The squirrel with the “slippery mouth”

A story from the religious tradition of Orisa devotion:

Once upon a time, there were two squirrels who decided to build a nest at the side of a road.

One of the squirrels, the male squirrel, decided to visit the babalawo for ifa divination. The divination warned the squirrel: “Beware of the slippery mouth, the mouth that cannot keep secrets. There is a trap that never fails to catch its victim, and that trap is the mouth that cannot keep secrets. The person who talks too much, it is his talking that kills him. And the person who talks to everyone he meets, it is his mouth that kills him. Beware of the slippery mouth!”

So it was that the Ifa divination warned the squirrel, “Do not tell everything you know to everyone you meet.” But the squirrel did not heed this good advice.

Soon thereafter, the female squirrel gave birth to two little babies. The male squirrel was very happy, so happy that he forgot what the Ifa divination told him, and he had to tell everyone about these two new babies.

He went out on the road beside which they had built their nest, and said, “The female squirrel had two lovely babies. Now our nest if full of children. All you travellers going past on the road, you must come and see our children!”

Some human beings were passing by, and heard the male squirrel say this. So they stepped into the bushes, where they found the squirrels’ nest. They looked into the nest, found the two young squirrels, and took them. When the human beings got home, they put the squirrels children on top of some pounded yam, and the two baby squirrels disappeared down their throats with the soup.

Source: Wande Abimbola, Ifa Divination Poetry

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