Once upon a time. The Tortoise and the Lizard became friends. The Lizard was one of the King’s aide and was in charge of the treasury. The Tortoise had made attempts to know where he kept the keys to the King’s Treasuries but to no avail.
One day he got the Lizard drunk and extracted all the information he needed. The keys to the Treasury was a necklace worn by the Lizard! So the Tortoise took the key and stole gold from the Treasury. He hid the gold in his farm, but before he could return the key the Lizard was conscious. The Lizard pretended to be sleeping as the Tortoise returned the key to his neck.
The Lizard knew well not to make much muse, he had no proof to nail the Tortoise.
After some days, the village gong rented the air. The King’s Treasury had been robbed and a search was announced for the lost gold. So when the search began the Lizard spied on the Tortoise. One day the Lizard followed the Tortoise to his farm and there he saw the missing gold stacked under a pile of wood. The Tortoise never knew he was followed.
Learn more on Igbo folklore here.
Now the Tortoise had a habit of chewing meat and dried yam on his farm. So as he sat preparing to cook his food, the Lizard came towards him. ”I knew you took the gold!” the Lizard yelled. The Tortoise turned in surprise, he knew he has been busted and the best thing to do was to find a way out.
”Ah my friend! You never cease to amuse me. So you followed me down here. Ha ha, but we can have some breakfast together if you don’t mind.”
”You cant bribe me with your food” the Lizard responded.
”Who talked about bribing? Don’t you share my food before now? I don’t care what you tell the King about me!” the Tortoise replied.
“Really! Okay, I will take a bite”
“Of course, for old times sake, we can even feed each other”
As the Lizard agreed, the Tortoise took a long bone from the meat and as the Lizard opened his mouth to be fed, pierced the Lizard’s tongue. The Lizard tried to talk but he couldn’t, all he could do was nod to everything the Tortoise said. That’s why Lizards only nod and can’t talk. So anytime you see the Lizard ask him about the King’s Gold, he would just nod.
Lesson: This is an issue of trust. You have to know the type of people you confide in. It is better to have a frowning enemy than to have a smiling bad friend who will betray you.