The Tale of How the Tortoise Became Bald (Folktale Story)

The Tale of How the Tortoise Became Bald (Folktale Story)

In a time long ago, within the animal kingdom, there lived a creature named the tortoise. The tortoise (Ijapa) was married to Yanribo and also had a companion named Osemi.

In their neighborhood, a woman would skillfully fry delicious bean cakes by the roadside. Every morning, a line of eager customers would gather to purchase her delectable treats. Whenever the tortoise walked past the spot where the woman sold her “akara” (bean cakes), he would be enticed by the mouthwatering aroma. Though he yearned to taste them, he lacked the funds to do so. He would envy those who savored the woman’s akara each morning.


One day, he confided in his wife, Yanribo, about the alluring bean cakes. He expressed how they made his mouth water, but he lacked the money to buy them. He requested, “Give me some money to buy akara, or else I might ask Osemi for some.” Yanribo responded, “I don’t have much money, but here’s a small amount.” She handed him a penny.

Wearing his cap and clutching the penny, the tortoise headed directly to the spot where the woman was selling the bean cakes. Arriving there, he found a queue of eager customers awaiting their turn. Though discouraged, he chose to wait patiently for his chance.

As the crowd gradually thinned and his turn drew near, an unexpected interruption occurred. Someone urgently summoned the woman, claiming her attention was needed at home due to visitors. Turning to the tortoise, she requested his help to watch over the bean cakes on the fire, ensuring they didn’t burn. Gratefully, the tortoise accepted, elated to assist.

However, the moment the woman departed, temptation proved too strong for the tortoise. He began devouring the bean cakes he was supposed to watch over. Amid the frying, he indulged himself, whispering, “I will eat and eat and even save some in my cap.” As he spoke to himself, he noticed the woman approaching from a distance.

Also See: Folktale: How The Tortoise Got The Cracks On His Shell

Acting swiftly, he placed bean cakes in his cap and donned it atop his head. The bean cakes, still hot, prompted him to twist his neck awkwardly. Upon her return, the woman thanked the tortoise and, in appreciation, gifted him some bean cakes. Observing his peculiar neck movements, she inquired, “Is something amiss?” He denied any issue and bid his farewell, leaving shortly after.

On his journey, the tortoise intended to remove the bean cakes from his cap. However, well-wishers and acquaintances kept greeting him, preventing him from doing so. He decided to visit his concubine Osemi’s dwelling instead. Arriving there, he greeted Osemi and her kin. Taking a seat, he continued twisting his neck restlessly.

Concerned, they inquired, “What’s troubling you?” Dismissing their concerns, the tortoise insisted he was fine. Eager to leave, he faced an unexpected question about his persistent neck movements. Osemi’s relatives remarked, “You’re twisting your neck excessively.” At Osemi’s urging, they removed the cap from the tortoise’s head, unveiling the unexpected: bean cakes tumbled out, and his hair was charred. Overwhelmed by embarrassment, he departed in shame.

And so, the tortoise’s once-full head of hair was forever replaced with a bald crown. From this tale, we glean the lesson that greediness brings its own consequences, teaching us the value of contentment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Make Money Online