Story analysis- A Yoruba tale of the rich slave.

My favorite kind of stories are the stories that have a moral lesson in the end. When I was little my father used to read me many tales from kids books that taught me about different values and how people should treat one another. One story that I remember comes from the Yoruba culture of west Africa. Many Yoruba tales teach a moral lesson by the end of the stories which leaves the person deep in thought. One of my favorite tales is one of a selfish son of a slave owner that learns his place. Heres the story here so you may read before the analysis.

Jiboye’s   is the first son of a very rich man, and that made him very obnoxious, he treated every one of his father’s slaves with disdain and respected no one.  One day he went to his father and asked, “Dad, how many slaves do we have in this house?” His puzzled father looked at him and replied: “I have got so many slaves that I don’t know how many there are, but what do you need the information for?” Jiboye replied “I think we should count the number of slaves we have, so that everybody will know how much influence you really have.” “but don’t you think that would hurt their feelings? Being counted like goats” his father asked. “Who cares, they are slaves, aren’t they?”  Jiboye countered. “Alright” ,his father said with a sigh “summon all the slaves for a headcount this evening, and it will be done in the presence of all the family members.”

Later that evening, when everybody was seated, the rich man started to call the slaves one by one to introduce themselves. After every slave had introduced him or herself( a process which took some time as the slaves were rather many), the rich man declared:  “ everybody seated, thanks for your patience, by now all my slaves have introduced themselves, but there is a particular slave here whom ,has not introduced himself and whom I will introduce . He pointed at Jiboye “this young man here is the son of a female slave who died at childbirth, when he was born God had not yet blessed my wife with the fruit of the womb, so we adopted him and reared him as one of ours. Jiboye is a slave and not my son at all. All eyes suddenly turned on Jiboye who burst into bitter tears, “in a tearful voice, he cried “but master, how could you do this to me?” his master replied “ remember what I told you, when slaves are counted, their feelings are always hurt.”


What I loved most about this story is the lesson that comes from it. The boy was very obnoxious and treated the slaves like dirt because he was rich. When he found out that he himself was the son of the very people he felt were beneath him, he had his feelings hurt. It was a lesson of humility. Although the people were slaves they were still HUMANS with thoughts and feelings. No one has the right to talk down to another. All people deserve respect from others no  matter their stature in society and no one has the right to look down on others just because their better off. We are all the same type of creatures and should be treated equally.


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