Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pataki: The Black-Eyed Peas and the Corn (Ogbe Oshe)

There was a town in which the residents were almost always going through struggle and changes. They couldn’t live in tranquility. There came a time in which all of the town’s inhabitants began to look for a place where everything was less expensive, but in the new place they did nothing about growing food for themselves. A family moved in there that was a
lso without resources. The head of the family had nothing but worked at everything that presented itself to him with the help of his son. Although he was very mischievous he helped his father in whatever he could.

This boy sometimes went to the edge of the ocean and there, on the beach, would play a little flute made of bamboo.

One day Yemayá heard him, came out of the water, and asked his name. “Oguru Yorun,” he answered. Yemayá responded, “you mess around a lot and that is why you find yourself in the position you’re in, but when you do what you should do, you are going to have a change in your luck and everyone will look up to you. Your grandfather, your mother, and your father will help you and when you are a big man they will name you ruler, because Agayú, Oshún, and I are going to help you.”

“Now, go to the house of the omofá of the town—tell your mother to accompany you—so that Orunmila can read you, and if you don’t have enough money you will pay him with the flute he will receive from you.”

With this conversation over, Yemayá returned to the ocean and the boy went to his house. He told his mother everything and she told him that the next day he would go to the house of the omofá.

The next day, very early, they went to the house of the awó of the town and he read the boy. Ogbe Oshé came out and he told him, “you have to make ebó.” And, as he had nothing with which to pay him, the omofá accepted the flute in payment for his work, and each time he needed something from the boy he called him with the flute.

When the boy made the ebó for himself he took everything to the ocean, because Orunmila had indicated that it be thrown out there, and when he was going to return to his house he encountered a man who asked him if he wanted to work with him. The boy said yes and the man put him on his farm to care for the black-eyed peas and the corn.

Over time the boy asked the owner of the farm some times for ears of corn or a little of the black-eyed peas and the owner gave him what he wanted some times. The boy took them and started growing them at his house and when he harvested the crop his father started telling everyone that his son sold black-eyed peas and ears of corn and they came from all over to buy from him. The business became powerful.

Yemayá, Agayú, and Obatalá got together and asked the people of the town to give a festival in the name of the three of them. A festival was made and that day the town named the boy Governor of the Town and among the gifts that he received was the flute that he had given to the omofá, and Agayú said to him, “all the good you have you owe to Yemayá, Oshún, and Obatalá; listen well to the advice of your elders so that you don’t destroy what you have and the arayé who envy you don’t beat you down.”

(c) Copyright English Translation by David H. Brown 2014