African Culture

Who missed folktales? An interesting folktale of the Yoruba Ethnic group.

This is a Yoruba folk tale, The Yoruba people (Yoruba: Ìran Yorùbá) are an ethnic group that inhabits western Africa, mainly Nigeria, Benin, Togo and part of Ghana. The Yoruba constitute around 47 million people worldwide(Wikipedia).

Once upon a time, when the world was still asleep, lived a man called Aigboran. He married a gorgeous woman he loved and cherished so much; he revered her like a god. Everybody who lived in the village of Ojutaye was in affirmative that Aigboran’s wife was the prettiest woman in the village. Aigboran was very insecure because of this and, hence, disturbed about the beauty of his wife. Instead of being happy about his luck, he started monitoring her around the village since he believed that her beauty would cause misbehavior. Aaye, the beautiful wife, just like every other innocent woman in the village, was a trader who sells beans, A lot of the village men always threw shots at her.

One a normal day, Aaye was going to the market to sell her beans, she passed a group of men playing Aayo Olopon, one of the closest friends to Aigboran was playing too, he called her.

“Aaye, Eewa re nda mi lorun… ma ta ewa fun mi, eewa re ni mo fe ra, se wa taa fun mi? “(Aaye, your beauty is mesmerizing me, don’t sell beans for me, it’s your beauty I want to buy, will you sell it to me?

On saying that, other men in the group that bought the beans joined in the mockery, and refused to pay Aaye for her beans, everyone, just like him, insisted that the kind of beauty she had, was not meant for one man. Aaye felt very bad and hurt; she carried her calabash and left in tears. This kind of news fly faster; it didn’t take long, the rumor of what happened between the men playing aayo and Aaye got to the ears of her husband, Aigboran. It pained him to, and at the same time, increased his insecurity, and he decided to be more watchful, to be sure his wife is not having extramarital affairs. So, he consulted a herbalist and asked him to put magun—thunderbolt on his wife.

The herbalist laughed and advised him against such a wicked act, warned him about the impending danger, even though not clearly, but the herbalist told him to part with the idea, but he refused, his insecurity was playing on him. Aigboran bent on making sure his wife wasn’t having an affair, debunked the herbalist’s claims, and went ahead to Orunmila. Orunmila also rejected the idea and even said he could never assist Aigboran in such a bad act. However, Orunmila tried to help him clear his mind, so he consulted Ifa to find out if Aaye was having an extramarital affair, but the result came negative. A man was insecurity at the brim, would doubt that the sky is blue, Aigboran did not still believe the results of Orunmila; he wanted to be very sure nobody in the village was having an affair with his beautiful wife. The Orunmila warned him, but all the warnings of Orunmila fell on deaf ears of Aigboran. A deaf fly follows the corpse to the grave. He went to Esu, who gave him what he saw as a solution to his problem. Esu taught him how to remove his eyes and paste it on Aaye’s calabash whenever she was going to sell beans. That’s ridiculous, right? Yeah, I know too, how is that even a solution.



Aigboran, after Esu had taught him how to remove and place his eyes back, made sure his eyes went with his wife whenever she was not in the house, so he could monitor and get that man that licks from his honey pot. When she returns, he would remove his eyes from the calabash and put it in their sockets again. This necessarily means that Aigboran would be blind whenever his wife goes out until she returns from her trading. They say one day shall be one day, so there was this one fateful day, A man offered massive money for the beans and Aaye sold her beans together with the calabash to the man, She was glad to sell, there’s no businesswoman that wouldn’t be happy selling. She got home happily and started counting her money, as she counted, Aigboran tried to put his eyes back but couldn’t see them, so he asked her.

“Aaye mi, Ni bo ni Igba Ewa re wa? Mo n wa oju mi o?(Aaye dear, where is your calabash of beans, I am searching for my eyes?”

Aaye, a businesswoman extraordinaire who made a considerable profit that day, gladly and innocently informed the husband that she had sold the calabash with her beans for a large sum. This news that calls for celebration but instead screamed on top of his voice and started weeping profusely like he hadn’t been warned. He shamefully narrated to his wife how he used to remove his eyes to monitor Aaye whenever she was going out to sell.

Aaye, out of fear that his husband had become blind since she could not locate the man who bought the calabash, the guilt that she was the reason made her ran away from her husband to date.

A good Samaritan helped Aigboran to Orunmila’s house but Orunmila told Aigboran in simple terms:

Ti aba ri Aaye, O leri oju re o”. Airi oju re, lowo Aaye lowa” (if we cannot find Aaye, you can never get your eyes, You can’t get your eyes, because it’s in the hands of Aaye).

That was how Esu laalu caused Airoju Airaye in people’s life to date. Of course, Aigboran remained blind until death because Aaye could not be found in the village or anywhere. This generated the famous sayings of the Yoruba Kingdom on “Airoju Airaye” whenever there is trouble or chaos till today.


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Francis Chidera
the authorFrancis Chidera
Popularly known as Chokolate is a content creator. A lover of simplified words making it easy to get to a wider audience. It pains to see that Africans are forgetting and neglecting who they are, hence, I am passionate about reminding us of our culture. I work with 54history on the African culture category, to achieve this aim.

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