọ̀lẹ, à jẹ́ kó kú.
If a lazy person is suffering from hunger, he/she should be left to die.
(Shiftless people deserve no sympathy.)
Bí ẹkẹ́-ẹ tálákà ò tó lówùúrọ̀, á tó lálẹ́.
If a poor person's forked stake is not long enough in the morning, it will be long enough at night.
(The things one rejects when the choice is abundant will become acceptable when there is no choice.)
Bí ẹnìkan ò kíni “Kú-ù-jokòó,” kíkí Ọlọ́run-ún ju ti igba èèyàn lọ.
If a person does not extend greetings to one, God's greetings are worth more than two hundred peoples'.
(Being snubbed by people matters nothing, as long as God does not snub one.)
Bí ẹrú yó bàá jẹ ìfun, ibi ẹ̀dọ̀ ní-í tí ḿbẹ̀rẹ̀.
A slave that would eat intestines must begin with the liver.
(One must endure unpleasantness before achieving one's ends.)
Bí ẹ̀yá bá dẹkùn, ẹran ní ńpajẹ.
When the cub becomes a grown leopard, it kills animals for food.
(When the child becomes an adult, he adopts adult ways.)
Bí ìbí bá tẹ̀, bí ìbí bá wọ́, oníkálukú a máa ṣe baba nílé ara-a rẹ̀.
If the pedigree is bent, if the pedigree is crooked, each person will play the father in his own home.
(In difficult times, each person has the solace and security of his own home.)
Bí ilẹ̀-ẹ́ bá mọ́, ojú orun lọ̀lẹ ńwà.
When day breaks the lazy person will still be asleep.
(Lazy people will not rouse themselves to do an honest day's work.)
Bí iná kò bá tán láṣọ, ẹ̀jẹ̀ kì í tán léèékánná.
If lice are not completely gone from one's clothings, one's nails will not be free of blood.
(If the causes of one's problems are not removed, the problems will persist.)
Bí ìṣẹ́ bá ńṣẹ́ ọ̀dọ́ láṣẹ̀ẹ́jù, kó lọ sígbó erin; bó bá pa erin ìṣẹ́-ẹ rẹ̀ a tán; bí erín bá pá a, ìṣẹ́-ẹ rẹ̀ a tán.
If a youth is in the grips of excessive privations, he should go after an elephant; if he kills an elephant his privations will be over; if an elephant kills him, his privations will be over.
(People in desperate straights should resort to desperate remedies; whatever the outcome, they will be no worse off than before.)
Bí iwájú ò bá ṣeé lọ sí, ẹ̀hìn a ṣeé padà sí.
If one cannot go forward, one will be able to retreat.
(If a goal proves impossible of achievement, one can at least abandon it.)
Bí màlúù-ú tó màlúù, ọ̀pá kan ni Fúlàní fi ńdà wọ́n.
However numerous the cattle might be, it is with only one staff that the Fulbe man herds them.
(The good worksperson needs no elaborate tools.)
“Bí mo lè kú ma kú” lọmọkùrín fi ńlágbárá “Ng ò lè wáá kú” lọmọkùnrín fi ńlẹ.
“If I must die let me die” is what makes a man strong; “I simply will not court death” is what makes a man lazy or cowardly.
(Daring makes the man; caution unmakes the man.)
Bí ó pẹ́ títí, akólòlò á pe baba.
However long it may take, the stammarer will eventually say, “Father.”
(With perseverance, the most difficult task will eventually be accomplished.)
Bí ó pẹ́ títí, àlejò á di onílé.
In time, a sojourner becomes a native.
(Persistence leads to success.)
Bí ó ti wuni là ńṣe ìmàle ẹni; bó wu Lèmámù a fẹlẹ́dẹ̀ jẹ sààrì.
One practices one's Islam as one pleases; if the Imam wishes he may break his fast with pork.
(One lives one's life as one sees best.)
Bí Ògún ẹní bá dánilójú, à fi gbárí.
If one is sure of one's Ògún cult object, one taps ones head with it.
(If one is sure of one's position, one confidently swears by anything.)
Compare the next entry.
Bí ojú kò pọ́nni bí osùn, a kì í he ohun pupa bí idẹ.
If one's eyes do not become as red as camwood stain, one does not come by something as red as brass.
(Unless one endures some hardship, one does not reap great benefits.)
Bí ojú owó ẹni ò yóni, ènì ò lè yóni.
If what one bought for one's money does not fill one, the little extra thrown into the bargain will not.
(A person who cannot survive on his main occupation cannot survive on his sideline.)
Bí ojúmọ́ mọ́ lékèélékèé a yalé ẹlẹ́fun, agbe a yalé aláró, àlùkò a yalé olósùn.
When day dawns the cattle egret makes for the home of the dealer in chalk, the blue touraco heads for the home of the indigo dealer, the purple àlúkò bird seeks out the dealer in camwood resin.
(Diligent people never dally in pursuing their trade.)
Bí ọwọ́ kò sin ilẹ̀, tí kò sin ẹnu, ayo ní ńjẹ́.
If the hand does not cease going down and going to the mouth, satiation results.
(If one keeps at a task, it will eventually be accomplished.)
Bí Ṣàǹgó bá ńpa àràbà, tó ńpa ìrókò, bíi tigi ńlá kọ́.
Even though Ṣango kills the silk-cotton tree and kills the ìrókò tree, no such fate can befall the huge tree.
(A boast that the person referred to is mightier than even the mightiest person around.)
13. Ìkòròdú is a town a few miles from Lagos (the reference is to a farm on the way to the town), while the name Adégbọrọ̀ means, “The crown(ed head) receives riches.”
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14. Ẹkẹ́ is a forked pole used as a support while building houses.
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