And there should be patience. The way I am talking to you, if you were to be a child who had no patience, you wouldn’t receive it. It is a child who has patience who eats the benefit of elderly people. I have told you that it is patience you will have before you can get what you want in this world. If you have patience, whatever you are doing, you will be able to do it correctly and get into the under of what you are doing. But without patience, it will be very hard for you.
The talk on the part of our drumming has a lot of things in it. And as for an old man, he doesn’t bring out everything that is in his stomach. I told you that Dagbamba say, “You can’t say all.” You say some and leave some in your stomach. Blood is in the stomach, but when you are going to vomit, you vomit white. When you first came and started learning drumming, the talks inside it were only small, and when you came again, I started giving you more of the talks, and some of them were very deep. And since the time we started talking, I have never heard that you brought out your tape recorder anywhere and you were revealing secrets. And I have never heard such a thing from anybody in Accra. People only come to me to say, “Oh, you have done very well, because your man is now very good on the drums.”
And now you say we should sit and talk long talks about our drumming and our Dagbamba way of living, and you will tape it. And truly, the first time you came, I didn’t want to bring out all of it. There are many forbidden talks in our drumming, and there are a lot of things you have to do if you want to learn them. If I had brought out all of them and told you to do them, maybe you would have thought that there was something like cheating between you and me. But today, as we are sitting, our friendship has now come to a point that I am going to tell you all that I have, just because I have trust in you. I have seen that you are somebody who will be good to hear the talks I have. But I don’t know whether you have trust in me or not. And so I want you to know that no one can control me to make me lie to you or give wrong information to you.
If you farm groundnuts and you want somebody to be watching your groundnut farm, and you don’t want anybody to be eating your groundnuts, whom will you choose? If you want someone who won’t eat the groundnuts, you should get a leper to be watching your farm. A leper has no hands to be cracking the groundnuts. Have you ever seen someone picking groundnuts with his teeth? Have you heard the proverb? Do you know its meaning? If you farm groundnuts, you should get a leper to be watching the farm. And if you farm your groundnuts and finish, you don’t send a leper to shell the groundnuts. Have you heard? I am not talking about groundnuts. I am talking about the talks we are talking.
When they say an “old person,” what do you understand by “old person”? There are many types of old age. With us, an old person is someone who has patience to hold words. It is not someone with a white beard or white hair who is an old person. Is a white horse an old horse? Is it like that? No. And so it is not someone who has stayed long on earth who is an old person. With us black people, someone who has old age and has no wisdom, we don’t call him an old person. We call him a useless person. If you ask him anything that needs wisdom or patience, he cannot give you a good answer. He has just come to live in the world and go.
With us, an old man is someone who can hold words and keep them. Someone who can hold words is someone who has patience and sense. If you come to tell him something, he will not go out and be talking it everywhere. He only holds it and keeps it down for the future. Have you heard? I have taken you to be an old man. It will be very good if you take these talks and write a book, and that book is going to be standing for the Dagbamba and even come to be standing for our children and grandchildren. And I am also telling you that if we come to talk about some particular things, I don’t want you to be announcing it to the hearing of the town that this is the sort of thing we are talking about. If you do that, there are a lot of people who are going to bring their mouth inside the work. If you are a small boy and they tell you something that is very important, and you are able to hold it, then you are an old man. And so I am taking you to be an old man. I am telling you this because as you are sitting, maybe your father is still living, but Dagbamba have a proverb which says that a child who roams much is wiser than the father. Today as you are sitting now, what you know, your father does not know it. Am I telling lies? And so what have you become now? That is how old age goes. As I am sitting, there are a lot of people who are older than me, and what I am telling you now and what I can tell you about our way of living, they don’t know it. Why do I know it? I have also been asking as you are asking me now. And so I am an old man and you are also an old man. What I talk to you, if you hold it, you are an old man. And I know that you can hold it, and that is also why I am telling you. According to our custom, I will call you “old man,” and you will in turn call me “old man,” because what I know, you also know it. That is how our old age goes.
The reason why I am bringing these talks is that how you have asked for the talks about our drumming and what is under it, on the part of me myself, I don’t think the arrangement you want is good. I can’t just start talking the talks about how I myself am drumming or the way our drumming is in Dagbon unless I also talk to you about some of the things that we are holding in our living. Because of that, I have been talking about some general things on the part of our Dagbamba way of living. And now we are coming to enter into the details. And so I am going to arrange them nicely so that they will follow one another. I know that if I talk and you write it, it is not going to be published here, and that it is going to be a book. It doesn’t matter, because any time you publish it, if you make it a book, at least some day it will come here. And truly, there will be nothing wrong with that. If now I decide not to tell you the truth, or not to tell you very good talks, then by the time the book comes around here and somebody reads it, he will say that when you were here learning drumming, I was not teaching you the right thing and I was cheating you. And so I don’t want to tell you lies. I want everything to be clear. And I want to promise you that if you publish this book and anyone at all reads it, no one will have to make any correction in it. And if there is anything wrong with my talk, only somebody who knows more than I will know it.
And so I will talk to my extent, and if I talk and come to my extent, I will stop. I won’t talk about what I don’t know. And if the talk is not finished, before I add to it, I will also go and ask my elders so that I will come and join their talk to mine, and my talk will fall well and be true. That is why I am arranging the talks in this way. I have been thinking over the talks about our drumming, and how I can get into these talks and the things that are hidden in Dagbon here, and I am making my mind to bring it all out. No one should tell lies to somebody he knows very well. I am not going to sit with you for only a few minutes. By all means, whatever happens, if you go back to the States, you will want to come back here again. If I decide to tell you lies, and you go back to the States and make a book, if someone finds a mistake in it, you might decide to come back here and tell me, “What you last told me was just lies.”
Lies have got many types. Sometimes someone may not know about something but will want to talk about it. If he talks and reaches his extent, he may talk and add some talk on the part of what he doesn’t know, and there will be lies inside it. And so I am not going to talk about what I don’t know. And again, sometimes someone may see or hear something in a book or go into something, and he does not understand it well; he can decide to criticize it or decide to say that what is written down is lies. It is just because his sense is not up to the standard of the thing. And adding to that is: a person and what his heart wants. Someone can find something to be good and true, and that person can tell you that he doesn’t know anything about that, but he has got some information of that sort from a book, and he went through the book and he decided in his heart to trust that this information is true. As for all of that, we have been seeing it.
Do you remember the other day when you came to my house, and we were sitting and talking about this work? We were talking about the talks of the chiefs and how it is going to come inside. I was talking about the chiefs, and you brought out a book. When you read from that book, I told you that there were a lot of mistakes in it. The one who has spoken to the one who wrote the book, I can’t say that he is a liar, but it is a lie. This fellow knew something about the drumming, and if he was not a drummer, then I think he was a person we call Dagban’ doo, just a Dagbana man, and this Dagbana didn’t know it well because he has only heard it. If you have only heard a talk, you cannot resemble the one who has learned it. If you don’t know about something and you are going to talk about it, is it not lies you are going to enter? Lies will come inside the talk. That is the way it is.
And again, sometimes somebody will go and tell lies because of his stomach, just to get something and put inside. He wants something to eat. You the one who has come to ask him something that you are looking for, you want the truth. But he’s looking at what is in your hand, that you should bring it and he will collect it and eat, and then he will deceive you and give you some talk. He’s just going to tell you lies. That one too is there. Any time some people come to do research, those people will find someone to help them do the research, and they tell that person, “We are going to give you this, and you will help us do this.” If they get to the one who is going to give the information, they will tell him, “We are going to give you this, and you will show us that.” If someone is sitting by the one who is going to help by giving information, he will say, “Oh, this man is from very far away. He is not from this town. You can just collect what he is going to give you and then give him some short talks or false stories. He won’t know, and he will be happy with that.” And this type of lies is on the part of someone who doesn’t know a talk, and it is also on the part of someone who knows a talk and refuses to talk it correctly. It is also there like that.
And to me, if it was a drummer who showed the one who wrote that book, then the drummer didn’t want to talk the talk to him. I have been telling you from the first that there are so many talks that you will ask drummers, and they will not want to tell you. Didn’t I tell you that? The first people didn’t want to talk all because they feared that they would get some big trouble. It is only in the Samban’ luŋa [literally, “outside (the chief’s compound) drumming”; the drum history] that Dagbamba beat these talks because they don’t like talking about them very much, and even not all of the talks of drumming are beaten in the Samban’ luŋa. There are many talks we will never beat in the Samban’ luŋa, and there are even many drummers who don’t know them. And so what is in the books about our Dagbon, a lot of the talks are wrong. The book you showed me, the information in that book came from a Dagbana, and if it was a drummer who knew who brought out this talk to be written down, it simply shows that the one who talked didn’t want to bring out all the talks for the one who was going to make the book. And so maybe those who gave the information in the book knew it very well, but the mistakes came from those very people. It is just because they didn’t want to reveal the true inside of that particular talk. That one is also there, and that is the way it is.
The first time you asked me to tell you something about the chiefs and their relationship to the drummers and how they move, I told you that drummers are afraid of bringing such talks to some people. All the talks I am talking now, it is just because I respect you that you are a very good friend, and you also respect me as a very good friend, and we have trust in each other. And so I am no longer afraid to give you such information. The talks of drumming and the sense that we take to beat our drums: there are worrying talks inside it; there are things that are secret and things that are forbidden. And so from the olden days, and up to now, there are some drummers who will not talk about Dagbon to others. It’s not that drummers are holding the customs of Dagbon and watching over them. A drummer does not hold the customs of Dagbon, and a drummer is not a watchman. Truly, I can say that it is because I am a drummer that I know some of the customs of Dagbon, but I cannot say that I am holding them. To know something is quite different from “Come and watch this thing.” I know it; I have not come to watch it. But there are those who also know it and won’t tell you, and they don’t want me to take it and tell you. When I first told you that there were some people like that, maybe you thought I was telling you lies. I have told you that there were some people who were telling me that you were gaining from what I was teaching you, and that you were only giving me small money. And you might have thought I was deceiving you. But it was not lies I was telling you.
