Monday, November 27, 2006

Computer crashes

To all those in the US, I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving day and wonderful Shopping thereafter.
It's been a while since my last post here, not because I had no story to post (in fact, I do) but because:

  • 1) There are work related projects to be completed before the end of the year
  • 2) I'm entertaining family from Nigeria (who have supplied me with more folktales)
Two very good excuses for not having time for posting stories, but then in accordance with Murphy's Law (except it's not really Murphy's law since the first two reasons are not wrong)

  • 3) My computer also crashed

On a positive note, today is CyberMonday, perhaps I'll find a good deal on a replacement computer. And when I do get back to updating the site, there will be more stories to post.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Bird steals babies

Posted this folktale yesterday about a bird that stole Iyawo's baby, then rewarded the woman. Iyale gets greedy and tries to get same reward but is punished instead. Iyale and Iyawo are Yoruba words meaning "senior wife" and "junior wife" respectively. They are terms used to label wives in a polygamous situation to indicate their order of seniority and many tales abound in Yoruba folklore depicting iyale/iyawo interactions. Such stories, as in this tale almost always portray disharmony in the family - a mean iyale and a long-suffering iyawo with the husband rarely playing any role in the drama. Apparently, the tales did not warn enough people off the practice considering its dominance in ancient Yoruba culture.

Reading A.B. Ellis's Yoruba Speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West Africa helped me remember most of this story. In his version, there are three wives, not two so you may want to head over to read that.

I posted this commentary yesterday night. Then decided to upgrade to blogger-beta after reading about the new features. Completed the upgrade without a hitch (none expected either). Then today, I wanted to edit my post and alas, just like iyawo, my post was gone. Blogger-beta had taken my post and no matter how fervently I sang, it wouldn't give it back to me. I did not have copy of that post and I think it was nicer than this one. Lost posts always are.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Turn the World Around - a Guinea folklore inspiration

I enjoy Harry Belafonte's music. This video is of a 1977 appearance he made on the Muppet Show where he sang Turn the world around - a beautiful song. In the video, he explains that his inspiration for the song came from a storyteller he met in Guinea.

I went deep into the interior of the country and in a little village, I met with a storyteller. And that storyteller went way back into African tradition and African mythology and began to tell the story about the fire, which means the sun, and about the water and about the earth and that he pointed out that all these things put together turn the world around. And that all of us are here for a very, very short time and in that time when we're here, there really isn't any difference in any of us if we take time out to understand each other. And the question is, do I know who you are, do you know who I am, and we care about each other? Cause if we do, together, we can turn the world

I would like to learn the complete version of this Guinean creation story.