Don’t be proud, the fishes are watching

This is not the real title of the story but I remember my mom telling me this story when I was little. I don’t remember a lot of things about my mom because she died when I was 6 years old and I usually try to forget painful incidences (that’s how I cope with life) but I remember this story.

So to the story

‘Once upon a time’ that’s how her stories would start. ‘Time, time’ was my usually response. I guess a lot of us replied ‘Time time’ I would add here that some kids in my neighbourhood would say ‘won so pe won le te e, fun fifty kobo’. I’m sure you’re wondering what it means, it was us kids mimicking ‘once upon a time’ actually ‘won so pe won le te e fu fifty kobo’ is Yoruba for ‘they say they’ll sell you for fifty kobo’

Back to my mom’s story

‘There was this beautiful girl in the village’. The village is usually the setting of these stories. I doubt I have heard a story that goes ‘There was this beautiful girl in the city or Lagos or abroad’ It’s always the village.

I won’t interrupt this story again

‘There was this fine girl in the village. She was the King’s daughter’ (can I just say that this is cliche. It’s always about the king, that’s if the storyteller is talking about actual humans and not a tortoise, hare or a lizard)

That’s the last time I’ll digress.

When it became time for her to get married. The king invited all the eligible bachelors in the village to propose to her. But she was very proud and turned every one of them down. She was the king’s daughter and all these men were beneath her station. She would ridicule them, laugh at their attempts to woo her and even insult them for ‘wasting’ her time.

Word of her behaviour got to the far away land of the fish people (awon yemoja) and they wanted to teach her a lesson. So they sent this very handsome fish-man to the village to marry the king’s daughter (let me just say here that this man was a tall glass of water for the very thirsty princess). She fell in love with him instantly. But the king and his people weren’t having any of that. They didn’t know where he came from nor who his people were. So the Queen told the princess to pinch the very handsome guy very hard and if he bled, it was okay to marry him but if he didn’t, then it wasn’t okay to marry him.


Even I would marry him if he came half man, half fish and he looked this hot. #justsaying

So the princess did as her mother told her and the very handsome man did not bleed but the princess was blinded by love and pride so she lied to her mom that he bled. Queen Mom was happy and the King and Queen blessed their marriage.

After the wedding, the newlywed began their journey to Very Handsome’s village. My mom told me they crossed the first bridge, second bridge, third (mainland) bridge (lool), fourth bridge, when they got to the fifth bridge Princess Newlywed asked her very handsome boo ‘Have we gotten there yet?’ Handsome Boo replied ‘No not yet’ so they cross the six bridge and then got to the river at the seventh bridge. They were far from Princess’s village and not a living soul in sight. Then the very handsome boo turned to his bride and told her ‘welcome home’. Then he began his speech ‘You are too proud so we the fish people decided to teach you a lesson. You turned down all the men in your village because you are too good for them and married me because I’m handsome and rich. Well sorry to disappoint you darling, I’m a fish’


This has got to be the look on her face when he turns into a fish before her very eyes. 

He then turns into a fish and jumps in the water. Leaving his bride all alone to die.


-Make sure you pinch your boyfriend tonight. If he bleeds, he’s human. If not, he’s a fish.

-Marry the men in your village. You know them. You know their families. You have been rolling tyre with them since you guys were 4. They won’t turn into a fish at 3rd mainland bridge after your wedding.

-Don’t be proud, the fish people will teach you a lesson

-Don’t lie to your mom. Nothing good comes out of it

-Don’t be all about the beauty/look of a person. They may just be a fish

Hope you enjoyed my story. What African stories can you remember from your childhood? Let me know in the comment section.

Be sure to like, share and follow my blog for many more stories. xoxo Fehintola

Photo credit:

Half man half fish:

Shocked cat:



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