Once upon a time in Tambolo Town, there lived an old man called Okija. He was known as a very bad-tempered man. He lived alone and people thought it was because he was a miserly person who will never want to share anything with anybody. This was of course true, because Okija had an orange tree in front of his house and would rather let the fruits rot away than allow anyone to pluck them. But some of the children in the town were not so afraid of him, and on their way from school they would stop by Okija’s house and climb the tree to pluck the ripe oranges. And out Okija will come furiously, as fast as his old legs would take him.
‘Who permitted you to pluck my oranges; did your father plant any orange tree here?’ He would shout at them.
But the children only ignored him, laughed at him and went away carrying dozens of oranges in their sacks. This always made Okija very angry, and one day he could not bear it anymore and went to visit Jegbedu, the dreaded wizard.
‘These children are terrible, O Jegbedu,’ he told the wizard. ‘They reap where their fathers have not sown. Do something for me so that I will never have to worry about them stealing my oranges anymore.’
So Jegbedu gave him a piece of red cloth which he had made into a charm.
‘Tie this piece of red cloth to one of the branches of your orange tree. And whenever any of those children climb your tree, they will get stuck to the tree forever and that will teach them and their fathers a good lesson,’ Jegbedu told him. Okija was pleased.
‘Thank you, O evil Jegbedu. May you never die,’ he hailed the wizard and went back home.
A few days later, Okija heard a great disturbance outside his house, but he did not rush out this time. He was indeed pleased that his charm will be put to good test this very day and all the children will become stuck to his orange tree. When he stepped out however, he saw a monkey jump up into the orange tree. He tried to chase away the monkey but it only climbed higher up into the orange tree. In anger Okija began to climb the orange tree after the monkey and he became stuck to the tree. He began to shout for help, and everyone gathered and laughed at him.
And there Okija stayed for several days until Jegbedu was called to rescue him from the orange tree. From that day, Okija became a kind man and always called passing children to come and take some of the oranges from the tree growing in his garden.
-This story is titled The Forbidden Orange Tree from the childrens' book Tales of Tambolo
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