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Part 4: On perseverance, industry, resilience, self-confidence, self-reliance, resourcefulness, daring, fortitude, and invulnerability


ba t fi iyn bl, ba t w u, wn mjj la ma s ork- wn.
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.

ba t s gn di erf; ba t s erf dgn, wn mjj la ma s ork- wn.
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.

b t dn, ow l pa .
A delicious stew was procured with money.
(Nothing good happens without money.)

b- tut tn, a daw b l.
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.)

dj l b ow; tj l b gbs.
It is brazenness that gives birth to wealth; it is excessive reticence that gives birth to poverty.
(Nothing succeeds without some audaciousness.)

ddn lgb ny.
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.)

dnn d pa erin; mrn d pa fn; dn mf d pa l; l rewj, tb l rhn?
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 lrewj l gb . . .

gd dd bn; m burk l 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.)

gbn ynb ti oj kun l w; a k ni o bor aks?
The white man's wisdom shines even across the seas; what cloth, though, is better than aks cloth?
(Despite the appeal of foreign goods, local wares are preferable.) [65]

j t a fow r, ow la fi pa.
One makes money from goods one purchased with money.
(One should not make gifts of commodities one purchased for trade.)

-j-wm-wm-k-wm-wm lork t p j.
One-who-eats-recklessly-and-dies-recklessly is the name one calls a wasteful person.
(Wasteful people will never learn the value of things.)

j a b k l l k in rr.
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.)

j a b r b nb wl.
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.)

j er lrn dun l.
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.)

j t a dko l jj il.
The day one gets to the farm is the day one fights over boundaries.
(Do not procrastinate.)

j t a k l k yra.
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.)

krkr k, nu bj; n b nu n ya d pk, un s ma w tun.
krkr 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.)

l b t, k sl If.
The lazy person fails at everything, whereupon he becomes an If acolyte.
(The lazy person finds easy tasks to do.) [66]
The following is a variant.

l b t, k sl-e k.
The lazy person fails at everything, whereupon he goes to a Quaranic school.
(The lazy person always seeks out the easiest employment.) [67]
Compare the foregoing.

l, baba rn.
Laziness, father of all diseases.
(Laziness is worse than any disease.)

l yn r ay w.
A lazy person has found no world to come to.
(The lot of a lazy person in this world is misery.)

l f rn k, b pr skn.
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.)

l fi rn gbogbo e ho.
The lazy person replies yes to all propositions.
(You will get no argument from a lazy person.)

l jogn bnj, n n jogn ran un.
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.)

l jogn bw.
The lazy person inherits recriminations.
(The lazy person is an tempting scapegoat.)

l kk, di jj.
The lazy person curls up, and his condition becomes a serious ailment.
(The simplest tasks become impossible undertakings for the lazy person.)

l kn r lw.
Laziness lends weariness a hand.
(Laziness is often a contributor to weariness.)

l m w j: n bb n n kun m j ln 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.)

l n j t ik b pa un, in hun dn. Ik n un j k oj r mbo.
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.

l n j t n b k un y; ohun t oj l ma r k t k k?
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.

l y n lm.
A lazy person is not something one wants as a child.
(Who wants a lazy child?)

l w rr e.
The lazy person seeks out an easy task to do.
(Trust the lazy person to find the easiest tasks.)

lgbn k k sko l; b lgbn b k sko l, rn n- nd.
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.)

lm d m y gb.
Each child must lift its mother's breast by itself.
(Every person to his/her own resources.)

lrun y ps; k e b s orta.
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.)

m t y j m, kker n ti nnu m-m.
A person that will become exemplary will begin showing precociousness from childhood.
(Childhood shows the adult.)

m t kw sk l f k gb un.
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 m t p fnni l gb j.

m t p fnni l gb j.
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 m t kw sk l f k gb un.

md m ibi t pn un r.
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.)

mu n gbe mu m.
It is drunkenness that swallows (or drowns) a champion drinker.
(Only an intrepid contestant can match another intrepid contestant.)

n k d m ald.
The path does not close on a man carrying a machete.
(No problem is insoluble for a resourceful person.)

rn bbur k b ikn nl.
An evil event never finds the squirrel at home.
(A statement that one will never be around when disaster occurs.)

rn fini dgb-dgb yinni n; rn fini dgb-dgb b nip k n tn; rn b w tn; oj tlgn, a s ti ni t ynus.
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.)

rn k w k; lr lrn w.
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.

w atgn k gd.
The wind is no match for timber.
(Even powerful forces do come up against objects they cannot move.)

w ni la fi t w ara ni e.
One's own hands are what one uses to mend one's fortune.
(Each person's fortune is in his/her own hands.)

w ni ni y yni.
One hands are what feed one to satiation.
(One's hands are one's best resources.)

w n tn ara e.
The hands are the agents for grooming the body.
(One's well-being is in one's hands.)

w t dil l fi lrn.
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.)

y ni y kl fn ontb.
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. Aks is local yellow cotton cloth.  [Back to text]


66. The chief task of the If pupil is to memorise the huge texts associated with it.  [Back to text]


67. Pupils in Koranic schools recite the koran all day, a supposedly easy task.  [Back to text]