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

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.


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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Being African in America I have grown up learning about different ethnic cultures. My father and mother are historians of African culture and history and their influence expanded my activities to several best-selling cookbooks, magazine columns, self-branded products, and a popular African culture and food blog.

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