Ijapa, the Smart Tortoise
- March 2, 2020
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Young Writers
Ijapa, the Smart Tortoise.
by TEKLA UWABOR OGHOSA
Long, long ago, in a kingdom of animals and human beings, there lived a king and queen who always got animals to work for them but never cared about their welfare. The king had plots of land and was a great farmer in his time. He was married to his beautiful queen named Ighoota.
Every spring, the king will gather all the animals and share the jobs and how they will operate. Some will cut down grasses, dig and make ridges while some will carry out the planting of seeds and other crops. The king would use them and pay them a little amount of money. He was practically using the animals to make more money for himself and his family. He cheated the animals much.
One day, a tortoise named Ijapa, who was clever and courageous, went to the king palace with his fake treasure box so he could fool the king.
He said,” Long live the king! I, your humble servant, have come before you with a treasure box.”
The king was furious because the tortoise had the effrontery to walk into his palace. The king screamed, “What are you doing here? Are you not meant to be in one of my lands working?”
The queen ran out quickly and pleaded on behalf of the tortoise because she wanted the box and the treasure inside. So, the king ordered Ijapa to speak.
Ijapa said, “In this treasure box, I have diamonds and pills that will make you live forever and to become the richest king in the whole human kingdom.”
The king got enticed when he heard the words of Ijapa and was willing to receive it, but Ijapa told him that he could only have it if he followed his conditions.
At first, the king was upset, and his ego almost got to him, but he reluctantly agreed because he was interested in having the box. He gave the tortoise the go-ahead to lay down his conditions.
“If you must have this treasure box, you will have to grant all the animals freedom and never to enslave them.” Ijapa, the tortoise said. “Also, if anyone chooses to work for you, you will have to pay half a pound as their wages,”
That was very difficult for the king, but he accepted because of the box.
The king said, “I accept. Can I have the box now?”
Ijapa said, “Yes, but that will be after four years.” I will bury the box under the ground where no one will see it. If you treat them as you have promised, the treasure box will be yours. The king smiled and agreed.
On the third day after the encounter with Ijapa, the king summoned all the animals and told them that he would let them go and whoever wishes to work for him will receive more than half a pound. The animals were all surprise and at the same time happy. They all wondered what happened. The animals started fending for themselves and their young ones. Some got their plot of land and started harvesting and making some money. The king started showing love and care and was concerned about their good. He would even call for a feast and invite all the animals to his house.
Years later, the king fell in love with all the animals and regretted ever enslaving them and putting them under hardship. He apologised and turned a good leaf.
On the fourth year, Ijapa came back to remind the king of the treasure box, which of course the king had forgotten about.
“There was nothing in the box.” Said Ijapa with a sheepish grin on his face. “I only came up with the plan to make you change your attitude towards the animals.”
The king was grateful to Ijapa and said to him, ”Indeed, life is sweeter when we love and care about others. There is nothing better, more precious than LOVE and UNDERSTANDING. There may not be a treasure box, but you gave me the best gift ever.”
The king and the animals lived happily ever after.
Tekla Uwabor is a seven-year-old pupil of Lagoon Primary School. This piece is her submission for the Jordan Hill February 2020 Writing Challenge.