The Magic Drum

ORIGINAL TITLE: Igba nri na ọfe 

AUTHOR: Based on a Nigerian/African folk story, edited and adapted to a contemporary context by Arinze Prosper Emegoakor. 


Long long time ago in the Kingdom of Obodo Oma lived a king called Oranwezue. He was loved by his family and the entire kingdom. 

The whole village would gather at his palace every night to wine and dine. When it was time to eat, the men of the kingdom would spread white clean cloth on the ground. The King would politely ask a child from the crowd to play the magic drum. 

The lucky child would play on the drum.. Dum dum dum…. With each stroke on the drum comes, fruits, drinks out from the drum. 

After they have all eaten and are satisfied, they would sing praises to the king and thank him for the meal. They did the same the next night and night after that. 

Everyone loved and praised the king for his kindness and generosity except Mr Tortoise. Mr Tortoise became very jealous of the king. "If only I could get the drum, I will be respected and worshipped in the kingdom of Obodo Oma", thought Mr Tortoise. He smiled and said to himself. "Now I know exactly what to do!"  

Mr Tortoise knew that the queen usually went out every morning to run in the park. So he decided to set a trap for the queen. He dug a very long tunnel from the park to the forest. When he was done he covered the hole with leaves. 

The next morning, the queen went out to run as usual and fell into the tunnel. The king and his family waited for the queen to come home but she did not return. 

So the king asked the town cryer to call everyone to the palace. The town crier went around the village playing the Ogene to summon the villagers to the king's palace.

The king promised to give anyone who can help him to find the queen anything would ask for. Mr Tortoise stood up and addressed the king “Long live the king, I can find the queen for my king. I want nothing in return but the Magic drum” 

The king thought for a moment a said “As you wish Mr Tortoise so shall it be”. Mr Tortoise happily went to the forest and brought the queen. The king was so happy and gave Mr Tortoise the magic drum.

Mr Tortoise took the drum home. He called his family and asked them to wish for anything. He locked the doors, closed the windows and started beating on the drum… 

Guess what came out of the drum? Snakes, scorpions, rats, bees and mosquitoes. Two gigantic scary men with long sticks came out of the drum also. They beat Mr tortoise as one would beat thieves in the old days.

Mr Tortoise and his family ran and dug a hole under a big tree. And that is why a tortoise lives in a hole under a tree til today.

Read more stories here on our blog

One of our socks collections is inspired by the instrument Ogene that the town crier plays in the story. Read the story about the Ogene Collection here.