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The person who is not patient cannot eat well-cooked dishes. -African Proverb

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Anansi and the pot of wisdom African Folktale

Anansi and the pot of wisdom is a beautiful African folktale. Children enjoy listening to Anansi African folktales learning from the wisdom and rich tradition of African storytelling. 

Anansi and the pot of wisdom African Folktale


This is a very old story told when the world was young. It is about how Anansi the Sly and greedy one among all the animals in the forest outsmarted himself.

As the story goes Anansi, that is still his name, but did you know that his first name was Kweku because he was born on a Wednesday ? One day Anansi collected all the wisdom in the world and decided to keep it all in a large pot for himself. Now he said “I have all the wisdom of the world for myself. At least that was what he thought being such a greedy person.

Kweku Anansi then tied the pot of wisdom around his neck with a strong vine rope and let the pot hang in front of him. But then he was afraid that someone would find the pot of wisdom and steal it.” 
Anansi and the pot of wisdom is a beautiful African folktale. Children enjoy listening to Anansi African folktales learning from the wisdom and rich tradition of African storytelling.


What shall I do with my pot of wisdom” He thought and thought and at last he said,” I shall hide the pot on top of the tallest tree in the forest.” So he searched the forest until he found the tallest tree which happened to be the thorny silk cotton tree and brought the pot of wisdom to the tree.

While Anansi was trying to climb the thorny silk cotton tree his son was watching him.” Father,” he said,” "What are you doing" "Well" said Anansi , I have in this clay pot all the wisdom of the world and I am going to hang it on the top of the tallest tree away from everybody , then I will be the wisest in the whole wide world." 

"I have an idea." said his son " Why not hang the pot behind you instead of in front of you. Then you will be able to climb the tree”. Well the sly one Anansi hung the pot behind him and to his surprise; he was able to climb to the top of the tree with his pot.

Finally, Anansi sat on a branch of the tree holding the pot of wisdom. “I thought I had all the wisdom in the world,” He thought to himself.

“I thought I had it all in my pot but my own son has wisdom not in my pot.” Then he made a statement that we still use today.” No one-person can have all the wisdom in the world. “On his way down he dropped the pot and it smashed into many pieces and scatted all the wisdom all over the world.


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Thursday, July 26, 2012

How the baboon’s bottom got swollen and red African Folktale

How the baboon’s bottom got swollen and red is a lovely African folktale. African folktales are stories forming part of an oral storytelling tradition shaped by the tongues of African elders passed down from one generation to the next. 


How the baboon’s bottom got swollen and red African Folktale


Tortoise and monkey were having a discussion when monkey began to boast about how he would become king of all the animals saying “Of all the animals, I am most like man so I should be king”. Tortoise replied, “You cannot be king for lion is king and is very powerful”. Monkey replied “Yet, man has power over lion and I am most like man so I should be king”!

Tortoise felt threatened by this claim, not knowing what might happen if monkey decided to start acting like man. You see, tortoise was not powerful, but what he lacked in strength, he made up in wit and he knew and understood every animal’s behavior so that he could outwit them all. But if the monkey was going to start acting in unpredictable ways, he did not want any of that. Tortoise decided to act quickly to put monkey back in his proper place.


How the baboon’s bottom got swollen and red African Folktale
How the baboon’s bottom got swollen and red 
African Folktale
Tortoise went home to prepare some fried black-eyed pea patties into which he added secret spices. When he was done, he put the fried black-eyed peas patties in a basket and took it to lion’s house where he placed it just outside his door and left to hide behind a tree. 

The fried black-eyed peas patties were warm and its aroma hung in the air so that lion soon came out to see where it was coming from. He picked one fried black-eyed pea patty and ate it and this patty was better than any patty he had ever eaten before. He ate another one, and then another one until all the patties was gone.

