Isantim

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This is part 4.  See What’s in a Name?, Rumpelstiltskin, and Tikki Tikki Tembo.

The next afternoon, I had another dream while I was taking a nap.  In this one I am a tortoise, which is a very odd feeling.

I, as a tortoise, go to a feast hosted by a hippo king.  This hippo is quite the character, and has seven hippo brides.  Their pink outfits are adorable as they are covered with ribbons and bows.  As I look at the feast table, my mouth begins to water.  There are rows of turkey and asparagus sandwiches interspersed with spoonfuls of creamy peanut butter.  To top it all off, there was a fountain of chocolate milk with Oreos floating in it.  I cannot wait to begin to devour the food before me, but there is a rather large obstacle in my way.  The hippo king stands up as if he is going to give a toast, but instead, he says that no one will be allowed to eat because no one knows his name.  Instead, we just all come and eat his food.  He dismisses us all, and I vow to find out his name so I can indulge in this stockpile of rich food.

I somehow know where the hippo and his wives go to drink water, and so I wait out, hoping to catch his name.  A couple of his wives, who are larger than the rest, had a harder time walking away from the watering hole, so I bury myself in the muddy path just enough to be a stumbling block for a hippo.  Sure enough, one of these last wives stubs her toe on my shell, and calls out to her husband, “Help!  Isantim, my dear, I have stubbed my toe!” 

I jump out of the ground and yell, “Aha!  I now know the name of your husband!”  Then I turn to the hippo king and say, “Your name is Isantim!”

As Isantim approaches us, I ask to make sure it is okay that I reveal his name to all the animals that we may partake in his wonderful feast.  Next thing I know, we are all sitting around the feast table enjoying the food that I had been eyeing.  It is so delicious that I wake up from my nap craving a turkey and asparagus sandwich topped off with chocolate milk.  However, the name Isantim does not leave a good taste in my mouth, so I decide to cross it off the list of possibilities for my child’s name.

Retold from:
“The Hippopotamus and the Tortoise” by Elphinstone Dayrell, edited by D.L. Ashliman
(originally published in Folk Stories From Southern Nigeria, West Africa.  London: Longman, Green and Co., 1910).

There’s one last post in this series, to be posted at a later date on a day when I don’t have anything else to say.

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