What I am telling you is a very serious talk. I was telling you the other day that I’m not trying to play politics with you. I can show you a drummer in this town who knows much about Dagbon, and you can go to his house and tell him that you will give him thousands of cedis if he will sit with you for one day and show you the customs of the Dagbamba and how we become chiefs. You will see what he will tell you. If you think I am telling lies, I will take you to that man so that you ask him. There are some forbidden things in drumming, and they are dangerous; there are some talks you can’t just talk at any time, and there are many things you have to do before you talk those talks. Something that is forbidden does not walk for you to see it; it is only waiting, and you won’t see it unless you do it. Dagbamba say the one who burns his hair smells the scent of the hair. I have learned this drumming, and it is because I have burned my hair that I will smell the scent first.
Truly, as I’m talking now, fears are there. Old Dagbamba used to say: if there is no fear, then what is darkness? Why is it that when night comes, if you are going to enter into darkness, won’t fear catch you? The way you can roam in the daytime, when darkness comes, you can’t roam like that. That is fear. And so in the olden days, the fears our grandfathers and great-grandfathers were fearing, that fear is still there. You see us human beings: our mouth is something that can bring trouble to us. That is why some people fear talking. And those of us who trust in God, we also feel we shouldn’t hold fears when we are going to say something. In these modern times, we feel that a person shouldn’t hold fears too much. You should give your everything to God. Inside our searching, on the part of those who study or who have learned more about God, we have seen that if I have wisdom and I am holding it, and somebody needs it or it will help somebody: what I’m going to talk, I will talk it and be free. That is the sense I am holding. If you are going to lead a good life, it’s better you put God like this and put your truth like this, in your two hands in front of you, and hold both the two. If you don’t do that, there is nothing that can help you in your life. And so we take it that if you are going to do something, you have to pray to God: the work you are going to enter, may God give you good health, and give you long life, and when you go inside the work, by the name of God, you will come to finish the work with the name of God. “May God help us”: as for us, this is the prayer we used to pray before we enter into work.
But even now, there are some places where you will go and ask, and no one will mind you. Someone will know what you have asked and will say, “I cannot say it.” And someone who wants will show you. And maybe someone will show you what his heart wants, and you will collect what he has talked to you. If it is lies, will you know it? You won’t know. This is its way. And when you ask someone who knows and fears God, and he shows you well, someone who doesn’t fear God will come and say, “Oh, he is telling you lies.” And so it is only when you ask someone who fears God and he talks, someone who also fears God will say, “Yes, he is showing you well.” This is how we live.
And truly, not all types of sense are the same. For example, there is sense inside farming, but you cannot compare that sense to our drumming. The sense that is inside farming is different from the type of sense that is inside the talks of drumming. As for something like farming, no one has to teach you farming. Even if no one shows you, you can use your own sense to farm. In Dagbon here, we have been farming for a very long time, and so when the white people come here to show us some type of farming, they are only adding to what we already know. But the talks of our drumming are standing for our Dagbon, and these talks are for Dagbamba. And truly, our Dagbamba have been arguing about it. In the olden days, if not now that things are changed, I would have been in trouble for showing you the talks I am talking. Anything you would give me, I would take it and protect myself against medicine. If not that, drummers would find trouble and give it to you yourself. They would have said, “Haven’t you seen? This drummer is taking our hidden talks and giving it to him to take to his country.” And they would have said to me, “You are a useless person. Has he taken his town’s hidden things and revealed them to you?” And again, “Why is it that he wants to come and see your anus, and you are taking your anus and revealing it to show him?”
Even between you and me, some people have been telling me that I should not give you the correct things. But I have trusted you. If you are very watchful, sometimes you meet me in the house sitting by some people, and any time you come you see that these people start talking to me. Even if you are a fool and you come and sit with somebody, and you don’t hear all his language, if they are not talking to you and they are talking their language, won’t you suspect that they are talking something about you? You will suspect. Some of the very drummers who are sitting with me don’t like it that I am teaching you to drum. Sometimes when those people are going around to drum, you are included, and some of them are annoyed with you because you are beating the same as them. They won’t say it, but they are annoyed with you because you are a white man and you know more than some of them. And what they say is that whenever they are going to beat drums, the others should not be bringing you to go around all the time. It’s just jealousy, because the suffering you are suffering to learn these things, they are not willing to do that, and so they are annoyed at you. And also, people in the town sometimes come to me to ask me why I am doing all this, to show these different things to you and to tell you what you should not know, and so forth.
There are also some white people from outside who try to say that we should not even teach you the drumming. The time my wife, Fatawu’s mother, died, you sent me some dollars to help perform the funeral. The day that the dollars reached me, I was having about four drums, and I was sitting outside to repair the drums. I was sitting, and a white man came to me. He had come to me before, and he came to me again and said that I should stand in a wide place with the drums so that he could snap me in a picture. The very moment this white man wanted to snap me with the picture, they went to the post office and brought your letter. When they opened the letter, this white man saw the letter and he said to me, “Do you have a friend in the U.S.?” And I said, “Yes.” And he asked me, “What is the name of your friend?” And I said, “Oh, he last came to me just to learn the drumming, and I taught him how to drum, and he went back to the U.S. That is why he is writing me this letter.” And that white man said, “How much did you charge him by the time he was here learning to drum?” And I said, “Oh, truly, as a friendship, I could not charge him very well.” Then this white man said that we should not be teaching you how to drum very well, or if we want to teach you white people how to drum, then we should charge you heavily; otherwise we should not show you how to drum. This is what that white man said.
And again, there are some clerks who are working at Bagabaga, and they have always been coming to me to buy drums and to repair drums for them. In this Northern Region here, we have students who have been beating drums in the schools, and when the drums break, they usually bring them to me. Some time ago, two white people came here to learn drumming and these clerks brought them to me, and white men asked them about me, “This person: has he ever taught a person like us how to drum?” And they said, “Yes. He has got a friend who is like you.” And they said, “If you have a good friend who is a white man and you have taught him how to drum, then you are a rich man.” And as they said that if I had ever taught a white man, then I am rich, I didn’t say anything; I was just laughing at them. The time you were to leave from Accra to Tamale here for the second time, someone from Accra wrote a letter to someone here that that fellow should tell me that the moment you arrive to practice this drumming again, I should charge you heavily. I didn’t want to tell you the talk, because sometimes you white people, when we tell you a secret like that, you will just go and ask the fellow. That is why I don’t want to tell you this. But someone in Accra even wrote a letter here that if you arrive, we should charge you heavily.
All this is happening all the time. But I want you to know that I don’t care about that. As I have been teaching you how to drum, if you give me sugar or if you give me salt, it’s all right. You see, you white people, your characters are different from ours, especially from us Dagbamba. As you have come here to learn this drumming, we should not have charged you at all. We should only be teaching you how to drum, and anything you can give us will be all right. But when you people come, you want us to charge you before we start to work, and this way has now added to our way of living. Your people have brought all of this. White people always need charges. But we Dagbamba, if we send you to another person to learn something, as you are sent to him to learn, the person who is teaching you is not to charge you; he has to be teaching you up to the time you leave, and then you can count the amount of knowledge that you gained from that person and decide whether and what you have to give him. That is how we learn our drumming: there is no charge. And so as you have come to me, I’m happy to be seeing you. Even if you had come without bringing anything, just to say hello to me, I would have been grateful.
I have told you that the time you came, and you asked me to show you our drumming, I considered one thing: respect. As you have given respect to me, I am also giving you back your respect. Our drumming is not standing on the part of selfishness. What you are learning is going to benefit you and benefit us. It is going to help all of us. All the old people who are above me or who are below me somehow and at the same size with me, they all like the way you are learning the drumming. I’m talking about my senior brothers Mumuni and Sheni and Alhaji Adam, and those who are my elders like Namo-Naa Issahaku and Nanton Lun-Naa Iddrisu and Palo-Naa Issa, and those who are my friends, and maalams like Alhaji Shahadu. All of them are always advising me on the part of our work, and they are always telling me that they are praying that the friendship between you and me should always become stronger. And you yourself know that many people have been showing you their white heart on the work. And so I’m only talking about some people. As for those drummers who say we should not teach you, we have not refused to teach them. They have not asked, but you are asking. Is that not it? That is why we are teaching you.
Why are some people telling me not to show this and that or not to show the drumming? Those other drummers who want to spoil our hearts in this drumming, they don’t understand why you come here to learn all our hidden talks, and in addition why should they teach you this drumming to take it to your town. These are the reasons they say that we are selling our drumming talks and our drumming to you. They say that this drumming is for us Dagbamba and should not be shown to an outside person. They say that if you show any other drummer from outside how to do it, it is a shame because you have revealed all our secrets to another person, and you have sold the meaning of our dances to someone else who does not belong to our tribe, and so it means that we are selling our traditions. That is the character of some, that is, those who do not understand. But their reasons are nothing. Look at the sort of reasons they have. They take it that we should not teach someone who is an outside person, not a Dagbana, to be beating a drum, but it can’t do anything. If you learn this drumming and take it somewhere, what thing can happen? Nothing can happen. And so these small drummers, I just take it that they are jealous. They are thinking that you should be asking them, and they will be eating. And they don’t know it, too. And so you have got the right people.
