The Eagle and the Sun is a story poem by Niyi Osundare. The poem follows the usual traditional storytelling method adopted by the Yorubas. During this session, the narrator starts with a famous chorus (Oruka tindi tindi tindi as used in this poem), which is reciprocated by the audience. The chorus is pronounced with the first three words with a slight rising tone and the last one with a falling tone.

Enjoy The Eagle And The Sun (Oruka Tindi Tindi Tindi) By Niyi Osundare

Storyteller: Oruka tindi tindi tindi

Audience: Oruka tindi tindi tindi

Once upon a time

There was an Eagle

Known for his strength

All over the earth

He was big and brave and very boastful

His feathers stood out on his arms

His claws were as strong as iron

His beak was so hard

He thought he could split a rock

Everywhere he flew

The wind bowed beneath his wings

The big birds avoided his path

The small ones he killed for his daily snacks

His boast was loud and long

He said he had deeper indigo than agbe (a bird with an indigo colour found in the Southern part of Nigeria)

That he commanded a quarry of chalk

Whiter than the egret’s

He said he had more honey in his voice

Than the bee ever had in its hive

That he was more eloquent than the parrot

He said he has more wisdom than the owl

That he could beat the weaverbird

In the intricate art of weaving

His boast was loud and long

Oruka tindi tindi tindi

One day

Towards the end of the seventh moon

He summoned all the birds

To a clearing in the forest

And when all were gathered and wondering why

He proclaimed his harsh command:

          “You have been too long now

          Without a king

          And that’s not proper

          For our noble tribe

          Give me your noble crown

          Make me your king

          Since I can fly higher

          Than anyone here

          I have the power

          I have the reach”

But we have never had a king”, replied Aiyekoto**,

The one with the bold and eloquent voice,

And we see no need now for us to change our rule

The other birds agreed and they

Flapped their wings in loud applause

Oruka tindi tindi tindi

“If seeing is the problem”,

          Shouted the Eagle,

          “I know how to clear your eyes”,

          He nodded his head and a crew of crows,

          Armed and very frightening,

          Descended from a tree,

          A golden crown in their hands

          They put the crown in

          The centre of the gathering

          And the eagle said to the birds:

          “Place the crown on my head!”

Angry, very angry

The birds laid their heads together

And chose a vulture for the crowning act

With the crown on his head,

Eagle swore and swayed and staggered,

Seeing himself now as the lord of all

That flew beneath the skies

His boast was loud and long

Oruka tindi tindi tindi

Day mounted day

Week mounted week

Many moons came and went

Eagle liked his place

As the king of the Heights

He took what he wanted

No, just what he wanted

Not just what he needed

Nothing moved in the forest

Without his knowing,

His crows spread fear

In the community of birds

His spies had a nest on every tree

He saw nothing now beyond his mighty doing

His boast was loud and loud

Oruka tindi tindi tindi

Then, one day,

Between drink and dream,

He summoned the birds to another meeting

          “I want to challenge the sun”,

          He proclaimed to the baffled gathering,

          “I have the strength

          I have the reach

          My very muscle twitches

          From the abundance of power

          I have flown above the grass

          I have surged above the trees

          The highest tower shrinks beneath my sweep

   I have scratched the moon’s face

   I have glided over the surface of the ocean

   Now it’s time to CONQUER the sun

   And bring it to earth

   Between my powerful claws

   I will then go on to rule the world…”

His boast was loud and long

Oruka tindi tindi tindi

A long deep hush there was among the birds

Many agitated glances and ruffled feathers;

The Woodcock spoke the gathering’s mind:

“It’s too hot up there.

Even for one in a suit of iron;

Leave the sun alone.

For many, many seasons now,

The sun has lived in its house in the sky

And we have lived in ours below the clouds

It sends us warmth in the cold season

It sends the rays that ripen our fruits

It sends the light that brighten our way.

It’s too hot up there

Leave the sun alone

We play with the Moon

We romp with the Stars

We sometimes caress the waters of the Ocean;

But says the Sun:

Never touch me, even with the longest pole

The Sun is no plaything

And none of us has a need for such a toy

It’s too hot up there

Leave the Sun alone”

Oruku tindi tindi tindi

His claws twitching, his beak furious,

Eagle took one look at the other birds

And spoke with copious disdain:

“You straw-feathered, rubber-beaked,

Worm-eating, flight-frightened cowards,

How dare you mock me my noble ambition!

You sat down here and feed

Your base hunger with roadside berries

I honour my stomach with the best

On the tallest trees;

You can stay down here

And choke on your fear;

The Sun and I have a score to settle;

I who rule the birds

Will rule the world”

His boast was loud and long

Oruku tindi tindi tindi

So saying, Eagle leapt towards the sky

He flew and flew and flew

He flew till his glittering crown

Vanished behind the clouds…”

Seven days later,

His ashes lay surprised on the roadside grass.

Oruku tindi tindi tindi

Oruku tindi tindi tindi


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