Sacred-Texts African Index Previous Next
THERE was a certain lazy and disagreeable man whom everyone called “Ole,” or “Lazy one.” He liked to profit by the work of others, and was also very inquisitive about other people’s affairs.
Once he saw that the ants had begun building a pillar in the compound of his house. But though the ants destroyed p. 41 all the plants in the compound, and stripped all the trees, Ole would not trouble to kill them, or to break down their pillar.
Instead, he thought to himself: “When the ants have made this pillar very high, I will sit on the top of it, and then I shall be able to see all that my neighbours are doing without leaving my compound.”
This thought pleased him, and he was glad that the ants swarmed in his compound. Each day the pillar grew higher, and at last the ants ceased their building and began again elsewhere. Ole then climbed up on to the pillar and spent the whole day observing the doings of his neighbours, and laughing at their activity.
|“Here sit I like a great Chief,|
And I see all things!”
But while he sat on the pillar, the ants began to demolish his house and all that it contained, and in a short time there was nothing left of all his food and possessions.
Ole thus became the laughing-stock of the village, and everyone who saw him p. 42 cried: “Ku ijoko!” or “Greetings to you on your sitting!”
Soon afterwards he died, and it is not known to this day whether he died of shame or of laziness.