Hello, welcome to our regular column, #folktaleswednesday, where we share folk tales from the Yoruba culture, to inform educate and entertain you. Today our folktale is Tortoise, Elephant and Hippopotamus. It is a story that will teach you that wisdom is greater than strength. Read and enjoy it.
Once upon a time, Tortoise Elephant and Hippopotamus lived in a small town. Even though the three animals were friends, Elephant and Hippopotamus often made fun of Tortoise for being so small and puny. Tortoise didn’t like that very much, and he decided that he was going to teach the two animals a lesson.
One day Elephant was boasting of his strength and making fun of the Tortoise’s as usual, Tortoise told him “quit your boasting, I might be small and puny, but I bet you, as big and strong as you as you are, cannot pull me in a tug of war.” The Elephant could hardly believe his ears “Tortoise, you dare challenge me to a tug of war? I thought you are only weak and puny, I didn’t know you are stupid as well.” The Tortoise replied, “ To show you that I am not a windbag like you, I am willing to bet a hundred yams that you can’t pull me in a tug of war. The only condition is that you will stand in a thick bush that I will show you.” The elephant felt the challenge was beneath his dignity, but he could not resist the opportunity to further humiliate the tortoise so he agreed. After
The elephant felt the challenge was beneath his dignity, but he could not resist the opportunity to further humiliate the tortoise so he agreed. After that, the Tortoise also went to Hippopotamus’s house and challenged him to a tug of war. The bet was for a hundred fish, and the condition was that Hippopotamus would be underwater for the duration of the challenge. Hippopotamus also agreed, because he also wanted to humiliate the Tortoise. Tortoise fixed the tug of war with the Hippopotamus on the same day as that of his contest with the elephant.
On the day of the contest, Tortoise found a very long and tough rope. He gave the elephant who stood in a bush where he could not see anything happening outside, one end, and he gave the hippopotamus who was underwater and could not see what was happening on land the other. Then He gave the tug on the rope, which was the signal for the tug of war to begin, and sat on a tree stump to watch. Both animals strained and pulled hard, each wondering how the Tortoise got so strong, not knowing they were pulling each other After hours of pulling and straining, both animals tugged on the rope at the same time, a signal that they have both given up and admitted defeat. Quickly Tortoise jumped off his stump and cut the rope in two wrapping each end of the rope around each of his arms. He then called the two animals to come out of where they were. Both animals were amazed to see the rope tied to Tortoise. Then Tortoise began his own boast “You both call yourselves the strongest animals in the world, how come I can pull both of you at the same time, without even breaking a sweat?”
Elephant and Hippopotamus were ashamed that they had been beaten and were surprised that Tortoise managed to beat them. They both slunk away to their respective house, totally humiliated. From that day on, they never made fun of Tortoise again and they began to give him the respect that he deserved as their friend.
Oh And the Tortoise woke up the next morning to find a hundred yams and a hundred fish by his door