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Tortoise happens to an animal that most of Africa tales point out to tell much. It's known for its cunny acts, foolishness, greed, and selfishness. Here is one of the popular tales I was told about the tortoise by mother.
Tortoise and his wife turtle had been married for lengthened years without having children. The wife is saddened every day and weeps just because she hadn’t conceived, the tortoise doesn’t know what to do to help her condition. All their effort to have a baby or get pregnant, for just a day proved abortive. Due to this, Tortoises has consulted a lot of places for solutions but couldn’t get it from anywhere. Until one day their neighbour walked up to them that he knows a herbalist who can help them with the solution to their barrenness. The tortoise was so happy to hear this. Very early the next day, he set out on a journey to the place his neighbour described to him.
Fortunately, he was able to locate the place his neighbour described to him. On getting there he met the herbalist and explained the situation that brought him there. The herbalist told him to be patient that he can help his wife. He said she will get pregnant once she uses what was sent to her. With much happiness and joy, the tortoise began to make series of promises he can never fulfil. The herbalist went into his chamber and prepared a concoction for the tortoise to take home to his wife. Immediately, the herbalist finishes with the preparation of the concoction he handed it over to him with a warning. The warning isn’t that serious or frightening, just no other person must eat from the concoction except his wife who the concoction was prepared for.
He collected it and set out on his journey back home, he kept smelling the sweet aroma coming from the pot the herbalist gave him. He was forced to open the pot just to see what was inside, to his surprise the pot was filled with assorted meats and fish stew. He covers it and took about three steps. He couldn't resist the urge to have a taste again. He opened the pot and took one of the meat just to taste how sweet it is. He moved on but that was how he began to eat the concoction one after the other. Few distances to getting home he noticed his stomach was swelling up, within Little time it has swollen that he couldn’t walk again. He then recollects the warning from the herbalist.
Instantly, he cried out to his neighbour for help. He begs his neighbours to please carry him back to the herbalist's place. He keeps saying I have eaten the wrong concoction, take me back to the herbalist. Seeing that they are almost at the herbalist's shrine, he started singing from afar. (the song is in Yoruba dialect) and it goes thus,
Meaning and translation
Call: herbalist I am here to beg,
Call: The concoction you prepared
Call: that you said I shouldn’t dip my hand into
Call: that you said I shouldn’t dip my feet into
Call: I dipped my hands into the concoction, and ate it,
Call: with my feet on the ground, I ate the concoction
Call: on sighting my belly, I saw it protruding
Call: herbalist I am here to beg,
As he was singing and his neighbours were responding. The herbalist heard the song from afar and came out to see what was happening. On getting outside he wasn’t surprised, he asked what happen and the tortoise explains himself. He had compassion on him and went inside to get him the relieverof the swelling of the body. Immediately he drank it he became normal and they all appreciated the herbalist.