Märchen – Yoruba

Aja, Alabaun, Ati Yanribo

Aja, Alabaun, ati Yanribo jo nse ore po.  Gbogbo won pa nu po lati pa iya won.  Alabaun ati Yanribo pa iya won sugbon. Aja gbe ti lo pamo si orun.  Igba ti o ba fe lo wo iya e, Aja a ma korin bayi:

Iya, Iya takun wa le O

Alu join join ki join

Gbogbo eranko pa yeye e je O

Alu join join ki join

Aja gbe ti o dorun O

Alu join join ki join

Ni ijo kan, awon eranko ka mo ibi to ti nkorin si Iya e.  Ni won ba ni awon ma lo pa Iya e ni.

Dog, Tortoise, and his Wife

The dog, the tortoise, and his wife were all friends. They all decided to kill their mothers.  The other animals went along with the plan and killed their mothers, but the dog went and hid his mother in heaven.  Whenever he wanted to visit his mother, he would sing like this:

Mother, Mother bring down the rope

Alu join join ki join

All the animals killed their mothers

Alu join join ki join

The dog carried his to heaven

Alu join join ki join

One day, the other animals caught the dog while he was singing to his mother.  They decided that they would have to kill his mother.

Abiola heard this story when she was around eight years old.  She used to visit her grandmother in the village and the elders would tell stories to the children at night.  This story follows in the call and reply format.  The story contains the refrain “Alu join join ki join” which is intended for listeners to reply back to the teller as she tells the tale.  This tale features the most popular character in Nigerian tales, the tortoise, but this tale refers to him as “Alabaun” instead of as Ijapa.  The tortoise has several names that change in spelling, pronunciation, or word from region to region.  This story also features the tortoise’s wife Yanribo.  Once again, the tortoise is causing mischief.  In this story he and his wife decide that all of the animals in the village should kill their mothers.  His friend the dog is with them when they make this decision, he agrees with the animals but

ultimately refuses to kill his mother.  Instead, he takes her directly to heaven to hide her from the other animals.  The tortoise and his wife eventually find out that the dog lied to them when he sings to his mother to let down a rope from heaven so that he can visit her.  When they discover this, they kill his mother.  Abiola says that the lesson that children learn from this is that honesty is always better than deceit.  They also learn to stand up for their beliefs.  The dog should have told the others that it was a bad idea to kill their mothers instead of pretending to agree with them.  In the end he is found out and his mother is killed, which he might have prevented had he been brave enough to be the dissenting voice.

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