The record below is exemplary of what the African Folk Tale Library is looking for from people who are interested in contributing to the library.
Ìdí tí ẹ̀hìn Ìjàpá kò fi dọ́gba (Yoruba)
“How the tortoise got his rough shell”
Ní ìgbà kan, gbogbo àwọn ẹranko jọ ńgbé papọ̀ wọ́n sì jọ ńjẹun papọ̀. Eléyí ńlọ bẹẹ títí fún ìgbà pípẹ́. Nígbàtí ó wá yá nkànkan wa ṣẹlẹ̀ tí ó dá rudurùdu sí àáráín awọn ẹranko. Nkan tí ó ṣelẹ̀ ni wípé òjò kò wár ọ mọ, gbogbo ewéko wá gbẹ, ìyàn wá mú tóbẹ́ gẹ́ tí gbogbo àwọn ẹranko kò rí nkànkan jẹ mọ. Wọ́n bẹ̀rẹ̀ sí wá oúnjẹ kákiri ibi tí wọ́n bá lè rí ewéko tàbí nkàn míràn láti jẹ.
Ṣùgbọ́n lẹ́hìn ọdún bí mẹ́wa síi, wọn kò rí nkankan lati jẹ mọ. Gbogbo ilẹ ti gbẹ ni àwọn ẹranko wọ̀nyíi wá gbìmọ̀ wípé kí wọ́n ṣe ìpàdé láti dá rò rò ǹkan tí wọ́n máa ṣe láti dá ẹ̀mí àwọn ọmọ wọn sí. Ni awọn ẹranko wá sọ wípé kí wọ́n dàbá wípé kí gbogbo awọn arúgbó àti àwọn tí ó ti dàgbà gaanan wípé kí wọ́n máa mú ìyá àti bàbá wọn wá kí wọn pa wọ́n kí wọ́n máa jẹ wọ́n. Wọ́n gbà pé ìmọ̀ràn yìí dára púpọ̀, àwọn àgbà ẹranko yìí sì gbà bẹ́ẹ̀. Nígbà tí ó wá yá, wọ́n fẹ́rẹ̀ jẹ gbogbo àwọn àgbà wọ̀nyí tán. Awọn ẹranko míràn ti wọ́n ní ọgbọ́n ori fẹ́raǹ ìyá wọn wọn kò sì fẹ́ kí ìyá wọn jẹ́ oúnjẹ fún àwọn ẹranko míràn. Irú àwọn ẹranko báyi ńi ajá. Ajá àti ìjàpá jẹ́ ọ̀rẹ́ gidi, ni ó wá di ọjọ́ kan ajá mú ìyá rẹ̀ gun orí igi ìròkó ńlá kan, ni ọwọ́ wọn bá kan ọ̀run. Ajá fi ìyá rẹ̀ sílẹ̀ sínú òkè ọ̀run , ó bá sọ̀ kalẹ̀. Nígbàtí ó sọ̀ kalẹ̀ ni Ìjàpá tí ó jẹ́ ọ̀rẹ́ rẹ̀ bi í lérè wípé ìyá rẹ̀ ńkọ́ nítorí ìpàdé fẹ́rẹ̀ kàn ẹ́. Ó sọ fún Ìjàpá wípé ìyá òun ti kú kí ó wá wo ibi tí òun sin ìyá òun si. [Nígbàtí Ajá sọ̀kalẹ̀ láti orí igi, ó sáré wa ihò ńlá sí ẹ̀hìn ilé rẹ̀, ó bá wa iyẹ̀pẹ̀ náà padà sínú ihò].
