#FolktalesWednesday Ijapa and The Well

Hello folks, welcome to another edition of #FolktalesWednesday, our column where we translate folktales of the Yoruba. Today as usual we have another Ijapa story for you to enjoy and learn from. However,  because the story is rather long, it will be divided into two parts, so that it can be easier to read and enjoy. So once again we invite you to  sit down, enjoy  and learn the wisdom of our elders from our Ijapa story.

Long time ago in the land of the animals, it did not rain for a while. Because of this all the sources of water in the land dried up and there was no water to drink or to use for any other purpose anywhere. Concerned about this drought, the animals summoned a meeting to find a solution. They called the rabbit to take the information to the other animals as he was one of the fastest creatures in the land.

On the day of the meeting, the animals decided to choose a steering committee to be in charge of their affairs. They choose Lion to be the chairman of the committee, Tiger to be his deputy and Elephant as one of the advisors to the committee. They also chose other animals for various other positions. However, Ijapa was not happy with the elections because he wasn’t elected into any position and he had designs on the chairmanship. So he left the meeting in anger, telling the other animals that so far they have refused to give him the honor and respect he deserves, every plan they make will fail. That even if their plans succeeds, he would not be part of it.

After Ijapa had gone, Lion, the newly elected chairman said: “Fellow animals, I want to appreciate you all for coming together like this. I am pleased to see that every one of you is here except for that proud Ijapa. I am sure that pride will be the cause of his downfall if he doesn’t change his ways.” He paused, made sure the other animals were listening to him, then continued “ I am sure nobody here needs to be told or reminded that we are assembled here because of the drought that has affected us for a while now. Fellow animals what can we do about this drought? Anybody who has any useful ideas is very much to suggest them. Thank you very much.”

Antelope was the first to raise a hoof, he said: “fellow animals, I greet you, I think this drought is a drastic issue, and drastic issues call for drastic solutions. I suggest we prepare a sacrifice to the god of rains, to propitiate him so that he can give us water.” Some of the animals present, including Tiger, the vice-chairman cheered Antelope for his brilliant idea. However, Bush Rat stood up and said: “Chairman, I appreciate you for giving me a chance to speak. Fellow animals, I thank you all for the desire for progress. While I appreciate the suggestion made by Antelope here, because it was made out of his desire to see this problem ended, but everyone here knows that a sacrifice at this time is just a needless waste of time and resources. The thing is that the same gods we are trying to appease have already given us everything we need to solve this problem. My own suggestion is that we should all go home and gather our digging tools, and three days from now, let us meet at the place where the river used to be and dig a well where we can get water. That is my suggestion.” All the animals agreed that the Bush Rat’s suggestion made sense and that his idea would be the one to be implemented. With that the animals all departed for their homes.

On the appointed day every animal turned up at the chosen location with their digging tools. They dug all day long but did not find any water. The animals were not discouraged by this and the next morning they were back again to continue their work. After working for the whole of that day, just as they were about to give up for the day, they hit water. Each animal who had participated in the digging took a long drink of clean refreshing water as the congratulated one another for a job well done.



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