Sunday, November 21, 2010

Traditional tale

Long time ago, I told you this tale from the Ivory Coast. As my new pupils don't know about it, I want them to share this experience with us. The picture, on the right, was painted by Paul Gauguin, 19th century.

Nowadays it's very common to study languages. But do we really know our mother tongue?

Zogloboló, an African king who took himself far too seriously, forbade his subjects to speak to him. They could only communicate with him through signs. One day, Zogloboló began a trip to meet with African kings in a nearby city. But he felt the urgent call of nature in his way and stepped aside to retrieve himself. As he was in a hurry, his cloak got tangled up and without realising it, he did it on himself.

When he returned to the road, there was great laughter: "Hahahahaha!"...His subjects tried to warn him with signs but Zogloboló didn't understand what they meant. So he appeared for the meeting with a foul-smelling "cake" on his cloak. The other kings began to hold their nose but Zogloboló, who didn't bat an eyelid, spoke: "I'm here to...", he began his speech, which was soon interrupted by another king: "You are a great leader, but I have to tell you that you have a "cake" on your cloak and we can no longer stand the terrible smell". Then, Zogloboló turned around and when he discovered it, he felt so embarrassed that he ran away from the group. Ever since, all his subjects had the right to speak and the king listened to them with patience and attention.

Fortunately, there's freedom of speech, but do we know how to speak and listen?
Source: Sofia Adalid's Collection of Tales of the World.

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