Ìgbàtí iyẹ̀pẹ̀ yẹn sì tutù ni Ìjàpá rí i pé ajá tí sìnkú ìyá rẹ̀ nítọ̀tọ́. Nígbàtí ó wá ṣe díẹ̀, ìpàdé wá kan ajá wọ́n wá ní kó gbé ìyá rẹ̀ wá. Ó bá sọ fún wọn pé ìyá òun kò sí mọ́ ó ti kú kí wọ́n wá wo ibi tí òun sin í sí. Ìjàpá sì ṣe ẹlẹ́rí sí i. Nígbàtí o wá yá, ebi ńpa ajá ó bá sáré lọ sí ìdí ìrókò ńlá náà lái jẹ̀ kí ẹnikẹ́ni rí òun láti pe ìyá rẹ̀. Ó sì wá ńkọrin báyí “ìyá, ìyá takùn wá lẹ̀, o, àlùjanjankírìjan, gbogbo ẹranko pa yèyé rẹ̀ jẹ àlùjanjankírìjan, ajá mú tirẹ̀ ó dọ̀run, àlùjanjankírìjan, ìyá ìyá takùn wálẹ̀ o alujanjankirijan. Bí ìyá ajá ṣe gbọ orin ohùn ọmọ rẹ̀ lati ọ̀run ni ó ba tá okùn sílẹ̀. Ajá bá súré gòkè tọ ìyá rẹ̀ lọ, ìyá rẹ̀ fùn lóuńje ó bá y ó ó sì padà sọ̀kalẹ̀ sí ilé ayé. Gbogbo àwọn ẹranko wa bẹ̀rẹ̀ sí rù, ṣùgbọ́n ajá ńsanra. Wọ́n wá bi ajá lérè nkàn tí ó ńje tí ó fi sanra tí ara rẹ̀ sì ńdán? Ni ó bá ní nkàn tí òun njẹ ni àwọn ǹkan tí wọ́n gbọ́n nínú ẹyìn, tí ẹ bá lè ṣe élèyí, ara yín yío máà dán. Ìjàpá bá ní ọ̀rẹ́ jọ̀wọ́ ṣe élèyí fún mi ni ajá mú ìjàpá lọ sí ibi ẹyin ó sì fun ní ẹyìn náà. Ìjàpá ní pé ẹ ṣé ó sì lọ sí ilé. Ṣùgbọ́n bí ìjàpá ṣe dé ilé rẹ̀, ni gbogbo nkàn tí ó jẹ tán nínú rẹ̀. Ó lọ bá ìjàpá láti sọ fun wípé oúnje náà ti lọ nínú òun. Ajá sọ fun ìjàpá pé nkàn tí òun ṣe nìyẹn tí ìwọ bá lè máa ṣé ní ojojúmọ́, ìwọ yí ò yó wà sí máa dán.
Ṣùgbọ́n ìjàpá kò wá gba ajá gbọ́ mọ́ ó wá ńṣọ́ ọ. Ó wá di ọjọ kan, ebi tún ti ń pa ajá ó sì lọ sí ìdí ìròkó lái mọ̀ pé ìjàpá ti ń ṣọ́ òun to sì tẹ̀lé òun. Ó kọrin ìyá rẹ̀ sì ta okùn sílẹ̀ ni ajá bá súré gòkè lọ o sí jẹun ó yó, ó sì sọ̀ kalẹ̀ ó lọ sílé inú rẹ̀ ti dùn pé òun ti yó dada. Ìjàpá bá sáré lọ sí ìdí ìrókò ni ó bá bẹ̀rẹ̀ sí kọ orin náà báyì “ìyá, ìyá takùn wá lè o, àlùjanjankírìjan, gbogbo ẹranko pa yèyé rẹ̀ jẹ àlùjanjankírìjan, ajá mú tirẹ̀ ó dọ̀run, àlùjanjankírìjan, ìyá, ìyá takùn wálè o àlùjanjankírìjan. Bí ìyá ajá ṣe gbọ́ orin yí ó sọ wípé ohùn yí kò jọ ti ọmọ mi ṣúgbọ́n bóyá kò yó dáada ni, ó bá ta okùn sílẹ̀. Ìjàpá bá bẹ̀rẹ̀ sí gun okùn lọ si òkè. Ṣùgbọ́n nítorípé kò tètè lè gun okùn náà. Bí ti ajá, ni ìya ajá bá funra wípé kí ló dé tí ọmọ òun kò tètè gun òkè wá bí ti tẹ́lẹ̀? Ìyá ajá bá bojú wo ilẹ̀ láti ọ̀run wá ó sì rí i wípé ọmọ òun kò ni ó ń gun òkè bọ̀ àti wípé ìjàpá ni. Ìya ajá bá gé okùn, bí ó ṣe gé okùn yí i ìjàpá bá ṣubú láti òkè sílẹ̀, igbá ẹ̀hìn rẹ̀ bá fọ́ yányán bí eléyì tíṣe ṣẹlẹ̀ ni ìjàpá bá rí awọn ìkamùdù, ó sì bẹ wọ́n kí wọ́n bá òun to ẹ̀hin òun padà. Àwọn ìkamùdù lè ṣiṣé gan an ni wọ́n sì bá ìjàpá to ẹ̀hìn rẹ̀ padà ṣùgbọ́n bí wọ́n ṣe gbìyànjú tó, ẹ̀hìn ìjàpá kò dán mọ́rán mọ́. Ìdí lèyí tí ẹ̀hìn ìjàpá kò fi dán mọ́rán mọ́ títí di òní.
