A long time ago, there was a man called “Aigboran”. He got married to a very beautiful woman whom he cherished and worshipped like a god. Everybody in the village of “Ojutaye” knew that Aigboran’s wife was the most beautiful woman in the village.
Instead of the man to be happy about his luck, he was very much disturbed about the beauty of his wife that he started monitoring her around the village. “Aaye”, the beautiful wife was a trader who sells beans like other women in that village. A lot of the village men always made jest of her.
One day, one of the closest friends to Aigboran was playing aayo olopon among other groups of men as Aaye was passing with her calabash of beans, he called “Aaye, Eewa re nda mi lorun… ma ta ewa fun mi, eewa re ni mo fe ra, se wa taa fun mi? (Aaye, your beauty is mesmerizing me, don’t sell beans for me, it’s your beauty I want to buy, will you sell it to me?
Other men in the group joined in the jest and refused to pay Aaye, everyone insisted that such beauty was not meant for one man but the woman just carried her calabash and left in tears. The rumour of what transpired between the men and Aaye got to Aigboran, the husband. Then he decided to be more watchful. He consulted an herbalist and asked him to put “magun” (thunderbolt) on his wife.
The herbalist advised him against such wicked acts, but he refused. Aigboran went ahead to Orunmila. Orunmila said he could never assist Aigboran in such bad acts, Orunmila, however, consulted Ifa and ensured Aigboran that his wife was not having any extra-marital affair. Aigboran did not believe Orunmila; he wanted to be very sure nobody in the village was sleeping with his wife. All the warnings of Orunmila fell on the deaf ears of Aigboran.
He went to Esu, who gave him a solution to his problem. Esu taught Aigboran how to remove his eyes and pasted it on the calabash of Aaye whenever she was going to sell beans. That was how Aigboran made sure his eyes went with his wife whenever she was not in the house. When she returns, he would remove his eyes from the calabash and put it in their sockets again. That means Aigboran would be blind until his wife return from her trading.
One fateful day, Aaye sold her beans together with the calabash to a man who wanted to do a ritual. She was glad to sell because the man gave her a huge sum of money. She got home and started counting her money when her husband asked from inside the room.
“Aaye mi, Ni bo ni Igba ewa re wa? Mo n wa oju mi o?
(Aaye dear, where is your calabash of beans, am searching for my eyes?”
Aaye gladly and innocently informed the husband that she had sold the calabash together with her beans for large sum. Aigboran screamed on top of his voice and started weeping profusely. He narrated to his wife how he used to remove his eyes to monitor Aaye whenever she was going out to sell.
Aaye, out of fear that his husband had become blind since she could not locate the man who bought the calabash, ran away from her husband till date.
A good Samaritan helped Aigboran to Orunmila’s house but Orunmila told Aigboran in simple terms: Ti aba ri Aaye, O leri oju re o”. Airi oju re, lowo Aaye lowa” (if we cannot find Aaye, you can never get your eyes, You can’t get your eyes, because it’s in the hands of Aaye). That was how Esu laalu caused Airoju Airaye in people’s life till date. Of course, Aigboran remained blind till death because Aaye could not be found in the village or anywhere around.
This generated the popular sayings of the Yoruba Kingdom on “Airoju Airaye” whenever there is trouble or chaos till today.
Key Words and its Yoruba meanings
- Aaye: A Yoruba word for Alive or space.
- Aigboran: Disobedience
- Ojutaye : The name of the village. Ojutaye means an open space that can be viewed by everybody around.
- Ayo Olopon: An indoor game in the Yoruba culture.
- Magun (thunderbolt): The Yoruba traditional uses this thing on a woman to detect if the woman is promiscuous. If such woman had been laid with thunderbolt, the man having a sexual affair with the woman will die immediately after the sexual act.
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Written by Tolu Akinwale