I have told you that in this world, anywhere you will get a better thing, bad people will come and stand there. What is going to be good for you, to benefit you or give you something, you will face problems there. Somebody will try to drive you away from what you are doing; he will come and discourage you completely inside it, so that you will leave it. If you don’t have faith in God, then you will just leave that thing, and maybe that is the thing God said you will do and benefit. In this world, everybody has what he is able to learn or find out. What you also study or learn, you should know the way you will hold it and use it to work. And what your fellow friend also has, he will also use it to work. If he’s coming to blame yours, and you throw it away, he will go and take it at your back. He will only argue with you so that you will throw it away. The next day you will see him passing there to collect it. Such a person, if you push him any way, he won’t move. He will be at one place, just to cause trouble. And the only medicine for him is: when he talks something, then you don’t mind him. You should hold what you have got. And so in our Dagbani, we used to say: what you are holding, if it is small, you shouldn’t look down upon it; you should hold it. If it is doing work for you, you should have trust in it. If you suspect it, then you have fallen. If you get what you want, don’t follow what people say. You will only watch and see what God will do for you. That is why I told you that when we are going to do work, we will pray to God that God should help us. And God should protect us from bad people. If you do such prayers, if a bad person appears in your workplace, he can’t defeat you. This is the talk I have for you.
And so, if there are some people who are talking against us, I can tell you that the old people I am staying with are very happy about the work we are doing together. From the first day you came here as a stranger, they have been watching your character, and they have seen that the friendship between you and me is very good. As these modern times have come, there is eye-opening in Dagbon, and that is why you are getting your work in a correct way. Even some of our educated people in Dagbon have been telling me that the work I am doing with you will be very good for us Dagbamba. I was passing on my way to come here, and I last met Lawyer Ibrahim Mahama. He is a big person here, and he and I don’t agree on the part of our Dagbamba chieftaincy talks. But he told me to tell you that all the knowledge that is being given to you, you should write it down, and if you take it to America, it will widen the eyes of others, and show how the life of others is; and so it is good because it will extend the Dagbamba and the Northerners in Ghana, to make them well-known. And so it is not everybody who is refusing. But in the olden days, I would have gotten trouble inside this work. At that time, our eyes were hard on the part of talking our hidden talks to outsiders, but now, we don’t refuse like that.
I told you that in the olden days, we Dagbamba used to fear the white people. We wouldn’t even want to be at one place with them. That was the reason why the olden days people didn’t want to talk all these things. When they saw a white man coming, they would run away and leave him. They didn’t even want to listen to what he was coming to talk. When he entered his room and locked his door, people would say, “White man, white man, white man.” As for the olden days, any time we blacks saw a white man, even to shake hands with him, we didn’t want it. We didn’t know what was going to happen if you held his hand. If he comes and enters your house, and he asks you how many children you have in the house, if you have ten children, you will tell him that you have only four children. We didn’t want them to know anything about us because we didn’t know what they were going to do to us.
And the reason why we don’t fear the white man again is just that we have seen that we share everything in common. Now you see that we even sit and eat together. How the world has changed, those who have passed said something like that. They said that you would come to see the skin of a snake, and you would take it to be a snake, but it is just the skin of a snake and it is not the real snake. Those who passed said that. How God has made the world, if the time of something comes, it will happen. And time has come to reach this very time they were talking about, and now you and the one who were not talking before in the past, you sit together. That is why now we see that the black people don’t fear white people again. The white people, too, when they were first coming to black people here, they also had some fears about black people. Someone would think that as his skin is white, and the other one’s skin is black, he hasn’t seen somebody like that before. If the white man wants, he can take it that the kind of heart he has, the black man hasn’t got the same kind of heart. So in the olden days, the white man feared the one who had black skin, and the black man also feared the one with white skin. But now you see that all of us, we put our hands together and eat together. And how much more is it that a white man should come to call a black man his father? It is all the work of God. And so the small drummers who said I shouldn’t teach you correctly, I know them already. When they tried to spoil us, I only heard what they said but I didn’t take it. If I were to tell you lies, and you believed me and took it to write something about Dagbon, then later on I would be in shame.
I can tell you that as for me and my brothers, we have inherited from our father, because that was how our father was. When our father was alive, he didn’t even want to sit down with somebody who tells lies at all. If you told lies and our father got to know, he would never sit down with you, or he would never be free with you again. So as for us, I can say that we inherited him. In our fathers’ time, when the white men first came and sat here, the time of Naa Alaasani and Naa Abudu Setaŋ’ Kuɣli, those drummers who were there did not tell lies. But this time, if you don’t tell lies, somebody will even give you a contract to tell a lie. He will come and give you something so that you should say something, and you will say the thing and it will be lies. This is the way it is now. But those who were there in the olden days, they would have not have agreed. And that time too, every talk had the one who will talk it. The one you would take the talk to, if you told him, “Only you. I want to ask you this question. I don’t want to ask anybody again,” then if he didn’t know it, he would go and find out from other places and come and tell you. That was how it was in the olden days.
And so I think that in the olden days, when the white men came to ask of certain talks, it could happen that they didn’t ask the right people. The one who talks and doesn’t know will mix things, and lies will enter. If not that, already we Dagbamba didn’t want the white men; we feared them. In the olden days, too, those Dagbamba who were there, their eyes were not open. And apart from that, our fathers were afraid to talk some of the things inside drumming. Someone who knows will be afraid to talk everything; he will hide some of it. That is why I think that if a drummer talked something that is in a book and it is lies, then it shows that the drummer didn’t want to talk it, or he was not the right person who was supposed to talk it. And if it was not a drummer, then that person didn’t know it well. And again, even in the olden days, it wasn’t every drummer who learned much. Every drummer only learns to his extent. Maybe the drummer who gave that information talked only a little of it and stopped, and he hasn’t refused and he hasn’t lied, and the one who didn’t know came and added his talk. And coming to this modern time, many of these modern-day drummers only know drumming talks to their extent. But their eyes are too much open, and they are not following the way. Too much eye-opening can spoil a town. This modern time is the time of selling, and there are people don’t mind to tell a lie and eat. And so we the ones who are sitting and we are somehow old, and we were trained in the villages by our fathers, we are in between. I have told you that our fathers were afraid, and they were holding truth. And we were also afraid, and we were holding truth, and we knew respect. And we don’t fear the white man again. But the way you and I are sitting together now, in the olden days, it would have been difficult.
And so on the part of your asking me to talk about these drumming talks, I want you to know that someone can be looking at a house but will not know what is inside the house. And so the work you are holding in your hand is a very big work. As you are holding it, I am holding it. We shouldn’t throw it at one another. It is a very serious talk I am telling you. It isn’t that I am telling you lies. If I wanted to tell you lies, I would have been telling you lies. People have been saying that I should be giving you stories or something like that. And that is not what I want to tell you. All that I am telling you has been put down and given to me by my elders. And it has been put down for you by my elders, too. And how it is, I want to tell you that if you are a child following an elderly person, and he is truly an elderly person and he knows the future, then what he tells you, if you want someday to tell someone too, you shouldn’t try to add something to it. You should tell the fellow just what you were also told. If you want to add something to it, it might seem that you have just met the fellow and you want to tell him lies. And so what I am telling you is exactly what I was told by my elders. That is exactly what I am telling you. It isn’t that I am telling you lies. It isn’t that I see your money and want to spend it, because what I am telling you, you cannot even pay for it. It is because of friendship. I am happy with what I am telling you. If I tell you anything and it is something someone else would not tell you, I won’t worry about it. It is good that you learn some work and you do the work and you tell someone about the work too. And as you have befriended me, it is good. If you befriend a monkey, nothing of yours will remain on top of a tree. And as you have befriended me, you shouldn’t think your anything will remain on the tree top. What I have learned in my drumming, I will tell you all of it.
That is why I also told you that you don’t send a leper to shell groundnuts. And I can say again that you don’t send a blind man to keep birds from your guinea corn farm. The leper has no hands to open the groundnuts, and the blind man has no eyes to see the birds. I have learned a lot in my drumming, and in my heart, I think it is good, if I want to teach somebody, I should teach the fellow to the extent I also got to. If he doesn’t learn all of it, at least he will know a part. If you go to a learned person and you don’t know anything, at least you will know the number of housepeople in your house. Why do I say this? How my work is, the children I am giving birth to, I want some of them to be drummers, too. And I know that, truly, some of them will be drummers and some of them won’t be drummers. Everyone is going to know how he’s going to live. And so those people who are going to take up my work, they are my children. Truly, it isn’t somebody who has a child who is the caretaker of that child. If there is somebody who is the caretaker of the child, that fellow can even be in Accra and be looking after the child in Tamale. And what it means is that as you have come here, you shouldn’t say that your town is far. If you go, then you can go, and the next day, if you want us to hear anything from you, we shall hear it. And if you don’t want, we won’t hear anything from you. And truly, if we are always hearing from you, it means that we are not far from one another. Sometimes you won’t come here for some years, but any time, it looks as if we are just here with you. Why is it so? We get letters. We always get letters every week, and you tell us all that you want, and then you ask us of our wants, and we also tell you all that we want. And so when you are at home, it is nice for you to write and ask about us, and we shall also be asking about you. When it comes like that, we will always feel as if we are just sitting face to face. That is why I say that if a person is sitting at one place and is caring for a child, he isn’t the only person who cares for the child.
