A long time ago, in a time when animals could still talk, there lived a great king who ruled over the land of Gbogan. The King had been ill for a long period of time, and almost at the point of death. He assembled his council, and after several failed attempts of several medicine men to revive him to his prime; Ikumejakak, a wildly revered witch doctor and herbalist was consulted. His prognosis was a remedy that required a special brew made from elephant body parts, otherwise, the result would be his death in seven days.
The King and his Chiefs looked at each other confused as to how they would trap an elephant. The sheer size of its trunk would crush four grown men. Following the consultation, a town crier was sent out announcing throughout the kingdom that the task at hand was to capture an elephant, and the reward for securing such a huge package within seven days would be an inheritance of half the kingdom and marriage to the king’s daughter.
Only the tortoise stepped out to take the challenge, making only one request of the king, that a very deep pit be dug concealed with mats and leaves, on top of which should sit a throne fit for a king. The tortoise made some delicious Akara (bean cake), placed them in his travel sack, wrapped around a stick and then set out for the arduous task of finding the elephant. Wandering through the forest trailing the huge animal and making inquiries of various animals, he had no luck.
It was not until the third day that he made some significant progress towards his goal. Was he dreaming or is that an elephant sitting under a tree? He planned his approach carefully as he channeled the wisdom of ages that is a common characteristic of his kind.
TORTOISE: Elephant, what are you doing here… haven’t you heard the news?
ELEPHANT: What news? Do not disturb my siesta tortoise, I do not like gossip TORTOISE: I don’t believe my eyes, a whole king, resting in the forest under a shade!! ELEPHANT: A King, what King? TORTOISE: YOU!! The king is dead and the elders have decided to make you king over the people. ELEPHANT: (Bursts into laughter) You must be a joker tortoise, who would want to make an old ugly elephant like me a king? TORTOISE: There is no time for explanations, preparations are already at top gear in the kingdom for your coronation; we must make haste, see, I have proof. (He brought out one of the akara balls and handed one over to the elephant) This akara is only a small part of the delicacies being prepared for your coronation. ELEPHANT: (Putting the akara into his mouth) Hmmmmm….this is delicious… really delicious; it must be true, let’s make haste.
The tortoise led the elephant straight to the palace with a promise of impending kingship and the delicious bean cake thrown at intervals. The tortoise decided to totally sell the story by singing a popular coronation tune as news of the elephant’s capture travel throughout the kingdom. Every household came out on the streets to see for themselves if the feat was possible. The subjects suddenly found themselves joining in the songs the tortoise was singing.
The Elephant with a full belly connected the dots. It automatically became clear to him that the tortoise had been telling the truth. Why else would these people be envious of me and why these delicious akara thrown my way. Surely this is not a trick. It can’t be. Elephant finally gave in, carrying on an almost majestic swagger and even what could be seen to be a spring in his step. The atmosphere was one of festivity, singing, dancing and smiling faces.
The likes of which had not been seen in the kingdom for a long time. The Elephant proceeded to assume his throne in a reign that would last for years on end. He sat down to the roaring crowd and elated faces and in a frozen moment in time he was on top of the world as he waved his tusk at his adoring subjects. In that instance, the throne gave way and sunk into the pit below as the King’s strongest warriors descended on the creature and butchered it. The King took a taste of the broth and was instantly healed of his ailment. Tortoise was rewarded for his achievements and received all that was promised. An elephant never forgets. So, till this day, the rivalry continues. Do you think Tortoise and the Princess lived happily ever after? Is the Tortoise the wisest Animal on earth? Most importantly what are the morals of the story? •Courtesy: Face 2 Face Africa