Folk Tales: I Searched for Rats, I searched for Fishes……..

The story below is another folktale. These stories are as old as the Yoruba race itself. They are probably completely real, based on real events or pure fiction. I guess we will never really know.  I want to believe most of them have been modified over time and this is majorly because they were transmitted orally from generation to generation. I have tried to maintain the basic features of these stories but still they have been told in my own voice as I cannot claim to remember them exactly as we were told while growing up.

Please drop comments whether to tell us how you remembered the stories in case your own version is different or to even mention some stories that you might have also heard. I am enjoying this, I hope you are also.



Mo weku  me reku

Mo weja me reja

Mo fori ade sebe, me le saroye oooo


Once upon a time, there was a woman who lived with her husband and two children in a small village. This woman loved gossiping so much and would sometimes leave her children alone at home to visit her friends.

So one afternoon, after her husband had gone to the farm, she wanted to visit a friend in the neighbouring village. She knew it would take some time before she got back and so she called her eldest son and told him to prepare stew for dinner.

She said; “Ajadi, look for rats in nearby bushes, if you cannot get a rat, go to the stream and look for fish. Whatever you do just make sure there is meat in the stew.”

Ajadi told his mum that he would do as she said.

Minutes after the mother left, Ajadi and Ade his five year old brother set out for the nearby bushes, he took with him a big stick. The method was simple; it was something he had done several times in the past. He would look for Rat holes and set fire to the entrance of the hole. He would stand with the big stick lifted in readiness to hit any unfortunate Rat that decided to run out.

That day however, it was as if all the rats in the bush had decided to go for a meeting in a neighbouring town, he set fires to several holes but not one rat came out. He was at it for several hours but all his efforts proved fruitless. When he was tired, they left the bush and headed for the river, Ajadi took with him a fishing line and bait. He told his brother to sit on the river bank while he went to the river side. He squatted and threw his line into the river but no fish came near. After spending several hours at the river without getting a Fish, they went back home.

Ajadi was sad; he knew he had to make sure there was meat in the soup. He knew his mother would be very angry if he cooked the soup without meat or fish. He thought long and hard about what he could do. Finally a thought came to him and smiling he picked a sharp cutlass.


Evening came and the mother returned from where she had gone to visit her friends. She went straight to the outdoor kitchen and was glad to perceive the aroma of freshly cooked soup. She opened the pot and used her finger to pick one of the meats in the pot. She popped it into her mouth and nodded her head immediately.

‘‘Such good and tasty meat’’, she said spitting some pieces of bone out.

‘‘Ajadi, Ade’’ she called out. ‘‘Í’m home ooo.’’

She patted Ajadi’s head as soon as he came in. ‘‘Welldone my son, you have certainly done well. This is a very tasty soup. Now all we need to do is make some eba for supper. Your father will be home anytime now. Get me the container of gaari from my room and where is your brother Ade? Is he sleeping?’’

‘‘Ade you said?’’ Ajadi asked

‘‘Yes, Adekitan. Where is he? Has he gone to play with Iya Alaso’s children?’’

‘‘No, mother. I don’t know how to say this so I will just say it with this song. I am sure mother you would understand.’’

Mo weku, me reku

{I searched for Rats, I couldn’t find Rats}

Mo weja, Me reja

{I tried fishing, but I couldn’t get a fish}

Mo fori Ade sebe

{So I decided to use Ade’s head to cook the soup}

Me le se aroye oo

{Do not disturb me as I don’t have the time or energy for much talk}

The woman cried out in disbelief and ran into the house calling Ade’s name frantically. She entered her room  and there she  saw the headless body of her younger son on the mud floor.

The End

Moral of the story is?

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