Lion had a huge appetite and these were the best fried black-eyed pea patties he had ever had, so he wanted some more. “Who made these patties?” he bellowed but there was no answer. He searched the surrounding area and quickly found tortoise. He grabbed Tortoise by the neck and asked him “How did these fried black-eyed peas patties get here”. Tortoise quivered and shook and frighteningly said “I promised not to tell”. But lion insisted he tell “or else…”, so Tortoise confessed that it came from Monkey but it is a secret. He told lion that that monkey made the fried black-eyed pea patties and would not share the recipe, he keeps it a secret.

Lion immediately headed to Monkey’s house. When he saw Monkey, he asked him “Give me the fried black-eyed pea patty recipe”. Monkey was confused because he could not cook and gave lion a blank stare. Lion roared at him “I said give it to me!” Monkey was terrified and made a batch of the patties. Lion sampled monkeys dish and found out he was tricked, it did not taste like fried black-eyed peas patties at all! It was not delicious and lion was mad. He started to beat Monkey while ordering him to hand over his secret recipe to make fried black-eyed pea patties. Lion did not stop beating monkey’s bottom until it was all swollen and red. Since then, Monkey has shelved his ambition to become king of all the animals but his bottom remains red and swollen as a reminder to never challenge the king.


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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Popular African Folktale Kiigbo Kiigba and the Helpful Spirits

African Folktale Kiigbo Kiigba and the Helpful Spirits

Popular African Folktale
African folktales are stories forming part of an oral storytelling tradition shaped by the tongues of African elders passed down from one generation to the next.
Kiigbo Kiigba Ethiopian tribe young Mursi warrior

Popular African Folktale Kiigbo Kiigba and the Helpful Spirits


Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture




The village was inhabited by both people and spirits

Kiigbo Kiigba and the helpful spirits African Folktale



There was a man named Kiigbo Kiigba who lived a very long time ago in a little African village. Like many of the villagers, he was a very hardworking farmer, but he had one major flaw, he was very stubborn. In fact, his name in Africa means one who does not hear nor accept, since he neither listens to anybody nor consider anybody’s suggestions.

Like many villages in the ancient African world, the village was inhabited by both people and spirits, but to avoid disputes among these two groups a law was passed to enable spirits to roam the land on certain days when all people would stay home.

As you might have guessed, Kiigbo Kiigba would not obey this law and would insist on going about his normal business on days elected for spirits. On the first day that people were asked to stay in their homes while spirits were out, Kiigbo Kiigba picked his hoe and cutlass and headed to his farm.

Once there he began to till the land in preparation for planting his yams. He had been working for a while when he heard ethereal voices booming out from around him saying “Who are you and what are you doing?

He answered, “I am Kiigbo Kiigba and I am tilling my land”. “Alright, we will help you”, the voices boomed back and suddenly, hundreds of hoes appeared and started to till the land. In a little jiffy, the entire farm was tilled and Kiigbo went back home.

On the second day that people were asked to stay home while the spirits were out, Kiigbo Kiigba chose to go to his farm to begin planting his yams. He had barely started when the voices boomed out saying “Who are you and what are you doing?” He answered, “I am Kiigbo Kiigba and I am planting my yams”. “Alright, we will help you”, the answer came and in a jiffy, all the yam seedlings had been planted in neat heaps. Kiigbo went back home.

The third time when people were asked to stay home, Kiigbo Kiigba headed to his farm to harvest his yams. As he started to dig up the first yam, the now familiar voices boomed out saying “Who are you and what are you doing?” He answered, “I am Kiigbo Kiigba and I am harvesting my yams”. “Alright, we will help you”, the voices said and in a jiffy, all the yams in the farm had been dug up and placed in a big heap.

Kiigbo who just now had the opportunity to look at the one yam he had dug up realized that it was not yet ripe for harvest, and in fact, all the yams that had been dug up were not yet ready for harvest. As a good farmer, Kiigbo Kiigba would have examined a few yams and decided whether to give the yams more time to mature or continue with the harvest. But now, it was too late and his entire crop of yams had been ruined by these helpful spirits.

Kiigbo Kiigba cried “Woe is me” as he hit his head with both hands in sorrow. The spirits asked “Who are you and what are you doing”. He cried, “I am Kiigbo Kiigba and I am hitting my head in sorrow”. “Alright, we will help you”, the spirits answered and immediately, a hundred hands appeared and started to beat Kiigbo Kiigba on his head.

