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


B a b pa po o, e n ma sanra s 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.)

B a k b jy t kn agbn; a l j oore t kn ah.
If one does not experience enough suffering to fill a basket, one cannot enjoy enough good to fill a cup.
(Suffering precedes pleasures.)

B a k b e b ld ln krd, a l e b Adgbr lj ba.
If one does not act like a pig on the way to Ikrd one cannot act like Adgbrat the king's market.
(Before one can live in luxury, one must soil one's hands with work.) [13]

B eb b pa l, j k k.
If a lazy person is suffering from hunger, he/she should be left to die.
(Shiftless people deserve no sympathy.)

B k- tlk t lwr, t ll.
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.) [14]

B nkan kni K--jok, kk lrun-n ju ti igba yn l.
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.)

B r y b j fun, ibi d n- t br.
A slave that would eat intestines must begin with the liver.
(One must endure unpleasantness before achieving one's ends.)

B y b dkn, ran n paj.
When the cub becomes a grown leopard, it kills animals for food.
(When the child becomes an adult, he adopts adult ways.)

B b b t, b b b w, onkluk a ma e baba nl ara-a r.
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.)

B il- b m, oj orun ll w.
When day breaks the lazy person will still be asleep.
(Lazy people will not rouse themselves to do an honest day's work.)

B in k b tn l, j k tn lknn.
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.)

B b d lj, k l sgb erin; b b pa erin - r a tn; b ern b p a, - r a tn.
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.)

B iwj b e l s, hn a e pad s.
If one cannot go forward, one will be able to retreat.
(If a goal proves impossible of achievement, one can at least abandon it.)

B ml- t ml, p kan ni Fln fi d wn.
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.)

B mo l k ma k lmkrn fi lgbr Ng l w k lmknrn fi l.
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.)

B p tt, akll pe baba.
However long it may take, the stammarer will eventually say, Father.
(With perseverance, the most difficult task will eventually be accomplished.)

B p tt, lej di onl.
In time, a sojourner becomes a native.
(Persistence leads to success.)

B ti wuni l e mle ni; b wu Lmm a fld j sr.
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.)

B gn n b dnilj, fi gbr.
If one is sure of one's gn 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.

B oj k pnni b osn, a k he ohun pupa b id.
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.)

B oj ow ni yni, n l yni.
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.)

B ojm m lklk a yal lfun, agbe a yal alr, lk a yal olsn.
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 lk bird seeks out the dealer in camwood resin.
(Diligent people never dally in pursuing their trade.)

B w k sin il, t k sin nu, ayo n j.
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.)

B g b pa rb, t pa rk, bi tigi l k.
Even though ango kills the silk-cotton tree and kills the rk 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. krd is a town a few miles from Lagos (the reference is to a farm on the way to the town), while the name Adgbr means, The crown(ed head) receives riches.  [Back to text]


14. k is a forked pole used as a support while building houses.  [Back to text]