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Uhireyi: Why Opaku (Tortoise) Has A Cracked Shell – Ebira Folktales
I always wondered why the shell of the Opaku was never smooth, I didn’t realize how much harm he had caused himself ages ago, until my grandma told me the story. I will tell you the story just as it was relayed to me.
The Opaku is undoubtedly the most cunning of all animals. once upon a time, the Opaku with the birds was invited to a banquet up in the sky. The Opaku took feathers from the birds and flew up with them.
Having got to the venue, the tortoise suggested that a name should be given to each of them. He named himself ‘Aab’Auni’ meaning all of you. some of the birds named themselves “only me and all of us”. the first set of food was brought and the birds asked which of them had the food? the host replied : “all of you”. the Opaku was very delighted and the birds were very happy too; they thought the next sets would be theirs. The tortoise ate the whole food alone.
The next food came as hoped, the birds asked again who the food was to be given. The host answered as usual “all of you”. This time the birds were already grim and protested against the attitude of the host. The Opaku said nothing, instead, he finished all the food.
Hence, all the birds collected their feathers with gross contempt and flew home except the parrot. The parrot waited to see if food would be given to him. Nevertheless, another food was brought and given to the tortoise.
The Opaku ate the food without giving any to the parrot. the hungry parrot left disappointed. Before he left, the Opaku sent him to his wife to arrange every tender material in the direction he would descend.
Parrot, however, got home and told Opaku’s wife to arrange all metal objects in the direction where the Opaku would descend. Opaku’s wife did as relayed by the parrot. Alas! when the tortoise descended, he sustained a terrible injury, his shell got broken into pieces. The shell was arranged on his back but the marks of amendment remained indelible. That Was How Opaku Get Its Rough Shell.
Note: Opaku (Ebira Language) means Tortoise in English Language.