Mursi Tribe Men in Ethiopia

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

African Folktale How the Chipmunk got its stripes

Explore the vast collection of folktales, myths, legends and learn how the chipmunk got its stripes.


How the Chipmunk got its stripes African Folktale

A long time ago, the Chipmunk looked no different from the Squirrel - he had no stripes. This story tells how he got the distinguishing stripes that we know today.

In the deep jungle where all the animals lived, a season of very heavy rains had caused the forest to grow so thick that it was difficult for the animals to move around the jungle paths. They held a meeting to discuss solutions and decided that every animal that moves on the ground would contribute money to pay for the clearing of the jungle paths. Birds who flew in the sky were exempt from this tax.
How the Chipmunk got its stripes African Folktale

The Chipmunk who was tiny in size but disproportionately huge in stubbornness said to the other animals, “I will pay no tax even if it means I never walk on the ground again”. So he took to the trees and hopped and jumped from branch to branch without touching the ground. “He’s sure to come down sooner or later” said one of the other animals, “then he will have to pay the tax.” At this, the animals dispersed and went about their business.

Days passed and the Chipmunk had still not touched the ground. All the other animals, even the famously cunning Tortoise had paid their taxes, but the Chipmunk still would not come down. Some began to feel sorry for him. “Perhaps he has no money, for why else would he suffer and confine himself to a lifetime of hopping on trees?”. They said “It is painful to see one of us land animals reduced to such a lifestyle” and they set up a collection fund to help the Chipmunk. They placed a gourd under an Iroko tree where any animal who wished to help the Chipmunk could put some cowries (for that was the currency at the time) until there was enough to pay his tax.

A bird told the Chipmunk about this and the Chipmunk was thoroughly amused. “You mean they have nothing better to do with their money than to pay my tax?” he asked. When night fell, he secretly made his way to the Iroko tree under which the collection gourd lay, climbed down the tree and made away with the gourd.

The following morning when this nasty deed was discovered, the animals were rightly upset. They tried to catch the Chipmunk but none could as the Chipmunk was hopping from tree to tree faster than anyone could catch him. The animals decided to banish the Chipmunk from the jungle for he had misused their trust and kindness. Now banished from his former home, the Chipmunk went to live among people.

Later on, during one of the several meetings that the animals hold in the jungle, somebody asked if anyone knew what the Chipmunk did with the stolen money and it was said “He never put it to any good use but bought new stripes instead”. All shook their heads in pity.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tortoise and Elephant African Folktale

Tortoise and Elephant is a thought-provoking African folktale. African folktales are stories forming part of an oral storytelling tradition shaped by the tongues of African elders passed down from one generation to the next. Read with your child and share wonderful African folktales. Children enjoy listening to many types of African folktales learning from the wisdom and rich tradition of African storytelling. Folktales reflect the morals, superstitions and customs of the African people. Explore the vast collection of folktales, myths, legends with the African Gourmet.

Tortoise and Elephant African Folktale

There was a great King who ruled in the village of Gbogan a long long time ago at a time when animals could talk. The King took very ill for a long period of time and was at the point of death. After several attempts by medicine men from within the kingdom to heal the king failed, “Ikumejakako”, the dreaded herbalist who dwelt in the evil forest was consulted. He examining the king and pronounced that the king would have to take a special brew made of elephant body parts or die within seven days.

The King and his chiefs wondered how they would capture a big and dangerous animal like an elephant. The king after consultation with his chiefs made an announcement throughout the kingdom that anyone who would capture an elephant within seven days would get half of the kingdom and his beautiful daughter as a bride.

The tortoise came forward to accept the challenge. He made a request of the King, that a very deep pit be dug and that the pit should be concealed with raffia and mats and that a throne fit for a king should be set on top of the pit. The tortoise made some “akara” balls (bean cakes) and set out into the forest in search of an elephant. The wandered through the forest making inquiries of his fellow animals until the third day when he stumbled on an elephant resting under a tree…….

