#FolktalesWednesday: Tortoise And The Akara Seller

Hello folks, welcome to our #folktaleswednesday piece for today. last week we concluded the story of Ajantala and the Three Brothers, and today we are telling another well-known story. Read and enjoy 

Once upon a time, Tortoise lived next door to a woman who sold Akara for a living. This woman was very popular because her Akara was so delicious and everybody in the neighbourhood bought Akara from her every day. Of course, Tortoise being her neighbour, smelled the aroma of the woman’s Akara all day long, but he couldn’t buy any because he had no money. So all day long he plotted on how to ensure he could eat the woman’s Akara every day without having to pay a dime for it.

As it turned out, the Akara seller had a daughter who helped her hawk her Akara to the next village, it was this young girl that the tortoise decided to target. One day as the girl hawked her Akara, Tortoise went to hide in a nearby bush. Now Tortoise happened to be a wonderful musician, whose sweet voice could make anybody forget whatever they are doing while dancing to his music. So He began to sing for the girl. The girl loved the music so much that she promptly left her Akara unattended to and began to dance. It was when the music stopped suddenly that the girl realized that her Akara was gone. That day Tortoise enjoyed a whole basket of delicious Akara. The girl went home to her mom to tell her what happened. At first, the woman punished the girl severely, thinking she had sold all the Akara but kept the money, but when she thought about it, she realized that her daughter had never been a liar or a thief. So she resolved to go with her daughter on her hawking trip the next day.  As usual, Tortoise had taken his position in the bush he had hidden the day before so that when the woman and her daughter got to the spot, he started to sing again. This time, both mother and daughter danced with abandon and forgot the Akara. Once again Tortoise enjoyed delicious Akara all day long.

This went on for a while, so one day, the woman went to the king and narrated the bizarre incident to him. Surprised that such a thing could be happening in his kingdom, the king and all his chiefs went with the woman to the spot. As soon as they got to the spot, the mysterious music started playing again, and this time, even the king and his chiefs could not contain their excitement. They danced so much that the king lost his crown and many of the chiefs lost their beads of office and articles of clothing. and by the time they came to, the basket of Akara, as well as some of the expensive items that the party had brought with them, were gone.

Shocked that he had been taken for a ride like that, the king then called his wise adviser for a solution to the problem. The wise man commissioned a life sized clay statue and slathered a sticky material all over it. He went with the king and all the people in the town to the spot where Tortoise usually hid. After setting the statue down, he told the Akara seller’s daughter to advertise her Akara as usual, no sooner than the girl made the announcement, that Tortoise began to play his music again, everybody started dancing back into the town and forgot the Akara. When they were all gone, Tortoise went to triumphantly carry his Akara as usual, but then he noticed that someone was watching him. The statue had not danced with the others. Of course, the statue was so lifelike that Tortoise didn’t realize that it was only a statue. He said

“You! what are you doing here? aren’t you supposed to dance with the others?” When the statue did not answer,  He went closer to it: ” Is it not you that I am talking to? or are you deaf?”

When he still didn’t get a reply, Tortoise slapped it hard, but the sticky goo on the statue caught his hand and it stuck fast. “what do you think you are doing? Leave my hand this minute or I’ll punch you with my other hand.” He punched the statue with his other hand and the other hand got stuck too. Then he said, “leave my hands or I’ll kick you hard!” He kicked the statue but his leg also got stuck. That was when Tortoise realized that he was in trouble. He began to beg the statue to let him go. It was during this pleading that the king and everybody else returned and found him stuck to the statue. Needless to say that the Tortoise was severely punished for his crime.

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