And so it is not necessarily a relative of yours who works with you. If you are working with a relative, he doesn’t mind kicking your work away. From the time you first came, as I was telling my son Alhassan to teach you, he wasn’t able to teach you. But Alhassan Abukari is the son of Lun-Zoo-Naa Abukari, and Lun-Zoo-Naa is my uncle, and Alhassan Abukari fears me more than Alhassan, and he was teaching you. And Yisifu is the brother of Alhaji Adam Mangulana, and he also agreed to teach you. He also fears me more than Alhassan does. As Mohamadu has been teaching you, he is the son of my brother Sheni. If you are doing some work, you have to look for those who are going to do the work with you, and the work will be good. And so according to our Dagbamba custom, when you say, “As for this boy, he is not my child,” it means that he is not doing the work you are doing. That is why you say he is not your child. But he is your child. And truly, the work I am doing, it is those who are going to do it who are my children. In Dagbon here, it is the one who takes up your work whom you call your child. And so on the part of this drumming, I have taken you to be the same as my own child. And those who are not going to take up my work, they are doing their work. And they are not my children. Have you seen? The work you are learning from me has no way of dying out. It could happen that after you have learned drumming and gone home, you will also teach some people there. And maybe I will come to hear that you are not there again, or you are dead, then at least the people you have taught might one day come to ask of me. And maybe by then I will also be dead. But my children will be there. That is why they say a learned person does not die. Only the one who puts down and leaves what he has learned will die.
This talk that is with us, it is not one person who has talked it. Others have talked and I have heard. Those who are my elders have talked truth to me, and it is truth I am going to talk to you. And coming to add to what I have heard is what I have seen. As for truth, it has no end. If anyone tells you that truth has got an end, you should tell him that he is telling lies. And so I am telling you: when you get up, you should search for truth. Even if you are not in a town, your truth will be in that town. Those who don’t know you in that town, they will know you. They will know you because of your truth. The truth you say, if it is taken to any town, anyone hearing it will say, “Yes. It’s true.” And so there is nothing like truth. Truth is longer than anything. Truth lasts, because a truth man comes to stand in the place of a truth man.
If you are living in the world, what you will always hear people saying is, “Yes. So-and-so’s grandfather said this, and it resembles what you said.” But I Ibrahim sitting down, I have never heard anyone say, “So-and-so said this, and he was lying.” Why don’t they say that? The lies he said had no strength and didn’t last long. Why would anyone remember it? But as for truth, it does not die. When they tell you that truth is dead, then the world has also ended. When something dies, no one remembers it again. And so lies are like a dead thing. But truth does not die. When a truth man dies, they always remember him. They say, “He said this. He said that. He said this. He said that.” And people from other towns will say, “This fellow did this. This fellow did that.” It is because of his truth.
You John, as you came to Ghana and came to this Tamale, maybe it was lies that brought you here. Maybe you followed what you heard from liars before you came here. But now you know the truth people too, and you don’t go to the liars again. You always go to those who tell the truth. When you are sleeping, they are in your mind. When you are eating, they are in your mind. When you are getting up, they are in your mind. And when you get up, you are going to them. But the liar you met first and he told you lies, you don’t even remember him again. You will never sit down and remember him any day. Lies don’t last long. Lies are like urine. When you pull out your penis and you are urinating, at first it goes far, and when it is finishing, it finishes in front of you. And so lies are not long; lies are just a short thing. It is someone without patience who says that lies are long. Lies are long, but lies don’t last long, and so lies are short. Truth lasts longer.
Our Dagbamba used to say that as for truth, the way it is: how can somebody be sitting on the ground and fall down? Have you ever seen somebody sitting down and fall down again? That is how the truth is. If you sit on truth, there is no way that you will fall. But a lie is up: if you climb on a lie, anything that blows over you, you will fall down. And so these talks, we are going to be sitting down on the truth, and you are not going to fall at all. I don’t know, but I think that as you have been going back to your home, sometimes people will gather and say, “John has come; John has come. Let’s go and listen to what he has got for us.” Maybe the first time you went home, you sent truth home. And people came and saw the truth you sent them. A truth man, when he goes to sit somewhere, people say, “Let’s go and listen to what he is saying. He is a truth man.” When you were going home again, you sent the truth again. And now what has it brought? Even if you go home and tell a lie, they will take it that you are telling the truth. As you told truth the first time, if you come to tell a lie, no one will say it’s a lie. As for someone who tells the truth, anyone going to talk about him talks good of him. And so why should he tell lies? If a truth man tells lies, people will take it to be truth. When he is going to talk about something, people will say, “Oh, it’s true.” He has never told a lie, and they have never known him telling lies. When people like you in a place, if you do something bad, they will say it’s good. And when you do something good, it’s good. But if you go to a place where the people don’t like you, no matter what good you do, they will say it’s bad. And so you yourself, as you are now friends with me, whatever good or bad you do to me, my people say, “Oh, it’s good,” simply because they like you. And what you have come here to learn now, whether you learn it or you don’t learn it, whatever you tell your people at home will be truth to them, because the first time they saw your truth. Now they know that you are someone who will take truth and show them. And so when you are a person and you get up, you should search for truth, and you should try to let people always talk good of you. And so truth, that is what we are going to take to do this work. And we will take patience and add it. If we do that, you will see that the talks will be falling, and they will be nice.
Maybe as you yourself are sitting, at the place where you will carry this work and bring it out, because of this work they will raise you up to some place you were not going to reach. Or maybe your respect is not up to that point. It can happen that you will allow people to see your work, and they will argue over it. And so as for the talks I am telling you, I cannot say that there is nobody who will argue with it. I cannot say it, but if my heart were to get up, maybe I would just tell you that if this book comes out and anybody will have an argument with it, or wants to challenge it, you can just bring the fellow to me that he should say what he knows and he is arguing. Or those of my elders who are with me, he should bring his argument to them. But I cannot say that somebody should come and challenge. Even on the part of you people who are educated, can you get somebody who can come out to say, “As for me, all that is involved in learning, I know it”? Have you seen somebody like that? No. That is why I told you the name of Tolon-Naa Yakubu: wisdom is more than what one person can hold; one person cannot hold all wisdom. It is the name of Tolon-Naa that is preventing us, by giving us an idea that a person shouldn’t raise himself up to say something like that.
But I want to tell you that in this world, there are people who don’t have any knowledge and they are just coming to argue. We have them here. Sometimes somebody will not like something, and you will have a good thing, and he will just tell you that the thing is a bad thing. He wants some of what you have, but he doesn’t have. And so he would like to give a bad name to the good thing you have so that you will throw it away. That is the way it is. And so at your place, on the part of your colleagues, those who are doing the same work as you are doing, maybe someone is there but he didn’t ask to find out all that you have learned. And if you go and write something, and your colleague is going to write, if you compare them, will they be the same? A hundred things and one thing, what is the difference between them? The hundred is more. And so you are sitting on the truth, and truth and long talks, that is what will make this book bigger. And so I can tell you that as for the talks of this Dagbon, if some people complain or tell you your talks are lies and their work is more than yours, they only want you to throw it away so that they will collect your work and get a name out of it. This is what I have to tell you.
Truly, as for argument, an argument can come at any time because of the way one sees something. But if you take a look at our time and the people who taught us this, and you think about this time when everybody is cheating one another, how can you compare the two? You should use your sense to think about this. If you are with your father, and he is going to give you some talk about the family, what benefit is he going to get if he gives you that talk by telling you lies? If he’s going to talk to you, and he gathers all the history or old talks of the family and teaches you, at that time, it is because of you he is telling you, so that if he dies, you are around. He will tell you the whole thing, and when you get it and you take it and hold it yourself, those children who are coming at your back, they will know that you also know something about the old talks of the family. What you are going to teach them, they will also receive it with their ears. At that time they will get to know that it is true: this is the way their family is. And so in this case, if anyone is going to argue over it, that it is a lie, you have to talk sense to him.
And truly, as for us drummers, on the part of our drumming, a drummer from one town will talk something and a drummer from another town will talk the same thing, and it will be the same. And how it separates, it is only that one talk will be longer than the other. If you come to see that there is wisdom inside, it is one wisdom, and it’s a big wisdom too. The only argument inside drumming is: you haven’t learned up to this extent, but it’s not that what you say is lies. In our learning, there is something: one chief can have ten names, and maybe somebody will find out and get to know all the ten names. And somebody will ask and gets to know only two names. It is the same chief. The way you asked to know all the ten names, then when you are going to beat and praise, you can beat up to ten. And the one who has learned only two, if he also comes out to beat, it’s the same thing. It is one chief the two of you are talking about. If you are going to challenge him, he will ask you whether it is not the same chief he also used the two names to praise. And so as for inside drumming, you only reach your extent.
And so how it is in Dagbon here, someone cannot just sit down and use his mouth and argue with you like that. But truly, even inside our drumming, argument is inside our drumming. It is because everybody only learns to his extent, and so we are different on the part of our learning. For example, the way we are beating the drum, sometimes somebody can beat something but he doesn’t know what he’s beating. If you want to challenge the fellow and know, you can ask him what he has just beaten with the drum. If he cannot answer you, then you will get to know that if he talking about something, there may be lies inside his talk. But if you don’t know something and you are going to argue over it, the end of it is that you are going to be ashamed. And if you don’t know something, and the one who knows it wants to tell you, don’t challenge him. You the one who is blaming the thing, you don’t like it, and that is why you are blaming it. What he’s standing on and he’s talking about it, if you ask him, he can explain everything to you. That is the way it is.
