Inu Mbekwu How The Tortoise Got His Shell

Tales By Moonlight
Inu Mbekwu
How The Tortoise Got His Shell

Inu’m Ebupu sina Ahaba Okwe
Jegide, Jegide Lua na Am’rika…
My Story, Story began it’s Journey from Asaba Okwe!
It walked and Walked until it landed in that Distant Land called Am’rika (America)
It is the Tale of Mbekwu the Tortoise the notorious Trickster
How he got caught up in his own trick.

So there was famine in the land and people had no food to eat.
Mbekwu sometimes called Mbe the Tortise
Was living in a far away land called Ani Idu (Land of Magic)
The King got their Magician to call up all the fish in the river
So their land can have something to eat during the famine-
The people spent days making Smoked Fish
But Mbe the Tortoise, wanted to keep all to himself

So in the night he made a Big Box and stuffed all the fish
He snuck out of town while the people were sleeping
He planned to cross the Big River, Oshimili
To the other side, ufesi mili, outside Ani Idu’s jurisdiction

So he walked and walked.
He walked and walked carrying the heavy box of dry fish
He walked and walked until it was Cock crow
The Antelope was the First to meet Mbe with his heavy load
“Where are you going this early in the morning, Mbe?” Antelope asked
“Terrible, Terrible News! I told my Stubborn Daughter not to cross
The other river to get a Husband
But she stubbornly crossed that river
And Death stubbornly killed her
And I stubbornly crossed the river to carry her body home!”

“What a sad tale” Antelope said.
“Can I help you carry her body home?”
“No, No! These youths don’t listen to the wisdom of elders
I’ll suffer it by myself”
Mbe replied, as he hurried away
Walking, Walking, Walking until the Third Cock crow.

If he does not cross the river before Daylight
The hungry might get at him and steal his fish
Just then Tiger (Agu) showed up
“Where are you going this early in the morning, Mbe?” Tiger asked
“Terrible, Terrible News! I told my Stubborn Daughter not to cross
The other river to get a Husband
But she stubbornly crossed that river
And Death stubbornly killed her
And I stubbornly crossed the river to carry her body home!”

“What a sad tale” Tiger said
“Can I help you carry her body home?”
“No, No! These youth don’t listen to the wisdom of elders
I’ll suffer it by myself”
Mbe replied as he hurried away
Hoping and Hoping Tiger does not change his mind
He walked and walked and walked

At Daylight just as he got to the Oshimili river bank, about to cross
Fox the Cunning, showed up!
“Where are you going this early morning, Mbe?” Fox asked
“Terrible, Terrible News! I told my Stubborn daughter not to cross
The other river to get a Husband
But she stubbornly crossed that river
And Death stubbornly killed her
And I stubbornly crossed the river to carry her body home!”

“It is abomination for a person to carry a dead body across
this section of the river alone. I will help you carry her body”
Fox told Mbe
“No, No! These youths don’t listen to the wisdom of elders
I’ll suffer it by myself because she is my only Daughter
And already an abomination!” Mbe replied.

“Abomination meets Abomination! I smell smoked fish!
I must see what is in that Big Box!” Fox told Mbe
“No, No! it’s my sorrow let me bear it alone!” Mbe said
As he tried to get away from Fox
But Fox will not let Mbe cross the river.
As they struggled, the Big Box fell and spilled the smoked fish!
“So this is what you want to eat alone while I am starving!
I will help you bury your Daughter here at the river bank”
Fox told Mbe, as he put the Big Box over Mbe

Mbe moaned and groaned under the Big Box
While Fox ate all the smoked fish
And left Mbe under the Big Box until the Famine was over-
By the time the Rains came
The Big Box was stuck on Mbe’s skin
And that is How the Tortoise Got His Shell!

Story, Story Inu’m Elugo Obodo Am’rika…

Obiajulu Chizea

2 Replies to “Inu Mbekwu How The Tortoise Got His Shell”

  1. Words are power. Be careful what you speak with your tongue. It has power and can be used for you or against you. It has life.

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