The Farmer, Cunning Herbalist And The Antelope
Once upon a time, in a village, there lived a famous and successful farmer. The major crop he cultivates in his farm was Okra. His family depends on the revenue derived from the sales of the Okra to earn a living, fortunately, every year; he always had a bounteous harvest.
But, one particular year, the farmer noticed that a certain animal goes to his farm regularly to feed from his Okra and the rate with which the animal fed on the Okra was very alarming. Since the Okra was the only source of his income, he was unhappy about this development. He decided to find a drastic solution to it.
The farmer went to an herbalist for advice and aid on how to kill this strange animal which he later discovered to be an antelope. The reason he sought the herbalist’s help was that, any day he laid siege for this antelope, it will not come that very time but, will come to the farm immediately the farmer leaves the hiding place. The herbalist then told the farmer to come the following day for a solution.
Unknown to the farmer, the antelope also goes to see this same herbalist for charms of protection and direction, whenever it is about to go feed from the farmer’s Okra. Thus, that is why the farmer had not been able to get it.
After the farmer left the herbalist’s house, the antelope came to see the herbalist too. The herbalist then used the opportunity to tell the antelope that, the farmer of the Okra it has been eating just left his house and that he is desperately seeking its death. However, he promised to help the antelope, but, for the last time. He told the antelope to come to his house very early the following day.
The next day, the antelope came very early as required of it. The herbalist covered the antelope with a basket and puts it beside him. He sincerely urged the antelope to listen very well to the conversation that will ensue between him and the farmer. While still discussing with the antelope, the farmer arrived at the given time.
The herbalist told the farmer what to do. He said, “Tomorrow by 12noon, go to your farm, hide behind the fattest tree in the middle of your farm and watch from there. The antelope will come from your right. Then, you can do whatever you desire of it”.
After saying these words, the herbalist hits the basket beside him and made a statement. He said, “I hope you can hear me clearly? Those who have ears, let them hear, let them use their Gog – given ears wisely and preserve their lives”,
Unknown to the farmer, that he was not the only one being spoken to but, also to the hidden antelope. He thanked the herbalist and promised to use his ears wisely and left happily.
The herbalist then opened the basket and told the antelope to be very careful. He also counseled it, not to the farmer’s farm again in order to remain alive.
The antelope proved to be hard hearted, stubborn and greedy. It left for the farmer’s farm immediately, concluding in its heart that, “This is going to be my last visit to his farm”.
Unfortunately for the antelope, due to curiosity, the farmer was already in the farm, laying in siege for the antelope till the next day. Just as the antelope sprang up from the right side, the farmer shot and killed it instantly.
The farmer took the dead animal to the herbalist’s house, to show him the animal that has been eating up his source of living and also, to thank him for the direction he gave him but when he got to the farm, the herbalist was stunned to see his dead friend. The only comment he made at that moment was, “An ear that does not listen to counsel, follows the head to the grave”. The farmer was puzzled on hearing the comment that he had to ask the herbalist what the proverb implies. The herbalist now explained to the farmer that, the antelope was his dear friend and customer. He also told the farmer about the charms of protection and directions he gave the antelope before embarking to feed on the farmer’s crop. He added to the farmer’s surprise when he mentioned the presence of the antelope at their last conversation and that he referred to it when he made the warning statement. But because of its greediness and self – centeredness, it was obstinate and met its death.
After this revelation, the farmer took the antelope away happily and fulfilled. He prepared it, took some to the herbalist and feasted on his portion with his family.
That was the miserable end of the greedy animal. Indeed, “An ear that refuses to heed counsel goes with the head to the grave”.
Thus, we should never be greedy. We should make wise use of our ears by listening to wise counsel in order to preserve our precious life.