Tortoise: Elephant, what are you doing here…haven’t you heard the news?

Elephant: What news? Do not disturb my siesta tortoise, I do not like gossip

Tortoise: I don’t believe my eyes, a whole King, resting in the forest under a shade!!

Elephant: A King, what King?

Tortoise: YOU!! The king is dead and the elders have decided to make you king over the people.

Elephant: (roars with laughter)….you must be a joker tortoise, who would want to make an old ugly elephant like me a king?

Tortoise: There is no time for explanations, preparations are already at an advanced stage in the kingdom for your coronation, we must make haste, see, I have proof (he brought out one of the “akara” balls and handed one over to the elephant) This akara is only a small part of the delicacies being prepared for your coronation.

Elephant: (putting the akara into his mouth) Hmmmmm….this is delicious…really delicious it must be true, lets make haste.

And so the tortoise led the elephant all the way to the village handing out the akara balls to him at intervals and singing popular coronation songs to him all the way.

As the tortoise and the elephant approached the palace, news of the capture of the elephant spread like wild fire, everybody came out of their houses and started following the duo to the palace joyous and joining in tortoise’s songs. This all created an atmosphere of festivities reinforcing the belief in the elephant’s mind that he was to be made king.

Elephant: Your story must be true…the people are really joyous to see me.
Tortoise: You know I wouldn't lie to you, can’t you see them singing that your reign shall be long?

As the throne finally came into sight, the elephant lumbered into it majestically dancing and singing. He sat on the throne and instantly the ground gave way beneath him and he fell into the pit. The king’s warriors immediately descended upon him with spears and clubs and butchered him. Once the king had taken a sip of the elephant broth made for him, he became instantly well and fulfilled his promise towards the tortoise.


Ever wonder about...
The Curse of the Chameleon an African Folktale



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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Creation of the World African Folklore

Creation of the world is an interesting African folklore story about how the world was created according to the Yorubas of West Africa.

Creation of the world African Folktale

This is the story of how the world was created according to the Yorubas of West Africa.

The entire world was filled with water when God decided to create the world. God sent his messenger Obatala to perform the task of creating the world. Obatala brought along his helper, a man named Oduduwa as well as a calabash full of earth and a chicken. Then they began their descent to earth from a rope.
Creation of the world is an African folklore story about how the world was created
Creation of the World African Folklore

Along the way, they stopped over at a feast where Obatala got drunk from drinking too much palm wine. Oduduwa, finding his master drunk, picked up the calabash and the chicken and continued on the journey.

When Oduduwa reached the earth, he sprinkled earth from the calabash over the water and he dropped the chicken on the earth. The chicken then ran around spreading the earth in every direction he moved until there was land. Oduduwa had now created earth from what used to be water.

Later when Obatala got out of his drunken haze, he discovered that Oduduwa had already performed his task and he was very upset. God however gave him another task to perform – to create the people that would populate the earth.

And that was how the world was created in a place now called Ile-Ife.


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Monday, July 16, 2012

The Three Brothers and the Pot of Porridge African Folktale

Three Brothers and the Pot of Porridge is a popular African folktale. 

The Three Brothers and the Pot of Porridge African Folktale


The Three Brothers and the Pot of Porridge African Folktale

Three brothers were traveling through the dense rain forest jungle. They had been
traveling on foot for almost a full day and night was falling. They needed a suitable place to rest for the night, a place where they would be safe from prowling animals of the night.
They were in luck because before darkness fell, they spotted a little isolated hut in the distance. When they arrived at the hut, they met a kindly old woman who invited them in and offered them a place to spend the night.

The old woman offered them some porridge, which she was cooking in an iron pot over some firewood. The brothers declined for they were very exhausted and also did not want to impose on this old woman who living alone, had cooked enough porridge only for one person.

The old woman gave them some mats and showed them into a room where they could lay down and have a good night’s rest. Soon, the entire hut was dark and everyone in it was asleep.

