The Tooth of a Toad [Ako re’Oghwokpo]
There is an old African tale in former times used as a universal allegory. There was once a flourishing pond with environs full of animals that provided enough for all their needs. Strife was minimal.
A Monitor Lizard in the pond had a big reputation for perpetrating wickedness, slander and treachery against other animals that inhabited the environs of the pond. The pain of others was his chief daily joy. His stripes, complexion, eyes and movements made him look both alien and wretched–perhaps the source of his deformed personality.
Lying by raising reasonable doubt or obfuscating facts was the essential deception he used to harm and ruin others. Just for the pleasure of itl. He also had in the past gotten most animals severely punished and banished from the pond, despite their innocence. Above all, he was a master flatterer who could easily get former victims to support him and his countless schemes. Alas, the animals that lived by the pond accepted the Monitor Lizard’s evil ways. They considered it as inevitable. Possibly, because they dreaded him. Then a day of reckoning emerged.
As with the eventuality of all evil agents, the Monitor Lizards’ reign of wickedness had gradually, then abruptly undermined its own dominion. It became passe. The very action that decisively wrecked Monitor Lizard was a small lie. “The Toad bit me, the Toad is such a spiteful and dangerous animal!” he said in an attempt to persuade others. Bemused and encouraged by such a thoughtless lie, the Duck then responded. “But the Toad has no teeth, how did he bite you?” The Duck had, to the Monitor Lizards’ surprise, gotten 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, was now aware of the wholesale stupidity of his claim and smear against Toad. He also noticed the satisfaction the other animals felt that someone finally exposed him for what he indeed was. And he hated himself virulently for it. He tried 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.” The Monitor Lizard was now smothered with a harsh reality. Any lie or deceit he spun, the animals would effectively counter and ridicule.
He tried to seek support from the Salamander with whom he had a love-hate relationship with. Salamander was unwilling to make any foolish sacrifices for him. He walked away from the pond in a dark cloud of shame which he was used to bearing on his emptied conscience if he had one. But this time the humiliation was irredeemable and complete. The Monitor Lizard never returned to the pond again.
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