Agbe alahun alahun aro, Aluko alahun alahun osun, Lekeleke alahun alahun efun. B’omo o lahun won a pe baba.
From time immemorial, the Yoruba language has taken in a lot of nature into the building bricks of her linguistic structures. In the same vein, The Yoruba have remarkable love for comparative descriptions of nature around them in form of opposites. Agbe, Aluko, Lekeleke are but birds of special beauty and natural significance with the Yoruba people and poets.
So the Yoruba will say Agbe lo l’aro, aluko lo l’osun, lekeleke lo l’efun. This is implying the beauty of the feathers that grace the birds that roam Yoruba skyline as from time immemorial. Early writers and commentators of the beauty of Yoruba homeland says “Yoruba contains many wonderful things, in it is found the bird; Parrot.
The parrot is known as Odidere (albeit often called Ayekooto) in Yoruba. The name is indeed a thoughtful one. Ayekooto means ‘the world rejects the truth’. How forthright a notion! The Yoruba believes that the man who held to the truth may not have common mat to sleep on. The naming Ayekooto shows that the Yoruba may have had a forgotten story behind the name of this beautiful bird.
The story is told of the time that animals speak the language of man. A farmer was enticed by the Lorikeet and he brought in the bird to stay with him. The lorikeet speaks and understands the language of man. So she goes and come back with the man each time of the day.
One fateful day, a buffalo belonging to the neighbour of the farmer wandered to the farm of the lorikeet keeper. The farmer killed the buffalo, he smoked part and cooked part of it and also kept what remains away in the farm. Not long after, the true owner of the buffalo came to the farm and asked his neigbour if his buffalo has wandered to his farm. No was the answer.
Then the lorikeet began to talk: “My master slay the buffalo, he cooked some and smoked the rest. He hid part away down there”. The owner of the buffalo summons the farmer to the king after part of the meat was found where the lorikeet described. The lorikeet argued that his master killed the buffalo still, and the farmer asked that he be given a grace to defend himself the next morning.
That night, the farmer took in the lorikeet and covered its cage whilst the bird was sleeping. He covered it with a shawl to make it look dark, and then he began to sprinkle water drip down on the lorikeet. He intermittently hit at the metal, giving the lorikeet an impression of rain and thunder. The lorikeet indeed woke up and observed its environment In the morning, the king was seated and all the community was with them.
They want to see how the case at hand ends, with the lorikeet being the principal witness. After the lorikeet has retwitted its line, the farmer said “People are you going to condemn me on the allegation of this unfortunate bird (eye oloriburuku yii) the farmer asked? If so, ask the bird what kind of night we had last night.” So the king asked likewise, and the response of the lorikeet was that the rain fell and the thunder struck all night. Then the farmer said, “Is it on the account of this unfortunate thing that you will condemn me?” At this, the judge set the farmer free and banished the lorikeet from living among men, lest it would sow discord capable of setting people apart.
As the bird flew into the forest, it came across parrot and found out that parrot too can speak the language of man. “Oh I see you too can speak the language of man”. The lorikeet says. “Man will find you and take you in, but never should you speak your own mind if you must co-habit with mankind, only mimic whatever he says.” And not many days afterwards, man found that the parrot too could talk.
They took home the bird just as the lorikeet has predicted. Also, they expected it to talk from its mind. But for as long as man has harbored the bird, it never says its mind, it only repeats few words that man says to it. When people asked why it never talked like the lorikeet, Odidere’s only words were ‘Aiyekooto’ . Eye oko tun ni, temi yemi.
Written By: Ladionline