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Part 5: On consistency; honesty, openness, plain speaking, reliability


B a b k ok m obnrin nd n kk ni
(If one catches a penis in a woman's vagina she will argue that it is only corn-cob.)
Trust a woman to deny even the obvious.

B a b yl d, ohun abn a ma yni e.
If one engages secretly in treachery, secret disasters befall one.
(Crimes committed in secret do not go unrequited.)

B abr b abr lyn k; j t b tbi t k t a fi roko n pani.
Like a needle, like a needle, one compiles falsehood; the day it is as big as the hoe one uses on a farm, that is the day it kills one.
(Small falsehoods eventually grow into a habit powerful enough to kill.)

B n b j, oj t.
If the mouth has eaten, the eyes shut down.
(If one has received some favor from a person, one's eyes will be closed to the person's faults.)

B gbn f, karaun a tl .
When the snail crawls, its shell follows.
(The dependent person always sticks close to his or her support.)

B k- b roj, k k ni y d a.
If the wicked person states a case, it is not the wicked person that will judge it.
(The wicked will not prevail in the face of impartial judges.)

B o fin k t o fde t, ba srk rn rn .
If you hide wickedness inside you and display a kindly disposition, God above will laugh hard at you.
(No secret act of wickedness is concealed from God.)

B o n p ogn, t o n k, k n j; or n j ju ew l; pn j ju ogn l.
If you have a great deal of medicine and you are false, it will not work; one's head works better than any herb; one's destiny is far more effective than any medicine.
(One's evil intentions make one's medicine ineffective; one's best hope lies in one's head and one's destiny.) [11]

B o r i, w p o r; k fn lw, l gb n.
If you saw it you would say you did not; your husband gave you money and your lover spends it.
(An unfaithful woman deserves no trust.)

B ti w k p t, olt n sn sp k.
However long it takes, a truthful person will not wind up in the bed made for the wicked.
(Whatever happens in the short run, in the long run the truthful person will be vindicated.)

B obnrn b ma dn k w, a da a dd bora.
When a woman wishes to engage in mischief, she wears dark clothing.
(A woman's furtiveness portends mischief.)

B oj b s oj; k ohn m y ohn.
If eyes no longer see eyes, let the voice not miss the voice.
(Though separated by distances, people should keep agreements they made.)

B olknrn y b k, k m pur m lap; omitooro k kor.
If an invalid is approaching death, he should not lie about the melon-seed loaf; stew is never bitter.
(If one must make excuses for one's flaws, one should make them plausible.)

B ru b ru n e aldd.
Longing for night-time, longing for night-time is the tendency of the person in dark clothing.
(A person engaged in secret business is always secretive.)

B gbn b tn nn, a tn mrn d.
When an elder has exhausted all his wisdom, he turns to another wisdom.
(An elder is never at a loss for what to do.)

B md b m igb-di-ogje, k l m r-k-wj.
If a youth knows two-hundred-becomes-one-hundred-and-forty, he cannot know traders-refuse-to-come-to-the-market.
(A person who knows how to cheat those who deal with him will not know how to win them back when they refuse to deal with him.)

B md b ri oyin, a ju kr n.
When a child sees honey, he throws away bean fritters.
(The inconstant person's concern is limited to the latest attraction.)


11. For the Yoruba, or (literally, head) is the guardian of one's destiny.  [Back to text]