In Yoruba folklore, the Tortoise, who is called Àjàpá, Ìjàpá, & Alájàpá, is depicted as a trickster whose popularity equals Anansi’s. The Yoruba esteem his cunning, “which makes up for his physical disadvantages”, that’s celebrated in the proverb “Àjàpá ò lẹ́sẹ̀ ńlẹ̀, ó lọ́gbọ́n ńnú (Àjàpá’s feet make hardly an impression on the ground, but he is all wisdom inside).”
Source: “Tortoise Tales and Yoruba Ethos” by Oyekan Owomoyela
Trickster deities, entities, and characters tend to be misunderstood. Rather than maligning them, we can observe the ways they teach us to be resourceful and to use our common sense, so that we learn the dangers of being naïve and gullible.
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