How Esu found his place on the Opon.
A carved face of Esu will always be represented on Yoruba divination divination trays or Better known as Opon IFA. This is symbolic of the close friendship that exist between Orunmila and Esu .This association between the two is made clear in odu
Nko fohun folohun
Adia fun Esu on gbogbo irunmole ti won jo nsore
Adia fun Orunmila oun Esu odara ti won jo nsore
Ogbe return what was kept in your custody to the owner
No, I will not return it
The same performed divination for Esu and all other divinities who were friends
It also performed divination for Orunmila and Esu who were friends
One day, Esu thought to himself that he was the wisest of all the divinities. He had put all of them to test, and they all failed. It was only Orunmila that he had not tested as of yet. He therefore decided to give Orunmila his own special test.
So esu went to the market and bought a monkey . He tied the monkey with a fragile rope. He then went to Orunmila with the monkey and asked Orunmilato please help him to keep the monkey for a while, because he (Esu) wanted to embark on a long journey which would take him seven days.
Orunmila agreed to keep the monkey, but asked Esu to tie it to a tree in the front of his house. Esu did just that and left immediately. Orunmila quickly consulted ifa to know the intention of Esu. Ifa asked him to perform sacrifice with lots of bananas. He was to carry the sacrifice into a thick forest. Orunmila did as was instructed . After he completed the sacrifice, he discovered the monkey had broken the rope and escaped.
Not long after this discovery, Esu came back to inform Orunmila that he was no longer going on the journey, he therefore demanded for his monkey. Orunmila told him that the monkey had escaped. Esu became furious and started to cry. Orunmila knew that there will be trouble!! if he did not find the monkey very soon.
It takes seven days before the tears of Esu fall to the ground and once the tears fall in front of Orunmila’s house, there will be no peace within and outside Orunmila’s home again.Orunmila quickly consulted the oracle again. The oracle asked Orunmila to go back to where he dropped the sacrifice and that he would find the monkey there. When Orunmila got to where (in the forest) he left the sacrifice, he found the monkey eating the bananas. He took the monkey back home and returned it to Esu.
Esu was very surprised that Orunmila could find a way out of his dubious plot he had staged for him. He was also overwhelmed that there exists another divinity that could thwart his intrigue. From that time, he vowed to support Orunmila in all his endeavors. It has been since then that it became a tradition. To see the carved face of Esu fixed in a principal position on all divination trays or opon ifa.