OLURONBI

A very long time ago, there was a
village where many of the women were barren. They desperately wanted children
and decided to ask the spirit that lived inside the big Iroko tree for
help. 

One by one, they went to visit the Iroko tree to beg the Iroko tree spirit for
help. The Iroko tree asked each of the women who showed up what she would give
in return for bearing a child. And woman after woman promised the Iroko tree
spirit goats, yams, handwoven cloth or whatever it was she sold for a living as
many of these women were traders who sold their wares at a weekly market in an
open field.

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One of the women who was named Oluronbi also approached the Iroko tree for
help. She was so desperate for a child that when the Iroko tree spirit asked
her what she would give in return for a child, she eagerly offered her first
born child.

Before a year ran out, many of the women had given birth to children and
returned to the Iroko tree to fulfill their various promises. When it was time
for Oluronbi to fulfill her promise, she went to the Iroko tree to plead her
case. She could offer the Iroko tree everything, anything else but not her
child. But the tree spirit would not be swayed and took the child despite
Oluronbi?s cries and pleas.

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Since then villagers have sang this song as a reminder of the event.

Oníkálukú jèjé ewúré
Others offered sheep
Oníkálukú jèjé àgùtàn, àgùtàn bòlòjò
Others offered goats
Olúrónbí èjé omo re
Oluronbi offered her child
Omo re a pón bí epo
Her beautiful child
Olúrónbí ò jo jo
Ìrókò jo jo
[The last two lines are just chorus]

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