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The story goes that he woke up early one bright morning and said to himself: “I’ll have some fun today and make my friends fight over me.”
With a special comb he did his hair in such a way that the right side was carefully braided while the left side was uncombed and looked like a canopy of leaves.
He then went off down a long and winding road that was filled with ponds and littered with stones. Eventually he could see his friend the turtle in the distance, ambling along in the sunshine. As he passed her by, he made sure she could see only the braided side of his head.
“Hello, my friend. You are walking at a good pace,” he cried out to the turtle.
“Hello. You’ve got a nice hairdo today,” she commented.
Eleguá went on his way. He walked through a deep valley covered by green grass until he could see his friend, the ox, in the distance. When he overtook his friend, who was silent as usual, this time he presented the untidy side of his head.
“Hello, my friend. You look great today,” he hailed.
“Hello, Eleguá. But what happened to your hair today?”
Eleguá carried on by. He spent the whole day visiting with other friends of his. As the sun was going down, he decided to hide behind some bushes by the roadside and wait. As it happened the turtle, who was going east, and the ox, who was going west, ran into each other right in front of Eleguá’s hiding place.
“Good evening, turtle. Are you working too hard?” “Come on, Ox! His hair was beautifully braided. I saw it with my own eyes.”
“Nonsense, turtle! You must have been blind!”
“No, you are the one who can’t see straight!”
They began to argue more and more. Soon the snake, the dog, the goat and a weird one-legged cock hopped by. They, too, got drawn into this argument. Each had seen only one half of Eleguá’s head, either the braided or the shaggy side! Each of them insisted he or she was right. So they all argued. And the argument became heated. It was actually coming to blows when Eleguá, who had had enough fun, jumped out of his hideaway into the middle of the group. They stared at him and immediately realized that he had fooled them all. And now it was Eleguá’s turn! If he had not run away as fast as lightning…