Many Nigerian kids grew up hearing the story of the crafty tortoise and his cunning adventures. Yes, I was one of them.
In this article, I would be informing you the 5 tortoise folktales Nigerian kids won’t forget in a hurry:
Why tortoise got his bald head?
Tortoise had hair before he became bald. Long ago, Mr dog and his family were making porridge yam. As crafty as he is, he smelt the aroma and traced it to Mr dog’s house.
He told Mr dog and his family that the king was looking for him. He also told him that he would protect the house for him while he goes to see the king. Mr dog agreed and he left with his family.
When they left, he ate the porridge yam to his satisfaction. He noticed that Mr dog and his family were coming back, so he decided to take some of the porridge yam to give to his family. He took out his hat and put most of the porridge yam with him.
Mr dog became annoyed with him because he wasted his time, so he had a serious agreement with Mr dog. He realized that he couldn’t hold the pain of the hot food on top of his head. So, he threw away his hat with the food, along with his hair fell out to everyone’s dismay. That’s why tortoise have a bald head.
Tortoise and the Princess
In this story, the king had a beautiful daughter that he wanted to marry off. So, he held a contest and he invited all the eligible men in the land.
He ordered his chefs to make the hottest pepper soup and on the day of the contest, he revealed that whoever married his daughter would be the one that drank the hot pepper soup and did not complain. All the men tried to drink the pepper soup but, could not keep back.
When it was the tortoise turn, he devised a plan. He told the crowd that he would sing a new song for the princess that anytime he drinks from the bowl, that they should all completely hiss. Then, he used his loud hiss to cover up his as they enjoyed the song too much to notice.
He soon finished his soup, and the king was so sad to hand his daughter to him. He made a vow and could not go back on it.
Tortoise and the Monkey
Long time ago, tortoise and his monkey used to be good friends. One day, monkey cheated tortoise and instead of him, showing apologising for his action. He laughed at tortoise’s face and declined to apologize.
Tortoise went home and asked his wife to make the sweetest beans cake she has ever made. When it was ready, he went to Lion and offered some to him. Lion liked it so much that he asked him where he got it from. He lied and told him that he got it from Monkey’s faeces and to get it that sweet, he has to be severely beaten.
Lion immediately went to Monkey’s house and demand him to make some bean cakes. Monkey told him that there must have been a misunderstanding but, he was immediately beaten to a pulp by Lion. Lion eventually realised that he has been a puppet in tortoise game and he left. Tortoise who has seen how the scene went, came out and started laughing at him.
Tortoise and the Wisdow Gourd
In this story, tortoise was distressed because he wanted to be the wisest man on earth. So, he gathered all of the world’s wisdom and put it in a gourd and he took the longest trip to the biggest tree he could ever find so as to hid his treasure.
When he found it, he noticed that his son has been following him. With all the knowledge he had, he didn’t know how he could not climb the tree with the gourd. His son told him to put the gourd at his back and climb the tree. He was confused at how smart his son was since he collected all the wisdom in the world. Realising how foolish his pursuit was, he smashed the gourd and went back home with his son.
Tortoise in the Sky
In this folktale, tortoise requested for a feather from every bird so that he could make wings to follow them to a feast that he was never invited to.
After taking advantage of their kindness, he tricked them by making them change their names for the party. He choose the name ‘All of you’, which led him to eat all the foods and drinks that the party organizers offered to ‘All of you’. The birds got pissed and collected all their feathers and left him abandoned in the cloud.
As if, all he did was not enough, he begged one of the birds to go to his house and bring out all the soft things in his house so he could jump from the cloud and land on it. Due to annoyance, the bird went to his house and brought out all the strongest materials in his house for him to land on. He jumped and doomed his species to an eternity of cracked shells.