And again, and how we separate it, you will take a look at what somebody does all the time, and whether he is doing the same work as you. Maybe somebody will come from some place, and he will tell you that he is also doing the same work as you, but he hasn’t shown you. Let’s say you believe him that he is doing that work. It’s just because you don’t believe in lies, and you haven’t told anybody that kind of lie before. If that person tells you, “This is what happened here and there,” maybe you will later on get to know that it is lies. But the time he’s telling you, you cannot know that he’s telling you a lie. And so someone who speaks the truth, if he hears a talk like that, and he goes somewhere to talk, he will also say it with sense: he will say first that he heard it, and this is the way he heard it. And he can also add again that as for him, this is the way he knows about the thing. And so you will show the differences between what you heard before you will talk about what you think about it. If not that, if you just talk it straightforward to somebody, then when they are going to count the liars, they will count you among them that you too are a liar. If you are holding something, and somebody tells you that he has something more than it or better than it, and he hasn’t brought what he has to compare it to yours, then that is the time you can tell him to bring his, so that when he brings it, you can compare before you will believe that what he’s saying is true. Anybody who will come and argue with you over this thing that you have, tell the fellow that whatever detail he too has, he should go and bring it, and you people can compare and see. But if you don’t see his, you don’t have to believe him.
That is why I’m telling you that if you are sitting down, if somebody comes to tell you a lie about something, you cannot tell whether he is telling you a lie or not. If you are not used to telling lies, your sense will tell you that the way you are, that is the same way everybody is. If somebody comes to tell you a lie, when he’s talking to you, you will think he’s telling you the truth. It is later on that you will get to know he was telling lies. That is why they say that if a liar tells a truth person a lie, the truth person will take it to be true. That is how it is. If you are honest, and somebody comes to deceive you, you won’t know the fellow is deceiving you. Even if you have some questions to ask him, he will give you some talk which will make you have trust that he is telling you the truth. If you accept it, you are not wrong, just because you think that everybody is the way you are. That is why the Dagbamba say that only a bad person can know a bad person. If you are not a bad person, how can you get to know a bad person? If somebody sees something and tells you that something is a bad thing, then he too belongs to that thing. This is the meaning: if you are sitting down as somebody who always speaks the truth and a liar comes to lie to you, you can never know it. But if he had gone to tell the lie to another liar, then that other liar will get to know that it is a lie. Only a bad person knows a bad person. But in that case, the lie will not attach to you. Even for example, if somebody steals something and comes to sell it to you, and you ask him and he says the thing belongs to him, then maybe you will agree and buy the thing. If it happens that they come to catch you and take you to court, if there are truth people there, the court will know that you haven’t done wrong. The way you bought the thing is not wrong. The person said that the thing belonged to him, and that is why you also bought it. If he had told you that the thing was a stolen thing, you wouldn’t have bought it. So that is the same as if somebody tells you a lie and you believe it. You are not wrong; it’s just that somebody came and told you a lie.
This talk I’m giving you is not a worrying talk. I just want you to know that you should have patience. As I have told you that lies are short and truth goes far, if you are worried or you don’t believe me, you should be patient and follow the talk I have for you. You will see how far it goes. I have told you that truth gives birth, and it is truth I am going to talk to you, and it will give birth to many talks. And the reason I’m always advising you to be patient is that, truly, saying the truth is very, very sweet, but hearing it is difficult. When you want to speak the truth to someone so that the fellow will hear it, it is hard. If he has patience and good character, what you tell him, he will hear all of it. Any good person, when they come to tell him anything, he hears it. But someone who has no patience, the time you are telling him the truth, he won’t receive it. It is not until after he has fallen that he will hear it. It is someone who has patience who can hear the truth, and it is someone who has patience who will say the truth. That’s why I told you that someone with good character is someone with patience. But as for a liar, when you come to tell him the truth, he will say you are telling him lies. It is his water he is drinking. It is his food he is eating. Why have I said that? If he is going to drink water, it is lies he will say to get it. It is lies he will say and get food to eat. He is useless: that is why he is telling lies. To him, lies have become his truth. Everything of his is lies. Even the day he will tell the truth, it’s lies again. The day a liar will lose is the day he will talk the truth and they will take it to be a lie. How will someone be telling lies and come to tell the truth and they will say he is telling the truth? Every day, he has been lying. When he sees the truth and he is going to say it, they will say, “Oh, leave him. He is a liar. He has always been telling us lies, and what he’s saying is a lie.” In this case, has it spoiled him or has it made him? It has spoiled him. That is why I told you that everything of a liar is lies, and everything of a truth man is truth.
As for a person who holds truth, wherever he goes, he will not talk and become tired. If he goes to borrow money, he will get. If he is searching for a wife, he will get. It is all because of his truth. Even if someone doesn’t know him, he has heard of him, because if lies are heard from afar, truth too is heard from afar. And so as we Dagbamba have proverbs, we say, “If you sow a bad thing, that is what you will come to meet.” And we say, “If you sow good, that is what you are going to reap.” You cannot bring saliva from your mouth to build a house. That is lies. We Dagbamba say, “The place where water is good will gather water-drinkers.” It is a praise-name for our chief, Naa Mahamadu. And so truth is like that. It is when people have one mouth with each other that they will gather and do work. And so it is truth that can build a house. But as for a liar, he stands alone. As for a liar, the time he is serious, everyone runs away and leaves him. And so a liar has no town. Why do I say he has no town? Today if a liar is building a house, no one will help him. No one will even come near him. They will say, “He is a liar. As he is, he will run away and leave the house.” As he is a liar, nothing of his will stand. As for a liar, when he comes to start a work, he will start it and run away and leave it. But a truth man, when he comes to start laying out his bricks, people will say, “Let’s help him. He is a good man.” Because of his truth, his house will stand. And so truth does not finish, and a truth man stands in a group. That is why I have told you that wisdom is in a group, because it is truth that can gather people.
But a liar, when he goes and he is searching for a wife, they will say, “Oh, forget of this man. He is a liar. How can he keep this woman?” If he is searching for chieftaincy, they will say, “Ah! Can this man hold people? He is a liar. Forget of him.” If it is money he wants to borrow, they will say, “He’s a liar. He’s not a good person.” In this world, it is a good person who holds truth. When you hear them call somebody a useless person, it means he is a liar. A small boy who is a liar, when he grows up, he becomes an old liar. That is his character. And a small boy who speaks the truth becomes an old person who speaks the truth. Everything changes, but character does not change. Character is not a stranger; that is the name of character. And so we take someone who lies and someone who has bad character to be the same thing. As for a liar, he cannot mix in a group. Where is he going to mix in a group? When you are saying something and he is coming, you don’t even want him to hear. He is going to add lies to your talk. What you were talking and he came and heard, he will cut some away and then join his lies to it. He is going to take the good part of it and put his lies inside. But as for the truth man, when he comes and they are telling him lies, when he goes and says it to people, he will talk it with sense and talk about what he heard and how he knows it, and he will put truth inside it. And what is it? It has come to the side of truth.
Truly, sometimes it can happen, and it is not that you are telling a lie but that the lie is stronger than you. Sometimes you tell a lie to prevent a quarrel. It can happen. I have told you that old Dagbamba used to say that if you want to send a child, you should send a child whom you yourself you trained, or a child who has sense. When you send a child, and you talk some bad or useless talk to the child, “Go and tell this to so-and-so”: a child without sense will take that bad or useless talk and tell the person. And if it brings a quarrel, they are not going to show that your messenger talked it. But if you send a person who has sense to go and talk a useless or bad talk, he will go to talk a good talk, and it will repair your living. If the child is sensible, he will know that the way you sent him, if he is going to talk the thing you told him to go and talk there, it will bring trouble between you and the one to whom you are sending him. When he gets there, he will repair it. Maybe your heart gets up, and you will tell the child, “Go and tell such-and-such person that this is what I want, and this is what I’m going to do.” Maybe it is only that you are annoyed. When the child is going, the child will think twice. “Ah! But why is it that today my father sent me to go and make such a statement to his mother’s child, or his friend? If I go and talk like that, it will bring a quarrel between them.” If the child is sensible, or he has been seeing the relationship between the two of you, when he gets there, he will repair your talk and so that the person won’t get annoyed, and it will be good. You have told him to go and talk bad, and he has gone to talk good. And that fellow he talked to will say, “So-and-so sent a child to come and tell me some talk, and he has come to tell me a good talk.” But you didn’t tell the child to go and talk the good talk. As it is, has it repaired all of you, or it hasn’t repaired all of you? It has repaired. To us Dagbamba, on the part of our living together, that type of lie, we don’t call it lying. And so in Dagbon, we used to say that if you are going to send somebody, send somebody who has sense, not somebody who can just walk fast.
And so truly, there are some types of lies you will hold and you will not have fault, from a human being and even from God. Why is it that I have come to say that some lies are good? I am going to separate this talk for you. If I don’t separate it for you, maybe some people who are going to read this will say that we mentioned that lies are not good. We know that lies are not good, so how is it that somebody will tell a lie and we will take that lie to be good? I will show you the difference.
You and your mother’s child, as you are family, there is something that can extend the family and there is something that can separate the family. And God has said that to separate the family is not good. It can happen that the relationship between a person and his brother is going to break. Maybe they have quarreled, and they don’t greet one another. This one is in his house, and that one is in his house. And it is taking time. You who know the talks of God, you will go and see one of them. You didn’t see the other one, but when you go, you will say, “Your mother’s child, you have not been talking for a long time, and it is worrying him. He said that the way you are here and not greeting him, he is not happy about it.” And you will go to the other one and tell lies again, “I have been to your brother. I sat with him, and he is complaining bitterly that how he is not talking to you, it worries him. So this is what I have heard from him.” You haven’t seen the other one, but you are looking for a way to repair them. If you talk like that and the other one hears, then he will also tell you that already he was also looking for a way so that the two of them will talk together. That time, won’t you hear what he has to say? At that time, you the one in between them, you will get to know that if you get them together, they will agree. Then you will also get some people and add them to yourself, “Let’s go and put this man and this man together.”
