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Ijapa the tortoise was
not always a bald animal. He used to have hair on his head, however, due to
unfortunate circumstances, which the tortoise brought “upon his own
head” literally speaking, he lost it all. 

It happened a very long time ago, long before the tortoise broke his back, but
that is another story altogether.

The dog and his family had prepared a feast
of yam porridge. The aroma reached the tortoise who immediately followed his
nose which led him to the dog’s home. The tortoise went in and saw that a big
pot of yam porrigde was cooking. Wanting all of it for himself, he called out
to the dog and told him that he had brought a message from from the king.
“The king wishes to see you and all your family in the palace”, the
tortoise said. The dogs immediately left to see the king leaving the tortoise
with the big simmering pot of yam porrigde. The tortoise began to eat as fast
as he could. He knew that the dogs would be back soon because the king was not
even at the palace.


And soon, he heard the dogs approaching. There was still a lot of porrigde left
in the pot. The tortoise wanted to take some home with him and looked around
for something he could put some porrigde in. The dogs by now were almost at the
door. As he was running out of time, the tortoise pulled off his cap, filled it
with the porrigde and put it back on so nobody would know he was carrying
porrigde. He planned to hurry off immediately because the porridge on his head
was indeed hot.


When the dogs came in, the tortoise told them he would be leaving. They dogs
asked him to stay with them for lunch as they had some porridge cooking. The
tortoise tried to make excuses to leave immediately, but the dogs kept him,
trying to convince him to stay.

Eventually, the porridge was so hot that the tortoise just had to pull off his
hat. Everybody was shocked when he pulled of his hat to reveal steaming hot
porridge. The porridge had burned his scalp so badly that all his hair fell off
and in fact, never grew back again.

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