Paul Ayutoliya writes about the after school reading classes in Ghana… Here is his summary of one of the story books read (The Boy Called Wiser Than You by Michael Mensah):
Once upon a time, there lived a very troublesome chief in a certain town whose name the narrator of the story shall not mention. This chief claims he is the wisest in the whole world, and therefore every newborn baby had to be brought before him to be given an ‘appropriate’ name, this comes with expenditure to the baby’s parents more than if they done the naming ceremony themselves. The troublesome chief gives insulting names to babies brought before him to the displeasure of all parents whose babies are given the names. Some such names includes Ugly Nose, Kinky Hair, Thin Legs and…. as said the people were not happy with the names given to their children but they did not dare complain or else… Now there lived in a town a man called Sena. His wife had a son but because he did not have the money to give to the chief for the naming ceremony, Sena hid the baby indoors and fed him until he grew up to be 12 years old. One day, the chief saw Sena with his grown up son, and realised that he did not remember given the boy a name. The chief asked Sena, “What is your son’s name?” “Your Majesty, he is called Wiser-Than-You” “What did you say?” The chief asked in disbelief. His name is Wiser-Than-You Sir, Sena insisted. The chief was the angrier, for it was unthinkable that anyone in this world will be wiser than he is. From that moment he sought ways of eliminating the boy and his parents. The chief called the boy’s mother one day and gave her guinea corn to prepared him pito that very same day, the woman got back home sobbing, when the Son saw the mother crying he asked what the problem was, the mother told him about the impossible task given to him by the chief, the boy consoled the mother and assured her that all will be fine, the boy took some gourd seed and proceeded to the chief palace and starting planting the seeds, information got to the chief that someone have come to plant his seeds in front of his palace, the chief was very angry because the person did not sought permission, the boy apologised and told the chief, chief I am sorry but I know you are a very wise chief and everything about you is extraordinary that is why I have come to plant my gourd seeds here so that they will grow fast, bear fruits for me to cut, prepare and dry, all by the end of today when they are required for use. The supposedly wise chief asked the boy if he was crazy, how is that possible. A gourd plant needs at least one year to mature and then make into calabashes, don’t you know that? The boy said, that is most unfortunate chief but because I and my mother need the calabashes tonight for you to use in drinking the pito that my mother is brewing for you. As the chief still insisted that it was impossible, Wiser-Than-You then asked the chief Sir, why then did you asked my mother to brew pito in one day for you when you know that pito preparation needs at least three days, the chief was confounded and speechless when he heard this, he realised that the boy was smarter than he was. He later sent servants to go for the guinea corn from Wiser-Than-You mother. The chief did not give up on his evil plots to get rid of Sena’s family but all the wicked plots turns out against him. In order words he was always the loser in all his cunning ways to get rid of Sena’s family.
Moral lessons from the story;
- No person is a custodian of all wisdom.
- The chief realised the truth in the old saying that if you dig a hole for your enemy to fall in, you may fall in first.
- When you are put in position of trust, you must acknowledge the existence of others in the community who are young and may even be wiser than you.
- A wise leader must be ready to seek advice from others and make use of all minds.