Then you will go to their houses. You will go to the house of the one who is senior, and you will sit down. You the elders, when you sit there, you will send someone to go and call his junior brother he’s quarreling with, and he will also come and sit down. At that time, if there is an elderly person or maalam there, you will first ask him to say some prayers, and you will again say that, “We all, today we want the two of you to forgive one another. And any bad thing that is in your heart, you should throw it away.” You will say that they should be greeting one another, and they should be eating one another’s food. If one of them is sensible, he will say, “As for this, it is sweet for me.” Then the other one will also say that it is sweet for him, and he will say, “As for today, I will be able to sleep well.” And they will bring out cola, and they will share the cola among the two people. One will take one piece of cola and break it and share it to his own brother. It is the senior one who will call the younger one, “Come and collect cola.” The junior brother will come and squat down, and the elder will split the cola into two and give to him. The elder will put one part into his mouth and start chewing. And the junior brother will also put the cola into his mouth in front of him and start chewing. And he will smile. Then they will give hands to one another. At that time, those sitting down will get to know that they have agreed to stop everything. That is the end of it.
And you the one who came between them, repairing them together, it is lies you used to join them together. You have repaired the family. God too will not forget you the one who fixed them together. And you will get profit again from the other people who accompanied you to settle their matter. And so Dagbamba say, “The lies you will tell and repair the family, or relationship, they are not bad lies.” That is one example of it.
And another one is: a man and a woman are married, and it comes to a time they are going to separate. Let’s say the man has driven the woman away. The time this man drove the wife away from the house, maybe the woman will go to her parents. Maybe the woman still loves the man, and the man also still loves the woman, but he was annoyed and he said the woman should go away. The woman has gone away, and it is up to one week. Any time the man is alone in the house, he will be thinking about the wife. And any time the woman too is in the house alone, she will be thinking about the man. And they don’t know how to come together again. You the one who repairs, when you look at them, you will find a way. You will say that you will repair them. It’s just like the one who brought the junior brother and the senior brother together after quarreling. You will go to the woman and sit the woman down, and you will say, “Oh! As for you and your husband’s talks, the way you moved away from your husband’s house, I sat with your husband and he’s complaining about you. Your husband says that since you left his house to your stay with your parents, he has not been sleeping. And even food, he has not been eating well. And he doesn’t know the way to pass and you will be back to his house again. The thing is worrying your husband very much.” But of course you haven’t discussed anything with the husband before. You are telling lies so that they will come together. “And so what is inside your heart, it is not in the heart of your husband. That is why I purposefully came here to see you.” At that time, you will hear the woman say, “That is also what is worrying me here. How I ran away from him when he drove me from his place, for one week now, I haven’t been sleeping.” Then she will tell you, “Don’t you see how I have even lost weight? How I’m sitting with my parents, my heart is not with my parents; it is at my husband’s place. I too, I don’t know the way I will pass and I will go back there.” And at that time, you the one telling a lie and tricking the woman, you will get to know that the woman’s heart is still with the husband. You have talked and knocked the mind of the woman, and the woman now is bringing her mind to you.
Then you will go back and talk to the man, and he will get to know that the woman still has love for him. Then you will go out. You will get some people and add to yourself. You will tell them, “The way this man and this woman have separated, it is a pity, so let’s find a way to repair them.” You will go first and tell the husband, “As for today, we are going to repair you and your wife. We will go and let your wife come and sleep with you in the house.”
If at that time this woman is at her father’s house, then two of you or three of you, or any number, when you go to the wife’s parent’s house, you will talk to the father of the woman and say, “Please, we beg you. Your daughter’s husband sent us to tell you that the tongue and the teeth sometimes quarrel. They stay together and they quarrel. So he has sent us to come and tell you that he’s begging you that you should send your daughter back to his house.” And the father will also tell you that, “The way she has run to my house and she is staying without the husband, it is even paining her. Any time a woman runs away from the husband’s place to the father’s place, when she gets there, she is not up, and she is not down. She’s waiting to hear that her husband wants her back.” Then the father of the woman will call her and say, “Your husband has sent people here to come and talk, so get up, get ready, and follow them, and let them send you to your husband.” And it is there where we will get to know that the woman has a secret. At that point, it is sweet to the woman, but you will hear the woman pretending, “Ah! But already the man said he didn’t want me. He said he didn’t want me, and today he has wasted your time to come and talk and bring me to him. Everything is over to him.” She wants to go, but she won’t bring it plainly to let you people know that she wants it. Then the father will say, “All right, you people who came and talked, you should take the lead. I will let her follow you. So you people should go home.” If it is in the morning that you went there, by evening time, the father will go and find someone, and come and say “Take this girl to her husband’s place,” and the messenger will take the woman to the husband.
You the one who came and told a lie, you have told a lie to repair the marriage of a man and a woman. As for marriage, it’s a very serious thing. When they tie marriage, and it gets broken, it is not good. It is not good in the face of God, and it is not good in the face of human being. It was going to cut off forever, but you had a way of telling lies to join the two people together again. At that time, God will know that you are a good person. And human beings will also know that you are a good person. But you the one who came and talked this matter, it was just a lie that you used to bring them together. But you don’t have any offense. When you go to your house, you will see that the husband will also find people and send them as messengers to come and greet you. The messengers will tell you, “Oi! May God bless you. Had it not been for you, I would have lost my wife, and I wouldn’t get a good wife like her.” This is the greetings the messengers will bring from the husband to you the one who repaired them. And the woman too will find her own messengers and send them to you to come and thank you. They will come and say, “Had it not been for you, I would have lost my husband. So I thank you very much. May God bless you.” But it was lies you used to join them. And we Dagbamba used to say that the one who will tell a lie and the family will come together is better is than the one who will tell the truth and the family will break apart. The one who will tell a lie and a married man and woman will come together is better than the one who will tell the truth and the marriage will spoil.
And there is one thing again. Let’s say this town and that town, they tie a war to fight one another. These people are at the right-hand side, and the others at the left-hand side. They will show themselves that on such-and-such a day they are going to meet for war. As they have given information to one another like that, if it is tomorrow they are going to meet, then today, a person from the town at the left-hand side will come out and meet a person from the other town coming. At this time it is not yet time for the fight, but it can happen that they will roam and come and meet. When they meet, then one will tell lies to the other, “You see tomorrow, as for the preparation we have made, you people can’t stand us. If we come and fall on you people, none of you will be remaining. We will finish all of you.” The way he has talked to the other one, fear will catch him. When he gets home, he will tell his people, “Oi! The way I met one of the other town’s people and he talked, he said the preparation they have made, he said they are plenty, and they have war things. And he said that as for this very tomorrow coming, if they fall on us, they won’t leave one of us.” It is lies he is telling them. He wants to tell them that they shouldn’t think about fighting. Before daybreak, on the right-hand side, maybe not all of the people will be there; they will run away. He has told them a lie and stopped the war because he wants himself, that is, he wants his life. That is the another example. Somebody who will try to do something like that, so that there will not be trouble, as for God, God likes that.
But all the remaining lies, even if you tell a lie about your own self, you are inside trouble. You don’t have something, but you go and deceive somebody that you have that thing. You are inside trouble. You go to tell a lie on someone. You are inside trouble. But the three that I have just talked to you, they have no fault. It is better if we talk about lies, you should know about this kind of lies. If I don’t talk to you like this, that lies are not good, then somebody may happen to tell a lie somewhere and people will say it’s a good lie. And so this is what is inside it. This is the way it is.
And so, a truth man will talk and remove someone from trouble, and talk and give someone food. But a liar will tell lies and they will jail someone, and a liar will tell lies and let someone sleep hungry. As for a truth man, when they are beating him, he is standing in the truth. When they are killing him, he is standing in the truth. And even if they kill him, his truth will not die. A truth man does not change. But as for the liar, when they are killing him, he says lies. All of it is lies, and it’s useless. As for a liar, no one who likes him will like him again. And so you should get up and hold truth, and you should be good, and you will get what you want and even come to get what you didn’t expect. When you are a human being and you search for truth, nothing of yours will go behind again. Your everything will go forward. Those who like you and those who don’t like you, because of your truth they will come to like you. Those who know you and those who don’t know you, because of your truth they will come to know you.
And as a human being must get up and search for truth, the two of us must hold truth together. When one of us is not a good person, the other should become a good person. And we should add patience to our way of living. When two people meet, they cannot be one. Even if they bring forth the two of you together, you will not have the same way of living. If you are two people and you come together, you will take patience and good heart and stay with each other, and your ways of living will be coming together until one will be changing. If you do that, you will see that there will be truth inside. And so, any person who speaks truth does not become annoyed. As you are sitting, sometimes you may be very much annoyed about something. When you are going to sleep, you will think over it and say, “Oh, what I am going to do is not good. It’s lies.” You will leave it.
If you want to do work with someone, and your heart wants it, you will get cotton and close your ears, and you get something and cover your eyes, and you will be doing. They will talk, and you will say you haven’t heard. They will point, and you will say you haven’t seen. You will be doing, and that is how you live. This is what I am holding, and I am with you. I am not someone who listens to hearsay, and you too shouldn’t listen to hearsay. That is how it is between you and me. If either of us says he hears well and sees much, then our friendship is going to break. If I were following what others said, maybe you would have gotten someone to talk to you, and maybe that person would be someone who is above me or someone who hasn’t reached me. But how God wants it, God says we should all benefit from one another, and that is why I am teaching you. If God says you should benefit from me, or if God says I should benefit from you, even if we quarrel, whatever happens, we are going to be there. Someone and the person he stays with, they are the people who quarrel, and they are the people who talk. If you are not staying with someone, will you quarrel with him? No, you won’t quarrel. That is the proverb I have showed you. As the teeth and the tongue are there and living together, do they not quarrel? They quarrel. The teeth will bite the tongue, and the tongue will try to stay away from the teeth. And as they have quarreled, they are still living together. And so if we quarrel, it is not a quarrel. That is how it is. It is a big talk I have told you, and you should think and you will know it.
