The Beef Tongue

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Even useful things can harm us when misused.

A young helper named Orula is given the task of cooking the best and the worst meal on earth. He makes two of the same dish. How does he explain it? You’ll learn in this classic Cuban tale.

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The Beef Tongue
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Once upon a time, the great god Obatala was trying to decide who should be the new ruler of the world. He had his helper Orula in mind, but he wasn’t sure if Orula was up for the task. He was still young and lacking in experience, and was perhaps a little foolhardy. In the end, the god decided to put Orula’s wisdom and readiness to a test. He sent for him and asked him to cook the best dish in the whole wide world.

Young Orula went to the market and looked carefully at what the merchants had to offer. There were many peculiar delicacies to make tasty dishes from. Rare things like goat brains and black truffles and puffer fish. But he wasn’t happy with any of the choices, and so he left with only a rubbery grey cow’s tongue.

After coming home, he slow cooked the tongue with potatoes and carrots and added a tasty cilantro sauce. He brought the steaming dish to Obatala. The god ate it quickly, sopping up the remaining sauce with a hunk of bread. He’d enjoyed it immensely, but something was yet troubling him.

“Why did you choose a cow tongue, of all things, when you had so many other exotic choices?” he asked Orula.

“Oh, great Obatala. I chose a tongue because it is very powerful. It allows us to praise good deeds, to announce happy news and to guide people towards the right path. A tongue can build trust and bring prosperity to a whole country with what it says.” He bowed his head modestly, as the other helpers applauded his wise words.

“All you say is true,” said Obatala, thinking to himself that Orula was truly knowledgable and seemed ready to rule the world.

Yet still. He…

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