Story behind the yoruba proverb ‘Afi ogbon ologbon sogbon’


Millions of years ago, in a little town, the king wanted to appoint a new adviser; he wanted that adviser to be a wise man. Two old men were qualified for the job; both considered very wise men in the town. So the king decided to put them to test. One day, the king summoned them to a town meeting, he ordered a cow killed, two of its legs cut and each man be given one leg. He told them to take it home and bring it back in seven days still as fresh and bloody as it was when it was cut from the cow’s body. The men looked downhearted, it was an impossible task but there was nothing they could do about it. When the first man got home he thought of what to do and called on his years of experience but there was nothing he could do, then suddenly, a thought crossed his mind, so he took the meat and buried it in his backyard. The second man however went home and consulted with friends and relatives. “Let us have a party, cut up the meat and let us eat it” they suggested. The old man wasn’t entirely convinced with the idea, but he agreed to try it and so they did. After the party, the problem became problem of them all. They are all worried at where he would get the meat to present to the king.    The old man who had buried his meat remained confident that the cool ground where he had buried the meat would preserve it. Early on the morning of the seventh day a reliable trusted friend of the second old man told him “now go to the market, buy the leg of a freshly killed cow with exactly the same dimensions as the meat the king gave you, and take it to the palace, and that was what the old man did. At the palace the king asked the two men to present their meats. When the first man presented his meat, the air was filled with the stinking smell of rotten, maggot infested meat, but when the second old man presented his, everyone was positively shocked as to how he could keep meat fresh and bloody for seven days. When he told them how he managed it, the king was extremely impressed and promptly declared the old man as his adviser on the spot. This was how the man emerged into wealth and splendor. He gave the king wise counsels for a long time after that.


MORAL OF THE STORY:  No man is an island, a problem shared is half solved, and someone who picks the brains of others will never be short of wisdom. Do not look down on people, learn from everyone around you. The smallest or tiniest of ideas might just become the next big thing. (Afi ogbon ologbon sogbon)


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