You are a single person, and you are alone and you have come to look for something from us. And we four who are here with you are one, and so it is very good if the four of us have one mouth on the part of trying to get what you are looking for, just so that there will not be any annoyance. If cows are standing together in the bush, a lion won’t come near them. But if the cows become annoyed at one another and they separate, the lion will eat them one by one. If we become annoyed, you will eat and finish all of us. And if you eat us, then it is we who have caused the whole thing. I am not saying that you are going to do the work of a lion. I’m just putting it that we have to have one mouth and a white heart with one another. And so this is the talk I am giving in connection with me and Kissmal and Ben and Mustapha. If I become annoyed, they should try to bring me from the annoyance. And if any one of us is annoyed, the others should bring him from it. If we are becoming annoyed, our problems will not end, and you too, John, your problems will not be solved. But if we are here together and we are not getting annoyed, then there will be shyness between us, and you will be afraid of us, and we will also be afraid of you. And you will collect something from us that will benefit you, and we will collect something from you that will benefit us. And this is my talk to you today.
And so on the part of our work, if one of us has some work to do, and your work is also standing, it will be better if we tell you first in time, “Tomorrow I will be doing this.” If we don’t tell you, and tomorrow comes and you don’t see any of us, it will give you some difficult talk. And if we don’t see each other, we will be having the same thing as you. And so that is why I am saying this. I am only talking on the problems among all of us. If you come to me and I tell you I don’t have time, you shouldn’t be annoyed. There is no way for you to be annoyed. I want you to know the talk; it’s not that I don’t want you to know it. If I didn’t want you to know, I wouldn’t have been minding it. And so if you come and I tell you there is no time, you should not let it worry you. You should just know that there is something worrying me, too. If not that, would I be sitting down useless, and your talk would also be lying down, and I would not come and talk? I would come. It is because of the talk you are here. I can’t be sitting down doing nothing and say, “Oh, I won’t go.” And so when I tell you that I don’t have time, you should know in your heart that, truly, I don’t have time. As you want me, some people also want me. Even as I am sitting down today, I should not have left my house at all. When you came there earlier, didn’t you see people? As you saw them sitting, they are from other towns. With us Dagbamba, when someone comes to be in your house, and you leave him and go out, it shows that you don’t have time for him. We have talked about how Dagbamba receive strangers, and you know how our way of living is. What you will do until they will call you a human being, by that time, you will be tired. A human being cannot be a human being to everyone. You will be a good person to someone and a bad person to another: this is the way of the world. And so when you come and I tell you I don’t have time, or when you come and I tell you that tomorrow I am going to be doing something, you should let your heart lie down. As for me, I am not thinking of any other talk.
And so I will be coming. If you see a house, and the house is filled with people, if you go there, it might be that the householder is sitting with his children. He is sitting with them because he has added himself to them. He doesn’t separate himself from them and say that because he is the householder, he will sit apart from the children. As you have come to learn from me, I could have told you that if you don’t come to my house, I will not come here. If you wanted to send me anywhere and I didn’t want it, I could have said, “Not unless you come to my house.” You would have agreed, because you are going to get the wisdom from me. I have been telling you to be a fool to get wisdom, but as you have befriended me, it doesn’t mean that you are a fool. Haven’t you ever seen a fool becoming a wise person? If you are a foolish person and you try to become wise, one day you will become wise. When a fool befriends a wise man, people will say, “This man is not a foolish man. Look. He has gone to befriend a wise man.” Why have they said that? They thought that you are a fool, and now they see that you are befriending a wise man, and a fool who wants wisdom befriends a wise person. You want wisdom: that is why you have befriended me. And wisdom, too: you will get it to the extent that we can give. Wisdom doesn’t end. No one learns and knows everything. But all the wisdom that I have been able to get, I will be removing it one by one, and I will be teaching you until you also know it.
Someone will be trading, but he hasn’t got anyone to buy the things he is selling. And yet he will still be trading. And so the only thing left is for you to tell me the matters you want me to talk. There is no other person who can come and just meet me and ask me to talk about something, and I will just talk about it straightforward. But the way I am with you, you can just tell me what you want to know and the sort of talks you want me to talk about it. And so whatever you want, you have to bring the matter to me. But if you hide it, I cannot know what you want. It is better if you tell me, “This is the way I want this,” and I will know how to answer you. Whether you tell me or you don’t tell me is up to you, and we can do this work in either way. We Dagbamba say that when a Frafra man sees a monkey and tells his dog to chase it, it’s all the same. The Frafra man is somebody who can eat the monkey or eat the dog, and so whatever happens, both of them are good for the Frafra man.
But again, if you have a dog and you want the dog to be catching animals, you get a rabbit and hold it and let it go, and you say, “Siss-siss-s-s; this is a rabbit: go and catch it.” Whether the dog has been catching animals or it has not been catching animals, the dog will catch it. And our talk is like a rabbit making a dog run after it. When I come and sit down, before we start, you can ask me, “I have such-and-such a matter. Can we talk about it?” If I tell you we cannot talk about it, you will ask, “Then what are we going to talk about?” And when I start my talk, if it’s good, you will let me go. And when I talk and it’s not good, you will step on it and mark it, and note it down. I will talk and finish all the talk. Maybe I will have forgotten what I said, but as you have marked it down, you will say, “You have said this and that and that. Explain it, or say something about it to me.” And if it is that you want me to extend it, you will say, “All right. Tomorrow when you come, we will say more about it.” And if that is the end, I will say, “That is the end. There is no more talk about this matter. It is a short one.” And if we move like that, it will be good. Even now as I am talking, what I have said, is it not falling? God says that no one knows him except the one who has trust in him, and so nobody can know the extent of his talks. If you start a work today, then getting to tomorrow you will know what is inside the work. And it is not only one person who has sense. You are sitting here because you want to know my sense, and that is why I am showing you. And so if I get to my extent, it is only maybe sometimes if you ask me some questions or if you say I should take some talks and join to it that I can enter into it further.
And so the time we are talking, you should take your ear and put it there very well. It is the ear that hears talks. It is the heart too that sleeps. If my eyes are open and I am looking at you, and my heart is not awake, have I heard you? I haven’t heard. If someone has closed his eyes, it doesn’t show that he is sleeping. I can close my eyes and be able to talk. As a blind man has closed his eyes, does he not talk talks? He talks. But sometimes I am talking and I think that you are not hearing. If I am talking, you have to be listening to what I am saying, and you have to put your heart there, too. Inside our Dagbani, we used to say that as for slippery soup, you don’t eat it when the soup is far away from you. If you want to eat food with okra soup, you have to get near to the food. We also have a leaf we use in making soup, and we call it salinvɔɣu, and they will take a knife and cut it, and add okra and make the soup. That is what we call slippery soup. If the soup is far away from you, and you stretch your arm and take some of the soup, the soup you take is going to come together with more of the soup, and the soup will spread and fall down. Before it will reach your mouth, all the soup will spread on the ground or on your clothes. You have to pull the soup near to you, and put your mouth closer to the bowl. Then when you eat, the soup will not spread on you. And so what I am talking, try your best to hear it well. If you are talking to someone, and the fellow doesn’t hear it, it’s not sweet. It is because of you that I have come to sit here. I am not talking just because I want to talk. It is because you are asking: that is why I am showing you. And I am also telling you what I know. And if I am talking, and you don’t listen and you don’t ask me, it seems as if I am not talking. And so when I’m talking, you should put your ear there very well.
You should know that as for some of the very long talks I will talk, I will tell you and forget of some parts. And that is why I told you once that I can be talking and forgetting of some things, unless I remember them. This time is a heartbreak time for those of us who are in Ghana today. Before we will hear the talk that will be good for us, it will be hard. If you hear a good talk, getting to daybreak, the government will fall down, and you won’t know the talk again. And so all our talks, you should be taping them. In these modern times, if a modern rabbit gets up, it is a modern dog that will catch it. The tape recorder doesn’t bother about heartbreak. The talk I will be talking and forgetting part, the tape will be holding it. We are not going to be using the tape just for life. If we tape all the talks, even if we are just sitting, it will help us in what we are doing, and it will solve a lot of problems. If the tape spoils and we talk the same talk, what I have already talked will remain inside my mind. Or if I have already said something that has been recorded, and you ask me to talk the same talk again, maybe there will be some differences inside it. It doesn’t matter. We can go back through that one and talk again about it, and if the talk is different, the sense will still be there.
And again, sometimes it can happen that I will tell you something which is good, but maybe what I say, you won’t write it well, and you will write and come to tell me that it is I who said it. And maybe it can happen that the one telling you will not tell it well. In our Dagbani, you can have one word that has four different meanings, and I think it is the same thing in English. The same word can mean about four different things, but it’s one word. And so if Ben or Ibrahim or Mustapha should make a mistake, it is you who will listen and know that the talk is not falling. And at that time, we can open the tape recorder and I will hear my Dagbani, and the translators will hear their English, and we will also see if there is a mistake inside the talk. And the talk will come into our hands again. And if it is something that we have talked and you have written it, you will read it to me, and if there is a mistake inside it, we will repair it. And if there is no mistake, I will tell you that it is good. And if you do that and read it to me, it will be very, very good.