Sometime in the night, the youngest of the three brothers woke up and he was very hungry. His older brothers had declined the offer of some supper and he had just gone along, but he was hungry. So he went out into the kitchen to see if any of the porridge remained and indeed, there was enough porridge in there for one person. It appeared that the old woman had not eaten any of it, she must have been keeping it for the next day. It would not harm anybody if he ate just a little bit of it, and it would certainly do him a lot of good. Therefore, he ate a little bit. Then a little bit more, and even more until it was all gone. Realizing his folly, he decided to cover it up and went out to pick some stones to put in the pot. He hoped the old woman would not notice.

The three brothers were up early the next morning to continue on their journey. They bade farewell to the old woman and thanked her for her kindness.

The old woman discovered the stones in her pot soon after the brothers left and immediately set out after them. Even though she was very old, she could move as fast, or maybe even faster than any young man since she was able to catch up with the three young men.

She accused them of stealing her porridge and filling her pot with stones, at which the eldest brother who spoke for them sincerely denied. The old woman though was certain that one of them performed the deed, so she challenged them to take a test. They went to a nearby river which had a log laying across it. Each one of them would walk across the river on the log while singing a song which the woman taught to them. They would each sing this song in Yoruba:

Ti m ba je koko arugbo

If I ate the the old woman’s cocoyam

Ki okun gbe mi, ki okun la mi

Let the sea take me

Ki okun gbe mi si erigidi ofun

The first two brothers walked confidently across the river singing the song. But the youngest brother was so scared as he walked and sang. His step faltered several times and he eventually fell into the river.


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Saturday, July 14, 2012

How the tortoise became bald African Folktale

How the tortoise became bald is an intriguing African folktale. African folktales are stories forming part of an oral storytelling tradition shaped by the tongues of African elders passed down from one generation to the next. 


How the tortoise became bald African Folktale





Ijapa the tortoise was not always a bald animal. He used to have hair on his head, however, due to unfortunate circumstances, which the tortoise brought "upon his own head" literally speaking, he lost it all.

How the tortoise became bald African FolktaleIt happened a very long time ago, long before the tortoise broke his back, but that is another story altogether. 

The dog and his family had prepared a feast of yam porridge. The aroma reached the tortoise who immediately followed his nose which led him to the dog's home. The tortoise went in and saw that a big pot of yam porridge was cooking. 

Wanting all of it for himself, he called out to the dog and told him that he had brought a message from the king. "The king wishes to see you and all your family in the palace", the tortoise said. The dogs immediately left to see the king leaving the tortoise with the big simmering pot of yam porridge. The tortoise began to eat as fast as he could. He knew that the dogs would be back soon because the king was not even at the palace.

And soon, he heard the dogs approaching. There was still a lot of porridge left in the pot. The tortoise wanted to take some home with him and looked around for something he could put some porridge in. 

The dogs by now were almost at the door. As he was running out of time, the tortoise pulled off his cap, filled it with the porridge and put it back on so nobody would know he was carrying porridge. He planned to hurry off immediately because the porridge on his head was indeed hot.

When the dogs came in, the tortoise told them he would be leaving. They dogs asked him to stay with them for lunch as they had some porridge cooking. The tortoise tried to make excuses to leave immediately, but the dogs kept him, trying to convince him to stay.


Eventually, the porridge was so hot that the tortoise just had to pull off his hat. Everybody was shocked when he pulled of his hat to reveal steaming hot porridge. The porridge had burned his scalp so badly that all his hair fell off and in fact, never grew back again.

 
Did you know…?
Anansi the spider is a beloved African Folktale character
African Folktale

African Folktales three facts

African folktales usually have sly animals and spirits as the main characters.

Anansi is one of the most beloved African folktale characters. He often takes the shape of a spider and is considered to be the spirit of all knowledge of stories.

Reading African folktales will help kids make connections to their cultural heritage.

Read with your child and share wonderful African folktales.

Children enjoy listening to many types of African folktales learning from the wisdom and rich tradition of African storytelling. Folktales reflect the morals, superstitions and customs of the African people.


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