The King, The Greedy Tortoise And The Drum: Folk tales are traditional beliefs, myths, customs, and stories, relating to a community; or a group of people; it is passed through generations, by word of mouth.
Today on our folk tales, we present to you a continuation of “The King, The Greedy Tortoise And The Drum.”
When the time arrived, many quickly went to TORTOISE house, as they did not wish to lose the chance of a free meal a second time. Even the sick men, the lame, and the blind got their friends to lead them to the feast. When they had all arrived, with the exception of the king and his wives; who sent excuses, the tortoise beat his drum as usual, and then quickly hid himself under a table, where he could not be seen. His wife and children he had sent away before the feast; as he knew what would surely happen. Tortoise beat the drum, three hundred fearsome men appeared with whips, and started flogging the guests. The beating went on for two hours, and the people were so badly hurt, that many of them had to be carried home by others.
The leopard was the only one who escaped, as he saw the fearful men arrive, he knew that things were likely going to be unpleasant, so he jumped right out of the compound. When the tortoise was satisfied with the beating the people had received, he tapped on the drum and the men disappeared. The villagers, wailed and limped off. The villagers were so angry.
THE TORTOISE RETURNED THE DRUM
The Tortoise, made up his mind to return the drum to the king the next day. So in the morning, the tortoise went to the king. He told the king that he was not satisfied with the drum, and wished to exchange it for something else; whatever the king wants to give him, should have same value as the drum; the greedy tortoise thought. The king, however, refused to do this; but he took pity on the tortoise. The king agreed to give him a magic foo-foo tree; that would provide the tortoise and his family with food, provided he kept a certain condition. The tortoise gladly consented to do.
THE MAGIC TREE
Now this tree only bore fruit once a year, but every day it dropped (pounded yam) and soup on the ground. And the condition was, that the owner should gather sufficient food for the day; once, and not return again for more. The tortoise, thanked the king for his generosity, went home to his wife and told her to bring her calabashes to the tree. She did so, and they gathered plenty of pounded yam and soup and went back to their house, satisfied. That night they all feasted and enjoyed themselves. But one of the sons, who was very greedy, thought to himself; “I wonder where my father gets all this good food from? I must ask him.”
So in the morning he said to his father; “Tell me where do you get all this foo-foo and soup from?” But his father refused to tell him. His wife, who was a cunning woman, said; “If we let our children know the secret of the foo-foo tree, some day when they are hungry, after we have got our daily supply, one of them may go to the tree and gather more, which will break the bond.”
THE GREEDY SON
But the envious son, being determined to get plenty of food for himself, decided to track his father to the place where he obtained the food. This was rather difficult to do, as the tortoise always went out alone, and took the greatest care to prevent any one following him. The boy, however, soon thought of a plan, and got a calabash with a long neck and a hole in the end. He filled the calabash with wood ashes, which he obtained from the fire, and then got a bag which his father always carried on his back, whenever he went out to get food. In the bottom of the bag the boy then made a small hole, and inserted the calabash with the neck downwards, so that when his father walked to the foo-foo tree, he would leave a small trail of wood ashes behind him. Then when his father, having slung his bag over his back as usual, set out to get the daily supply of food. His greedy son followed the trail of the wood ashes, taking great care to hide himself and not to let his father perceive that he was being followed. At last the tortoise arrived at the tree, and placed his calabashes on the ground and collected the food for the day, the boy watching him from a distance. When his father had finished and went home, the boy also returned ; and having had a good meal, said nothing to his parents, but went to bed. The next morning he got some of his brothers, and after his father had finished getting the daily supply, they went to the tree and collected much pounded yam and soup, and the bond was broken.
At daylight the tortoise went to the tree as usual, but he could not find it; as during the night the whole bush had grown up, and the magic tree was hidden from sight. Then the tortoise at once knew that some one had broken the bond, and had gathered food from the tree twice in the same day; so he returned very sadly to his house, and told his wife. He then called all his family together and told them what had happened, and asked them who had done this evil thing. They all denied having anything to do with the tree, so the tortoise in despair, brought all his family to the place where the magic tree had been, and said;
“My dear wife and children, I have done all that I can for you, but you have broken my bond; you must therefore for the future live on the palm.”
So they made their home underneath the prickly tree, and from that day, you will always find tortoise living under the prickly palm, as they have nowhere else to go to for food.