#FolktalesWednesday: Ajantala And The Three Brothers (1)

Hello, folks, you are welcome to another edition of  Folktales Wednesday, our regular column where we bring you interesting and moral stories from the Yoruba of West Africa. Our Folktale today is a continuation of the Ajantala story from one of the pioneers of the Yoruba to English novel, the iconic Amos Tutuola himself. Today’s story is a continuation of the adventures of Ajantala from where Ajantala The Noxious Guest stopped. Also, Ajantala and The Three Brothers, because it is a long series has been divided into three parts to make for easy reading. continue on down to enjoy part one of Ajantala and the three brothers. 

Now, Ajantala, the Noxious Guest, started to roam about from one forest to another, looking for those he could live with as his fresh prey.  0ne day, he saw a rough hut in a distance.  When he got to it, he met in it three fellows who were the occupants of it.  He entered and greeted them:

“Good afternoon to you all here!”

“Hello, good afternoon, old chap!”  the lion, the tiger, and the he-goat, who were the occupants, replied.

“Please, l shall be grateful if you will allow me to live with you as your guest.  l promise, if you kindly allow me to be your guest, l shall teach you many things within a few days!”  Ajantala, the Noxious Guest, thus begged and tricked the lion, tiger and he-goat, who were in those days human beings and were born of the same father and mother.

“With pleasure, we agree for you to be our guest”, the lion replied.

“I thank you all very much.  Ah, l am grateful!”  Ajantala said with smiles, and then he sat down.

“But you must be a good guest to us!” the tiger warned.

“Oh, don’t worry about that. You will soon know that l am indeed a wonderful guest!”

“But what is your name, my friend? You look hostile and cunning.”  The he-goat suspected Ajantala and he was right.

“My name is Ajantala. But the sons of men like you belittle me by calling me ‘The Noxious Guest’.  But l am not noxious in any way.”  Ajantala replied, pretending to be a nice and shy fellow.

“But will you be our servant?” asked the tiger.  “Do you agree to that?”

“Ah, why, with pleasure.  l agree to be your servant!”   Ajantala promised as he was pulling the long hair of his chin.

“But Ajantala, if l am not mistaken, you look older than your size or stature? Why?”  He-goat fastened his eyes on him, for he was confused.

“You know, l have not had anything to eat since a few days ago and that is why l have shrunk to the small size you see now!”.   As he replied, he was scratching his head in a way that showed he was telling a lie.

The lion, the tiger and the he-goat were happy to have Ajantala as their guest and servant.  So the tiger stood up, and he brought food and water to Ajantala.   He ate the food and drank the water to his satisfaction.

The following morning, it was the tiger’s turn to go and fetch their food from the bush.  He gave one big basket to Ajantala: “Ajantala, take this basket and let us go and fetch our food”.   Without argument, Ajantala took the basket and followed the tiger to the bush.  When the tiger had filled up the basket with yams, he told Ajantala to carry it. This time, Ajantala showed the tiger that he was noxious.  He slapped at tiger’s eyes suddenly. The tiger fell down helplessly at once, Before he was again conscious, his eyes and face had swollen up so much that he could hardly see. “Why did you slap at my eyes and face?  I shall show you that l am a tiger”, the tiger shouted angrily.

“What are you going to do to me? You, hopeless man who has turned into a beast, as you are!”  Ajantala stood ready to fight and shouted terribly.  Without hesitation, the tiger gave him a number of heavy knocks on the forehead with his fist.  This did nothing to Ajantala.  Instead, he became more noxious.  He raised the whole of the tiger up and he threw him into a nearby rough ditch.  The tiger was so wounded that he was unable to come out from the ditch.  Ajantala went into it and dragged him out.

“Bend down! Bend down!  And let me put the basket of yams on your head!  You hopeless thing!”  Ajantala forced the tiger to carry the basket of yams.  “Now, Tiger, l warn you.  You must not tell the lion and the he-goat that l threw you into the ditch, but tell them that you fell into it by mistake!  Do you hear? ”

“I hear,” the tiger replied with a weak voice.

But when the tiger had carried the basket nearly to the hut, Ajantala took it from his head and put it on his own head. Then he carried it to the hut as if he had carried it right from the bush.


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