Once upon a time, all animals were living together in unity. They were eating whatever they can find together. This went on for a very long time until something happened that caused a lot of havoc among the animals.
What happened was that there was a lot of famine without any more food or green grass for the animals to eat. This happened because the animals have not had rain for a long time in their area. The animals then decided to have a meeting on what to do to keep them and their offspring alive. At the meeting, the animals unanimously decided that they should be killing the old ones among them one by one to eat together to keep the famine away. The older animals agreed with this decision and the animals were bringing their elderly for consumption as it gets to their turn. Soon most of the elderly animals were gone. Some of the animals decided not to submit their mothers for such decision taken. The dog was one of these animals. When the dog realized that it was getting to its turn, it took its mother to a big Iroko tree, they both climbed on the tree until they were able to touch the sky.
The dog then took its mother to heaven and they both ate till they were full, and the dog came back to earth. When he got back, the dog met his friend the tortoise who asked him about his mother and the dog informed the tortoise that his mother is dead and that the tortoise should come and see where he buried her ( the dog had quickly dug a grave behind their house and covered it with the freshly dug sand as soon as he got back from hiding his mother). When the tortoise saw the freshly dug grave, he believed that the dog’s mother was in the grave. Soon afterwards, the animals informed the dog to bring his mother that it was his turn. The dog told them that his mother is dead, and they should come and see where she was buried. The tortoise confirmed this, and the animals were okay with this.
It came to pass that the dog was hungry and he ran to the iroko tree and started singing “mother, mother send the rope down for me. All animals kill their mothers for food but I the dog took my mother to hide in heaven; mother send the rope down”. His mother sent the rope and the dog speedily climbed up to feast and dine with his mother. As soon as he finished eating, the dog came down satisfied and happy. The animals were all looking stunt and always hungry. The animals were surprised that the dog was looking plump and good. They asked the dog what he was eating that is different from their food because he was looking plump and fresh. He told them that he has been eating the broth of palm kernel and that is why he has been very plump. The tortoise asked his friend to give him the broth. The dog did, and the tortoise was very full after drinking the broth. After a while, the tortoise became very hungry again. The tortoise then started suspecting the dog that he was not telling the truth.
The tortoise started monitoring the dog without the knowledge of the dog. One fateful day, the dog went to the iroko tree as usual when he was hungry and started singing : “mother, mother send the rope down for me. All animals kill their mothers for food but I the dog took my mother to hide in heaven; mother send the rope down”. His mother sent the rope and the dog speedily climbed up to feast and dine with his mother. As soon as he finished eating, the dog came down satisfied happy and went to bed. As soon as the dog slept, the tortoise emerged from his hiding place behind the bush and went to the iroko tree spot. He started singing: “mother, mother send the rope down for me. All animals kill their mothers for food but I the dog took my mother to hide in heaven; mother send the rope down”. Dog’s mother sent the rope down wondering whether her son was not full. The tortoise climbed up so slowly that dog’s mother had to look down to see why it was taking her son so long to climb up. To her amazement, she saw that it was the tortoise that was climbing up and not her son. The tortoise was about three quarter to the top. Then dog’s mother cut the rope and the tortoise came crashing down with his back broken in pieces. The big working ants were passing by and the tortoise pleaded with them to help put his back together. They agreed and after they fished, the back skin was no longer the same. The back skin was no longer smooth but very rough. This is the reason why the tortoise back skin is very rough till today.