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The Oriaté and His Brothers

There were three brothers who had come from a long line of Oriatés, expert orisha priests who preside over the major rites in the religion. Their fathers were oriatés, their uncles were oriatés, their grandparents were oriatés, and so on. Therefore it wasn't surprising that the orishas, through divination, asked all three brothers to serve as oriatés and that they must become expert diviners.

The two older brothers didn't want any part of this saying, "Meridiloggún divination is for the old men. There are better ways of becoming rich and successful than this crap." And they started farms and sold wood. Only the youngest brother paid any heed to the orisha's call. He studied hard and learned well and after a time he became a well known oriaté and became very successful. This fact did not escape his brothers' attention, especially as their grand plans on becoming great successes had only met with failure, leaving the older brothers in poverty.

Though the younger brother was kind and helped out his brothers in every way he could, the older brothers harbored a greed and jealousy that truly knew no bounds. And so they decided they would end the life of their little brother.

The younger brother had a very beautiful fiancé that he was very much in love with and that he traveled miles to see her every day, going by a rocky cliff at the edge of the sea. His brothers decided that they could meet him there and push him off the cliff where he would never be heard from again.

Meanwhile, the youngest brother saw himself with Eleggua's shells. This letter appeared and warned of a plot to end his life and the eb%oacute; required to break the plot. This included seven yards of rope attached to a board the same height as himself,and each which which he let fall to the sea from the cliff. On the way down the rope became tangled among the rocks of the cliff. He made the ebó and continued as before.

The day of the plot came and, sure enough, as he rounded the corner where the cliff rose over the sea, his brothers were waiting in ambush. They pushed him over the cliff into the sea below, and sure that thir job was complete they went home to open shop as oriatés themselves.

Meanwhile, the younger brother found himself drowning in the sea. Just a when all hope seemed to be lost, he came upon the board and the rope he had sacrificed earlier. With these he was able to reach the shore, climb the rocks of the cliff, and save himself.

It was night before he reached his home town, but he did not bother to change his wet and tattered clothes, but went directly to his brother's house, where they were divining and acting in the role of oriatés. During the Itá, just when the brothers were speaking of a death foretold by the shells, there were three knocks at the door. The brothers looked at each other in fear and consternation as who entered but the supposedly dead and 'disappeared' younger brother. One brother died of a heart attack upon seeing his brother come back from a certain death. The other could only stammer as the younger brother recounted the plot before the entire town. Knowing all was lost the oldest brother tried to make a run for it, but the townspeople caught him and put him to death on the spot.

When this letter comes for someone when they are being seen with Elegguas shells , they are told they should make the saint and become santeros and that they should become diviners. This is the road to success for them. Also, they are told they should not listen to gossip and not to trust their brothers in these matters. Maferefún Yemayá, Maferefún Eleggua, Maferefún Eggun.

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