Tales Under the Baobab Tree


The question was simple

Under silvery light
in a clearing
all the animals gathered
and were asked each in turn
to give a saying
of the ancestors

The hare being small
spoke first
with a glance
at the lion
he affirmed that
no matter how tiny
the needle;
the chicken cannot swallow it
the lion sniffed and tossed
his mane.

The ant looked at the elephant and said,
‘If we enter through the anus
we can stop an elephant
in its tracks’

Then the tortoise was asked
to give a saying from the
he scratched his pate
and looked down in shame
the vulture cackled
‘Stupid as usual’

So the tortoise walked
the earth from
east to west
picking all the
wisdom he could find,
Into a calabash gourd
to shame all and one.

He searched for the tallest tree
determined to hang
all wisdom
out of reach
he held the gourd
firmly to his chest,
as he tried
to climb the tallest tree.

The squirrel passing by
stopped and wondered
at such stupidity
so he asked the tortoise
“but why don’t you sling
the gourd on your back
to make it easy to climb”?

As tortoise stared in shock
the squirrel rushed up the
tree as he muttered and
shook his tail
‘stupid as usual’

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