In chapter six of Omenuko, we have a report of Omenuko's method of judging, which includes this scene:

Because of things like this, some people were going to Omenuko and saying to him, "Master, please rescue me from my problems, because if you keep silent, my enemies will take me." Then Omenuko would ask the person, "What do you want me to do for you?" The person would speak out and say, "Master, I am kneeling and bowing down to you. Please give me enough money so I can pay my creditors, and I myself will come and live with you and work for you for three days and then will take one day to take care of my own business, until I am able to repay the money."

If it was someone Omenuko did not know well, he would interrogate the person thoroughly about how he had incurred the debt. After he had asked about that, he also asked the person if he was a thief, if he had ever been arrested as a thief, and if he was a tale-bearer.

I think it is obvious what a person who came to borrow money and was questioned would answer. To my mind, I think such a person would say, "I have never been a thief, and I have never been a tale-bearer." When Omenuko finished questioning the person in this way, he would give him the money he wanted. The person would not fail to go and live with him as he had promised.
Omenuko, chapter 6: "The Reign of Chief Omenuko in the Land of the Mgborogwu People" (translation by Dr. Frances W. Pritchett, 2004)

Why is he asking if the person is a "tale-bearer"? What exactly is a tale-bearer in this context, and why is it significant to Omenuko?

1 Answer 1


In context, it sounds exactly like the standard meaning of "tale-bearer":

one that spreads gossip or rumors

Given the notorious inaccuracy and frequent malice of rumors and gossip, Omenuko wants to know if he makes trouble for other people by this means.

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