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Thursday, May 27, 2010

The red and blue coat

Once there were two boys who were great friends, and they were determined to remain that way forever. When they grew up and got married, they built their houses facing one another. There was a small path that formed a border between their farms.

One day, a trickster from the village decided to play a trick on them. He dressed himself in a two-color coat that was divided down the middle. So, one side of the coat was red, and the other side was blue.

The trickster wore this coat and walked along the narrow path between the houses of the two friends. They were each working opposite each other in their fields. The trickster made enough noise as he passed them to make sure that each of them would look up and see him passing.

At the end of the day, one friend said to the other, "Wasn't that a beautiful red coat that man was wearing today?"

"No", the other replied. "It was a blue coat."

"I saw the man clearly as he walked between us!" said the first, "His coat was red."

"You are wrong!" said the other man, "I saw it too, and it was blue."

"I know what I saw!" insisted the first man. "The coat was red!"

"You don't know anything," the second man replied angrily. "It was blue!"

They kept arguing about this over and over, insulted each other, and eventually, they began to beat each other and roll around on the ground.

Just then, the trickster returned and faced the two men, who were punching and kicking each other and shouting, "Our friendship is OVER!"

The trickster walked directly in front of them, and showed them his coat. He laughed at their silly fight. The two friends saw this his coat was red on one side and blue on the other.

The two friends stopped fighting and screamed at the trickster saying, "We have lived side by side like brothers all our lives, and it is all your fault that we are fighting. You have started a war between us."

"Don't blame me for the battle," replied the trickster. "I did not make you fight. Both of you are wrong, and both of you are right. Yes, what each one saw was true. You are fighting because you only looked at my coat from your own point of view."


Anonymous said...

And so runs the Nigerian myth of Eshu-Legba, which of course this is!

Thandi Soko said...

Eshu-elegba, I just did a little research and couldn't find anything that links the tale to Eshu-Elegba. I'd appreciate an author or two. or a hyperlink would do. Kind thanks

Anonymous said...

Eshu-Elegba is the trickster energy in Nigerian Yoruba myth. He is the vessel of the Orishas. As the god of the crossroads, he presents mankind with dilemmas/double paths. He is the master of ambiguity. The story that you have told is one of his myths.

Read the paragraph on the Hermetic Linguist and you will see your story exactly. The myth is well known among African poetries.

Anonymous said...

Have you managed to find the source of your story? It is the Eshu myth word for word.

Thandi Soko said...

I will look into it, for now however; I like the story behind it and it's just as well the website carrying this story did not attribute it to Eshu, some would have just ignored it as is usually the case when people hear of indegenous African religious lore. I like the way the story argues that many a times we see one thing from different perspectives, we are better off, as humans talking it over than fighting over it. So big up to Nigerian indigenous religion for offering us a life principle worth emulating.

Anonymous said...

Or you could say that the website was dishonest because it deliberately concealed its source. I wonder why it did that? I mean, it clearly misled you into thinking you had an original story...sermon?