That’s why I have told you that our Dagbamba say, “A messenger is somebody who has patience and sense; it is not somebody who can walk or somebody who is fast.” They can send somebody, and he will run very fast and come to stand on the way: he has forgotten what they have told him. But somebody with sense, they will send him, “Go and abuse this fellow,” and he will go: he is not going to talk what you said; he is going to make the talk that will repair the two of you. If it is a bad talk, he will not tell all the bad message. It is such people that we Dagbamba send. And so on your part, when you ask me some talk and I talk to you, you should also add your sense and put it inside, and the talk will be nice. In Dagbon here, if somebody is being sent to do something, he will not tell the one sending him all the things he will be doing to do that thing. If you send someone to me, when you are sending him, he has to listen to all that you are going to say that concerns the message. When he returns back, he doesn’t just have to tell you that he went and gave the message. He has to tell you what I said after hearing the message, and the reply I also sent back to you, and you will hear. But anything the messenger will see on the way, on the road from you to me, as for that, you are less concerned; you don’t need to hear about it. You want to hear how I received the message and my reply. You only want to know if the talk you sent has fallen well, or if there was something behind it, whether that thing has repaired. And on the part of the one who is sending, Dagbamba say you don’t give someone a vagina and tell him how to sex it. If you give your daughter to a man, you only tell him, “I’m giving you a woman. You know the way you will hold the woman, feeding her and taking care of her.” There is no need for you to tell him, “This is the way I want you to be sexing her.” Inside our Dagbon, this is the way we take it. And another example that looks the same is if you take a horse to the river, the only thing you know is that you have taken the horse to drink water. Whether you ride the horse to the river, or you pull the horse to river, when you take the horse to the water, you don’t have to tell the horse, “Drink this water.” You have brought it to the water. Whether the horse drinks the water or doesn’t drink, it is over to the horse. As for you, you have been able to bring it to the water. This is how it is. And so as for me, I will talk, and if I talk some talk to you, you too should take your sense and know, “This is what I am going to do and it will be nice.”
And again, it’s not all things you take to do work. If you are going to take all our talks and do this work, you will come to throw some away. I am going to be showing you the details of things so that you will know what can happen and the talk will separate. As it is, if you see that a talk is clean, and if it is coming to spoil, then don’t get something and add to it. If you don’t add to the talk, and it is standing, then that is how it is. And if you see that you can add to a talk, and what you add will make the talk greater and it will extend, then that too is good. Do you know wari? That is the game they have been playing just across the road by my house. They have a board with holes cut inside, and they will take stones or seeds and be moving them around the board and collecting one another’s pieces. Dagbamba say that when you play wari, and you pick your pieces, you have to stretch your move and extend it. If you don’t stretch it, it won’t kill. And so that is why I told you that you can see a house and not know what is inside it. You have to get inside and see the interior and know what is happening inside, and that is when you will know how the house is. If I talk something and come to add details to the talk, it will be good. The people who are going to look at the book will say, “As he has talked, he has separated it again.” And it will be sweet to them. What I know about our living, I will talk its talks the way a person should talk about it. And even if somebody doesn’t like you and doesn’t like the talks I am giving you, at least that fellow will say, “As for the talk, he talked about it in a very clear way.” And so it’s good like that.
When you are playing wari and there is somebody standing by watching, sometimes the one playing will want to take the pieces from a certain hole, and the one watching will say, “Oh! Take this one,” and the one playing will take it like that. Maybe he didn’t take from that hole because he had forgotten, and so if you remind him and he takes it, then it helps all of you. And so when you are reminding us, it will be better. When someone tells you something and you want to ask him a question, you should remind him when you ask him. What you are looking for, if the one telling you talks and doesn’t reach the extent you want, then when you ask him again, you have reminded him. He will add to his talk. But you shouldn’t just ask him without reminding him of the whole thing. That is why I am saying that if you want, you can open the tape or read what is on the tape, and we will all listen and know whether there is a mistake in it. And if you read and there is no mistake, you can just take it like that. And if there is a mistake, we will repair it. It is in a lot of mouths that you can get sense. As for knowledge, no one has got all of it. And so no one is stopping another person from talking. I can say that I represent all of us here, but maybe somebody else will have something to say. And any one of us who knows he has something to say that will benefit us and add to the talk, he should also talk. And the one who is translating, if the talk is not sweet to him, he should come out plainly to say that that talk, he didn’t hear it before, or to him, it is not falling. If the talk is not good, or he thinks there is a mistake inside, as he is translating, he is involved.
And so any time I talk some talk, you should ask me so that I will separate the talk for you. If a talk is nice, you can take it and do the work. But if I just talk and get up and go, and you don’t mind or you don’t ask, it will let a small mistake come inside. Any talk we talk, maybe some part of it is not big, but that small thing can be strong. It’s just like how something can be big, and a small thing will come and spoil it. If you don’t remove what is going to spoil it, that small thing will come and spoil all of it. If you have many yams and there is one bad yam among them, that one yam can spoil all the others. And so a small detail is very strong. That is why you should always be asking me so that I will separate the details for you, and my talk will stand in a correct way.
And so it will be good, if I’m speaking, you should take patience and listen. But if you mark down a question that you want to ask, or you want me to add something, you should always allow me to finish before you ask me questions. Sometimes if you ask me a question when I’m speaking, you know that I might forget of something I had planned to say. When someone is bringing some talk, you shouldn’t meet the fellow on the way. You should allow the fellow to come. As he is bringing his talk, you will see it. If it’s foolishness he’s bringing, you will see it. If it’s wisdom he’s bringing, you will see it, too. But when you meet him on the way, maybe what he was holding and bringing, he cannot talk it again.
A question is like a junction on the road. You are walking and you come to meet many paths. The way you took and were going to pass, and you came to follow a different path, you don’t know the road. And you will get to some point, and the road you knew is lost, and the road you didn’t know about is also lost. That is how talk comes. And so when someone brings a talk, you should let him talk and finish. When he gets to his end, anything you want to ask him, you have noted it down. And as you have let him talk and finish, maybe your question was already inside the way of his talk. But when you stop him and ask him, and he comes to join the road from your question, by all means, he will forget of something. And it is just like what I was telling you about proverbs. When someone gives you a proverb and you don’t understand, you don’t have to ask the meaning of the proverb. You just keep it and you will be thinking about it. And sometimes someone will give you a proverb, and if you don’t understand it, you will just keep quiet and be watching the fellow, and maybe he will come to add something for you that will let you get to know what he was saying when he gave you that proverb. We say, “God should let an old person live long, and anywhere the old person is, there should be many children standing by his waist.” When I last talked before today, I told you a proverb, and has it not come again? I told you, “What an elder person has sat down and seen, if a child gets up, he cannot see it.” A small child will see something and leave it, but when an elderly person sees something, he will be holding it. And so don’t judge what I say too quickly. If you follow the talk, you will come to see where it is going.
Our Dagbamba say that a chief’s housechild does not struggle to see the dance of Ʒɛm. In Dagbon here, if they kill a leopard, they will take it and carry it, and they will dance Ʒɛm at the chief’s house. Our custom shows that if it is a small village under a chief, they can’t dance the Ʒɛm of the leopard in their own village. They have to go all the way to the senior chief’s house. And so if the chief’s children hear that such-and-such a village has killed a leopard, they don’t struggle. They don’t run to that place; they rather run home. If you are the chief’s child, you will be sitting down, and you will hear the sound of Ʒɛm: the drums will sound, “Gbiri-gbiri-gbiri-bup.” All the people will know that something like that is coming. That day, all the villages of that chief will come out to see what is going on at the chief’s house. And they will bring the leopard and put it on the ground, and then they will dance Ʒɛm around the leopard. If they skin the leopard, the skin of the leopard belongs to the chief, that and the tail. Will a chief’s housechild roam and go somewhere to see this? He is just sitting in the chief’s house, and whatever happens, they will come to dance Ʒɛm and will meet him in the chief’s house. Is he forcing himself to go and see it? Will he struggle to know what a leopard is? No. He will only sit at one place.
And so a talk I have talked to you when you were learning how to beat the drum, if you want me to talk it inside this book, and I haven’t talked about it, and you haven’t asked me, you will come to see that I will talk it to you. If you come to learn or to find out some talks from somebody, don’t rush. As you are asking him, you have already arranged your questions that you want to ask him. If you are patient, the person you are asking will tell you all that is inside your questions. That is the meaning of a chief’s housechild does not struggle to see the dance of Ʒɛm. If they have killed a leopard, when they bring it to the chief’s house, he will see it. Something that is coming to your house, you don’t go out to meet it. And so something that is coming is not something that is going back. Old Dagbamba say it, and we also know it like that.
And so there is a town and you are going to that town, and you don’t know the town, but you have seen the road. As you know that this is the road, you will not ask anyone. You will follow the road, because unless you follow the road, you will not know whether you will reach that town or not. And so we don’t know whether we can follow the road until we come to its end. That is how our work is. As I have come to talk to you, it is not something small I’m going to talk. It is long talks I’m going to talk to you. And so if I come today and we start a talk and we don’t finish it, then tomorrow we will talk it again. And we will see how its road is.
And if our talk moves like that, it will take some time, and we will catch the talks that are inside Dagbon and our way of living here. And if we get into a talk and it’s long, the questions you were marking down, you will hold them and keep patient. And if I talk a matter and your question is not inside, and by then you don’t get a chance to ask me about it, then maybe sometimes I will talk and come and join it to another talk, and your question will be inside that one. That is how long talks are. When you get something that is sweet, you shouldn’t eat all of it in one day. You should eat it little by little. As I am talking to you, you will be holding my talks, and everyday I will be adding you more. As I am coming and bringing my talks, you will see if there is foolishness or wisdom inside. And if I am talking lies or truth, you will also see it. And if you are there and marking it down when I talk and it’s not good, and if you are helping me to start my talks and keep on the road, then you will see that what I bring and talk will come to join what you also were thinking. And if we do it in that way, it will be good.
And so tomorrow if I come, we are going to enter into the talk of drumming, and I am going to start it with how my father and mother married each other and how they gave birth to me, and why I am beating the drums.