The Story behind the Yoruba proverb “Idan ni yio pe ara re leru”


Yoruba is a Nigerian tribe known for buttressing their points with proverbs and witty sayings. Though these proverbs are wise words, they sometimes sound funny. It is also a fact that there is nothing the Yoruba people don’t have a proverb for. That is how important proverbs sounds to an average Yoruba man. Thethronemedia in this piece, takes a look at one of the proverbs and the story behind it. Enjoy…

There lived a very wealthy man named Chief Agbabiaka, who at a time was preparing for a party in his best friend’s house; dressed in one of his finest attires before remembering that his wife and children were not around, so he called his trusted slave as an escort. “Aremu, I am going to my friend’s party and as you can see, my wife and children are away from home, I need an escort, will you come along?” Aremu replied “I would love to sir, but my fear is that when we get to the party, you would declare my status as a slave and every one will laugh at me” the Chief replied “don’t worry, I promise I won’t call you my slave. So the Chief brought out clothes and gave it to Aremu saying “Take this clothes, it is befitting like that of my son for you, so that you’ll look just like my son, here change into this” so Aremu dressed like a rich man’s son and went with Chief Agbabiaka to the party. There were plenty of people at party, there were plenty to eat and drink, everyone enjoyed the occasion. Yet, Chief kept his promise and did not tell anyone that Aremu is his slave. As they settled down to eat, Chief Agbabiaka looked around but could not find Aremu anywhere, so he assumed he was probably having a great time with other rich young people at the party. But a few minutes later, the serving maid looking disturbed, walked up to Chief Agbabiaka and said “Sir that man you brought, the one you called your son is in the kitchen eating the leftovers stuck to the pounded yam mortar.” Chief Agbabiaka laughed heartily then replied, “Oh! You mean Aremu? He is not my son, he is only the slave I brought as my footman, when the disgraced Aremu was brought back in tears, he told the Chief, “sir you made a promise that you would not call me your slave,” Chief replied “I kept my promise, it was your behaviour that showed the world who you are” Idan ni yio pe ara re leru.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Some people will always remain the same no matter how hard you try. They will always want to push the blame back to you for their misfortune. Don’t bother yourself with them just let them be.



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