The Tooth of a Toad

The Tooth of a Toad [Ako re’Oghwokpo]

There is an old African tale in former times in use as a universal allegory. There was once a flourishing pond with  environs full of animals that could provide enough for all their needs. Strife was minimal.

A Monitor Lizard in the pond has a big reputation for perpetrating wickedness, slander and treachery against other animals that inhabit the environs of the pond. The pain of others was his chief daily joy. His stripes, complexion, eyes and movements make him look both alien and wretched–perhaps the source of his deformed personality.

Lying by raising reasonable doubt or obfuscating facts is the essential deception he uses to harm and ruin others. Just for the pleasure of it. He also had in the past gotten most animals severely punished and banished from the pond, despite their innocence. Above all, he is a master flatterer who could easily get former victims to support him and his countless schemes. Alas, the animals that live by the pond would accept the Monitor Lizard’s evil ways. They consider it as inevitable. Possibly, because they dread him. Well, a day of reckoning will emerge.

As with the eventuality of all evil agents, the Monitor Lizards’ reign of wickedness has gradually, then abruptly undermines its own dominion. It becomes passe. The very action that decisively wrecks Monitor Lizard is a small lie. “The Toad bit me, the Toad is such a spiteful and dangerous animal!” he says, in an attempt to persuade others. Bemused and encouraged by such a thoughtless lie, the Duck then responds. “But the Toad has no teeth, how can he bite you?” The Duck , to the Monitor Lizards’ surprise, gets full support from many other animals in his query. Hitherto to that moment, the other animals would be too frightful to endorse any challenge to his person.

The Monitor Lizard, is now aware of the wholesale stupidity of his claim and smear against Toad. He also notices the satisfaction the other animals feel now that someone finally exposes him for what he indeed is. And he hated himself virulently for it. He tries to fight back by deflecting attention to the Egret, accusing it of being a spy. But the Pond Skater would not have it. “We all know the Egret comes and goes with the seasons and has done so since forever. He has never caused us any trouble.” A harsh reality now smothers the Monitor Lizard. Any lie or deceit he spins, the animals would effectively counter and ridicule.

Notwithstanding, the Monitor Lizard tries to seek support from the Salamander with whom he has a love-hate relationship. Salamander is feeling the liberation of the moment is unwilling to make any foolish sacrifices for him. He walks away from the pond in a dark cloud of shame which he is used to bearing on his emptied conscience if he had one. But this time the humiliation is irredeemable and complete. The Monitor Lizard never returns to the pond again.

In conclusion, no one is perfect, though. One should never waste nor treat free will and choice lightly. It is the best thing you have. Use it with circumspection and prudence. There is always a Monitor Lizard and ponds [groups] that ply their ruthless evils, waiting to take advantage of you. It is up to you.

Be Good, not Lucky

Grimot Nane



Please take a look at my other short stories, Omissions According To Dara and The Near Death Experience of a Petite Man. Cheers.

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