Tortoise And The Igbako

Tortoise And The Igbako

Tortoise and Igbako

This story teaches us about greed, obedience, and the influence people and things may have on us.

A long time ago in the animal kingdom, there was a huge famine. Everyone had no food or water for days. This made the animals very skinny and lean, but one animal didn’t change in any way. It was the Bird. The first animal that noticed this was Tortoise. Every day he will look up at the sky and see the bird flying, but he noticed that underneath her feathers, she still had healthy skin. He made a vow to himself that he would get to know the source of her food.

When Tortoise was finally able to talk to Bird, he asked her bluntly. “Tell me the source of your food?” Bird laughed and told him that she had no source. To this Tortoise replied,

“It’s either you tell me the source, or I will let the entire kingdom know that you have a source, and you are refusing to share it with the rest of us.”

Bird got so scared at this threat and said, “Okay, fine. I will take you to the source.”

So Bird lent Tortoise some feathers, and together they flew over so many rivers till they finally met the river goddess who lived in the ocean. Immediately the goddess saw the bird approaching with another animal, she got so angry.

“Bird, who is this that you have brought?” she thundered.

“He is my friend, and I want to help him.” Bird shivered in fear as she spoke. She knew the consequences of what she was doing, but she had no choice. Tortoise had placed her in a tight spot.

“You are aware of the rules,” the goddess said.

“Yes, I am, Bird replied. “But I can assure you he wouldn’t be a problem.”

The goddess scrutinized the Tortoise with her laser eye and finally said, “Okay, I will listen to him, but only because I trust you. So Tortoise, what can I do for you?”

“I want to be able to eat and grow fat just like Bird here,” Tortoise requested.

“Okay, I will tell you how but first, you must promise that you will keep the secret.’’

“Of course, I know how to keep a secret. In fact, no one will know a thing.”

“Okay. You are to share the magic I will reveal to you with only your family and very close friends. The kingdom must not know about it.”

“I promise. This will stay a secret.”

So the river goddess gave him a magic stick called Igbako and again stressed that the magic was only for him and his family. 

Again, Tortoise confirmed that it wouldn’t tell anyone about it. So the river goddess gave him direction on how to use it.

“All you need do is ask the stick – Igbako, what is your duty?” 

Immediately after she finished saying that, she disappeared into the river. 

Tortoise held the stick and asked, “Igbako, what is your duty?”

The stick responded –

“I make huge lumps of iyan, 

I make huge lumps of eba,

such that the whole world eats 

and yet leaves leftovers.”

At this, huge lumps of iyan, eba, and many other foods appeared. Tortoise ate to his fill, but no matter how much he ate, the food kept coming again and again. Soon, he got tired and left it. 

Tortoise flew back to the kingdom with the Igbako and happy as he can be. Immediately he got home, he gathered all his family members, and again he spoke to the stick, “Igbako, what is your duty?”

The stick replied –

“I make huge lumps of iyan,

I make huge lumps of eba,

such that the whole world eats

and yet leaves leftovers.”

After this, huge lumps of food appeared before the family. They ate and ate, but they could not finish the food. This continued for days and weeks till one day, Tortoise started thinking to himself – “I will make a name for myself if people learn about this magic stick that I have. But the river goddess said that I shouldn’t share the magic with anyone if they are not family or close friends. But what could really happen? Tomorrow I will go to the king and show him that I am powerful.”

So the next day, Tortoise went to the palace and told the king that he had a solution to the famine problem that they were experiencing.

“What is your solution?” The king asked.

“Before I say anything, I want you to gather everyone in this kingdom, and I will give them food.”

The king was surprised at Tortoise’s boldness, but he too was very hungry, so he decided to do as Tortoise said. The king called everyone in the kingdom, and they gathered at his palace. When everyone was present, Tortoise spoke to the stick, “Igbako, what is your duty?”

As always, the stick responded –

“I make huge lumps of iyan,

I make huge lumps of eba,

such that the whole world eats

and yet leaves leftovers.”

After this, huge lumps of food appeared. The animals rejoiced and began eating, but they still could not finish the food. 

Tortoise kept doing this every day. Soon, the entire village began praising him. This continued till one day, the stick broke and could not produce more food. The villagers got angry and ordered him, to go and get another one.

So Tortoise borrowed feathers from Bird and again flew to the sky and the midst of the river. When the river goddess saw him, she asked. “What are you doing back here?”

“I am here to get another stick. The one you gave me broke,” he responded.

“Did it break because you were feeding the entire kingdom and not just your family?”

The tortoise said, “No, I have never lied to anyone in my life. It broke on its own.”

The river goddess nodded and said, “Okay, I will give you a new stick.” So she took a new stick, handed it over to him, and disappeared into the water. Tortoise took the stick and asked the usual question – 

“Igbako, what is your duty?”

This time, the stick replied –

“I make tiny lumps of iyan,

I make tiny lumps of eba,

such that the whole world eats

but is never full.”

After that, tiny pieces of food appeared. Tortoise ate, but he couldn’t get full. He carried the stick back home, and when his family gathered to eat, he asked the stick, “Igbako, what is your duty?”

The stick replied –

“I make tiny lumps of iyan,

I make tiny lumps of eba,

such that the whole world eats

but is never full.”

His family ate, but they were not satisfied. He carried the stick to the palace, and the animals descended on him for giving them tiny portions of food that were not filling them. This continued for days. One day, the stick broke.

“Take it back and get a better one!” They ordered him. So Tortoise took it back. Immediately he saw the river goddess, he began to lament.

“River goddess, the Igbako you gave me has also broken.”

“And it didn’t break because you were feeding the whole kingdom?” the goddess asked.

“No. I only use it to feed my family and me, yet Igbako is broken Please, give me a better one.” Tortoise pleaded.

“Well then, I’ll give you something else this time. A rod built so strong, it shall not break,” said the river goddess. She gave Tortoise a rod and returned to the water.

“Rod, what is your duty?” Tortoise asked.

The rod responded – 

“I whip the disobedient

I whip the greedy

Till their skin is white with pain.”

With that, the rod beat Tortoise till his skin was white with pain. Tortoise got angry. “I shared my Igbako, I must also share this rod.” He returned back to his house and gathered all his family members.

“Rod, what is your duty?” He asked.

“I whip the disobedient

I whip the greedy

Till their skin is white with pain.”

With that, the rod beat his family till their skin was white with pain. He then took the rod to the palace and asked, “rod, what is your duty?”

“I whip the disobedient

I whip the greedy

Till their skin is white with pain.”

With that, the rod beat all the animals till they flew back to the forest.

 

Moral Lesson

Do not be greedy.

 

Writer: Daramfon Etim

Editor and Reviewer: Chinyere Nwosu

 

 

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