United, We Build

The Unwise Wisdom

The Unwise Wisdom
The Tortoise and Its Collection of Wisdom

By J. B. Fagoyinbo

We are beginning this page with this proverb to help in enhancing the functionality of the page to mankind.

Let us consider this Yoruba fable. The tortoise is considered to be very cunning and could outwit every other creature; including man. In recent past, not less than ten millennia, it decided it wanted to be the reservoir of all wisdom. He thus decided to collect all the wisdom in the world, stored them in a gourd and attempted to hang them on the top of a very tall baobab tree known and accessible to him only. He tied the gourd to his chest. While trying to climb, even his hands could not touch the stem of the tree and thus could not hold same to climb. In his struggle, a passer-by saw him.

“Tortoise, what are you trying to do?” The passer-by asked.

“I want to climb this tree”.

With the gourd on your chest!”


“Why not consider putting it on the back? I think it should be easier that way”.

Tortoise saw its folly and simultaneous it noticed a kite perching on the tree and a squirrel hiding away from the kite in a bird hole. It saw the futility of its action; kites, sparrows, insects, lizards, squirrels, monkeys, etc. would have access to its collection of wisdom after all. It thus smashed the gourd on the ground and all the wisdom flowed out and spread all over the world.

In a gathering, when you want to emphasize that you have confidence in what you are asserting, you beat your chest with your fist. You don’t tap the chest with your finger; not even with two but with all the fingers and the palm of the hand held together. Yoruba says “Agbajo owo l’ a fi nso’ ya” The chest is hit with the fist to assert the confidence in a statement or authority over a matter.

Consider yourself as one of the fingers and this page as the palm.

Let us together build this page. That collection you have wisdom that you have gathered over the years, release them one at a time so that humanity can learn from you and the world will be better.

God bless you as we work together.

About jbfagga 42 Articles
Engr Joseph Babatunde Fagoyinbo was born on January 16, 1947. He enlisted for engineering education and obtained the BSc degree in Agricultural Engineering in 1977 and an M.Eng degree in Environmental Engineering in 1982. He attended an 8-week training programme at the Fondation de l’Eau, Limoges France in July/August 1998 as the leader of a Nigerian delegation. In 2000 he also attended the UNESCO-sponsored Higher Hydrologicy Course at the Moscow State University in July/August 2000 Engr Fagoyinbo has since 1977 been having practsing in the field of engineering including design and construction supervision of water supply, river channel training works and environmental management facilities, industrial development, entrepreneurship, etc.

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