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Part 6: On consideration, kindness, and thoughtfulness


O jb, o mub, o bab j.
There you ate, there you drank, and there you fouled.
(One should not besmirch a place that has been good to one.)

O k i l b ary nn.
Greetings to you at work cannot invite people's anger.
(A courteous act does not expose one to trouble.)

kn mi lj, k Arogun; kan oo ni mo r, igba n l fi s i.
Its impression on me is tremendous, such is Arogun's corn meal; I bought only one, but she gave me two hundred as makeweight (or extra measure).
(Said of people who have gone well beyond the call of duty.)

Ob kker kj kta l.
A small kolanut is superior to a large stone.
(A small gift is better than none at all.)

Obnrin t bm t b olmitt, whl k - dnk; k n j ew m, bni k n wa egb.
A woman who bears a child that requires only cold water for all cures has saved her husband much worry; he will never again go searching for medicinal leaves, nor will he go digging roots.
(A considerate woman is the joy of her husband.)

Obnrin-n bmo fn o n o rn ; o f k o nfun ni?
A woman has a child by you and you still say you do not see her inside know her mind; would you have her expose her intestines?
(People's actions are enough, without accompanying words, to prove the extent of their commitment to one.)

gn r ike; gbd r bt; oko ro- ro, gbd pa k t.
gn [11] does not fashion ivory, the blacksmith does not make shoes; were farming not a difficult pursuit the blacksmith would not manufacture hoes for sale.
(One should appreciate people for their efforts, and not belittle their accomplishments.)

Ohun t b ahun nw b lp-o .
What will help a miser spend his money is right there in his/her pocket.
(The person who does not willingly share what he/she has will somehow find him/herself being deprived of it.)

j pa ew-e kk; b l ya k ya.
The rain beats the coco-yam leaf; if it will tear, let it tear.
(When one has no investment in some property one is liable to be careless in using it; also, One will do what one pleases, and damn the consequences.)

Oj la r l krin k, k forin sy k t l.
It is out of regard for onlookers that one sings in praise of the dead; the dead did not prescribe a song before departing this life.
(One does certain things out of a sense of propriety, not because one must.)

Oj n rj n.
Eyes are what see look on eyes and fill with kindness.
(When the eyes actually see suffering, they cannot avoid compassion.)

Oj ba ay l f; trn l kedere, wo aebi.
Only the king of this earth is blind; that of heaven is wide-eyed, watching evil doers.
(God sees all acts of wickedness that may be hidden from earthly authorities.)

kul n ta ni un ro tun fn? Ta n w ro ti fun kulu?
kulu asks to whom should he lodge his complaint? Did anybody lodge his complaint with kulu?
(If one has been unhelpful to others, one should not expect any help from them.)

Ongg j ba tkhn j.
The goitered person going in front ruins the fortunes of the one coming behind.
(A person's misdeeds compromises those coming after him.)

Oore k gb; k k dn; -oore-jind n mmni pdn oore.
A good deed does not go for nought; a wicked deed is never lost; drowning while doing a favor is what makes the good person lose out on the rewards for his goodness.
(Every kindness, like every wickedness, is rewarded; one should be prudent, though in doing favors.)

Oore t a e fd gb; b p tt a omi tooro sni lnu.
The favor one does a chicken is not for nought; in due course it will make stew to delight one's mouth.
(There will always be a return for whatever favor one does others.)

rhn n e m k pl; ta n j e m gn lore?
Only a person who thinks of the future commiserates with an orphan; otherwise, who would show kindness to an gn person?
(Only the knowledge that one never knows the future makes one show kindness to people who do not appreciate goodness.) [12]

n b jr; onnure n b dun.
An ill-natured woman will not give birth to twins; only good-natured people give birth to twins.
(Only good people are fortunate enough to have twins.) [13]

Ow l pe n ow.
Money is what calls for spending money.
(The availability of money creates the need to spend it.)


11. gn is the god of metals.  [Back to text]


12. The gn are a branch of the Yoruba; they suffer from a good deal of detraction.  [Back to text]


13. dun is the colobus monkey, but the Yoruba, who greatly favor twins, associate them with the animal.  [Back to text]