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Home :  African Legends :  The Squirrel Mocks the Gull

The Squirrel Mocks the Gull

Bura Folktales Legend (Nigeria)

One day a squirrel went to the chief's house and drank beer. He drank and drank until he could hold no more. The beer made him very drunk. When he went out to go home, he went into the house of one of the chief's councillors. The grinding stone of the wife of the councillor had broken in two. The squirrel said, "You know, I know a person who can sew broken grinding stones together." When asked who, he said, "Do you not know the gull?" "Yes," they said, "we know him." "Well," said the squirrel, "if you know the gull, he knows how to sew very well indeed."

The councillor sent his slave to call the gull and to tell him that the councillor was calling him. Together the slave and the gull came. As they came near to the village, the small boys who were catching locusts saw them, and said, "There, the man who can sew together broken grinding stones has come." The gull said, "Who told you that I knew how to sew together broken grinding stones?" "The squirrel told on you," they said in glee. "He said that you knew everything about it."

They came into the house of the councillor and were given water to drink. After they had drunk water, the councillor appeared and said to the gull, "My wife's grinding stone is broken, and I sent to have you called because I knew that you knew how to sew it together again." The gull said, "True, your honour, I know. But will we be able to get that which I must have to sew it together?" "What do you sew with?" inquired the councillor. "I sew with the ligaments of the leg of a squirrel," he said. "Will you be able to get for me the ligaments of the leg of a squirrel?" They said, "With your blessing, and with the blessing of the power above, we shall be able."

The councillor sent his slave to go and call the squirrel. The slave went and called the squirrel and told him that the councillor was calling him. The squirrel said, "The councillor is calling me?" "Yes," said the slave, "he is calling you".

When the squirrel arrived, the slave of the councillor fell on him and killed him. The ligaments were soon taken out and brought to the gull. Said the slave, "Here are the ligaments of the leg of a squirrel for you to sew with." In an instant the gull flew away. He did not sew the grinding stone. That is the way the squirrel brought on his death by smartness. If he had not mocked the gull, he would not have met with death.

This is a parable that a man should not mock another, for some day the powers will uncover his nakedness.


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