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Have You Ever Wondered How the Tortoise Got Its Cracked Shell? An Adaptation of Our Elders' Story

Updated: Oct 21, 2023


I authored a children's book for children aged 5 to 8 a few months ago. The book was an adaptation, and the book's purpose was to preserve an oral tradition passed down by our elders in Africa. I fondly recall those evenings when, as children, we would gather in our compounds under the night sky after supper. The stories shared during these gatherings were entertaining and carried deep cultural significance.


In a distant land called Asorock, two friends, Ako the heron and Ajapa the tortoise, lived peacefully. Ako was the king of Asorock due to his exceptional fishing skills, while Ajapa was celebrated for his wisdom and strong shell. However, their friendship faced a test when an invitation arrived for a grand celebration in the Eye Kingdom, welcoming the birth of Ide Ade, the heir. The catch was that only Ako was invited, leaving Ajapa uninvited without royal title.


Despite Ajapa's wish to attend, Ako knew the tortoise's slow pace would make it impossible to arrive on time. In the spirit of friendship, Ako agreed to carry Ajapa on his back despite the extra burden and Ajapa's lack of a formal invitation.


Upon their arrival at the Eye Kingdom, they encountered a banquet hall filled with a tempting array of food, which left Ajapa captivated. During the ceremony, as the infant prince was presented and anointed, Ajapa couldn't resist the allure of the feast. He sneaked away and indulged in the food, eventually falling asleep amidst his gluttony. When the guests discovered the ravished banquet and the sleeping Ajapa, they were astonished and full of questions. Ako felt deeply embarrassed for bringing his uninvited friend.


The journey back home was tense and filled with silence. When Ajapa begged Ako to break the silence, Ako finally voiced his anger and disappointment. Ajapa, filled with remorse, admitted to his overindulgence and stealing the king's crown. This revelation sent Ako into a furious rage, causing Ajapa to fall from Ako's back and shatter his shell. Despite his anger, Ako forgives Ajapa, who has learned his lesson. He even helped Ajapa write an apology to the Eye Kingdom and return the stolen crown. Ako's wisdom prevailed as he understood that holding onto resentment would only taint his own heart, and Ajapa's ordeal had served as a lesson in restraint, friendship, and forgiveness.


· Themes in the story include:

· The importance of friendship.

· The consequences of one's actions.

· The power of forgiveness.

· The need for self-restraint.


Through storytelling, the children's book aims to teach moral standards to young readers, specifically those aged between 5 to 8. The stories aim to convey values and ethical principles in an engaging and relatable manner, drawing from cultural and historical narratives. The book addresses a perceived decline in moral standards in contemporary society. It uses traditional storytelling to foster and instill these values in the younger generation.


In today's modern society, many of us live in urban areas and cities, making it challenging for our children to experience the joy of sitting outside at night with neighbors, listening to stories from the past shared by our wise elders. I hope that through my book, I've played my part as a father in passing down this culturally rich story, allowing every child to enjoy and appreciate something valuable from our cultural heritage.









Authored by Dr. Ayo Olufade


Think STEM Careers! You Have the Opportunity to Create the Future and the Privilege of Deciding What’s In It! ~ Dr. Ayo Olufade, PhD

Excel in Learning. Excel in Life.

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