The story you are going to read is a traditional Pataki (Yoruba legend) which tells the story of Obi, the coconut.
Obis are sacred in Santeria, both as Eleggua’s sacred food and as a divinatory item by itself, which consists on four pieces of coconut shell that are used to ask simple questions to the Orishas.
This is the story of how Obi, first an Orisha himself, ended up being the servant of all them.
According to the Yoruba legend, Obi was well loved and respected by Olofi (God), because he had a pure and sincere heart.
To award his good deeds, Olofi made him white and shiny and placed him at the top of the highest palm tree, so everyone could see him from afar.
As soon as Obi saw himself in such high position, he turned vain and arrogant. Obi asked Eleggua, who was one of his closest friends, to invite all of Eleggua’s friends to a party that he was preparing.
Eleggua, who could see how much he had changed, invited all the beggars, homeless and poor people he could find.
When Obi saw his beautiful and spotless house filled with all those dirty, smelly, ragged beggars, he almost had and attack and pulled them all out, yelling.
The guests left the house and so did Eleggua. A few days later, Olofi asked Eleggua, who is the divine messenger, to take a message to Obi, and Eleggua refused.
When Olofi asked why, Eleggua told him what transpired at the party; filled with sadness, Olofi himself dressed up as a beggar and went to knock at Obi’s door.
When Obi opened the door and saw the beggar, he told him to leave his home and slammed the door on Olofi’s face.
Olofi walked away a few steps and called Obi out loud, saying: - Obi Meye Lori Emi Ofe!!!! Which means: - Obi, see who I really am!!!!! When Obi saw the beggar was Olofi, he got really scared, and trembling from head to toes asked forgiveness from Olofi.
Olofi forgave him, but as a reminder of his arrogance he was condemned: he would stay white and sweet inside, symbolizing his previous goodness;
he would have a black hard cover, to remind him of his sin, and he would have another green cover that would mean the hope that he could learn from his mistake and become pure and honourable again.
By falling from the palm tree and rolling in dirt until someone would pick him up.
He would always be reminded of the poor he would not accept by becoming one of them; and by turning into the Obi oracle he would serve Eleggua forever.
The only friend that wanted to show him the truth about his vanity, and always be the messenger of the voice of the Orishas.
Despite Obi’s behaviour, today he is much loved and respected; he is a wonderful divination tool as the Orishas speak through him.
Mareferun Obi! (Blessed be Obi!)