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.


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folktaler said...
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