Ijapa Tiroko

Ijapa Tiroko
Ijapa Tiroko: Hero of Yoruba Folktales

Sunday, 3 April 2011


Long, long time ago, there was a woman called Olurombi. This woman was not happy because she did not have a child. She tried for so long to have a child of her own, but all to no avail. So, she went to a spirit–tree (god) called lroko Oluwere. Iroko was a powerful tree, people used to worshipped it and requested for things they needed from it. At the end of their requests, they will make a vow with the god to give something back in appreciation of answer to their requests.
When Olurombi got to lroko, she pleaded with the tree to give her a child. She vowed to return the child back to the powerful tree if her request was granted. Iroko was pleased with the pledge made by Olurombi because all the other people that have been coming before her, no one had ever made that kind of vow. The highest gifts the worshippers have ever given to the god were goats and sheep.
At last, some months later Olurombi became pregnant and had a baby girl. She was so happy and she named the child Aponbepore meaning “the most beautiful and as red as palm oil”. Aponbepore began to grow up but the mother did not remember to fulfill the vow she made with lroko. So, when lroko had waited for a long time without Olurombi fulfilling her promise, the spirit- tree decided to go to her house and take Aponbepore. On getting to the house, the spirit-tree just gripped Aponbeore’s hand and began to drag her away. The girl and her mother began to cry . The mother ran after the spirit –tree crying and pleading but the god did not pay any attention to her.
The spirit-tree held on to the girl and disappeared. Olurombi cried and pleaded for her child to be returned back to her instead of releasing the girl, lroko replied with a song:
Lead: Everyone made a pledge of a goat
Chorus: A goat, a goat
Lead: Everyone made a pledge of a sheep
Chorus: A big fat sheep
Lead : Olurombi made a vow of a child
Chorus: Her child, Aponbepore
Lead: Olurombi o
Chorus: Janin-janin, lroko, janin-janin
Lead: Olurombi o
Chorus: Janin-janin,lroko janin-janin
This was how lroko took Aponbepore away till today. The story teaches us that we should never make a promise or vow that we cannot fulfill.